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10 things I wish i knew when i started

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I remember the day I picked up the camera and literally was like "heck I wouldn't mind doing this more often". From that spur of a moment decision I started a business that has taught me so much. I have been blessed to know so many photographers that have educated me. Now it's my turn. Here you'll find:

Juggling homework, practice, and my business.

Confused and Frustrated

I have been in your shoes

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Behind Candid

a safe place. the raw moments. The story. To me, I've always loved those moments in images that make you smile at a screen. I've admired the conversations where we told EACH OTHER something we've been scared to say OUT LOUD. I wanted to create a safe place where the process is admired and SUCCess is celebrated.

Mah bag!

Holdfast strap
100mm f/ 2.8
35mm f/ 1.4
50mm f/ 1.2
24-70mm f/ 2.8
Canon 80D + 70D
Memory cards

What is in


5 things you should know 

What's in my bag

Senior photography 101

How to get more emotion with couples

No matter where you are in this business, I believe you can always keep learning. I have created these free resources for you to get started!

for photographers

Free resources

Candid education

10 things I wish I knew when I started

In this competitive business you will have moments when you literally put every ounce of energy into it only to get disappointed results. There will be days you want to give up. There will be sessions you question your talent because the photos didn't turn out as planned. The reality of it that there's a lot carried on a person's shoulders; from the to- do list with the business and to-do list for life. You will cry and IT'S OK!. Sometimes it's a happy cry like booking your dream client. We all have ups and downs, but remember why you are doing what you're doing.

You will cry 


Your worth, talent, and success is NOT defined by how many followers you have on Instagram.  The social media world is another thing completely separate from your abilities with a camera. I am going to tell you that more than HALF of my clients have come from referrals. Social media is a way to show off your work and tell your story, but your ability to make your clients happy will carry you much further than social media ever will.

Social media isn't everything


When I started my business I would get clients that wanted cheap photos. I never understood why no one seemed excited  to have me photograph them. As I started feeling confident in my work and understanding the importance of an ideal client I saw changes. Over time you will grow your name, create a tribe, and know the importance of your work. 

You will attract and repel


Starting a business in high school as a sophomore, all my clients were older than me. I had to constantly prove I was worth investing in and trusting with these moments. Because of my age I felt I had to be super cheap because I didn't have years of experience . There will  be doubts, but your true clients will not care about your age, the cost won't phase them, nor will you have to prove yourself.

You'll feel like you have to prove your worth


There's a mindset of consistency and keeping a steady look to your images. This is SO important, but there is no point in keeping up with a style if you aren't happy with it. There is NO one telling you that you're not allowed to pursue a certain style of image. If you want to do summer airy neutral tones and winter do some moody images.... Heck no one is stopping you!

Your style will change


Sometimes the things stopping you from making investments is the cost. Listen to me when I say once you invest in yourself and your business it is life changing ! You won't want to stop because you will see changes in your business for the better. Investing means it becomes real. You put your own money into it, but when you believe in yourself it becomes addicting!

It's never too early to invest


Well duh, you may think that's so obvious. or maybe you're like what?  If you want to start photographing kids instead of seniors, do it. If you want to buy a new camera because you want to, do it. If you feel like you want to change up your logo and website, do it. That's the beauty of being your own boss. You have full control of the decisions regarding your business!

You have full control


When people contact you and think of you for their images you dance around in your kitchen too... right? But sometimes those aren't your people. In the beginning you kind of take pictures of anyone to get your name out there and your business started. It's not a bad thing at all, but then you start to figure out your style and the kind of people you dream of photographing!  Those are your ideal clients, the people you are EXCITED to work with! The people that are excited to work with YOU!!

What an ideal client is 


Who you are when you first pick up the camera is not who you will be when you are 5 years into the business. I mean it in the best way too! When you start you might feel intimidated and shy. When you are experienced and have a few years under your belt, damn you will be a boss! Sessions with strangers will not scare you as much as they used to. 

You will grow with your business


You are a freaking boss! There are SO many people you will meet that will inspire you! You will be doing something you love and that is so inspiring. Being your own boss means you are in control of everything which allows so much room for you to create and grow! 

It's the best thing ever


because i believe in true community 

over 200 sessions

OVER 100 hours in education

I get it, this stuff is hard AND there is SO much stuff to know. But I've been at stage one before,  I literally had no idea what I was doing, I used 30 day  free trials to edit photos, barely knew how to use automatic settings, and was super awkward in person! I mean I still am a little awkward, please forgive me.

Since 2014, I've doubled my photography business revenue every year, went from 200 to 4,000+ followers in two years, and created real connections with clients.

I've poured my heart into this business


Don't just listen to me


"On June 12 -2018 I met Michaela at a cute coffee shop in Erie ! I drove about two hours to meet her for a photography mentor-ship , I did a lot of searching when picking someone , she just caught my eye with her photography. We chatted on Instagram before hand and gave me a questionnaire to fill out before meeting, once we met she was very professional! And very willing to teach me we talked and talked about everything ! It was more like making a friend then actually learning ! All the information she gave me was so helpful and I’m using it today ! After that we went to a cute park across the street and she took some headshots of me (which I love ! ) and she had a mini session lined up for us !!! She helped me learn a lot of diff ideas for when your doing a session . Needless to say she made this mentorship way more then I expected!!! I got so much out of this I couldn’t be HAPPIER "

"she has been the greatest teacher and mentor "

"I spent a Sunday afternoon tagging along with Mic while she did a senior session, and it was one of the most amazing experiences ever. We first sat down & I got to ask her so many questions, and she was happy to answer them all! She was so helpful in giving me advice & helping me look in the right direction now & for the future. She was so kind and let me get a feel for her cameras, while showing me some techniques on angles that help get the perfect picture. Another big help was Michaela gave me a TON of great advice on posing models, something I was so grateful for & can’t wait to try out on my own!! She also let me take over and pose and take pictures of the model with my camera, which was such a cool experience. I am SO happy I got to have this experience, especially with such a kind hearted and generous photographer like Michaela! She made me feel so comfortable and gave me the confidence to just jump in and take the pictures !! This mentor session was one to remember, and I look forward to more !!"

 "it was one of the most amazing experiences ever."

"Leader, passionate, smart, and most importantly Michaela is a goal-orientated photographer. On July 13, 2018, I met Michaela at a cute coffee shop, Pressed, in Erie, PA. Posing, pricing, lighting... we talked about everything even our upcoming new journeys to college. I got new headshots & had the opportunity to join in on a mini session she had lined up at Frontier Park. I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram but she stuck out from the other ones, Michaela’s pictures a bright, relaxed, and I could connect with them because her posts always were meaningful and relateable. This mentor session was A LOT more than I expected because she had everything typed up and had everything planned out to what would fit my upcoming business. Starting a business is definitely hard: however, with all the advice and information I received made it a whole lot easier. A whole notebook full of information and Michaela’s support, I feel so much more confident. She is one of my newest role models and best friends that is determined and sociable. I definitely cannot wait for more sessions with Michaela."  -Jaydyn 

"She is one of my newest role models and best friends "

"Michaela is so passionate about photography and loves to learn about you! She has helped me so much throughout my process of photography as well. She loves educating people about the ins and outs about a business. She also loves trying out new styles with everyone and will put a smile on anyone’s face. She’s the most amazing person, friend, photographer I’ve ever met! "

"She loves educating people about the ins and outs about a business."

Katelyn James all access course

Instagram course with jasmine star

workshops with my favorite photographers 

Educational investments

Some of my favorite