Why I'm behind the lens...
There was never a single "moment" when I first started photography. Since I was young, I've always experienced the world through a photographer's eye, whether it was setting up my Webkinz to model for me (lol) or having fashion shoots with my friends at sleepovers.
After years of photographing my friends and anything else I could find with my little point-and-shoot camera, I started learning how to use a DSLR and playing with camera settings. I experimented with landscape, still-life, and nature photography, then finally came back to my love of portrait photography when I started my business in college!
Starting my business was the single BEST decision I've ever made—it's helped me build such a beautiful community (with both clients and other photographers) and explore all of the depths of my creativity. As an introvert, this work has truly healed my relationship with myself. 🤍
...and also in front of it. 📸
So about me being an introvert... I naturally feel a lot more comfortable *behind* the camera. After years of taking photos of my friends and viewing them as the main characters in my life, I never felt like my own appearance was good enough to be featured in my portfolio.
As I built my business throughout college, I avoided sharing photos of myself on my page and closed myself off from sharing who I am with my clients. But if I’ve never stood where they stand, how can I expect them to be vulnerable with me too? *cue Brené Brown's TEDTalk*
It wasn't until 2021 that I made the leap (even though I was scared of being ~perceived~) to take self portraits and model for other photographers to truly understand my clients' experience. I've been absolutely shocked at how much it's helped me grow not just as a photographer, but also as a person. I stopped caring as much about what others thought of me and leaned into what makes me unique, which has helped me create a space for my clients where they can feel comfortable doing the same! ✨
So... how did I get here?
Started high school and picked up a DSLR for the first time! Spent a lot of time running through the woods with my friends and taking dramatic editorial photos with fun props and thrifted clothes.
Took my first photography class where I learned to shoot and develop my own film! Throughout high school, I experimented with Photoshop and conceptual art which eventually led to my AP Design portfolio.
My first year of college and in business! Started the year by photographing campus events and ended it by shooting my first wedding. I also did some creative, styled shoots with college friends!
Graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Communications & Creative Writing! Bought a new camera and experimented with a more "cinematic" editing style (which I still use).
Moved to my Detroit apartment! Started my full-time job in medical education, started sharing self portraits on social media, and went to Utah to shoot with my favorite photographer!
10 Things I Love:
Thrills. I'm a thrill-seeker and grew up riding all the biggest roller coasters at Cedar Point. On my 18th birthday, I even skipped school to go skydiving!
Personality tests. Specifically, the Myers-Briggs personality test (I'm an INFJ) and the Enneagram test (I'm a Type 4w3).
Spotify. I listen to a *lot* of music—according to Spotify Wrapped, I listened to 65,164 minutes of music in 2021. 🙃 I also love making playlists! Here's my go-to photoshoot playlist.
Polaroids. I got a cute little Polaroid Now camera in 2021 and love it! I'm looking to bring it with me to more shoots in 2022.
Stuffed animals. I'm growing a slow but powerful collection of Squishmallows. One day they might overthrow me, and I'll accept my fate when it comes.
Animal Crossing. My quarantine hobby (more like full-time job) was playing Animal Crossing New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch. Please don't ask how many hours I logged into that game because it's absolutely heinous.
The moon. This one is bordering on an obsession... if you ever visit my apartment, you'll see why (they're literally everywhere). 🌙
Sparkles. My favorite emoji is the sparkles ✨✨ which is why they're included in my brand logo!
Writing. Writing is another one of those "lifelong passions" I have, just like photography. I grew up writing funny short stories, then became interested in poetry and performed in poetry slams during high school. In college, I studied creative writing and transitioned to journalism and memoir writing!
Playing music. I play the guitar, piano, ukulele, and sing!
Cover photo & Polaroid (blue): Marina Williams (Utah)
Gallery (left to right): Marina Williams (Utah), Frances Gu (Michigan), Ty K. Harmon (New York) (2), Quinn Kirby (Pennsylvania) (2), Brandon Mathews (Michigan),
Connor Gates (Indiana), Self portrait (3)
Headshot: Sammy T Photography (Michigan)
PHOTOS OF ME
I took some of the images on this site at Colorpop, a content creation weekend hosted by Marina Williams and Ashley Isenhour in Utah! I was selected among 20 other photographers invited to the second Colorpop event in September 2021.
You can find all of my photos here with model/styling credits in each shoot's description.