Aloe Vera Plant
best ohio family photographer. northeast ohio family photographer.  best ohio photographer.

My Why

I get asked a lot about what brought me into photography so I wanted to leave some back ground about me and how I found myself to be where I am today. I strive to be a photographer who inspires families and couples to love deeply - deeper than before their session. Here's why!

Old pictures

I swear there is magic in those old polaroids of our parents. There's something so powerful about pictures of people you love during a time that you know nothing about. Its also a very intentional thing! Each step that took place before you holding it in your hands was executed for that moment to take place. I think that is so beautiful.

When I was younger, I never had a direct connection to photography or wanting to be in this industry because it was (to my knowledge) not a career and if it was, you worked for a magazine in New York or something. When I was a kid, cellphones had just gained the ability to take pictures so that's where my intro to taking pictures started. when I was a pre teen I eventually got my own digital point and shoot camera for Christmas. I would say that's when I got a hint of inspiration. I would go crazy taking pictures of my cats and going into the woods behind our house to take nature pictures. These are my first intentional acts of being a "photographer". Teen years are rough for many people and I was no exception so I walked away from many of my hobbies like running, all of the sports I was interested in, and taking pictures for fun.

Fast forward through teens, late teens and very early 20s, I was at a factory job as a break press operator. I loved the environment and working with my hands but the hours took a toll on my mental health and I left my job. I used my savings to take 6 months out of the workforce to figure out what I wanted to do. My priority was finding what I was passionate about. A very hard task for someone who has been ignoring any real inspiration for several years. 

During a truthful conversation with a dear friend (Larry Dail) I came to realize I should explore photography. Digging through my mind trying to find something to explore, I remembered the only pictures I have of my cats (that I loved so so much) from my childhood, are the ones I took on my point and shoot. Feelings of loss come back when I see those pictures but the waves of gratitude and all the memories with them are stronger. How can I do this for others?? My answer was photography.

I borrowed my grandpas crop sensor camera and started taking pictures of nature, birds, friends. I learned everything I could about that camera. Hours, probably days + months of research and YouTube videos about workflows, editing software, the exposure triangle.... I just dove in head first. I went back to work as a cleaner after 6 months, still doing photography on the side. 

 

This is where it gets good..

fast forward a couple years to the world shut down of 2020. I didn't know if I'd ever have stable work again so I took the plunge and registered my business name, bought a new full frame professional camera and lens, got my good standing certificate and started learning about the business aspect. All of these steps (that seemed so daunting ) lead me here. 

Through out this timeline I also experienced loss. A long distant cousin passed from leukemia very rapidly and several years later an old friend passed away from a heroine overdose. Pictures are all that is left of them in my life and that is the case for many others who have experienced loss. I want to be the photographer who, while we're here for this beautiful life, anchors you to the present for at least an hour with your favorite people, to document where you are in life/ this relationship. An intentional investment in professional candid portraits is something you will never regret and will spark joy for the rest of your life! There's a song by Cody Johnson called "Til' you cant" that will give you a gripping perspective on life and the people you love. "If you're gonna love somebody, hold 'em as long and as strong and as close as you can
Till you can't"

Now I'm here as a full time photographer and I wouldn't change a thing. Through this journey I can see how God used pain and fear to mold me into the person I am today and all that I've learned is being used in my business to serve my clients the best I can- until I cant.

-Mal

Watercolor Butterfly 7
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