Featuring Michelle Walker
Michelle Walker just celebrated her 20th year as a Professional Wedding Photographer. The Bay Area-based photojournalist has been around long enough to see the transition from traditional posed wedding shots to the fast-paced, storytelling, shooting style she’s known for. She credits her career longevity to striking a balance between traditional and cutting edge.
“I have to shoot formal portraits or the parents will kill me, but I try to limit posed photos to 30 minutes.”
Like many wedding photographers, Michelle isn’t thrilled about shooting the type of formal family shots that usually involve fake cheesy smiles. “I’ve developed a way of photographing portraits that makes people interact and laugh authentically and those are always the photographs that my couples will put in their albums.”
Photo Prints Preserve Moments in Time
Michelle says the parents will still usually order the traditional photos, but the couples tend to appreciate and connect with the more casual ones. “It makes me really happy to see those authentic moments because it’s a perfect combination between formal and informal.”
Being able to capture candid moments between couples and their parents is especially important to Michelle, who lost her mother when she was just a child. “The few photos that I have of my parents at their wedding are treasures for me.” The negatives are long gone so the prints she has displayed in her home are the only ones that exist. “I look at them every day and it’s a reminder of how happy they were at that time, when they thought they had their whole future ahead of them.”
Michelle shares that story with her clients in hopes that they will understand the importance of images that don’t exist only digitally. “When I look at those prints it reminds me how fleeting and how precious life and love really is.”
Facing Photo Print-Resistant Couples
But even after sharing that touching and personal story, couples are still resistant to displaying photography in their homes the same way their parents and grandparents did. “I do an album for 90% of my couples, but the individual prints are still a harder sell.” That’s why Michelle developed what she calls her signature print. “It’s a big epic image from the wedding where the couple may just be a tiny part of it, making it more fine art than a wedding photo.”
Michelle is so passionate about passing on the importance of prints that she even does mock-ups for resistant couples where she shows them a photograph of a living room with the signature image displayed.
The Everyday Impact of Photo Prints
Experiencing such a devastating loss as a child certainly made Michelle cherish the images she has left of her mother, but the photographer values more recent prints just as much. “I’ve been married for a million years and I still love seeing the prints of my wedding everyday.”
Michelle and her husband renewed their vows recently after 15 years of marriage and she loves being able to see how much they’ve changed and grown since those photos were taken. And they’re there for her in stressful times too. “If I’m having a rough day or my husband and I are arguing about God knows what, I can look at us being happy and in love. I’m just like, aw, you know, I love this guy. He’s adorable.” Michelle says it makes her relationship better to see herself so in love on the wall and at the end of the day she just wants the same thing for her couples. Besides, a signature print is a lot cheaper than weekly therapy.
To find out more about Michelle Walker, check out her website or give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram. Next time you’re on the fence about whether or not you want photo prints from your wedding, think back to everything they provide for Michelle Walker. They’re so much more than printed photos.
Written by Sabrina Sabbagh