Travel Journal: Megan Maundrell
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be included in a small business feature by the lovely Megan from Megan Maundrell Photography on her blog at meganmaundrellphotography.ca. As part of the blog post we met up and she took some lovely photos of me, the studio, and of course Mr Harvey Dog had to get involved too! If you want to read more about it, check out her blog post here.
Megan is one of those people that manages to inspire and motivate you effortlessly, and each time we met I left feeling full of ideas for the next stages of Ta Muchly. So it felt only right that she should be the first person I feature in the Travel Journal. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us a bit about your travel journey, where are you from, have you lived away from your home town, where do you live now?
I grew up in Victoria BC surrounded by lush forests and the ocean! As a child, our family travel was pretty limited to places where my parents could lounge on a beach and Disney - totally not complaining, but when I got to be in high school I realized how much of the world others had seen and I, well, saw Epcot... does that count? After high school I travelled to New Zealand with my partner at the time, with a lay over in Hong Kong. It was an eye opening experience; being so far away from home, but not overtly feeling the difference. I think that growing up in Canada has allowed me to experience and appreciate so many different cultures, that unless I were to completely immerse myself in an extremely different environment, I'd still feel rather at home. This year I moved from the Island to Calgary, having never visited before - call me crazy! It is definitely a change, being so far away from the ocean and the lush green forests, but I think it was a momentous decision that had I passed up on the opportunity, my life would have been drastically different.
Favourite holiday destination?
I have to admit, I still love Disney! I feel like there are endless experiences for a reasonable amount of money. Well, reasonable compared to travelling to New Zealand - which I will most definitely be doing again when I have the money!
Where’s your special place (or places)? The Country or place with happy memories, that means the most to you.
I'm not entirely sure where my special place is. When I first moved to Calgary, I thought it was Vancouver Island, but every time I travelled back there it felt more and more foreign. I think that more than anything, I'm a people person. So my special place is wherever the people I love are.
What would your dream home look like, and where in the World would it be?
Okay. Dream home would be in New Zealand. I love how similar it feels to Victoria, just more laid back, nicer beaches and less old people haha! I would love a house with a beautiful kitchen so I have incentive to cook. A pot filler, a bench style dinner table to fit all of my friends and family. Probably two or three floors with a nice master bed and bath and a guest bedroom.
How would you describe your interiors style?
I like my space to have character. Colour, woods, lots of art on the walls and second hand things. Nothing too sleek and modern, and metal is a no from me!
Where do you like to shop for interior decor items?
On a budget... does that count? Being 20 and self employed, my partner doing his masters, we don't have a "make the house look pretty" fund. I love finding good deals on facebook market place and Kijiji and noticed that most of the stuff you can find on there, is unique! On the complete opposite spectrum - being so cookie cutter that even your cat could buy it - we also love Ikea! Mainly for the low prices and Swedish meatball shopping breaks, but I find that they have a little something for everyone there (even if it's just the meatballs).
Have you always done photography, and how did you get started?
I've always been creative and entrepreneurial minded. I was the kid who would beg to enter the craft fair to make some extra bucks but was also the kid who had a half painted cat picture, a pyjama pattern pinned and cut out, half of a loom pillow made - you catch my drift. I didn't really find something that I could enjoy right through till completion. In high school, that same guy that took me to New Zealand was super into photography. I begged him to start a business out of it so he could make some extra money to help with his starving university student syndrome, but he wasn't super sold on the idea. So, to convince him, I did all of the business work. I did the marketing, the communicating, the scheduling, at the session I posed, I talked to the clients and then I was the one to invoice the fee's and send the photos. All he did was take the photos and edit them. Long story short, after a while of playing around with his camera, a thought popped into my head "I can do this on my own, way better than he could". So he let me take over the business and now we're here! In short, I could've created a business out of anything slightly artsy-farsty, but the opportunity of photography fell into my lap, offered the way of life I was yearning for and I quite literally ran with it.
What inspires you about travel, either locally or abroad, and how do you incorporate that into your work?
Photography allows me to go anywhere, and still make money which is awesome! Of course there is a ton of marketing, studying of analytics in order to target a specific area or more relevantly recently, build my business in Calgary. I love hiking the Rocky Mountains (at a snails pace) and incorporating branding photo's for my social media into the mix. Björn is getting way better with the camera and I'm happy to report that now 70% of the images are in focus, haha!
Have you been able to travel much with your work?
I've been able to travel a bit, but honestly I have a HUGE wall up surrounding international travel for paid gigs. I have no clue how to legally go about it so don't touch it (yet) with a ten foot pole! That being said, if you have any tips, I'm all ears! I'd love to get started on it one day!
Tell us a bit about the photography projects you’ve worked on, what’s been your favourite so far?
I love my clients and capturing their love stories, but more than anything, I love creating art with my fellow wedding vendors! I create multiple styled shoots a year, including the ones at my workshops, The Forward Workshop, and I will never get tired of them. It allows me to inspire future brides to think outside of the box, connect with new vendors and make industry friends and collect those cute little 'featured in' badges for our websites after being published.
What’s a typical work day like for you?
Typically I eat breakfast with Björn, then sit down on my laptop to work on whatever business adventure black hole I've found. Recently, that has been SEO and refining my website to turn traffic into clients. There is SO much behind the scenes to accomplish every day that only about 10% of the job includes a camera in my hand! The other 90% is editing, client communication, networking, marketing, strengthening my brand and so on!
What advice would you give to others looking to get started in photography?
Find someone to learn from! If you can find an intern position or a mentor (or a workshop!) to lead you through the beginning stages of business, you'll skip over a ton of mess ups and slow patches. It is completely possible to be 100% self taught from the internet, with little to no support (especially financially, darn RESP being locked away) because, hey! I did it! But it's better to invest your time - or time and money if you can afford it - into real, tried and true, education from someone who has actually done it! And, in the long run, you'll actually save money. I remember when I first started and my mind set was stuck on buying xyz to make me feel legitimate, and to this day, I haven't used half of the things that I bought, but I didn't know any better! I can easily think of $700 that were put to use twice... I could've attended a workshop with that instead!
Do you have any advice for people wanting to take great travel photos?
When you go travelling, try to keep the camera tucked away. Say wah? A photographer doesn't want me to take photos? Yup! I find that I rarely take my camera out because I like to enjoy the moment, and even as someone who is a professional portrait photographer, I still know that there is a professional landscape or architectural photographer who has taken a better photos of what I'm looking at than I ever could. And at the end of the day, what I can't google to show someone, is a photo of me, enjoying myself. So I encourage you to get a family member to take photos of you while travelling or hire someone if need be! But capture your moment there, at the Eiffel Tower, it's not something that you can google later to show people, trust me.
What’s next for Megan Maundrell Photography?
Right now I am ramping up to host The Forward Workshop in Golden, BC this October 26th. I am so excited to teach and speak life and encouragement into other photographers, and watch them grow!
A massive Ta Muchly to Megan for agreeing to be featured in today's blog post, and for a great interview!
All images copyright and courtesy of Megan Maundrell Photography.