| Interview by Ronnie |
This is our interview series where we check in on past students who have either attended one of our workshop events or taken part in one of our online classes. Today we're speaking with Mary Beth Johnson of Rosemary Wild to find out a bit more about her work and what she got out of completing our online class, Photo Organisation with Lightroom.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your family?
I grew up the second oldest of 14 children, got married at 19, and had 4 children by the age of 26. That’s a lot to take in, I know! I grew up in the country close to the beach before moving to the south and falling in love with my husband. We fell fast and hard for each other over Coldplay, coffee, and California. Since those early days, we have flipped a fixer-upper house and sold it, moved ten times, narrowly escaped birthing our baby in the car during a blizzard, and currently reside in the north of Atlanta where I think we’ll stay put for awhile.
How did your blog and photography business, Rosemary Wild, get started and has it evolved over time?
I began writing online when we moved halfway across the country and started living in a two-bedroom apartment with three kids under the age of two. I was lonely, figuring myself out, and fell in love with the art of story-telling. The writings were painful and my photos had a lot of room for improvement, but I started. From that little blog, I learned how to use my DSLR camera, which led to freelance photojournalism jobs and my own photography business. Now I use the space to share companies doing good in the world and, occasionally, my own work.
Describe a typical day for you.
Forever an early riser, my day starts at about 5.15am. I pray for a few minutes and then wake up by reading or watching something online – be it political news, Justin Beiber’s Instagram feed, or Jimmy Fallon on YouTube. When I’m really awake, I begin answering emails and texts that I never got to the day before. At 6.30am I begin waking the kids for the school carpool and rush to get everybody out of the door on time. You’ll sit in a lot of traffic in Atlanta, so I pack up our van with everything I’ll need to be out for several hours. I work out at the gym (mom tip: I shower there and get ready for the day!) and then run any errands I can squeeze in before Hugh’s nap. At around 11am we start lunch, and I lay my littlest down for his nap so I can homeschool my five- and six- year-old in peace and quiet! I usually squeeze in a little work while they’re occupied with work sheets or a project. In the afternoons we do the school carpool, homework, and catechisms or Bible verse memorization. I usually need an afternoon coffee or chocolate at this point. When it gets to that crazy time of day, I send the kids outside to play, or we get out the Legos in the playroom. At about 5.30pm I begin dinner prep and delegate little jobs to the kids. We eat dinner around 6.30pm, and I may photograph some of the recipes we’ve tried for my food photography jobs. At 7.30pm my husband starts laying the kids down for bed, and I may read them a chapter from a story book with prayers. At 8pm, I don’t feel like doing a single thing, but I will try to finish up any work for the day and then spend time with my husband. Lately, we’ve been really into the show Daredevil on Netflix and perfecting our cocktail skills. By 9.30pm–10pm, you’ll find us falling asleep with a book or a laptop and with the light left on. We do this dance over and over again.
Why were you interested in doing our class, Photo Organisation with Lightroom?
I was running a photography business, switching from Photoshop to Lightroom, and calling my husband at work literally every week for help on navigating the program – I could not get the hang of it. After blogging for so many years with a tangled web of hard drives holding thousands of files I just wanted to minimize what I had and get our photos into books so that we could actually enjoy them as a family.
What are the three most useful things that you've learnt from the class?
How to set up a keyword shortcut system; how to properly organize and name my folders so that I can easily find what I need down the track (I've never been able to come up with a great system!); and how to keyword and rate my photos, which in turn speeds up my post-processing workflow.
What is one topic or area that you've found particularly challenging?
Deciding on how we will store our photos. We can’t decide whether to go with the cloud-based solution (this option doesn't seem to offer enough storage for our needs), having the files stored locally (which would impose a risk of loss or damage), or the home-based cloud, namely the NAS (which incurs a higher upfront cost).
Has the class changed the way you approach personal photo organisation?
Absolutely! In fact, going through my files has given me a larger perspective on our life and my work, and I began making changes to my business based on how I felt when sorting through certain photos. I decided to hone in on the facets that I truly felt passionate about – food and products for companies – and let go of the services that were not fulfilling me creatively.
Looking ahead, what are the stories that you want to document and preserve?
I’d like to continue what I accomplished with blogging over the years, but to do it just for us. I want to make books for each year and take the time to write down funny stories, sad stories, and the stories no one will love but us. I think our children will see our values intertwined through those books and will feel near our presence and love long after we’re physically gone. (Writing that out motivates me to keep at it!)
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You can read the other interviews in this series here.