Friday, May 30, 2014

insta-faves 02: mandy & such

welcome to the second post in a series featuring talented creatives on instagram. my last article introduced you to laura casey, an urban photographer capturing art in the gritty, overlooked minutia of city life.

my guest today works with subjects that are basically the polar opposite; she takes pictures of very. pretty. things. however the end result is the same: captivating photographs that seek the beauty in little, everyday moments.

mandy mcgregor, photographer and author of the delightful blog mandy & such, is one of the first people i had the priviledge of "meeting" through instagram. her feed (@mandyandsuch) on the social media site is, in a word, lovely. she styles her favorite things and favorite moments in a way that is simple, beautiful, and inspiring.

i asked mandy to choose a few of her favorite photos for me to share with you. normally the control freak in me would have hand-picked them, but i really wanted for you to get to know mandy and for this post to be as reflective as possible of her personality and style.

she has also graciously agreed to share her thoughts with us on photography, instagram, blogging, and life as a mom.

asd: what makes you stop to take a photograph?

MM: The colors or the story behind the photo.  I love when photos tell a story.

asd: why did you start taking pictures?  

MM: I just love beautiful things and images.  It’s what inspires my life, just pretty things and moments.

asd: what is your advice for styling a shot?

MM: I think you have to take a few shots at different angles before getting the “money shot.”

asd: i was so curious to see what photos you would pick as your favorites (and how you would narrow it down when they’re all so beautiful)! i suspect that there is a story behind at least a couple of the pictures you chose. care to tell?  

MM: I think I chose the photos because they represent my current mood these days.  Pretty spring colors and just things that make me smile when I scroll through my feed.  I’m starting to do some more styling before I take a photo and that has been really fun.  It truly is an artform and I know some instagrammers are so unbelievably good at that.

asd: why did you start an instagram feed?  

MM: Originally, I started to take pictures of my kids but it’s evolving into something much more and I like that.  I don’t treat it like a Facebook anymore...

asd: what kind of camera do you use?

MM: Nikon D7100.

asd: what editing app or software do you use?  

MM: I love VSCO for my iPhone editing.

asd: do you use filters?  

MM: I don’t usually use the filters in Instagram, but sometimes I will layer one on top of the VSCO filters.

asd: for those who are brand new to instagram and are looking to build a community there, (e.g., find people to follow and gain followers), what is your advice?  

MM: Be patient, post 1 or 2 times a day and make your photos really good.  Whatever it is you want to post, take a few shots at different angles and post your favorite.  The people will come if you have great content.  

asd: how have the people you’ve “met” through instagram impacted you?

MM: I gather some great inspiration from a lot of the people I follow on instagram - everyone from fashion bloggers to business owners.  Inspiration is everywhere.

asd: who are your favorites to follow?  

asd: do you feel that instagram is an important social media for a blogger or small business owner to be a part of?  

MM: Absolutely.  I think it’s a great reflection of the person or business and what they are trying to market.  

asd: how do you curate your instagram feed? what makes the cut and what doesn’t?  

MM: Honestly,  I just have to like it.  It doesn’t even have to make sense, if it appeals to me and my eye, I post it.  I really don’t post for other people; if nobody follows me or likes a photo but I do, than that is all that matters.

asd: if you zoomed out from any given shot on my IG feed, there would be a pile of toys or dishes next to it. that would never be true in your house, right?  

MM: Ha!  That is what I LOVE about instagram though - you only see a 2” x 2” image and it’s beautiful.  The other stuff is just real life and instagram can sometimes feel like a small escape from the chaos.

asd: what is the best thing about instagram?  

MM: The small glimpses you get into the lives of other people you respect or admire.  

asd: do you feel there is any downside to social media?  

MM: I think there is an ugly side to social media with the negative comments that get posted. I know they will find their way to me from time to time and I just have to stay true to myself and move on.

asd: does the “like” button ever affect your feelings of worth as an artist?  

MM: No not at all, it’s all for fun.

asd: why did you start a blog?  

MM: I’d been sitting on the sidelines for a while, reading blogs and just felt like there was this great community out there and I wanted to be apart of it.

asd: how do you hope the visitors to your blog feel when they leave?  

MM: Just inspired and happy and wanting to see what’s next.

asd: i love the simplicity of ‘mandy and such.’ there aren’t a ton of words, it feels so calm, and everything is easy (like the most delicious scones from a just-add-water-mix). there isn’t really a question there; i just wanted to say that.  

MM: Awww so nice, thank you!

asd: since starting a blog, i’ve learned that i’m braver than i thought. what is one thing you have learned?  

MM: That i’m always changing directions.  It’s great to keep the momentum going and things moving, but it can drive me crazy with how many different directions my mind is going.

asd: how do you balance the time demands of blogging with the full-time job of being a mom?  

MM: I don’t!  Ha!  I don’t know that I will ever find the perfect balance.  I just know that right now, we have good days and some not so good days and I’m ok with that.

asd: who inspires you?  

MM: My family, my friends, instagrammers, bloggers, outside, inside, name it - I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere.

asd: and now for the most important question of all: how do you take your coffee?  

MM: Absolutely the most important question.  A half packet of Truvia and a splash of vanilla creamer.  I go to sleep most nights excited to wake up to my first cup in the early morning.  

// //

i would love for you to find and follow mandy on instagram. if you're anything like me, you'll love the daily dose of eye candy and be inspired to elevate the beauty of the every day in your own life.

thank you and thank you again to my new friend for giving us access to the inner workings of an incredible talent. all the best to you in the adventures ahead!

{all photographs copyright mandy mcgregor via @mandyandsuch on instagram}


  1. first and foremost, awesome instagram..will be following shortly, but OMG! that leather backpack is to die for! and is even more perfect with tulips

    1. kyla, thanks for commenting! :) i agree, that backpack is uh-mazing. i'm pretty sure it's the transport rucksack from madewell. swoon!

    2. And yes the leather backpack is from Madewell and it's even better in person :)

  2. So sweet and thank you for the great feature! I love this series and can't wait to see some more instagrammers to follow!! xoxo

    1. thank YOU mandy! it was fun to pick your brain and get to know you better. :) all the best! xo!


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