P H O T O G R A P H E R R E V I E W S
"I sought to be taught by Michelle because I was falling into a rut of an awful routine. I wanted to rekindle my creativity, and no one better than Michelle to shadow and see how exactly she creates those soulful images you see from her. Michelle's workshop was like learning from a super rockstar BFF. She is attentive to your needs and makes sure that you are being provided all that she can give until the very last drop! She'll laugh with you a lot, be silly and just be her genuinely awesome self. All the perfect recipe I think for a super relaxed and easy going mentoring session. I started my intensive early on the day that I arrived with introductions, food and wine.. yum! After that we dove right in and completed 3 shoots over the course of two days, all unique and different genres. We spent late nights (and days) editing, talking business, website review, pricing and going through the images we shot together. I even feel like I got my money's worth way before I got on the plane, and I know that sounds crazy...but you're just going to have to mentor with her to see exactly what I mean. I would do it all again 10x's."
"Going in to a workshop or any educational adventure, you never know what you are going to get. With Michelle, I came away not only with great knowledge but a great friend on many levels Her honesty and motivation were exactly what I needed to hear. Not to mention that she made sure we went over everything that I wanted to cover (because every photographer and business persons needs are different). I absolutely cherished my time with her. I would recommend her mentoring workshop to anyone, especially those who are in their first years of their photography business."
"I was a bit skeptical that school photography would be for me as a fine art and creative photographer. I was in a spot that many artists can relate to with my business; do I just go get a "real job" for consistent income? I was recommended to The unPacked Catalogue by a friend and have been truly amazed. I never thought I could tap into a market that seemed to lack originality in a way that I was helping change industry standards by just offering authentic portraits to preschools etc. The support I've received from Michelle is unwavering and authentic. She was the breath of fresh air I so desperately needed. I would recommend this course packed full of support and information to any photographer looking to find a stable income without losing their sense of self in the creative process."
"I came across The unPacked Catalogue while reading a magazine. I kept the magazine by my bedside and re-read it for a few nights and looked at it so many times. Michelle had spoken to me and opened a door to a possible avenue in my business that would change my life. When I bought unPacked I highlighted things, re-read, looked online, and savored every piece. But I was just planning. When Michelle invited me into The unPacked FB Group, that's when and where my courage was built. So many things have been discussed in this group that allowed me to take unPacked and really "un-pack" it as corny as it sounds. I was able to take by business down a new avenue and to a much wider audience. I was not only surprised that Michele was so willing to share every little detail, but surprised by how much she continues to give in our FB group. The people in this group are so helpful, empowering and willing to share. I couldn't have done this so easily without unPacked but I would say that the FB group is really what is the icing on the cake. I feel as though I received more than what I originally paid for with the original purchase and am grateful."
"When I hear photographers talking trying out school portraiture, without hesitation I recommend that they invest in The unPacked Catalog. Michelle not only shares allll of the nitty gritty of her tried and true system from approaching schools through delivery, but she also frequently adds to the content as she discovers new and better ways to do things. It's amazing how much goes into this process, and Michelle has thought of it all and freely shares her knowledge and experience. I honestly say that I have used this amazing resource more than any other workshop/workbook/program I've ever invested in in my 11 years of business - it well worth the investment and beyond!!!
"If I had to choose one way to describe Michelle's teaching style, Id say "She holds nothing back." Before booking the intensive, I had only bought one of Michelle's E-Books, A Camera's a Camera. Her generosity with her knowledge in her ebook is the reason it was so easy to click the button for the 1:1 intensive. It proved her teaching style to be nothing less than EVERYTHING that she could possible share to help us. After purchasing the intensive, I was overwhelmed with what we had access to instantly. I was a giddy kid in a candy shop! I was added to her active FB group of previous 1:1 Intensive participants turned friends. And yes, she is active in there all the time! Once we finally got to Savannah and the intensive began, Michelle was persistent about checking to see if she was meeting our expectations of education throughout our time with her. One of the many valuable take-aways was an in-camera technique that she uses that has significantly improved the overall quality of my sessions. The restaurant choices were outstanding!!! It was relieving to find out that she is a healthy mix of professional and human - fun, personable and generous! She worked hard to meet our expectations. The entire 2 day educational adventure was a blessing!"
"I love working with children in my photography business and started researching ways to incorporate working with children in my business. In 2013 I found Michelle's unPacked e-book. It was a game changer in my business. I read word for word and followed Michelle's advice from start to finish, from my portfolio building to contacting schools as well as the business side of it all. I spent 9 months preparing myself to be ready to photograph school children. I landed my first school within 1 year of ordering The unPacked Catalogue. The learning doesn't stop at the e book either. Michelle's unPacked FB Group is very active and Michelle is also very active in her group. It's real time learning. I am now working with 2 schools and one of them has a little over 300 children. Like I said, this is the backbone of my business. I am a family photographer so the school division of my business really opens the doors for families to know me. Working as a Fine Art School Photographer is hard work and dedication, but with Michelle's help through her e-book and FB page, I've made it a huge part of my income for my business."
"There are SO many guides on the market for so many different areas. The unPacked Catalogue is not like them at all. It is PACKED with information. I'm used to purchasing guides and there being lots of 'fluff' (large photos, large fonts) so once I opened unPacked I was shocked. Simple as that. It is COMPLETELY PACKED with information and the way it was written made it easy to follow. I printed every page, purchased highlighters and sticky notes, and got to work (my poor printer!). Michelle did a fabulous job!"
"Michelle's unPacked is a game changer! It literally leads you, step by step, through her process of fine art school portrait making. Everything from how to get your first school, correspondence with them, to her shooting set up and organization during shoot weeks, to file organization afterwards and how parents will place their orders. It basically includes everything you will ever need to know, plus the kitchen sink! What I LOVE about Michelle is she's honest and giving with her information. She's not just selling something and marketing AT photographers. She truly wants to help you succeed and wants to bring better photography to schools. Her unPacked FB Group is invaluable and I'm always learning new/better ways to streamline things for my schools. Michelle continues to help even after your purchase, so it really doesn't end with you ordering unPacked. You truly do have her and a group of other seasoned photographers who can help as you go! My business has seen an increase in parents interested in other sessions I offer, due to my school portrait work - unPacked has been a "gift" to me!"
"Michelle' was a fantastic host. She was super easy to talk to and be transparent.She answered every question I had and helped critique my images in a positive but truthful manner. I felt at ease the moment I met her and loved our "class" time as well as our real shooting sessions. I learned so much and it totally transformed my workflow. She also gave me the courage to go after my target market. I feel this was a great investment for me personally and for my business. We laughed a lot and I just had a great time learning from her. She is a natural teacher and everything is hands on. She is super approachable and I never felt intimidated or strange asking even the silliest question. I felt sad to leave Savannah as if I was leaving an old friend. It hope that I get to work with Michelle again in the future!"
"I would highly recommend The Open Book to anyone getting started in a photography business. Michelle has really created a comprehensive guide to setting up a healthy, profitable and satisfying business along with generous guidance for creating images that will make clients dance happy dances. As an experienced photographer with a profitable business already, there was a lot in The Open Book that I already knew or did. So, would I recommend it to experienced photographers? Yes. Here's why: It can be hard to find photographer friends with whom you can openly and honestly compare notes and learn their "secrets to success" (we're sometimes a competitive bunch, right?) -- but Michelle, in The Open Book, is exactly that. She shares her hard-won expertise freely and I picked up lots of little nuggets that have polished my business and my life easier and my clients happier. It's ALWAYS good to refresh your creative spirit with lessons on composition and lighting and see wonderful examples of that, and TOB is full of examples. The extras that come with TOB are priceless, and the private Facebook group is warm, helpful, funny, and generous. Buy The Open Book, dig in, and enjoy the rewards."
"I recently attended a 2 day intensive workshop with Michelle. It was simply a fabulous experience. I learned a great deal about technique, editing, marketing, and the business side through Michelle's creative, and insightful guidance. And, even more, I gained a friend and truly enjoyed the hours spent talking through our passion for capturing memories and how to make that experience even better. Michelle rocks."
"I couldn't be more happy about what I learned and my time spent with Michelle. Meeting her in person confirmed what I already thought about her based on her blog posts and Facebook posts. She is a fun, genuine, smart person who loves what she does and cares about helping others find their passion and excel in their own photography. My time spent with Michelle far exceeded my expectations. She was an open book and was willing to help with anything and everything I wanted to learn. I would highly recommend this mentorship to anyone who may be considering it! Thank you Michelle!
"The unPacked Catalogue is 100% the reason for my success. By following the business model and suggestions inside unPacked, I instantly picked up two preschools and a new private high school and had sales just over $4K."
"Amazingly generous information and experience are shared in The unPacked Catalogue. So helpful to be able to use Michelle's wording for various scenarios (contact with school, parents, etc). I can't say enough good things about this product. It gave me the confidence to go after a school job, successfully deliver, and make parents very happy. School portrait success is entirely attributed to The unPacked Catalogue. LOVE that Michelle is providing the updated version to previous investors. That is just so generous. And I'm loving the unPacked Community Facebook Group."
"I love everything about The unPacked Catalogue. I love that it is like Michelle holding my hand through every single detail. So far, everyone has been shocked at how organized I am and prepared (It's all because of unPacked!)... Loved the verbatim emails you give us to use in our correspondence, loved the detailed list of what's really necessary and what is optional, loved your suggestions for things that make the child smile or have authentic expressions, Loved it all! Thank you so much, Michelle! You are obviously a giver... so generous to share such terrific knowledge. On a personal note, I so appreciate your transparency in regards to being a Christian. You have encouraged me and given me a confidence in my possibilities as far as photography goes, too!"
"Michelle's 1:1 Workshop was wonderful. It was just they type of experience I was looking for. Most workshops, while informative and rejuvenating, have always left me wanting more. There wouldn't be enough time or there were too many other participants to get the kind of attention I was looking for. Michelle gave me her undivided attention and focused on the things that really concerned my photography and my business. Her openness and willingness to share her knowledge was refreshing. I left Savannah feeling confident and excited to implement my new knowledge."
"I had very high hopes when I registered for a 1:1 workshop with Michelle. I am picky about where I invest my professional development dollars and I don't spend $$ without being really sure there is something wonderful for me to learn from a person or class. The first thing I have to say about Michelle's workshop is that she exceeded every single expectation I had. Michelle began our time together by making notes on all the topics I wanted to cover during our two days. Throughout the next 48 or so hours, she referred to those notes repeatedly, to determine our next topic, and to review and make sure I'd gotten what I hoped for in each category. We discussed workflow and some technical points in Lightroom and Photoshop that I wanted to learn; we discussed the ins and outs of having a studio assistant; we talked about what steps I could take to build a mentoring side to my business; she made sure that I left with a full on studio source book and the PSD files to keep it up to date; she talked portfolio and the psychology of a blog post; she shared editing techniques and offered feedback on mine; and the shoots: where do I even start to describe how amazing it is to shoot with Michelle?She went above and beyond to arrange my dream shoot. Dream Shoot, plus two other inspiring shoots that stretched and delighted me. When Michelle shoots with you, she's as hands off or on as you want, minute-by-minute. We talked about finding magical light in various settings, compared camera settings and shot until I got what I wanted. She helped me hone my vision in the moment and capture it. I got to observe (and mimic) her methods of getting kids to cooperate without squelching their free spirit, so you can really see them, and bring that into your photographs. Both my artist and my business woman were fed by my time with Michelle. I came hoping to hone some aspects of my business, and also looking for the inspiration and skill to really make my own work stand out and sing. I got both, and much more. I left in an exhausted, blissed-out haze! And I a gained a friend. She even sent me notes afterward recapping things we'd discussed."
"I think The unPacked Catalogue as a whole is fabulous. It saved me!! The best part for me was the technical stuff. How close to stand, what kind of backdrop, what f-stop and so on. I am a visual person so pictures help me a ton! I just want to say thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from reading and seeing visual aids in your book. I'm blessed to be a part of the Facebook group you put together and also feel very blessed to call you a friend. Thank you sweet Michelle!"
"The best thing about The unPacked Catalogue is the fact that Michelle holds nothing back, not information, not her opinion, nothing. It is extremely refreshing to find something from another photographer that is not guarded and half bits on information. The areas that were the most helpful were the specifics on equipment, the wording on reaching out to schools, pricing, galleries, and packaging. Um, so basically everything? Thank you Michelle for being so open and honest and genuinely caring - it is a huge help and is creating more ripples than you even know!"
"The unPacked Catalogue gave me the confidence to say yes to doing school photography! It walked you through each step and was chock full of information. This really made my school shoot a wonderful experience for the families as well as a business success for me. I would not have attempted such a large endeavor had it not been for your book!"
"This was actually the 2nd best education piece purchased. So many times you think this new "workshop/workbook" will be helpful- only to realize that it was a bad mistake and now a loss of money. The unPacked Catalogue was written perfectly. Very detailed- very open and honest. And I loved the screenshot/videos and images to see example. I also loved how you shared actual verbiage - which is extremely helpful as well!"
"Extremely thorough, chock full of crazy important facts! I loved every part for many reasons, the process of contacting schools all the way through to delivery of orders... Everything was amazing! The unPacked Catalogue played a huge part in helping me launch my school photography business. I have gone from 1 school last year to 6 schools this year! Your seasoned and thorough and thoughtful advice have helped immeasurably!"
"The unPacked Catalogue has played a major role in my school portrait success. After reading it I was able to build up my confidence to ask my daughter's preschool director for a chance to do spring portraits. This year I've asked her if I can do them again plus another preschool. After doing the preschool's pictures I gained more clients, which in turn, has helped my family portrait business. There's no way I would have been able to successfully pull off 90 preschooler's school pics without the catalogue. I studied it long and hard, made notes, reread, etc. It helped me be organized to where once I started shooting the overall process went very smoothly and I never felt overwhelmed but the process."
"The unPacked Catalogue is what gave me the gumption to get started in school portraits. I wanted to find something to do with photography that could be done a) while my own kids were at school, and b) would help grow my business in a way that others in my area weren't attempting. An article in Click Magazine caught my eye. Before I read about Michelle in that article, school portraits were so boring to me. But when I saw that they could be done "with a twist" I realized I had something to be passionate about. I purchased The unPacked Catalogue and I think I read it at least three times in a row, soaking in all of the information. I know that, had I not read unPacked, I would have forgotten so many things. I was also able to create a print package structure that worked for my business and my clients, and most importantly, I felt so much more confident. I would absolutely recommend this e-book to anyone wanting to get started in modern school portraiture. I just love this part of my business and am so thankful for The unPacked Catalogue!"
"I hate it when people don't give me criticism when I really want to learn and grow, but I can honestly not think of a thing that I felt was missing from the Guide (the unPacked Catalogue). I think it is possibly the most comprehensive and useful 'How To' that I have ever read. I would like you to write one on parenting. The entire General Prep section was fantastic. I liked hearing about your real life examples of things that didn't work, and why. School selection section excellent. Actual text that can be used for communication - and communication steps broken down to detail. So many things you wouldn't necessarily think of until you had done it, but because of the Guide I learnt from your experience. Before the shoot, Day of shoot - I loved all the tiny details you shared that you learned about on the job. All the How To with the MachForms and the websites, excellent and so easy to read and digest. Your written communication skills are wonderful!"
"For a while I had been wanting to do school photography and wasn't sure where to start. The unPacked Catalogue is a complete guide completely packed with vital information. Not only that but you also get access to an amazing Facebook group that is full of active practicing school photographers. This is a great forum to ask questions, get answers and find out how others have taken the unpacked catalogue and made it their own. Michele is also active and available through Facebook. I couldn't more highly recommend anything. Nothing compares with the amount of information and support this purchase will give you."
"In The unPacked Catalogue, I loved that you had every detail of how you run this part of your business in there - pricing and workflow especially. These are the parts that are always hardest to figure out when starting something new. It really gave me ideas and a good jumpstart on how I could mold it to fit my usual workflow (ie I work pretty much only in Lightroom and do proofing through Shootproof, so there are a lot of differences there). This guide has a lot of info. and less fluff. I was wary to purchase any more of these types of products from photographers because usually they are mostly fluff and images. This was the depth I was looking for. Also loved the explanation of your set up (backdrop etc) and all of those details about what to do for reshoots, inclement weather, etc."
"I LOVE the concept of your school portraits! The simple background and set up creates a relaxed and fun atmosphere for kids. It puts them at ease and allows them to focus on me (the photographer). The photos came out beautifully and were simple to edit quickly. It was very inspiring to read through The unPacked Catalogue, I couldn't wait to get started and build my own portfolio. You really helped by breaking down the steps, making it approachable and taking the mystery out of the process."
Jen Dwyer Photography
"Anyone who reads this book (the unPacked Catalogue) can't argue that she doesn't hold anything back. She shares every precious detail of how she's made things work for herself. The book is so easy and enjoyable to read because her teaching style is so easy going and charming. This is a GREAT business resource for someone wanting to learn about her simple yet effective business structure!"
"I have been following Michelle since I met her here in NC a couple years back. Her imagery is beautiful, emotional and will draw you in and make you stay! When she announced that she was doing intensives this year again, I decided this was the year and made the investment!! I have wanted to take my business to the next level for a while but have been stumped as to where I should start. Michelle gave me confidence, reassurance and a kick in the butt (an ever so polite one, hehe). She said to me several times over our two days together to just go for it and follow up with what's holding you back?! It was those little pushes I needed and I'm thankful for! I walked away with some incredible marketing knowledge and tools, some business 101, a crash course in Lightroom, a working blog and more. Michelle will arrange your time together based on what you need & want to learn and that is the beauty of these intensives. I also left this experience with a friend, Michelle has a sweet, beautiful soul and genuinely wants to help you and share her experiences with you! So if you are trying to decide if it's worth it, IT IS!"
"I had an amazing time at my 1:1 workshop intense with Michelle. She made the most of our time and packed a lot in, which was wonderful - we had three different photo sessions during our two days together, as well as time spent working on editing techniques. Michelle gave very helpful critique of my work and had great suggestions for improving the variety of shots that I take in each session and being more purposeful with light. We talked a lot about smart business practices - improving workflow and client communications, taking a good look at my pricing, etc. Michelle was warm, funny, smart, and put a lot of care and thought into answering my questions. I highly recommend her mentoring services - the 1:1 intensive was worth every penny and more! I came home feeling super motivated to work on what we had talked about and feel more confident in my shooting. Thank you Michelle!!"
"So incredibly blessed to spend two days with master photographer, shoot-into-the-sun superstar, warm, funny, encouraging Michelle L Morris! She is a great teacher, generous with tips and tricks, patient with people who don't know left from right in Lightroom. I see why her four guys love her and why families from across the region come to her exclusively for beautiful photography that will be treasured for generations."
“I am a little different scenario that the other photographers that come to Michelle for a mentorship to help grow their business. I am a graphic designer, watercolor artist and photographer. I love photography as a hobby, and use it in my job photographing commercial construction projects. I came to Michelle to gain some technical experience to improve my photos overall. Little did I know that she would actually help me with my painting business, as well. Not knowing exactly what to expect—it didn’t take long before I felt like I was working with a long-time friend! A total pleasure to talk with and learn from. We went over my equipment, the technical aspects of shooting and covered things I had questions on. We went on photo shoots and spent time digging into advanced editing in Lightroom. Michelle also helped me with ideas about how to jump-start my creativity and better market myself! I left feeling energized and ready to put into practice some of the things we had talked about. Since our session, I have been given compliments on my photos at work, which I truly feel have improved because of the time I spent with Michelle. I have gained more painting commissions and business is growing there, as well. It was totally a great experience, and I can honestly say I learned a lot--all while having a great time!! What can be better than that?? What are you waiting for—BOOK YOUR SESSION TODAY!!”
"I discovered Michelle and her beautiful work through her school photography training e-book, The unPacked Catalogue. This book transformed my business in so many ways and from there I knew I wanted to learn everything Michelle was willing to share. Michelle’s mentoring workshop further confirmed how kind and generous she is with her knowledge – she holds nothing back, all the while making the time fun like I was catching up with an old friend. I had so many questions for Michelle relating to various aspects of my photography business and she answered them all. After two days with Michelle, I left with so much insight, making me feel confident and truly excited about the future of my photography business."
"I’ve wanted to write a review about my experience with Michelle for some time now, but really didn’t know where to start. One, because every time I sat down to write one it became so long. I think it’s because my experience and review is not like anyone else who has had the opportunity to be mentored by Michelle. My experience was not that of a successful photographer wanting to improve technically or wanting to expand a current photography business. So, I am warning you now this review is long but you can’t truly grasp how incredibly grateful I am for having had this opportunity or how forever thankful I will be unless you know where it all started.
While I had this burning passion to take glorious photographs, had the camera, read all the books, had taken numerous and costly online photography courses, could tell you all about ISO and aperture, had taken thousands of pictures…. Sadly, it still, just wasn’t happening. My photographs were ok, but they were not glorious and they were certainly not anything I would ever be able to make a living doing. So, I have spent the last 25 years as a “closet” photographer, not really sharing my “work” with anyone but my immediate family. I have worked my way up the corporate ladder, started two successful businesses and enjoyed all the associated perks…all the while, hiding my little secret of being a closet photographer with a big dream.
That was until the greatest thing happened to me. My granddaughter was born. My first and only grandchild. There she was, the most beautiful little miracle that I had ever seen. I wanted so badly to photograph this little miracle that my beautiful daughter had long thought would never happen. Over those first few days of her life I must have taken a thousand pictures. WHY aren’t they gorgeous like her? Why can’t I capture that color of her milky little cheek? Why don’t my pictures draw you in and make you see and feel the way my daughter looks at her? I was so frustrated and felt so defeated. That’s where Michelle comes in and was the next best thing to happen to me.
I had admired Michelle’s work for some time and I hired her to photograph my granddaughter. (Which by the way are the MOST gorgeous images I have ever laid my eyes on.) I noticed the 1:1 Mentorship offering on her website. But even before meeting her, I had made up my mind that no amount of passion was going to make me “good enough” for someone with her level of talent to be willing to mentor me and so that nasty little secret desire to take those glorious pictures would have to stay hidden.
Fast forward – I knew during the first few moments of the conversation planning my granddaughters photo session, that if I was ever going to do it that Michelle would be the person who would either tell me to hang up my camera and stick to my briefcase or help me to finally realize my dream. I told her that if we did it, she had to be honest with me. Did I possess any talent to go along with all that passion for photography?
To prep for our days working one on one I read her “the open book” publication cover to cover…twice. I was floored that someone not only had this much knowledge, but was willing to share it. It was so well written and with such an honest overtone that I felt like I had known her for years. It was also encouraging for me to know that she didn’t just enter this world being the amazing and successful photographer she is today.
Our first mentoring day started with us spending about seven hours together in her office where she taught me more in that short time than in all previous studies and way more than I ever thought possible. It ALL came together. She taught me things about my camera and in a way that no book could ever did. We practiced shots with various degrees of lighting. Shutter speed FINALLY made sense and wasn’t so scary and don’t even get me started on ISO. I took the most stunning photographs of her sons stuffed cat and of her as a matter of fact. Did you hear that? I took amazing pictures while she looked on carefully critiquing the ones that needed it and celebrating the ones that were for me…my best work to that point! How funny…a stuffed gray cat with the little blue glass eyes was my muse. I had some serious BOKEH going on too!
That short time together working elbow to elbow with Michelle did more than help me realize and correct the technical things, but she gave me the confidence I was so lacking. Later that afternoon we left her office and headed for my first official photo shoot of my entire life… with perfect strangers, two beautiful and delightful little strangers.
From the moment, I focused on that first sweet little face… and my finger slowly pressed the shutter button as I watched her come into focus filling my view, to the moment I took my first peek at the back of my camera just seconds later, I knew I would never be the same! We later downloaded my pictures and there they were up on computer screen. I will never forget what Michelle said, “These are yours. You did this”. These were my best pictures ever. I had taken the most beautiful pictures of the sweetest faces. I would forever be changed.
The fact is I would never have been able to pull it altogether without her. It was like she instinctively knew just what was missing and what I needed to let myself truly see that while I have a long way to go I do have some raw talent and that coupled with my passion to take amazing pictures is a great place to start. She taught that this time around it will be all about investing in myself! Michelle is humble and doesn’t like it when I say that I am the “photographer” I am today and will be tomorrow … entirely because of her, but that is the truth. She embodies all the word “mentor” suggest."
"I LOVED my mentorship with Michelle! I chose her because I loved the soulful images she created that felt like art. I was stuck in a creative rut and wanted to break free from that. I was making a big mistake of showing what I thought people wanted to see instead of my true passions. She helped me go through my work and pick out the things I should have been showing all along. Michelle’s guidance during our mentorship helped raise me to the next level creatively and in my marketing. I went home from the session excited to raise my business to the next level. She helped inspire my confidence in my work and was worth every penny!"