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Meet Sara MacDonald of Blooming Magnolia Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara MacDonald.

Hi Sara, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Hi! I’m Sara, a Boudoir/Luxury Intimate Photographer in the Clayton/Raleigh area; I own and operate Blooming Magnolia Photography. I am a wife to my hubby of 10 years and a mommy to my 3 beautiful girls (ages 7, 4, and 3). As a child, I was enamored by the arts. I loved to sing & write songs, dance, perform, draw, paint, and take pictures with disposable cameras that my mom and grandma would buy me; you name it, I wanted to do it. Music and Art are two of my biggest passions. The more I grew, the more I recognized the importance of photographs and what they convey. I’ll never forget hearing my grandma say, “Look how beautiful my hair was,” and “oh my, look how tiny my babies were,” as she thumbed through photo album after photo album. She showed me the multitude of importance that was in those photographs and those albums.

I would always take pictures of nature, birds, the sky, etc., and then my best friend went through a divorce. She was questioning her beauty, worth, heart, and mind. I knew I had to do something other than talking until I was blue in the face about how gorgeous she was, so I offered to take pictures of her to start her social media profiles fresh – without the reminder of her ex. When I showed her the images we created, she cried; she felt a sense of freedom and found her beauty again. That is freeing, and a beautiful feeling was one that I wanted to chase.

From then on, I invested in myself and my education again and again. In 2014 everything got pushed back as we learned that I was pregnant, and we were SO excited to start our family! I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, so I put all of my aspirations on hold. By 2015 we had our first baby girl, another in 2017, and another (and final) baby in 2018. I was obsessed with taking pictures of my babies and family members as they visited each time, so I thought to myself, “why not now?!” I decided to dive right in and started my business that year (2018). I started with Family and Child Portraits. I did that for a while; then, I realized it wasn’t for me.

I realized that I need instant gratification from my clients seeing their images on the back of my camera. So I decided I would hold a model call for Boudoir to see if that were something I’d enjoy photographing, and Boudoir LIT me up!! I had so much fun empowering these beautiful people and showing them how sexy they are. That remarkable ability to see someone when they realize, “OMG, that’s me! I’m GORGEOUS!”. I felt that same rush when I photographed my Best Friend after her divorce.

I finally found my calling! I get to use my artistic skills and create photographs and heirloom quality albums that my clients can look back on for decades while having fun! So here I am! I love my job, I love being my boss, and I LOVE getting to see the impact that I make on my clients’ lives with the Art that I create.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I started my business while I was pregnant with my youngest child. It has not been a smooth road at all, that’s for sure. I’ve had to learn hard lessons like setting my business up in every form, all while learning how to be an excellent Mommy to my three beautiful girls. I paid way too much to two large corporations I believed were the best but found out the hard way that they were not. I learned that I should have reached out to my local Photography community before diving in headfirst and blind.

I’m in a struggle now, as well. I lost my Mother due to unforeseen medical complications in October of last year (2021). Before we lost her, I spent every waking moment researching what could have been wrong with her and trying to solve this puzzle that I couldn’t solve.

I have had to step away from my business here and there from 1 to 6 months between being in the thick of parenting in the early years and this most recent break happening because the stress and pain were too heavy for me to be able to hold others up when I felt as if I was sinking. I am currently building my business back up and think that it is more vital than ever this time! One thing about me, though, is that I am not a quitter. I will push until I learn what I need to know to make things happen.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Blooming Magnolia Photography?
I am a local (Clayton/Raleigh, NC) Boudoir/Luxury Intimate Portrait Photographer. I supply an opportunity for womxn to invest in themselves. What I provide is much more than a simple photo shoot. It is a luxury experience you can remember through beautiful wall art, albums, etc. I promote body positivity and empowerment daily. I provide an opportunity to get your hair and makeup done, wear some gorgeous clothes/lingerie that make you feel good, and hype the heck out of you! The experience itself is a luxury, you’ll receive some self-care, and you’ll walk out of my studio feeling like you’re on top of the world! You get a day that’s all about you because YOU DESERVE IT. When is the last time you’ve done your hair and makeup and had a whole day be just about you?? Exactly! It’s been too long.

We have to learn to become comfortable investing in and gifting to ourselves. Even I had to realize that, like you, I deserve pleasant moments and things for myself, I am worthy of pleasure and gifts, and I don’t owe anyone an explanation (neither do you). I want you to see yourself in the best way everyone else sees you. We so often forget how amazing we are. We get caught up in our day-to-day and often put ourselves last. We don’t always see our beauty. Enter me. I capture your authentic beauty in a way that hasn’t been captured before. I will show you how fierce you are, how sexy you are, and how your loved ones see you. I provide you with timeless images that you can look back on forever. I allow you to have yourself printed on luxury paper or metal because YOU ARE ART. I have had people from all over the map come to me, and I LOVE what I do! I get to empower and show womxn how BEAUTIFUL they are and help them feel the confidence they should feel every day! I am beyond grateful for how far I’ve come and excited for my future. I’ve already been published in magazines and displayed in an actual ART GALLERY! What else is in store for me?! I can’t wait to see it!

If you want to get in on the fun (and want to join in our monthly contest to win a prize over $150 in value ), Join my Boudoir VIP group to find a supportive community of like-minded beauties and gain access to everything I have to offer OR be there to be supportive and get to see my beautiful Art! I would love to hear from you when you’re ready to invest in yourself.

Can you talk to us about how you think about risk?
I feel I’m taking a risk every day as I share my work online for others to see. These days, social media outlets are extremely judgemental and, more often than not, unsupportive of the female anatomy. What we know to be beautiful and natural is considered explicit and scary in the Social media of our current day. It’s so unfortunate that though we’ve made many strides in human and women’s rights, we are still SO behind in our social outlet thinking of a normal and natural human body. Our bodies are beautiful and do so much for us, and we still have to ensure that we censor certain things that others do not have to censor.

I believe that all bodies are good bodies, and I am here to help women of all shapes, sizes, and ages celebrate their bodies exactly as they are regardless of our imperfections, insecurities, and platform censorship requirements.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sara MacDonald

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1 Comment

  1. Janet Rivera

    June 19, 2022 at 2:12 am

    Wow…I love it very proud of you!!

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