Cloverdale photographer up for ‘Mompreneur’ award
By Kristine Salzmann
When Lisa Marie Johnson went to work on Sunday, her business manager had a surprise for her.
It was a card. And in that card, words of encouragement, support – and plane tickets.
See, Johnson is a photographer. She runs, or rather is, Lisa Marie Photography in Cloverdale. Earlier this year, clients, friends and family members’ votes for her company launched it into the Top 10 for the Canada-wide Mompreneur Award of Excellence, which recognizes and celebrates moms who own and operate their own businesses.
The winner is announced this weekend (March 2) in Toronto and the plane tickets, bought with money raised through a raffle organized by friends, will enable Johnson to be on hand for the event.
During the course of running her photography business, the mom of three has been amazed by the support from fellow mothers, families and clients in the community.
There was the time she was in a medically induced coma after contracting a rare type of pneumonia in November 2011. Six days later, she woke to hundreds of messages of support, homemade meals for her family, and clients willing to postpone their shoots until she recovered.
There was the time, six months ago, when she and her husband were told their four-year-old son has autism. Johnson decided to blog about how lost she felt upon receiving the diagnosis – “and people just came from everywhere.”
“The network I have with the local moms built my son the most incredible therapy team,” she says.
And now, there’s the award nomination and the plane tickets.
“I’m extremely humbled by this, no matter what happens next weekend, in my heart I feel like I have already won the best prize ever,” Johnson wrote in a blog post.
Yet, as in awe as she is of them, it is her family, friends and clients who are often amazed by her.
The mom of three made the career change from construction project manager to photographer after the birth of her second son four and a half years ago. She completed the digital photography program at Surrey College and began Lisa Marie Photography almost two years ago, although through word of mouth and social media she was working nearly full time before she graduated.
As a lifestyle photographer, she often sees clients multiple times over the course of major stages in their lives: engagements, weddings, pregnancies and other special occasions.
“I love it because I’m like a part of the family,” Johnson says.
And she takes documenting these occasions as a “massive responsibility.”
She recalled a boudoir shoot where she and a client were in tears upon viewing the resulting photos.
“It was so nice to show her what we see.”
“I take photography really personally,” she adds. “It’s a big responsibility. You can’t redo someone’s wedding. A newborn is only a newborn for 10 days and then they’ve changed.”
Johnson is also a volunteer photographer with The Tiny Light Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers professional photography to families faced with life altering diagnoses such as a terminal illness.
Another passion of hers is the Tiny Bundles program at the Surrey Food Bank, which provides pregnant women and families with babies the proper nutrition needed during pregnancy and nursing. Johnson donates profits from special family Christmas photo shoots and other fundraisers to the program.
Her business has now grown to include a part-time manager, associate shooter and her oldest son, who often works for her on weekends. Winning the business development prizes from The Mompreneur Award of Excellence would enable her to grow even more.
“It [photography] is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. “I love every part of it.”
To find out if Johnson won The Mompreneur Award of Excellence, visit mompreneuraward.ca after March 2.