Blog Post #1

I’m Michael and welcome to the Blog. Here I’ll share information about myself, the business, how to take better pictures, information about shoots and more.

I’ve been shooting for several years starting with images that would be used on websites. I purchased my first pro camera body for this purpose and quickly learned that having a camera doesn’t make one a photographer. Self-taught by watching hundreds of hours of videos, reading thousands of articles, too many books to count, and practice, practice, and more practice.

Today I have a studio, a client base, two websites (get to that later), do workshops, and am wondering if I’ll have time to write this blog. All things considered, much better than the alternative of having plenty of time.

After purchasing my first camera and getting to a point that I could obtain decent images, I began purchasing more equipment. So much more that I knew it was time to get a studio, outside of the house. In 2014, the studio was opened at 6814 Texas Road in Fort Smith.

In the early years, I learned that photography wasn’t going to be cheap, as are most of my adult hobbies such as SCUBA diving. Like SCUBA diving, photography is equipment intensive. Cameras, lenses, lights, light stands, backdrops, tripods, and on and on. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make money from photography to pay for the equipment?

Initially my first thought was to shoot people. Portraits, senior pictures, head shots, events and the like. But found that I didn’t have a passion for shooting people. There are great photographers that shoot great pictures of people and my hat’s off to them, just not my cup-of-tea.

Friends brought up the idea of shooting weddings, but I always knew I’d never shoot weddings. You can’t have something go wrong and tell the bride and groom sorry. Talk about bridezilla… I wanted no part of that. Again, to the wedding photographers, my hat’s off to you.

I found my first passion as a photographer shooting wildlife. It still is today as I’ve won awards and freelance occasionally for different wildlife magazines in our part of the world.  Even though a passion, one learns that passions don’t always pay the bills.

Now this brings us back to what I said earlier about the two websites. The second website is for wildlife photography and can be found at arklahomawildlife.com. Through arklahomawildlife.com I write articles, post images, and offer wildlife photography workshops for those new to wildlife photography that want to get out and capture good wildlife images.

As the years went by I found myself being drawn to the commercial side of photography. Real estate, product, advertising, property, and even some stock photography. I found this sort of photography was fun for me as every shoot presented its own set of challenges.

I’ve been lucky enough to build a local and national client base that have used my images locally, nationally, and even worldwide. My images have been used for the internet, print, advertising, featured articles and more. Believe me when I say I am very thankful for that.

I’d be amiss if I didn’t thank the person that allowed me to get started on the commercial side of photography, Brenda Stovall. For many years, Mrs. Stovall was a very successful real estate agent in Fort Smith, until her death last year. She allowed me to shoot her listings and that’s how I broke in to the commercial side of the business.

I was shooting for Mrs. Stovall to the end, delivering images of my final shoot for her just days before her passing. Even at the end she was the ultimate real estate professional, often calling from her hospital room to discuss a shoot. She is missed….

Thanks, and talk soon.

Michael