Meet Talented 14 Year Old Photographer and #GIRLBOSS Rose McMahon

At 34 I would like to believe that I am smarter and more mature than your average 14-year-old. But Rose McMahon is not your average 14-year-old, and I am not ashamed to admit that not only is she smarter and more mature than me, but I am hugely inspired by her (both the inner 14 and 34-year-old versions of myself!). This talented young lady is one to watch in the photography and film industry, so today I made it my mission to find out what makes this young and inspiring girl boss tick. Enjoy!

LMR_1Tell us what a typical day in the life of Miss Rose looks like…

Note: Rose is radical home-schooled, in case you are wondering why she isn’t at school in the answer below!

I always start my day with two rituals, first I make my bed, because it makes me happy to make something look nice. Then I brew a cup of tea for mum, because she loves it and it’s nice to help others. All of us girls (mum, Holly my big sister and me) go to the gym a few mornings week. In the afternoons I do things relating to my business; reply to emails, post on social media, edit images, write blog posts, update my accounts and make phone calls.

On days when I’m not involved in a shoot I always make time to create. Like going outside and taking some photos, drawing, writing or doing some craft. I also fit in some book work or reading when I can.

LMR_3You are SO young, but so incredibly talented! When did you realise you wanted to make photography more than a hobby?

I have always used art to express myself for as long as I can remember. Photography was initially another way of expressing myself at first. When I was 12 years old I got the chance to photograph a Christmas party for Zespri. I did this gig for free and had so much fun capturing the event.

But the part that made me really love it was when I saw the faces of the people at Zespri when they looked at the photos. My work could make people so happy and excited inspired me to take more photos and capture more moments for people to enjoy.

LMR_3.bHow do you overcome nerves when meeting and photographing clients?

I do a lot of ground work and planning about what I’m going to shoot, places we are going to use as locations and the types of shots that need to be captured. I have some basic forms and checklists I use to make sure I remember everything. Just before I meet people I focus on how I can deliver something different and new for them.

LMR_2What or who inspires you and your photography?

I am lucky to know so many amazing, inspiring people. I’ve made good connections with some really entrepreneurial and creative people. Strong, female business owner role models are all around me, there’s way to many to list them all but the likes of Danielle from Spongedrop, Rachelle from Little Big Events, Rachel Hale, Rachel Dobbs, Jax from Paper & Lace (awww thanks Rose!) Anne Pankhurst from The Chamber of Commerce, Philippa & Melissa from NZ Weddings Magazine, and of course my mum (the boss at Old Forest School).

There’s some good guys too like Jake Thomas, Mike HillChris Parker, Jared from Swift & Click, Will Johnstone who have helped me to learn new things. At a recent event I had the chance to meet Jane Hastings, the CEO of NZME, what an amazing lady, she talked about the importance of not being afraid to ask for what you want.

LMR.Gem&stephen_150What has been your favourite moment so far in your life, or as a photographer?

My most surreal moment so far has being on the other side of the camera having my photo taking walking on the red carpet at a world premiere of a movie I was involved in. Watching the credits roll at the end of the movie with my name on the screen “Rose McMahon – Official Stills Photographer”.

LMR_12 copyYou travelled through Europe earlier in the year, what was your favourite place to visit and why?

We visited some of the world’s greatest art galleries, like the Louvre and The Musee D’Orcy in Paris, The National Gallery in London and the Vatican Museum in Rome. Standing in front of a piece of artwork that the artist had looked at many times, it was like I was seeing what they saw. I could imagine the rest of the field stretching out for miles around and I could see the person sitting there with paint brush in hand creating a masterpiece. I love photography because I can capture the world the way I see it and to let people see the magic in my head. That is how I felt looking at Monet, Da Vinci, Raphael and Van Gogh’s art, like I could see the magic that they could see.

LMR_3.aWhat are you listening to / reading / obsessed with right now?

At the moment I am LOVING the Planted with Light podcasts by Kate Robinson, there’s a new one every week, with new and exciting business owners from all over NZ.

Also obsessed with my book Girl of Nightmares by Kendra Blake. I am looking at options for getting some new camera gear which is always very exciting. As well I am starting to think about my next big overseas trip. I am exploring options to shoot a few weddings in the UK and Europe next summer.

girlboss tip

What advice would you offer a teenager wanting to start their own business?

Just get started. Put yourself out there and start making connections. No matter how scary it is start showing people what you do and build up a following. Reach out and connect with people who are successful in the field you want to get involved in.

Offer to help people, don’t ask for pay, just helping for experience and to get advice from great people. When I first started I carried people’s camera bags, held up the reflectors/diffusers, anything just to see how pros do it and took the opportunity to learn from everyone – be a sponge.


You can connect and keep up to date with Rose’s gorgeous work through her website www.rosemcmahon.com and on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest


1 Comment

  1. Leah

    November 7, 2015

    What an amazing girlboss! Rose is so inspiring, thank you so much for sharing her story. Her mum is clearly an awesome lady because she runs Old Forest School, but it’s so cool that she has encouraged Rose to pursue her creativity and her dreams! Good on both of them 🙂

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