Mandi J Donohue Photography Studio: Coming Sooooon-ish?

Hey y'all! I know there's a lot of crazy in the world right now and maybe I'll speak to that at some point, but in the meantime, I just wanted to share what I've been up to. I've also got some new photos of Rubes to share and during an apocalypse, who doesn't want to feast their eyes on the tender flesh of a cute baby?!

The last couple of months, I decided to open up an in-home photography studio here in Waynesville, NC and I've been working on it as best I can. I'll be doing celebrity style portraiture for every day people. As someone that has struggled with their self esteem over the years, I LOVE the idea of getting to photograph people and showing them pieces of themselves they'd long forgotten about or never knew existed. I truly believe that every human being is beautiful and ultimately, that we ALL deserve to 'be on the cover.' So, it'll be full hair & make-up and tons of pampering and fun!! Soooo excited...

I'll be using our guest bedroom (unless we have guests) and eventually will move into a studio space. It'll be a challenge to move the bed back in, etc., when we have guests but we'll make it work! I was hoping to launch this new business by June. Needless to say, EVERYTHAAAANG is on hold right now. :)

I'm not sure if you know this about my daughter but she likes having her photo taken for about 2.3 seconds. Then, all bets are off. Unless I'm practicing excellent parenting & there are bribes of banana bread, FORGET ABOUT IT. Just like the apple she started & didn't eat. Or the nuts she requested & didn't eat. Or the peanut butter & jelly sandwich she was desperate for AND THEN DIDN'T EAT. We are two years old, people. Don't make me Jill Greenberg, this shiz, kid!

But sometimes when I say, "Smile at Momma, baby!" and she does this? It melts my quarantined heart. I mean, who taught her this adorableness? Woodland fairies??? I concur.

Like if Diane Sawyer had a 'tude. ;)

So anyway, our guest room has the world's smallest window which means studio lighting is essential. So I invested a *cough* decent chunk of money on some strobes, apple boxes, big ol' modifiers and have been painting backdrops, etc. Because I've always shot natural light (and prefer it, really), I needed to rebuild the studio lighting side of my portfolio. I had four shoots lined up in April until all hell broke loose-- all folks from my comedy improv class. (CANNOT WAIT to photograph them!!!) But... what can ya do?

While I'm NOT AT ALL psyched about the 'Rona, I AM grateful I've got some time to get my business together with a non-crazy, Virgo-ascendant, it-has-to-happen YESTERDAY mentality. In the chaos, I'm just very aware of what I'm doing with my day. This HAS to be sustainable. This CANNOT be a typical Mandi venture. I have to find spiritual/mental/physical balance.

I've actually started working out again... so, surprisingly, I feel like I'm actually thriving through this pandemic. While I have no control over what the outcome is of this virus-- for me or for the world-- I can only control what I can control. And it's not a time to run myself into the ground. To me-- I guess I'm speaking to it now, lol-- it's about going within to see what needs to change. How have I always done life? What are the 'shadow aspects' to those habits? How can I do it in a way that doesn't mimic a bull in a china shop? What does it look like to have real balance in my life? I am pleased to say that I've been very productive without sacrificing my physical or mental health. Like, I almost get just as much done just by being more present & more go-with-the-flow. That's a pretty big deal for me!

So one day at a time, Sweet Baby Jesus.... and Baby Ruby. Look at those chunky thighs!! Look at her pudgy little feet!!! Oh my God, I eat them so many times a day!!

And until I can photograph other people... it's just me, my kid & Lliam! (I'm sure he's psoiched!! Who are we kidding?) Oh, and here's Ruby feeling happy again... (And just in case y'all are all, "You're a monster! She doesn't want her pictures taken!!" I seriously took these in 20 minutes. That's all she would allow. So, call Child Protective Services if you must but she ate her weight in banana bread & was awfully pleased with herself, I promise you!) ;)

Also, until my sis moves into the apartment upstairs, I'll use it as the natural light part of my studio. There's still a TON to do... The idea of taking self portraits feels like a gut punch!! lol

Everyone is bored & I'm still hoping for 15 more hours in my day. If I'm lucky and Lliam watches her like a champ, I get two hours every evening to slowly piece things together. While I truly feel for everyone that is stressed & high anxiety about what's happening, I wish I could just pan off 150 different projects-- and/or my toddler!! Lol To everyone that has ever said, "I just don't have the time," I'm all... DO IT, FOR THE LOVE OF PIZZA. JUST FREAKING DO IT. Because I REALLY don't have the time. And I miss that time...

I shot this through tulle so it's super creamy. Look at my little Michelangelo cherub!! Wahhhh!! I love her so much!!!

I think every mother feels that after the quarantine, they'll need a quarantine. I WANT that eight hours to myself. Holy crap!! I used to think I didn't have time. Granted, I worked a ton but still... just not the same. Ruby asks for something every three & a half minutes. And just when you think you've got her occupied for ten minutes, she'll scream because what she asked for isn't the right thing that you gave her. *facepalm* BUT YOU ASKED FOR IT!! YOU LEGIT ASKED FOR IT AND I'M GIVING IT TO YOU!!! WHY ARE YOU CRYING?!! ARE YOU TRYING TO BE A PSYCHOPATH?!!! A SERIAL KILLER?!!! WHAT ARE YOUR LIFE GOALS, KID?!!! ARE WE PEERING INTO THE FUTURE?!! *sigh*

Yes, the grass is greener. ;)

So? Baby steps with this whole process. I'll only be shooting on Saturday and Sundays to start. When I have saved up enough for a different studio space, I'll shoot Monday-Friday so I can have weekends with my family. But it'll be a little nutty to start for sure!

This one is my favorite. I think I also shot through tulle on this one. It'll be interesting to see how creative I can get with everything. I'm trained in studio lighting but it's been a hot second, and I've never had the time to get that creative with them. I'm also working out of an 11x15' (?) foot room and it is TIGHT. :)

If you'd like to check out the new website it's:

Okay, lovemuffins... I hope y'all are staying well and healthy. How are YOU feeling right now?? Hope you're not stressing too much. All of my love, all of my kisses... xoxo

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