When I was in grade school, nothing came easy to me. In first grade, I had a very hard time learning to read. I remember my mom working with me every night with real concerns I might have some learning disabilities. Turns out, I didn't but what I did need to do was put in a lot of extra effort. It wasn't just reading that took me longer than normal to get the hang of. Math was another area I struggled in as well as test taking. However, although I was not a fast learner, I went through all of my schooling as an honor role student. For me, I needed to put in effort. Lots of effort....and once I did, it would click. Some people are just like this...and I am one of them.
Developing a "style" with my photography is another area that fell in this same category for me. With all the other photographers I follow on social media, it's been hard to focus in on a "style" that represents me. I've spent years testing the waters of overly saturated images, extremely desaturated images, high contrast images that pop, flat images that are soft, images that are dark and moody or images that are bubble-gum bright. I've dabbled with photographing animals, landscapes, people, weddings, candids, lifestyle, events, sports...you name it. I've not really had much of the luxury or understanding of focusing on one area and becoming great at it. Until, I put in the extra effort to figure it out. And I did.
While re-creating my site, I went through all my old hard drives, pulling images from old shoots that I liked. They were all over the map, literally. But, slowly, as I narrowed down a select handful, I began to see a pattern of what I was drawn to and instead of trying to mimic other photographers, as I always had before, I just went with what I liked. I like people. I like color. I like bright light. I like laughter. I like the sun and anything outdoors. And, I like animals. That pretty much sums me up and when I pulled back to see all the photos I have dug up from past shoots to put on my site- it was just that- my style. I guess it has been there all along, just clouded by my own thoughts and head getting in the way- thinking I should shoot like someone else.
Putting together my new site has been exciting mostly because I've put together a body of work that feels like "me". It's easy to lose track of who we are with so many talented people out there making great work that we want to be like but if I've learned anything it's stick to what works for you....and for me, that happens to be sunny, optimistic, light hearted photographs.
Welcome to Michelle McSwain Photography. It's been a long road to get here, but now that we're here, nothing is going to stop us. 💛