Johnson Photography Blog
Staying True to Your Core Values Will Make You a Better Business Owner
Friday, April 28, 2017
By Johnson Photography, Inc.
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This morning, I woke up extra early with my head spinning from a letter that was forming in my head. Recently, my son passed the MA Real Estate exam and is about to embark on an exciting new career path. As a mother and business owner for 25 years, I felt there was so much I wanted to share with him.

But as I thought over the words I wanted to share, I realized why I felt so strongly about this advice—it is what makes up my core values, upon which I built my business. These are the things that I have made my standard and that have defined the way I have conducted myself over the last 25 years. They define my reputation—and so, to me, they are more than just words of advice from a mother to her son. They are words that anyone going into the business world can live by.

So, to my son and to any young person about to embark on a new career, I offer this advice:

  • Be authentic and embrace who you are.

  • Respect everyone.

  • Be transparent. 

  • Always conduct yourself ethically.

  • Always do the right thing, even if it is hard sometimes.

  • Always treat people the way you would like to be treated.

  • Go above and beyond every time for your clients.

  • Expect more of yourself than others might.

  • Mistakes will happen—we are human—but always be willing to admit them and move on.

  • Listen to your clients and provide exceptional customer service.

  • Leave your problems at home; clients don’t want to hear them.

  • Enjoy what you do and let it show.

  • Follow through.

  • Don’t rest on your laurels.

  • Always continue to learn.

  • Embrace change.

  • Surround yourself with smart, trustworthy people in your industry.

  • And above all, strive to be the best at what you do.

I hope that this advice touches someone who is taking those first steps into the business world. These goals and mantras have helped me get to where I am today, and I feel they are extremely important to building a lifelong career. Good luck!

 
How Travel Inspires Creativity
Thursday, April 13, 2017
By Johnson Photography, Inc.
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Travel always rejuvenates me. There is just something about it that sparks euphoria and opens up my mind to looking at things differently, so I always love the opportunities I get to go out and explore the world. 

 

Recently, I headed to San Francisco with my son to celebrate not only his college graduation but his 25th birthday, and we spent each day filled with adventure together. The trip was about spending time together, exploring a new city, eating well, and having fun—and that’s what we did. We walked nine miles in one day, we Ubered, we rode the trolley, and we even rented a mini cooper convertible for our trip to Sonoma! We were constantly moving, constantly having new adventures, and that on its own is enough to get the creative juices flowing as we were just filled with excitement and wonder. 

 

It wasn’t just the destinations—or getting to those destinations—that were an adventure, either. If you’re a foodie, then you know that San Fran is a fantastic place for endless food options and the shot at trying a plethora of new dishes. We were spoiled by a family friend who was the ultimate tour guide, not to mention a nephew who led us to the most delicious tacos I’ve ever had. Of course, the wine tasting and vineyards tour in Sonoma was a highlight as well! The whole trip was one big chance to try new things—and isn’t that exactly what creativity is?

 

Even the city itself is an inspiration to look at. From day one as we walked over the Golden Gate Bridge, I was looking for unique angles. Architecture, lines, colors, textures, lights—all of those excited me, and I felt compelled to document them. My nephew even took us to the height of the city at night—Twin Peaks—and it was a crazy vantage point. I loved it! 

 

Every new sight, sound, and smell was a chance to broaden my horizons, and without the time constraints of work, I was able to really boost those creative juices. Outside of my comfort zone, trying new things and seeing new sights—all these things lent themselves to a new perspective, and I came back feeling refreshed and ready to get creative in my regular work life!

 

I like this quote from Miriam Beard: “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” That was certainly the case for me and my son as we are traveling, and I’m grateful I was able to get out there and refresh myself with new sights and new perspectives to bring home!

 
Sappi North America Lifestyle Photoshoot
Thursday, March 30, 2017
By Johnson Photography, Inc.
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On November 16th, I was thrilled to be asked to do a Sappi North America Lifestyle photo shoot, the second corporate shoot that I had done for this particular vendor.

I was so glad that Patti Groh, the director of marketing communications, had asked for me for this project. She has been one of my favorite family portrait clients since 2007, and I always love getting to work with her! She and Olga Karagiannis, the manager of corporate communications, organized the half-day lifestyle shoot and worked closely with their agency, VSA Partners.

The Sappi North American headquarters, in the heart of downtown Boston, have roots that trace all the way back to 1854. They are known all over the world as market leaders in converting wood fiber into superior products. According to their website:
Today, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, with three mills and over 2,100 employees, we continue that legacy of innovation and quality as a preeminent producer of printing and packaging papers, release paper and dissolving wood pulp.

Ahead of the shoot, I asked Sappi what they wanted to get out of the session, and they responded:
The purpose of the shoot was to obtain images that we could use in our Sustainability Report, employee newsletter, recruiting materials, presentations and our website. For recruiting, we wanted to show photos of some of our millennials and the type of culture we have at Sappi—one of innovation and creativity. For the Sustainability report, we wanted to show one of our executives and a new product we recently launched in the market.

The day of the session began with Patti and Olga as we fine-tuned the day’s flow as well as the locations of the numerous anticipated shots. We worked extremely well together and quickly got started capturing a “day in the life” at Sappi. It was easy enough to get great images, especially since the majority of their offices have large windows overlooking Boston Harbor, bringing in beautiful light and a calming backdrop!

One of my favorite aspects of my business is that every day is completely different. I TRULY love it and believe that I thrive on it. Each project brings unique challenges, making what I do both fun and interesting as I get to embrace a variety of projects. Best of all, I always get to meet and work with the most amazing people! Thank you, Patti and Olga, for an amazing lifestyle shoot!

 
Day In The Life - Beth Israel Deaconess Needham
Thursday, March 16, 2017
By Johnson Photography, Inc.
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This fall, I was asked to do a photoshoot at Beth Israel Deaconess Needham to capture a “day in the life” at the hospital.

In preparation for my 9-hour day at the hospital, my contact at BI Needham was fantastic getting behind-the-scenes scheduling done for the various departments. Kristel and Mike, my wonderful go-to people, understood the need to be discreet and respectful and took me to each new department, making sure we were on schedule and getting the shots we needed to capture the essence of the hospital with many different people and departments.

The people running the hospital were also so incredible. John Fogarty, the president and CEO, is extremely friendly and approaching, all while seamlessly managing the hospital. And Samantha Sherman, the chief development and external relations officer, has such a kind heart and a passionate drive to make the hospital the best it can be.

I was in constant awe of the people I was photographing. It takes a certain person to be able to care for others in such a way. I was especially touched beginning the day in the OR as nurses and doctors quietly went over each case. I felt privileged to be witnessing their incredible talent and strength. I was able to get a picture of a doctor headed to OR with a patient, and I felt that the image sent such a powerful message about how important her patients are to her. That was the case across the board for nurses and others as everyone blew me away with their compassion and love over and over again.

At one point during the day, we were sitting in oncology waiting for one of the doctors to come out so I could photograph him. While we were there, a patient struck up a conversation with me. She was in the middle of chemo and was wearing a scarf after having lost her hair. She had been having a difficult day and for some reason felt that she could confide in me that she felt she just could not go on anymore and wanted to stop her chemo.

Well, being a breast cancer survivor, I shared with her my experience. I told her that I had finished chemo and radiation 16 years ago and impressed upon her how important it was that she finish ALL of her treatments, even though I, too, had lost my hair. We swapped diagnoses and which stage our cancers had been, talked about our children, hugged, and cried together as only fellow survivors can.

I told her that if I could do it, she could do it. I told her that she MUST listen to the doctors, because they knew what they were doing to keep us alive. When it was all said and done, after I’d gotten the photos I needed, the woman approached me again, this time with newfound strength and purpose. “I am going to finish my treatments,” she told me! It was such an incredible and powerful moment and one that I will never forget. I was so grateful that I happened to be there when she needed to talk to someone that had been through it before, and my heart was so full. I still think about that woman on occasion, and I hope that, someday, she will be able to pass along her experience to another woman in need of being uplifted.

I spent the rest of the day documenting nurses, doctors, hospital staff, administrators, volunteers, employee bus drivers, and valets. Every person that I encountered had a smile on their faces and genuinely cared about the people they were caring for, and I was struck by how very important each of those jobs were to keep the hospital running smoothly. It was amazing to photograph these people making such critical decisions and yet doing it with such strength and compassion.

I was also able to get some images at the hospital’s new café, “The Trotman Family Glover Café.” It was a gift in memory of Mrs. Valerie Trotman’s husband, Alex Trotman, and the café has become not only an important part of the history of the hospital but also a fantastic place for physicians, patients, and others to gather.

I feel so blessed to live in this state and have access to the best doctors in the country! I’ve been honored to work with Beth Israel for many years, and I’m excited about each new project as I get to see the progress of the hospital, improving each year upon the last with kind and generous donations. More than ever, hospitals need the help of philanthropy, so if something about this shoot or this story resonates with you, I would encourage you to reach out and contribute.

 
Lahey Winchester Hospital Leadership Council Event at Wright-Locke Farm
Thursday, March 02, 2017
By Johnson Photography, Inc.
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Building local partnerships is something we feel strongly about. Naturally, it was fun to photograph such an event that nurtures this belief.  The evening program was held at Wright-Locke Farm, where experts spoke on health and wellness as well as a litany of other related topics. 

This event was sponsored by the Lahey Winchester Hospital Leadership Council, which is “made up of female community leaders and physicians with the goal of education and empowering women to be their own healthcare advocates,” according to their site.

The event was designed to bring people in the community together to educate them about health and wellness, and it featured a fantastic panel of experts from Winchester Hospital. Dr. Arlan Fuller, Nurse Practitioner Janet Gallant wood, Registered Dietitian Helen Long, Dr. Catherine Celler, and Bistro 5 chef and owner Vittorio Ettore all spoke—and they were all engaging and interesting to listen to as they answered questions from women’s health issues to diet and everything in between. What a great way for local physicians to be part of the community!

Vittorio Ettore put out a beautiful, elegantly presented spread from Bistro 5 for all to enjoy. He spoke about his farm-to-table food as he, along with the other guest speakers, chatted with guests before they spoke at the panel and hosted a Q&A. I thought it was a great idea to have that farm-to-table food there at the Wright-Locke farm itself—it was the perfect backdrop for the event!

Walking on the property at Wright-Locke, you immediately feel a sense of peace come over you. When we entered the rustic and charming barn to hanging lights, fresh cut flowers from the garden, and the sun setting through the back doors, that relaxed, easy tone permeated everything and everyone. The worn plank floors and rustic old farm tools in the background only added to the experience of the evening. I loved how the light grazed across the floor to the tall tables with flowers lining the place.

It is so important to strengthen community ties and relationships through partnerships, events, and outreach, and I was honored to be part of this event. We are so fortunate to have this knowledgeable group of women who care so deeply about our community—and we are even luckier to have educational programs and chances to volunteer our own time and talents. If you are interested in learning more or volunteering, please email WomensLeadershipCoun@Lahey.org