about michelle

I’m photo geek and not afraid to admit. Not the kind that knows every camera and lens… I don’t even know how many megapixels my digital cameras have (and I really don’t think it matters, contrary to what “uncle bob” tells me at the wedding when he says his camera is better then mine). I’m the kind of geek that believes a great photographer can make a great image with any camera whether its taken on an iPhone, Canon, Nikon, Film, Digital, Medium Format, 8×10 or a simple point and shoot disposable camera. I’m the kind of geek that has become so consumed with photography that it is just as much a part of me and my family as it is my business. I live and breathe it every day and I am the geek that will still be shooting and most likely printing in a darkroom when I’m old and gray. I’m obsessed with imagery and I’m such a geek when I am in my element and shooting that I often smile so much behind the camera that it makes my face hurt. I don’t like cheesy pictures but sometimes I tell people to do cheesy things because then they laugh or giggle and that’s when I will start shooting. The more comfortable my subjects are, the better the pictures will be. I try to make it a fun experience but I’m also in tune with my clients so I know when to step back and be a fly on the wall to allow for those intimate moments to unfold.

I work with both digital and film at weddings. I like them both for many reasons. I won’t say one is better then the other… they’re just different tools in my kit. Film is just fun for me and it has this dreamy quality that is just beyond compare. My digital cameras are reliable, great for low lighting and cost effective for coverage; however, the shots I get on my film cameras are always the true winners and the ones I can’t wait to share on instagram and with my clients. There’s a different process that goes through my mind when I pick up a film camera. I find myself slowing down and clicking the button with thoughtful intention.

I photographed my first wedding when I was 19 years old back in 2001 while just a young eager student at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. Back then digital was just becoming all the rage and people were beginning to throw away their film cameras (ah!). While studying at Brooks, I worked for two very different and successful photographers who had distinctly different approaches. One was more traditional and had been around long enough in the industry to understand some very key elements to what is important to capture on a wedding day and how to take great care of their clients needs (He was shooting all digital coverage). The other photographer, Jose Villa, was very artsy and had a determined vision that stood out from anything else out there at the time (He was shooting all film coverage). Early in my career I also ventured off to New York for a month to intern with one of my photo idols, celebrity and lifestyle photographer John Dolan. I first became obsessed with his work when I noticed every time I was drooling over Martha Stewart Weddings magazines that it always ended up being his work that would stop me in my tracks. It was a life changing experience witnessing him work in person and being given the opportunity to work with his team in the studio. After I graduated from Brooks I was overwhelmed with amazing technical knowledge which drives my passion for quality to this day but what helped shape my style as a photographer was the experience I gained from working with these talented professionals and others throughout my career. I took a little bit of something from every experience and was able to find a clear vision of what it was that I wanted to provide to my clients. I now strive for a balance between beautiful timeless photography that captures emotion and all the while maintaining a high level of customer service to my clients so that they walk away from whatever the session may be with a feeling that it was not only a painless experience but a fun and memorable one. I believe as a photographer and an artist that I will always be seeking to improve and be better then I was yesterday. There is no “good enough” in my vocabulary.

246Q7492-2On a more personal note, I am a mom of two incredible little melt-your-heart boys and married to the most determined and ambitious man, Ben. Becoming a wife and a mother has changed who I am as a photographer and what I value most. I know now more then ever the importance of these fleeting moments and how much I treasure all of our precious memories caught on camera. Having been through my own wedding and realizing what was most important to me on our special day has brought an even more emotional connection to my work and my clients. I truly understand how fast it all blows by and I know what it feels like to look back at the pictures down the road, reliving on moment at a time.

Ben works with me at weddings and I call him my second shooter but more importantly he’s my partner in crime. He’s the best assistant a gal could ask for because he often knows what I will need before I even ask for it. We work seamlessly together which is a very beneficial addition to the service we provide at weddings. Ben has worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years; from quaint fine dining restaurants to big corporate 5 star places… from server, bartender, wedding banquet captain, general manager, to restauranteur… you name it, he can do it. He knows how to take care of people, work quickly on his feet and make on the spot decisions in a high paced and sometimes stressful environment. With him by my side I can focus on my job to get the best shots while he services and often entertains the subjects with his jokester attitude. We make a great team and it’s no secret that we have a lot of passion for what we do.

If you’ve made it this far in my extremely lengthy bio here then we might just be great a fit so please search on through the site and contact me anytime if you have questions about me and my work!