Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Miller.
Michael, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a jovial, technical, creative with very wide areas of interests but my favorite creative outlet is natural light photography. I am also an architectural lighting designer and have been in the lighting business for almost 17 years. I started my career with Phillips Lighting and now work for Acuity Brands Lighting in Decatur, GA which is the largest lighting company in North America. I work with other lighting professionals to design state-of-the-art architectural lighting for clients all over the USA. I’ve studied lighting holistically from how it bounces around to how our eye perceives lights and colors in various situations. I work with some of the top researchers and designers in the global lighting industry and the knowledge I gain from this is focused through my love of photography. I love light and capturing the essence of light is exactly what photography is about. Before I started my photography business in 2014, I had already taken about 40,000 photos of people, pets and places that was interesting to me. Before long, I was the guy who was always taken photos for other people so I decided to turn it into the business I have today.
Has it been a smooth road?
I would say that some of my own personal obstacles has been convincing myself that my work was actually good enough to charge people money for it. I mean, when you look at the fantastic work that you see on Instagram of today’s hottest photographers or of some of the great photographers of the past like Ansel Adams, Robert Capa and others you cannot help but wonder if you’re shots are that good. They say that your worst photos are taken in your first 10,000 images and I firmly believe that. Some of my earlier work was really basic but I learned something with every shot I made. Now, when I’m in the scene working with a client, I know what to look for in lighting, the background and the type of emotional response I need to get the right shots. Do I always get it right? Nope! But I do always push that shutter button just to see the moment in time that I just captured.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’ve done portraits, sports shots, party shoots, family gatherings, landscape, street photography and even pet photography (mainly because I love animals) but what I’m known for is my knack for using natural light to capture impromptu portraits. There are a lot of great photographers in the Atlanta area and I’ve seen some awesome work in portraits which were captured in the studio but I feel my work is best done with natural light. I love using the outdoor environment as my canvas where natural light is available. Sometimes I combine that with a city scape for great shots. Kids? Love them! Little kids are the best because their emotions are so pure and fun to capture on camera.
I sometimes have clients ask me to take a photo of them similar to what they have seen on Pinterest which is totally cool but I do not like to replicate another people’s work. Sure, there are those cliché shots that are popular and I do those if clients request them but my clients seem happy with portraits made of themselves using natural expressions, natural light and minimal Photoshop. Those are my favorite pics and the ones which I believe represent my best work. Regarding photoshop, I love it but I use it more to create unique images than to modify how a person looks.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Atlanta ITP and OTP are fantastic locations for photography businesses like mine because there are so many people, schools, businesses etc that need professional photos that even the smallest business (like mine) can stay busy. Yes, Atlanta is a fantastic area for photographers!
- Basic sessions start at $250
- Custom sessions for large parties range from $350 to $500