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Dec 2016

31 Photographers Making Our New Year Bright

16 min read

2016 is almost over, and you’re probably exhausted. You’re done with shooting and editing and bookkeeping (you did remember your bookkeeping, right?) and emailing and phone-calling and pretending to care. (It’s okay, you can say it.)

But while you’re feeling drained and done-for, we’re feeling something entirely different.

We think you’re fabulous.

ShootProof’s servers are chock-full of incredible photographs made by YOU. Every photograph you stayed up late to edit, every shoot you uploaded from your vacation hotel room, every order you woke up early to approve: those are the signs of a true professional. And gosh-darnit, we’re proud of you for that.

To celebrate the talent and professionalism of our wonderful community, we’ve curated a representative sampling of ShootProof photographers, from wedding photographers to pet photographers, from the northernmost reaches of Canada to the southernmost stretches of Australia, from booming multi-shooter studios to small one-person shows.

Be inspired by the photographs your ShootProof colleagues are making, and join us in feeling fabulous! You’ve earned it!

Jess Cadena | California

Her heart belongs to Aerosmith and her spare closet space is packed with knitting supplies. (Our kind of gal!) Jess loves chocolate covered raisins, snuggly family time, and giving back to Sweet Nectar Society. She also has a head full of shimmery dreadlocks that make her an instant hit with the kiddos she photographs!


Gabriel Gonzalez | Puerto Rico

The only man alive who can sleep on an airplane, Gabriel’s wife calls him a goofball and movie theaters stock extra nacho cheese just for him. He dreams of one day having his own helipad-slash-driving range (who doesn’t?), and gladly gives back through Compassion International.


Hannah Millard | England

How many people do you know who’ve won a world championship silver medal in barbershop singing? One. You know one. And her name is Hannah Millard. Hannah dreams of owning an indoor ball pool (yes, like the kind you find at McDonald’s), craves salty popcorn, and makes her charitable donations out to Mind and Dementia UK. She also made us a killer playlist. Check it out.


Katie Gardner | Wisconsin

Katie blames her daughters for her life’s Disney music soundtrack, but we’re pretty sure this bingo lover just knows a good song when she hears one. Besides, the reminder to “Let It Go” comes in handy each morning when she’s desperately trying to find one of her girls’ missing shoes before volunteering in the classroom. (Hang in there, Katie!)


Berit Alits | Ireland

Secretly gregarious, Berit’s love for photographing people is surpassed only by her passion for homeless animals. She dreams of an in-home studio/library/animal shelter combo that makes our heads spin, but somehow works when you throw in vending machines of her favorite treats: popcorn and vanilla ice cream. Layer it all with a soundtrack mashup of Joan Jett and Otis Redding, and you’ve just met Berit Alits.


Madeline – Madexposure Photography | Missouri

A staunch Peanut Butter M&M’s advocate (“They are NOT the same as Reese’s Pieces!”), Madeline loves to laugh and, while you’d never guess it by looking at her, has seen every single Britney Spears tour since the age of 6. She gives back to animal rights organizations and falls in love with love all over again every time she photographs a happy couple.


Bre Sessions | Georgia

You wouldn’t know it by looking at her joyful smile, but Bre is grieving the loss of her daughter who passed away last year. “Losing her has made me even more passionate about the importance of documenting our lives with those we love most,” Bre shared. That pain-fueled zeal is evident in her love for all things Hamilton, her dream of an in-home wine bar to share with friends, and her generous giving to Ronald McDonald House in the name of her sweet little girl.


Heather Kelly | Connecticut

This country-music lover can’t walk in heels, but she’s better off in sock-feet anyway, what with all the adorable, sleepy newborns she photographs! Heather really wishes her home was equipped with a laundry chute (seriously, why isn’t that standard?), but cheers herself up with a bag of Skittles and a day of giving back to Ben’s Bells.


Aimee Liz | Massachusetts

Don’t interrupt Aimee on a long flight; she’s listening to the Harry Potter audiobook! (Some things are sacred!) She’s may also be staving off a bit of social anxiety, but she shouldn’t worry – she’s a bright spot in an often dim world, with ginger hair, colorful tattoos, and a history of giving to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. She also has a penchant for blue Icees – just don’t tell her dentist!


Graham Scobey | Colorado

Graham dreams of downsizing to a tiny house one day – just him, his wife Ashley, their kiddos, their pets, a couple of displaced families, and a lifetime supply of vegan-friendly Twizzlers… all in about 650 square feet. (That’s doable, right?) In the meantime, Graham is happy in his normal-sized house with space for his piano and skis, giving back through Mercy Corps and Save the Children.


Desiree Nickerson | Ontario

A self-described “stereotypical Canadian”, Desiree dogsleds and plays hockey in winter, owns 2 Huskies, swears by Tim Hortons coffee, and says “eh” a lot. She hopes to grow her fur-family, with a dream of owning at least 15 dogs, a few more gerbils, and of course an assortment of dust bunnies since she “wouldn’t have time to vacuum every hour.” This animal lover is also an animal photographer, and she gives back to the local shelters. Makes sense, eh?


Joanne Lee | Maine

A former music teacher, Joanne now spends her days dreaming up crazy themes for dramatic conceptual portraits! She loves sports (Go Sox!) and 80’s music, and gives back by photographing dogs in foster care at Lucky Pup Rescue who need forever homes. This 11-year photography veteran dreams of one day owning a penthouse photo studio with floor-to-ceiling windows. (You should come visit the ShootProof offices in Atlanta, Joanne!)


Michael Clemens | California

The only thing cooler than Michael Clemens’s photography may be his second career as a visual effects compositor with Industrial Light and Magic. You’ve seen his work on movies such as Iron Man, Captain America, and Avengers (whoa!). In his down time (when is that?), this Billy Joel fan packs meals, blankets, and socks for the homeless, and, along with his wife and daughters, hand-delivers the gifts to people living on the streets of San Francisco. We love your big heart, Michael!


Sukhi Chandi | England

Not one to name drop, Sukhi hesitantly admitted that he’s tight friends with both Netflix and Amazon Prime. (Whaddya know? So are we!) We’re also on board with Peanut M&M’s, his snack of choice, but were bummed to learn that the only reason he wants an indoor swimming pool and sauna is so he can sell that fancy house and become a nomad. (Can we move into your fancy house while you’re out nomad-ing, Sukhi?)


Leonard Walpot | Netherlands

Leonard’s not cranky; that’s his serious face! And Leonard is serious about photographing weddings. (Go look! They’re stunning!) He’s also serious about his favorite band (Runrig), his favorite snack (BEER), and the international church where he volunteers his time. Leonard is such a chill cat, we really hope that one day his dream of having a snooker table in his office comes true. (Good luck, Leonard!)


Shannon Hager | Oregon

“Life is too beautiful for just black ink,” says the pen and marker hoarder who really, really wants a pygmy goat for a pet. We think both are great ideas, but we especially like Shannon’s love of color, because it influences all of her delicately colorful portraits. Shannon gives back in her kids’ classrooms and loves road trips with her family, telling stories, and listening to playlists designed by her DJ husband.


Rebecca Hellyer | Illinois

Rebecca is terrified of heights, tunes in regularly to This American Life, and knows her husband is totally WRONG when he insists that slushies are gross. (“They’re amazing!” she insists.) She gives back to local Chicago organizations that help at-risk youth, and dreams of a huge kitchen, big enough for cooking massive feasts.


Fiona Mills | England

Fiona has to work really hard not to break out into song every few minutes, but somehow we think she probably fails miserably and that’s why her clients love her. She brakes for 90’s rock and salted caramel ice cream, goes to the movies mainly for the snacks, and dreams of having a multi-story in-home library complete with a lap-cat (don’t tell her dog). She gives back through Compassion International and by volunteering at her kids’ school.


Lori Kelly | Florida

Lori admits to liking Phillip Phillips, Kid Rock, AND “booty music” (we don’t know what that is, but we love her for that) and says she’s “not a terrible dancer.” (Neither are we, Lori. Neither are we…) She’s also a brilliant boudoir photographer, and gives back by gifting her photography services to local community members whose businesses are making a difference in the world.


Jasmin Whitton | New South Wales

Jasmin is an undercover nerd who really needs a walk-in closet and ensuite with a spa bath. (But seriously. So do we.) She’s also a diehard fan of The Wombats (have a listen!) who just happens to make cheery, colorful, fun photos of OMG-adorable little babies. She gives back through the RSPCA and The Disabilities Trust.


Rich Smith | Tennessee

Married to “the most beautiful woman in the world,” Rich is not only extremely lucky but extremely wise. (See what we did there?) He loves traveling and believes in giving his daughters life-changing experiences and opportunities to meet new people. When he’s not photographing madly-in-love couples, he’s scheming to squeeze a bouncy house into his basement. (Let us know when you need a house-sitter, Rich!)


Sara D. Harper | Georgia

This local (to us!) children’s photographer is already planning her own family – well, she wants to adopt a Goldendoodle! Sara listens to Johnnyswim on road trips, snacks on M&Ms at the movies, and volunteers at her church whenever possible. “Six month old babies are my favorite!” she says. There’s one crawling away from her right now!


Kellie Brindley | Washington

Kellie dreams of the day her garage is finally organized but satisfies her management urges in the meantime by watching Wheel of Fortune and solving all the puzzles before the contestants even have a chance. Her “Chill Mix” playlist helps keep the peace at home, and she gives back by volunteering for children’s activities, elderly services, and programs promoting equality for those with disabilities. “My favorite thing to photograph is my children experiencing nature,” she shared, along with the moody photograph below…


Mandii Jones – Xanthe Photography | Queensland

An old-fashioned soul, Mandii loves quiet pastimes and vintage decor: gardening, crockery, granny square crochet rugs. All are beautifully complimented by her folk-rock soundtrack of Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, and First Aid Kit (to name a few.) She gives back and gives blood with the Australian Red Cross, and hopes to one day have her very own wildflower garden studio for making beautiful portraits.


Jill Osterhage | Indiana

Jill is honest to a fault – “I won’t ever let you leave the house with kale in your teeth!” she says. She loves flipping on the radio, but does her best thinking in silence on a long car ride with her husband (when she’s not correcting his driving, that is.) She gives back by volunteering for children’s charities and loves photographing her own grandchildren more than anything else in the world.


Vincent Bantigue – The Beautiful Truth | California

If Vincent gets goofy around you, you know you’ve made it into friendship territory! “As an introvert it used to be difficult for me to get in close and take beautiful portraits, but after a few years, I started to build some good relationships I wouldn’t have had if I’d just shot landscapes,” he shared. Vincent prefers podcasts over music, and dreams of having an in-home photo studio one day. Vincent is active in his church and volunteers with community events – because being introverted doesn’t mean you aren’t up and at ’em, making the world a better place!


Shae Estella | Australian Capital Territory

When she’s not making beautiful photographs, you’ll find Shae engrossed in books on both ancient and modern philosophy – fancypants! Shae volunteers with a local Staffordshire Bull Terrier rescue organization and dreams of someday having her own little plot to grow veggies. Meanwhile, she’s photographing unbelievably stunning bouquets like this one:


Karma Hill | Hawaii

Karma harbors a secret (not-so-secret) love for all thing Star Trek, and, on long flights, she watches all the cheesy movies she’d never rent at home. She’s a shameless champagne smuggler when she goes to the movies and dreams of adding an indoor swimming pool to her otherwise perfectly-perfect home. Karma gives back to Make A Wish Foundation, NPR, and Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.


Todd James | Illinois & California

Todd attended grad school for psychology before realizing his passion was photography, and we’re guessing those classes come in handy in his new gig! He loves telling photographic stories for couples and for non-profits, sharing how their work is redeeming the world. Any funds leftover from his Reese’s Pieces habit go straight to World Vision International.


Megan Hooks | Washington

Megan’s first job at 16 was as a Contact Ranger (a sort-of Park Ranger assistant) in Virginia, but we’re glad she decided to become a photographer! Megan loves storytelling podcasts, and she may be the only photographer who adores those big, crazy, family group portraits. To top it off, she volunteers at all three of her children’s schools. (Can we get you a coffee, Megan?)


Tomasz Kornas | Ireland

The oh-so-hilarious creator of the header photo at the top, Tomasz’s favorite photographs are real moments and wedding bloopers. (And he does them so well!) He entertains himself on long flights by watching weird YouTube videos, and gives back by mentoring young photographers just breaking into the industry. (Keep entertaining us, Tomasz!)


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