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Meet Michelle Lillywhite

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Lillywhite.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Michelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When I was in college in 2007, my dad let me borrow his camera one summer. I remember walking around town and falling in love with the way that I could capture the feel of San Luis Obispo. Eventually, people in my sorority started asking me to take photos for their graduation announcements and I fell in love with people photography. It was such a joy for me to capture the essence of people in front of beautiful natural backdrops. When my husband and I got married, we moved down to San Diego and I wanted to continue to pursue my dream of being a full-time photographer.

It took a couple of years, but eventually, I built a client base for senior portraits as well as wedding clients. I now focus on weddings + branding work but photograph families as well around the holidays! I’ve recently started mentoring other photographers and absolutely LOVE being able to support others. I’ll be launching a brand workshop in 2020 too! Lots of exciting things coming.

Being a part of other’s sacred moments fills my heart so big. Looking back now, I loved that it took me a while to get to where I want to be and I’m so thankful for all the people that trusted me in my early years with my old DSLR camera.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not smooth, but a beautiful winding journey. Every couple of years, I’ll hit a growth spot that will challenge me to go further. Then, I’ll hit a resting place and kind of coast in my work and really enjoy it and soak it up. I think my biggest struggle has been believing in myself and my art. There are so many challenging moments like difficult clients, comparison, slow months with work that require confidence in order to overcome.

Despite the ups and downs, learning my strengths in the wedding industry has been important. I’ve learned to celebrate who I am and be proud of all the work I’ve been blessed with. I’m so thankful for the mentors and counselors and people in my life that continue to cheer me on and help me live out of a healthy emotional place so I can serve my clients best. I encourage anyone to build a team of people around them that encourage them forward, we all need people in our lives that both challenge and inspire us.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Michelle Lillywhite Photography – what should we know?
I am a full-time photographer and also mentor to other photographers. I specialize in candid, natural, care-free REAL wedding + brand photography. I am known for my client experience, quick turn-around time and bringing a stress-free approach to the wedding day. I love photographing my clients in venues all around Southern California + Hawaii and finding the best light possible on their wedding days and making beautiful photos. I’m drawn to greenery, the textures of the desert and the color of ocean waves. Nature is a huge inspiration for me and so is human emotion. A lot of my clients get married outdoors and we do quite a bit of adventuring together!

I love putting both together to create images that really capture God’s beauty in both people and the world that we live in. I think that what sets me apart is that I focus on reducing stress for both myself and my clients. This allows me to focus on each client that books me and come present and fully alive to each shoot I do. I like to arm my clients with lots of wedding resources and make sure that they feel supported throughout their journey. Mental health is very important to me and I know that if I don’t take care of myself, my clients won’t feel taken care of either.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My friends have been huge supporters of my work, not only recommending me to their circles but also cheering me on when I have those days where I don’t quite believe in my self. They have been there since the beginning and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them!

My church community: My church community and faith have kept me grounded in all off the changes and ups and downs that my business has faced over the years.

Robert J Hill Photography: In the past few months, I’ve hired a business mentor and it has changed my whole mindset when it comes to photography. He is absolutely incredible at working with photographers and worth every penny!

Caroline Fogarty: My counselor who has been such an inspiration and helped me work through a lot of limiting beliefs about myself in my journey as a human being as well as a business owner. She is so thoughtful, tender and inspiring.

My husband: Since day one, he has believed in me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Even when I didn’t know what I was doing, he didn’t openly doubt me or worry that I couldn’t follow through. He is my #1 encourager and I could not possibly do what I do without him.

Vendor friends like Stylish Details (wedding planning) + With Flourish (florals): Having friends in the wedding industry feels like such a lifeline. When I get to see faces, I know on wedding days, there is a sense of calm that comes over me. I love getting to work with such talented vendors like these two women. Not only do they inspire me with their art, but they inspire me through the way they love serving their clients and the way they are total go-getters in their businesses.

Pricing:

  • Wedding Photography Coverage Starts at $3800
  • Branding Photography Starts at $550
  • Mentoring Sessions Start At $300

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Michelle Lillywhite Photography

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