Leah Johns is new to the Makelight community, and she's already made the most of it!
We first met Leah when she took Makelight's Beautify Your Instagram course online followed by Makelight Essentials. We met her in person on our special edition Makelight walk in stunning Kew Botanical Gardens.
Leah originally comes from Madison, Wisconsin, and she's currently living in London where she's a new mum to a beautiful baby boy.
We love Leah's super vibrant and colourful London photography which she posts under the Instagram name @sardinesplease. And Leah has a second Instagram presence called @hellolittlepinecone where she posts product photography for her mother's adorable baby clothing brand made from sweet and on-trend patterned fabrics - shipping worldwide!
Can you tell us a bit about your business - or actually, businesses?
This is a two part answer. First, I manage the marketing for Hello Little Pinecone, a handmade all-organic baby clothes business featuring colourful, unisex prints. The greatest thing about this job is that I work with my mom, Terry, who makes (by hand!) all of the clothes.
The business originated when I was pregnant with my baby and struggled to find playful unisex clothing (I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl). My mother has been a life-long maker and incredible seamstress, so Hello Little Pinecone came to be!
Second, my husband Joao and I are launching an online bed linens company towards the end of the year. Our goal is to bring beautiful, simple, premium-quality linens to the market at an affordable price -- and with an easy and enjoyable shopping experience.
The textiles are all produced by craftsman in Portugal, where there is a rich history of textile production.
How are you using Instagram to build Hello Little Pinecone?
For Hello Little Pinecone, we use Instagram to show our products - both in action (read: cute babies) and in various different flat lays.
We try to get creative with the styling of the products, such as using fun props like fruit or little toys. We're also using Instagram to do sneak peeks of what's to come and some behind-the-scene shots.
We've also used it as a community-building platform, which I'd really like to continue. It's kind of amazing how real connections can be built through Instagram these days.
How do you distinguish between your personal and business feeds?
On my personal feed (@sardinesplease), I take pictures of beautiful things I see on a daily basis. These range from beautiful spaces (cafes, restaurants, etc) to colourful boats and buildings in London.
Once in awhile I include a picture of myself because I love when there is a personality behind the galleries I follow on Instagram.
For business, I focus more on the products and try to keep it cohesive and true to the brand aesthetic.
I love your out-and-about images of London which focus on both street scenes as well as interiors. In both environments you zero in on bright blocks of colour. As a collection, the images tell a very modern and upbeat story about a particular area of London. How would you describe your photography style?
I'm a big fan of vibrant pops of colour and light streaming through windows, so those are two common themes. I would love my photos to be joyful and uplifting, so if I could achieve that, I would be very happy.
I'm definitely still learning and growing on a daily basis and excited to keep trying new things.
My experience with Makelight has completely changed the way I think about my photography now.
What does Makelight mean to you?
Makelight has been completely transformative for me, which sounds a bit crazy, but it's true.
I first took Beautify Your Instagram in March to help improve Hello Little Pinecone's instagram gallery. The tips were so practical and I've now completely transformed the feed into one cohesive gallery.
I also fell in love with the amazing and supportive Makelight Community and decided to take Photography for Beginners following that. Despite having taken photography at University, I learned so much in that course and really put it into action.
I look with a much more critical eye at my photos now and am also much less shy about whipping out the camera to start snapping. On top of all of the practical things I've learned, I really enjoy the connections I've built with the Makelight Community. I'm looking forward to more events and classes to continue to build these relationships. Bring on the next photo walk and studio events!!
I'd love to meet more people in the Makelight Community, so please send me a direct message on my Instagram and maybe we can meet up and take pictures sometime!
Do you have any advice you would offer others in the Makelight community?
Keep sharing what you're creating. The community is interested and supportive and loves to see what everyone is up to!
Be sure to take a look at Hello Little Pinecone on their Etsy site.
Follow Leah's personal feed @sardinesplease along with @hellolittlepinecone using the links below!