Life Through a Lens with Mai

Life Through a Lens with Mai

Mai Williams | @maifotography

Each month we put the spotlight on moms / artists / content creators / fun lovers... that inspire us, challenge us, motivate us. Our muses!

Our muses have graciously given up their time to share insight into their lives. We hope you enjoy reading about them, and what makes them tick, as much as we have enjoyed working with them.

We asked Mai to tell us a little about herself...

Mai - "Hi there! I’m Mai (pronounced my), a Japanese mom of three living in the US. I think my background is little bit unique."

Mai talks about her journey from Japan to the US

Mai - "I was born and raised in Japan. I moved to the US after I graduated from my college in Osaka. I taught Japanese at a local high school in West Virginia while I studied at grad school. Then I moved to Virgina where I met my husband. I was still teaching but started a photography business as well. In 2016, we moved to Hong Kong and had three kids there. We loved so much living in HK; unfortunately, we had to move back to the states in June, 2022. My youngest was only three months old at that time."

...and now!

Mai - "Currently I’m enjoying life as a full-time-staying-at-home mom :) 'Childhood is a short season.' -Halen Hayes"

Mai talks about how to got into photography

Mai - "I had a passion for photography since I was a middle school student. I was into galaxy photography and subscribed to a magazine focused on star and galaxy photography.

Fast forward to 2013, I got a professional camera and started practising photographing my friends. That sparked in me and studied portrait photography on YouTube.

That was the beginning of my new career. When I left a teaching job in 2015, I worked so hard to find my own style.

At that time, my style was more with contrast and rich color than my current style. I was photographing weddings, couples, and high school seniors in Virginia."

We explored how Mai developed her style

Mai - "When I moved to Hong Kong, I had a chance to think what I really wanted to capture. I looked thru my old photo albums in Japan, and I realized my parents weren’t in many photos. Either of them was always behind the camera. It gave me a hint and decided to focus on motherhood photography as my new passion. I like new challenges and it was so fun to learn how to photograph newborns with their families. Capturing emotions surrounding the baby gave me such joy and always made me emotional while I edited images."

How do you juggle motherhood and photography?

Mai - "In Hong Kong, juggling motherhood and my business was easier even though my husband’s work schedule is random every week and every month. I had help with housework and outsourced some of my business work.

Most of my clients in HK came to me for my style, light and airy, and my personality (word of mouth). I enjoyed working with people who invested in me and my style because what we both wanted was to capture real emotions amongst chaos and irreplaceable moments.


Now we're in a new city where I don’t have family and friends, my main focus is my family. I may not be photographing other families, but I love practising my photography skills by chasing after my little ones!"


What has been your biggest hurdle since moving back to the US

Mai - "When everyone is asleep, I’m too exhausted to do anything. So if I can have even 10 mins of me-time during the day, it would be great. With our youngest who only naps for about 30 mins in the baby carrier, I don’t feel free to do anything during her naps. Hopefully it will change someday! But otherwise, I think I adjusted to life in the US pretty well."

"I studied SEL, social-emotional learning, right after I moved to the States. With three kids, it has been tremendous in helping me cope with my feelings and the kids’ big emotions. Parenting is tough at times. Having a coach that I could talk to was a game changer. I highly recommend every parent to have a life coach.

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Do you have a story you'd like to share with us or would you like to nominate someone inspiring to you, leave the IG handle below in the comments box and we'll get in touch!

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