Where is Michelle’s Studio?
Michelle is lucky enough to have the world as her studio. Years ago, Michelle had a portrait studio built onto the back of her house in Parkersburg, WV, and used it only twice in the years she lived there (because she likes to work with new lighting, “backdrops” and locations, daily). While she still calls Parkersburg, WV home, Michelle prefers the challenges and personal touches of location shoots-including in-home sessions, outdoor sessions, and live events, truly all over the world.
Does this Mean Michelle Likes to Travel?
Not only likes it, Michelle LOVES to travel! She has taken pictures in 6 countries and 25 US states, so far, and is always ready to meet you at your dream spot for a session, event or art commission.
So Michelle Can Come to My House for a Session? Wait, My House is a Mess!
Please set your worries aside. Not only does Michelle love photographing in her clients’ homes, you’d be surprised how little “empty space” is really needed to create great photos. Besides, we can guarantee Michelle’s house is way messier than yours-she thinks it adds character, and so does her family.
If you’re still opposed to a house call, no problem. There are plenty of great places all over the planet for your photos to happen. Contact Michelle to make plans.
What are the Best Locations and Lighting for Photos?
There are some amazing places to make portraits and photos, all over the world. Michelle is just as happy photographing in alleys as she is in Tuscan countrysides and dramatic, big city streets. What’s most important to her is the subject of the images. If there are people and/or animals, she wants them to be able to get lost in each other and have a great time. That’s the most important thing to her. As for lighting, she prefers that soft light of a cloudy day (direct sun can make harsh shadows on your faces), right after sunrise or right before sunset when shooting outside. If you’re inside, she loves the challenges of using the light that’s available to her already.
What to Wear?
Do you love to dress up (in fancy clothes, or even costumes)? Wear what makes you feel like your best self. Jeans and t-shirts more your thing? Great! Michelle wants you to feel like “you”. If you’d like a cohesive look for your group or family, feel free to check out this handy Pinterest board Michelle created for inspiration:
What if I Have Some Specific Ideas? What if I Have no Ideas?
No worries, either way. Michelle loves to collaborate at most any level. Share your goals with her in advance if you have ideas you’d like to recreate, to make sure you’re on the same page and are a good match. If you’re not the right fit, she knows lots of other great artists who may be perfect for you.
If you don’t have a “grand vision” for your photos, it’s okay! Michelle prefers natural photos which often happen in between casual chatting and moving around, without specific “photos” in mind. Her goal is to keep the mood comfortable, and get everyone more focused on great moments and conversation, rather than precise posing. To her, imperfect is the best way to be, and is full of real energy that represents your best “you”. You don’t need to be a supermodel to have your photos taken.
If you’d like to get an even better grasp on what types of images Michelle likes to make, check out her galleries in the Services link, above, or follow her Instagram feed, for latest work and glimpses into her everyday life. If you’re still unsure what to expect, please feel free to reach out and ask questions.
I See Michelle Makes Art and Designs Albums…
Most definitely. Michelle’s personal art comes mostly from nature and architecture. Her art commissions have come from a very wide variety of subjects, like sentimental locations, musical instruments, studies of bicycles, vintage snapshots, pets and portraits. Michelle likes to create art pieces through a process called “Image Transfer”, where images are transferred onto old or handmade paper, and wood or canvas panels, causing them to become distressed and have a more organic, painterly look to them than a traditional paper print. To see examples of her transfers, please see the “Art & Design” Gallery, also in the “Services” menu.
Michelle also LOVES to create album designs with photos. While most people are used to thinking of an album when it comes to weddings, any event or session can make a great album. Portrait/Lifestyle sessions are great for albums, as are events like reunions, birthday parties, and charity events. For touring musicians, Michelle also loves to create tour books, and is happy to go on the road for week-long tours, documenting your shows and making a book of some of your favorite highlights.
What Kind of Turnaround Can I Expect with My Photos?
For editing portraits, lifestyle sessions, brand photography and head shot/promo work, count on about 7-10 days before you’ll see your online proofing gallery (photos in an online gallery, so you can check them out and pick your favorites).
Weddings and events? Expect to see your online proofing gallery in about 2 weeks.
Live music (except festivals and large events) is usually ready for preview within 2-3 days, unless a rush is requested.
Art Commissions are quoted on an individual basis.
Album Designs are typically ready for preview (also shared in an online proofing gallery) around 2 weeks after your images have been selected (you can pick your own images, or Michelle is more than happy to select images for you, or help you decide between options, if you’re stuck). Once an album design is approved, expect 1-2 weeks for printing and shipping to your door.
Proofing galleries are online for 30 days.
What’s the Best Way to Reach Michelle?
The best ways to reach Michelle are right here on her contact page, through email, or via text. Her wild life and varied schedule often keep her away from her phone (and she’s really bad about ending a call, so you’d likely talk all day), but she’s very good at replying to your messages. Here’s her top secret number, if you’d like to text her about your photos: 304-481-0212.
How Far in Advance does Michelle Book?
The busiest wedding season is usually from May-October.
How far in advance should you plan on booking?
Weddings: 6-18 Months in Advance
Portraits: 1-3 Months in Advance Art Commissions: 1-2 Months in Advance
But reach out anyway. You never know when she might be available.
What if I need to Reschedule?
No problem. Michelle knows that sometimes things come up. Bad weather and illness are things we can never predict. First-time clients and weddings may be required to place a retainer fee to reserve a date, and can be applied to a reschedule, subject to availability. Multiple reschedules for minor reasons (outside of terrible weather and serious illness) may also result in additional fees.
Can you Give me a Ballpark Idea of What I’ll be Investing?
You bet. While each photo session and event is different, there are still some general pricing guides to get you started. If you have a specific budget to work with, Michelle is also happy to speak with you personally, to see if a custom option can be built, just for you. Above all, Michelle wants to work with big-hearted people who want fresh, energy-filled images of their lives. Where do your hopes and wishes line up with what she can create for you?
Weddings begin at $850 for simple services and up to 1 hour of portraits. As you build up from there, you can get more hours of photography, an engagement session, an album (or a few albums), image transfer art, and/or digital files with a print release. The “Complete” option right now, which includes up to 10 consecutive hours of wedding day photography, an engagement session, a 50 Page wedding album, and hundreds of images from your wedding (as well as your engagement session) with print release, for $2750. There are other preset options available, as well as custom ones.
Portraits begin at $150 for a simple head shot session with 2 edited files. For a typical session, expect to spend about 45-60 minutes having your photos taken. These sessions are $250 with 5 edited files, $400 with 10 edited files and $500 with all of the edited files (usually around 50-75 images). All edited files come with a print release, when requested.
Event coverage (documentary without portraits) ranges from $300-$400, depending on the length of the event. Event coverage includes all of the edited files (usually around 50-75 images)
Additional Products and Services like Image Transfer Art, Albums and Album Design, Branding and Product Photography for your Business, Touring Musician Tour Books, 35mm Film and Polaroid photography are available for the asking.