24 May Stories of Starting #2: Doll Photography and Inspirational Communities
Welcome to my new series Stories of Starting. I am featuring guest blogs by individuals with stories that INSPIRE. Sometimes we make life so complicated and get caught up in details and “the struggle”. Other times we take the plunge, think outside the box and try something new to BEAUTIFUL results. Please submit your stories, big and small, to email@example.com to be featured in the blog and inspire others to embrace their unique successes.
Today’s guest blog comes from my daughter Mimi. She has inspired me so much in my life and work. She was the one who got me started on YouTube and Instagram. She is a great example of someone that dives fearlessly into new projects. She embodies the concept of Start By Starting and I am grateful to have her in my life. Here is her story of how she got started with doll photography:
I never thought posting a doll photo on Instagram would have brought me so much joy to this day. November 11, 2014 I decided to make my American girl dolls an Instagram account.
I’m going to tell you the story of how I developed my doll photography thanks to an Instagram community.
As everybody does their spring cleaning I was cleaning out my closet in 2014 and came across my dolls. I didn’t want to sell them and knew I wouldn’t donate them because of their high value.
I started photographing my dolls and posting fun, edited photos on Instagram. I quickly fell into a community called AGIG which stands for American Girl Instagram.
Life is funny. When I was a kid I used to take photos of my dolls all the time. In 2011 I was taking photos of a different brand of doll. I never imagined I’d be a part of a doll photography community. It’s like I never lost the passion for doll photography.
In 2014 my Mom took a culinary trip to Italy for food photography and one of the requirements was to have a Canon DSLR camera. After that trip she offered me the camera. She said she would never use it and I was welcome to it. I didn’t pick it up right away.
After a year of being on Instagram I realized all of the girls were taking photos on DLSR cameras. I literally woke up one morning and realized I wanted to learn how to use the Canon camera. It had only taken a year to get the nerve up to do it!
That morning I grabbed my computer and started looking up classes on how to use a Canon camera. I came across an adult education class at Dawson college that started that night! I signed up, loved it and learned so much. I decided I wanted to continue with photography and kept taking more classes. I became a member of the Lakeshore Camera Club, made a bunch of new friends and haven’t looked back.
One of the many photo shoots I did was in the Old Port of Montreal. I tweeted photos to Tourism Montreal, they retweeted them and a local news reporter saw them. I ended up being featured on Metro News West Island which led to features on CBC news, CJAD Radio, City News Montreal and a Podcast with CreatorHQ. It was such an amazing experience.
To this day I am a part of a beautiful community of people on AGIG. I’ve organized meet-ups with my followers and met so many amazing people in New York City, Washington DC, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal. I even had a girl fly out from Texas to Washington DC to meet me. I will never forget that, it was so special.
In 2017 I flew out to Vancouver and met a girl who is a huge influencer in the community. I bought one of her dolls and she signed the doll’s foot (that’s a doll community thing). The following day I met up with two other American Girl Instagrammer’s who were at the meet up and we did a photo shoot in Queen Elizabeth Park.
When I was in New York City in 2018, a fellow AGIG’er and I did a photo shoot in Times Square. We had lunch at the American Girl Store and spend the day together. That was another amazing experience.
In the last year I was invited by Chapters Rideau Ottawa to host a Doll Photography workshop and I was their official photographer for their Mother’s Day workshop. It was a mother, daughter and doll portrait workshop.
I never thought I would meet an American Girl follower in Montreal. So far I have met two. A few weeks ago I met with one of them for a photo shoot downtown. We did some awesome urban shots with all the great graffiti.
The Lakeshore Camera Club has added me to their executive team for social media. I have become a valued member and am so grateful for this community.
What I want to say is: Follow your heart and do what makes you happy. In the end that’s all that matters. I couldn’t be more grateful for the communities I am a part of.
I’ve met and become friends with so many wonderful people. I’ve learned many new skills, evolved my photography, have sold my cards and taught instagram workshops. Mostly I’ve inspired others not to be afraid to embrace their unique passions and share them with the world.
Find Mimi on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mimib.dolls/
and on her website: https://mimibdolls.com/