For our July CMpro of the Month we have the amazing Melissa Koehler. Melissa has been a long time CM member and vendor and is always quick to provide inspiration, advice and encouragement to our members. Her sweet personality and willingness to share with others makes her an invaluable member of our community.
july cmpro of the month | melissa koehler
If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be?
5D MKII, 50 1.2 580EXII ﬂash (just in case)
What was your first experience in photography?
I’ve always had an interest in photography. I remember being really little and playing with my grandparents Polaroid. But the fuse really got lit in high school photo class when I used my old Minolta AE-1. Digital is wonderful, but I do miss ﬁlm.
If you could shoot alongside any other photographer, who would it be (and why)?
Oh gee, I have two! Jose Villa because I love his work. The colors he gets from his ﬁlm images is insane. The other would be Jerry Ghionis. Besides his being Australian (I am borderline obsessed with Aussies) he is hilarious and his images are amazing!! I have more on my list but you only said one and I already broke the rules with two!
Other than photography, do you have any other creative outlets?
I really enjoy being creative, although I haven’t done anything else but photography for a while. I used to be a HUGE scrapbooker. I worked in a few scrapbook stores, have been published in a few magazines and people would pay me to do their scrapbooks. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything like that. I LOVE to bake, although my waistline doesn’t like it. Pretty much anything handmade I love. I used to have my own handmade card and invitation business a few years back as well.
Tell us one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.
Can I have two things?
How hard it is to work for yourself. I’m the hardest, meanest person I’ve ever worked for by far. Owning your own business is very hard work, but extremely rewarding. If you succeed or fail ultimately it’s your own doing. The other would be to have all your ﬁnancial and business ducks in a row. Get your business licenses, insurance and make sure you take out the proper amount of taxes per session and set them aside in a completely separate account. Having a CPA is a must for me.
Describe the perfect session.
The light is golden, the family is happy and up for anything. Preferably in a nature/woodsy location and all the images just are killer.
What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken (and why)?
Right now it’s of fellow photographer Brenda Knight. She is so adorable and fun and the image I got of her is real. She’s laughing hysterically at her husband. The light is amazing and I love her expression.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a veterinarian, then a psychologist and then a teacher.
Where do you find inspiration?
From my clients and their interactions with each other. Another fun place is Pinterest, which I recently found. It’s fantastic!
Funniest or most awkward moment on a shoot?
Besides the baby peeing on the parents? It was more awkward than anything. I was doing an engagement session on a roller coaster. I sat if front of the couple to grab some shots of them . It was SOOOO hard to hold on to my camera for this. I thought I was going to lose it. I also had a hat on because my hair hated me that day too. So I was a mess trying to hold on for dear life, take a shot and keep my hat on. Crazy!!
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you do there?
I have always been fascinated with Australia. Anyone that really knows me knows that it’s my dream to go there someday. I want to see everything there and take TONS of pictures!! Next place would be Europe then somewhere tropical.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Probably super nose. I could sniff out whatever you needed. I have a super sniffer as it is. It’s both a blessing and a curse.
If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Hmmm…. probably Reese Witherspoon. I’ve been told I remind people of her.
Quickie Questions – One Word Answers!
Canon or Nikon?
Prime or zoom?
Studio or on location?
Available light or flash?
Neck strap or wrist strap?
Color or black and white?
Mac or PC?
Photoshop or Lightroom?
Photoshop (and sometimes Lightroom)
Sunrise or sunset?
Heels or flip flops?
Flip flops (but I love the look of heels)
Beer or wine?
Thanks so much, Melissa! It was awesome getting to know you better. You can check out more of Melissa’s work on her blog.