Hey there! I am an artistic, documentary wedding photographer with a style that’s a bit more on the non-traditional side. I like mood, and raw emotion with a balance of natural, timeless portraiture. I want the perfect balanced mix, something that truly will stand the test of time when the trends have come and gone.
I grew up learning in the dark room, so my images are always drawn to a more film-like look. I love the use of grain, color, movement, blur, light and—my favorite—darkness. I was always scolded for having too dark of imagery, but they are always my favorite. It’s where I feel the depth and richness of colors unfold. For that reason, sometimes while shooting I will intentionally underexpose an image because I know how I want the final image to look.
My gear are all tools that help me achieve the desired feel and often even texture to my images. I was a professional artist and painter before I got steady with my camera, so I think a painterly feel often seeps into my images. I’m always on the lookout to see something a different way and to make art in whatever environment I might find myself shooting in.
When I first started shooting, nearly 8 years ago, I was always trying to adapt the ‘less is more’ mindset in my gear. Like I should be able to shoot a wedding with only a few lenses. Which I totally could, but over the years I threw that out the window and realized my gear and lenses are simply tools in helping me achieve the artistic vision I see in my head. I can look at a space or a moment and see it through my eyes, and my gear helps me get it there. I know in each moment which lens I want to use. It’s simply an extension of my body, helping me make my art.
I grew up learning on Canon, so I stuck with them, they have never steered me wrong.
When I roll up to a wedding, here’s what I have in my bag.
(2) Canon 5D Mark III – Best camera of my career. A serious love affair with this baby. Steadfast and true, never failed me. Love how much detail it can still get in low light.
Canon 35mm f/1.4L – Favorite lens. Hands down changed the look and feel of my work. I love how fast and crisp it is. I love the depth it creates. It’s generally strapped on my camera body all day.
Canon 50mm f/1.2L – My second go-to lens for just all around being great in any moment.
Canon 85mm f/1.8L – I nicknamed this lens the ‘prettizer’ lens. Everyone becomes super sexy in front of it. I like to shoot it a lot a 1.8 or 2.2 to really push that crazy depth for a close-in portrait with some dimension. Along side some clean portraits, it really stands out.
Canon 45mm f/2.8 TS-E – I use sparingly these days. It’s one of my favorite lenses for the color it gives off—just a little more creamy—so I use it when I want it to seem a little more dreamy, or sometimes if I just want to blur some crap out that’s not my favorite, let’s be honest, it’s good for that too!
Canon 24mm f/1.4 L – This is my favorite lens for dancing and reception. You can get a lot of the atmosphere and people and reactions all in one shot and really tell the story in a single image. Also love it for epic wide landscape shots if we are in a wild location.
Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 – Didn’t use it for a year or so, but really came back to it when I’m wanting some clean and true perspective in an image. I like to use it for ceremony so I can really stay back and let things unfold around me without interrupting. It’s also just a beautiful portrait lens and I like pushing it at the 2.8 to create some interesting depth.
Canon 100mm f/2.8 – A must have more my detail shots. I am fascinated by intricate detail in the rings and flowers. This is the only lens that does them justice. It stays in my bag after details are done though.
(2) Canon 580EX Speedlite Flash – has me covered during reception
Holdfast Money Maker Strap – dual camera shooting – only way to tackle a wedding because in reality I want all options available on my camera at any given moment lol :)
Holdfast Bag – After what felt like years of searching finally found my perfect bag in the Holdfast Money Maker system. I love the style and size. Helps so I don’t weigh myself down and it also looks great in any attire. Favorite color green.
Think Tank Card Holder – had for like 8 years now. Keeps cards organized and strapped to my case so not afraid of loosing it.
SanDisk Extreme Compact Flash Cards – 32G and 16GB
MeFOTO Travel Tripod – Easy for travel – super light and sturdy at the same time. LOVE IT.
Pelican Waterproof Hard Gear Case – Easy to travel with and can bring as a carry on.
Inside Michelle’s camera bag:
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