Today, we have the incredible Michelle Morris on the blog! Take a moment to learn more about Michelle, and visit her website Michelle Morris Photography. Thank you so much Michelle for taking the time to share your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
Inside my heart. I was born a passionate, emotional and heartfelt person. From as far back as I can recollect, I have longed to preserve; moments, relationships, feelings, etc. Photography has been a very natural progression, sustaining my growing need to preserve. My sense of perfectionism thwarted my desire to learn and grow and become better at this (photographic) craft that allowed me to ‘pause’ moments in time. I wanted my frozen emotions to be as tangibly beautiful as they were inside my soul. Photography is a gift almost as close to my soul as my sweet baby blessings and my perfectly imperfect marriage. It is substantially meaningful to me and I whole heartedly believe I was born to do this. I always listen to my heart – and I say that with confidence. My inspiration for everything starts there.
How would you describe your photography style?
Fulfilling. Complete. Consistent. Explanatory. Fulfilling because it is the gift that makes my heart sing; it is (my most profound) expression of love in this life. Complete because I cannot think of a better descriptive word for the feeling that washes over me when I shoot, download, process and post a set of images. It feels solid to me. Consistent because I am who I am. I willingly yield to that. Explanatory because (as my goal) a story is told through my imagery. I sincerely believe in detail. Life is all about the big picture sprinkled with beautiful details. I rarely post an image alone. I always feel like it needs a partner in the story telling; the explanation of the moment that was captured.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am not formally educated in the area of photography. I have always followed my gut and of course read countless books, articles, etc. I always want to be better, show growth and daily challenge myself. Although I often wonder what I would have learned studying photography formally (instead of elementary education in college) I still thrive on the thrill and spontaneity of ‘teaching myself’ and being in the pool of ‘un-educated’ photographers.
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
Canon. The 85mm f/1.2L is on my camera body most of the time. I also love the 50, 35 and 16-35.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Just feel it. Stop thinking so much. Light lives inside of all of us. Look around and just trust yourself to go with your gut. I’m a bit of a pin ball on shoots – a little all over the place. I get to where we’re going and I just look around, take a deep breath and roll with it. In general the only rule-ish standard I tend to follow is shooting INTO the sun. I love how it spills over hair, shines in between legs and creates flare in the most magical ways. You can shoot anytime of day, it’s true. Let the sun work for you. Don’t be scared of it; it’s a gift. Bump up your shutter speed and go with it.
What is the most challenging thing you’ve found in your photography business?
If I am honest, the challenge is not giving everything away. I am in constant reminder mode that I am running a business. I have to be profitable and successful to justify the time and emotional involvement I have placed into this adventure. When I pass a completed image gallery to a client I am seriously invested. Emotionally and physically. I have spent hours looking at their family, their laughter, their love. And I fall in love with those emotions I was blessed enough to preserve. It is certainly a challenge for me to have a business model with high investments for my clients when it seems like we (the client and myself) have bonded so much; a demographic that feels like family. It is, however, important to remain profitable and professional – although it has presented challenges for me.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in your photography or in your business?
This year; it’s just pictures. Meaning when the stress is mounting, the kids are yearning for attention, the house is needy, friendships must be attended to, emails are sounding off, etc… I tell myself, “Michelle, it is just pictures…. do what is important in this life… not what is urgent.” Seems a bit contradictory to my emotional outpouring about the importance of pictures – however, above preservation is living in the moment and enjoying each day we have with those we love. My clients, my word and my professionalism are important to me, but my family will always reign supreme.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Trust yourself. Go with your gut. Allow yourself to be happy with your work – at every juncture. Cut the noise and listen to your heart.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
Without a close second, the ability to artistically and meaningfully capture my children in the daily.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Yielding the course lined out for my life and my family. Our life has been an adventure and an exercise in faith and I sincerely look forward to more life challenges of living, stepping and existing outside of the box. I hope to be on the continuous journey of growth as an artist and I pray I am always able to see my blessings – like I do now, in this amazing season of life.
Michelle is a full time professional child and family photographer. Her work has been published in print over 30 times and her imagery has appeared in more than 10 magazines, including editorial pieces as well as covers. Michelle has been married to her high school sweetheart for 11 years and they have three small boys.