Amanda Joy Photography

My Parents | Anniversary Legacy Photographer

Legacy, Portraits, PersonalAmanda Mohinani1 Comment

It had been a long, emotional month for all of us. With dad's most recent scan revealing additional cancer and the doctor's lack of options, mom and dad are faced with an unknown future. Last weekend, along with my four siblings and their families, Sunil and I made a trip up to Minnesota to spend time with my parents. The house was loud and gloriously full with eleven grandkids (and two grand-puppies!) under foot, as the rest of us casually fell into conversations that varied from memories of our childhood, to questions about how mom and dad met and fell in love, to unhoped for but inevitable plans for the future which seems to loom large ahead of us. 

Being the photographer of the family, my heart longs to document each moment - happy or sad - to wrap up and hold forever. It's why I choose to carry my camera and photograph the surgeries, the pain, the chemo, the conversations, the radiation, and the tears that often accompany it all. With that in mind, I convinced my beautifully photogenic parents to allow me to document their love as it exists during this emotional season of life. 

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In typical Minnesotan fashion, the weather was sunny and brisk - a mere 45 degrees. But it allowed me to convince them to snuggle close without complaint. 

My parent's property sits on a corner lot with barely an acre, but having spent 20 years of my life exploring our yard, we were able to find the perfect nooks with the mostly lovely sunset light. 

This is how I remember my parents best. Especially since photos of them curled up like this are my favorites from our last photo shoot together almost four years ago. Just look at how cute they are! 

My mother carries such strength in her eyes. Strength to keep fighting, to keep hoping, and to go on one more day....

And to look straight into the unknown future. 

A Home for Hosting - the Mohinani Motel

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When Sunil and I got married and moved to Kansas, we knew we'd be hosting people a lot. With Sunil knowing just about everyone in the world and their mother, Kansas City being in the middle of the states, and our families living out of town, we knew people would end up staying with us quite a bit. And we loved every moment of it. (Actually Sunil did. I took some warming up to the idea.)

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Never one to say no to people, Sunil and I made it work. Giving up our bed, sleeping on the couch, blowing up an air mattress for the living room floor... it all became a way of showing people love and giving them a safe place to be.

We started out with a one bedroom apartment, moved to a two bedroom duplex, then bought our three bedroom house a few years ago and breathed a sigh of relief. We finally had a guest bedroom. 

We now fondly refer to our home as the Mohinani Motel and keep the guest bedroom ready for visitors at all times. Sheets clean, room picked up, and extra supplies and toothbrushes at hand.

We have people over so often that our friends and family will now invite themselves over to our house without permission because they've been told over and over again that they're always welcome. 

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And we're pretty sure that's the best compliment we could ever receive. 

Because isn't that what having a house is for? 

Creating a place for anyone to feel loved, cared for, and safe. 

And whether that means a bed to sleep on for the night, a place to find escape, to be fed, to be listened to, to cry, to laugh, or just to snuggle with our adorable puppy... 

That's our home, and you're always welcome. (Just please knock first.)

Before and Now: Office

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One of my favorite things to browse through on Pinterest and Instagram is home offices - simple, clean, crisp, and organized. Make them black and white and I will drool all day long!! Office envy is a real thing, ya'll. 

In the 7+ plus years I've been running my business, I've never had a dedicated home office. I'd set up my computer in the living room of our apartment, in the guest bedroom of our duplex, at the table in our kitchen, and anywhere else we had extra space. And you know what? It worked. I've never been one to need lots of storage space; in fact, I LOVE living a minimal and simple lifestyle, and that includes my office space! But when we bought our first house a few years ago, one of the requirements for us was to have an extra room that could double as my office.... or JUST be my office. 

Well, we found a house with 3 bedrooms! This is what the smallest bedroom looked like when we bought it, and we immediately made plans to make it my very own and very first home office. 

Yay peach walls! (not. ew.)

Since my business colors are black and white, I made a bold move and painted one wall black (chalkboard paint!), and the rest light grey. I love clean, white, modern furniture, so basically... Ikea is my happy place. 

Even a monochromatic office needs pops of color! Fake plants make me feel confident and BB-8 is a little droid I won for attending a tech meeting with my husband! Pretty fitting for today being May the 4th, right? 

Writing on the wall done by my talented friend Jessica! Because my handwriting looks terrible. True story. 

Jess also gifted us a set of these Minnesotan coasters not long after we were married, so I keep one in my office to remember my homegrown roots! 

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I also keep a high school photo of my hubby hiding in a plant because it reminds me what he looked like when I first met him. (He legitimately looks like a different person!) He's still my favorite. 

Yay clean desks!! 

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Here's how lazy I am. Those curtains (Ikea!) are too long and drags on the ground, so I simply draped them over the rods in the most carefree way. And I'm not even sorry.... :) 

Washi tape is my best friend. I use it in every room of the house and it allows me to hang free printed designs from Pinterest without ruining my paint or tearing my decor! I got this tape set from (can you guess?) Ikea! All prints are from Pinterest - for free! 

Somehow having shelves and shelves of books makes me feel smart and accomplished. Someday I'd love to own a whole room of bookshelves packed to overflowing!! 

Look how light and pretty it is!! 

My new iMac is so happy here... :) 

Choosing a Location

Portraits, FamilyAmanda MohinaniComment

Spring is rolling into Kansas City in full force, and the warmer weather has me dreaming about shooting in the gorgeous sunlight (or lovely downpour)! My brain is full of ideas for photo sessions, and I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my favorite types of locations for photo shoots! 

Location #1. Your own home

Home is where you and your kids are the most comfortable. Home is where you are safe. Where life happens and memories are made. No more packing up the kids into the car in a hurry - I come to you! This translates into some of the most relaxed and lovely photos I've ever taken. And don't worry about making it look perfect; photography is about looking for great light, and beautiful light can be found in many unique places around your home! 

Want ideas for what to do in your home during your session? Let's set up a fort in your living room, bake some cookies in your kitchen, or snuggle in your bed! 

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Location #2. The Woods

Woods are magical places. Dappled light, crunchy leaves, and rows of trees add such depth to photos and create a lovely backdrop for you and your family! One of my favorite things about shooting in the woods is that there's always new spots to explore just around the next tree - perfect for inquisitive kids! 

Want ideas for what to do in the woods for your photo session? Take a hike, create an "I Spy" adventure, explore new paths, build a fire, or roast some s'mores! 

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Location #3. The Wide Open Fields

Wide open fields are where kids can run free for miles. And it just so happens that Kansas is the best place to find gentle rolling hills and wide open spaces! Aren't we lucky?? One of my favorite things about them is that fields give us permission to breathe deep and gaze far. To let the kids run free and wild while we lay in the soft grass and gaze at the sky. And THAT sounds like the best photo shoot ever! 

Curious about ideas for your field photo shoot? Go look for flowers, roll down some hills, fly a kite, have a picnic, or just sit and stare at the clouds!

Location #4. The Urban Scene

Maybe all of this nature stuff doesn't float your boat. Maybe you and your family would rather explore an alleyway, or climb a bridge, or discover a museum, or ride a trolley! Well, thanks to our lovely city, you can do all those things! Your photo shoot is all about capturing who you are, so let your personality shine!

Needs some ideas to get you started? Get coffee together, dance down an alleyway, ride your bikes, paint graffiti, visit a museum, or attend a baseball game! 

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. I hope this gives you some ideas for where your next photo session could be! 

 

PS - If you need more inspiration, I have a whole Pinterest board full of location ideas!! Click here to see it. 

2016 Self Portraits | Kansas City Lifestyle Family Photographer

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Each year for our anniversary I try to set up my camera and take a self portrait of me and my favorite Indian for our never-ending photo frame. Sometimes we're on the ball and get our photo done within a few weeks of our anniversary, and other times it doesn't happen for six months. This year, as a tribute to our growing family (not pregnant!), we decided to add in our adorable little pup - #PixelOurBeagle - because she's cute and we like her (enough to have her own hashtag).

It usually takes many attempts to get it right.... especially now that we have a puppy in the mix. But I always love the result: me and my husband and my pup and our very own home and our journey encased in a little 8x10 frame. 

Taking self portraits always makes me extra reflective, and so today I'm reflecting on how incredibly thankful I am to be taking a journey with this man, how thrilled I am to have a home that I can open to those in need, and how much I love having a snuggly puppy who teaches me how immeasurably impatient I am (and how I'm SO not ready for kids). 

Have a lovely Wednesday!