Michael Stagg Photography: Blog http://mstaggphoto.com/blog en-us (C) Michael Stagg Photography | All Rights Reserved michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) Thu, 17 May 2018 18:17:00 GMT Thu, 17 May 2018 18:17:00 GMT http://mstaggphoto.com/img/s/v-5/u277278302-o758000408-50.jpg Michael Stagg Photography: Blog http://mstaggphoto.com/blog 94 120 Tiffini's Master's Grad Shoot http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/5/tiffinis-masters-grad-shoot African American Female GraduateTiffini is ready to take on the future! Hello Beautiful People!


First, allow me to apologize for being MIA lately. My wife and I just moved from southern Illinois to a south suburb of Chicago and have been working on our new home. Add to that our becoming PROs for Health Made Simple and … well, time got away from me. Anyway, back to the topic at hand: My cousin Tiffini’s graduation shoot!


I am so proud and inspired by this young lady! Not many people, myself included, can say they’ve achieved their Master’s Degree (Hers is in Taxation!). She’s dealt with some challenges along the way but she held fast to her faith and aligned herself with patience, persistence and perseverance to come out on top!

African American Female Graduation Photo Collage

The session itself was simple enough. We captured most of the images inside the Parker home. Then we stepped out front to finish up the session. Tiffini, and I’m not just saying this because we’re family, is by far the easiest client I’ve had to work with and I can’t wait to work with her again!

By the way, if you’re looking for a competent CPA  hit her up and tell her I sent you!


African American Female Graduate Behind the Scenes Images

BTS (Behind the Scenes) images by this session’s talented makeup artist, Aretha Bright!


Have a special graduate that wants to document their special day? Awesome! You can submit a request for a session here!

michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) graduation portraits graduation session professional graduation photos http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/5/tiffinis-masters-grad-shoot Fri, 18 May 2018 11:00:00 GMT
Shoot Preparation Part One http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/3/shoot-preparation-part-one Female Model B&W ImageBernadette Hello Beautiful People!


This article will be the first in a series of posts to help you prepare for a photo shoot. The series will focus on every aspect of the shooting process from what to do before the shoot, after its completed and all points in between. I have dubbed it the #GetLightScribed Series!


Before the Shoot


To begin the series, let’s focus on what you need to do before you step foot in the studio.


Hair – Ladies, you’ll want to get your cut and/or styled a few weeks before shooting. That way, if anything goes wrong, there’s time to correct it – better safe than sorry, right? Additionally, if you will be shooting outside be sure to bring an ample supply of bobby pins, hair clips, headbands any other accessories to keep your hair cute, neat and tidy! Guys, same thing. Get a fresh cut a couple of days to a week before.


Makeup – While I’m sure you’re awesome at doing your own makeup I highly recommend using a makeup artist for your session. The reason for this is makeup for a photo shoot is applied differently than “everyday” makeup. A professional makeup artist is familiar with what will and won’t work for location and studio shoots and avoid the dreaded Oompa Loompa look!


Body and Facial Hair – In terms of postprocessing, at least for me, cleaning up stray hairs or overly hairy body parts is a nightmare! To easily combat this, guys should indulge in a fresh shave using a new razor with a good shaving cream and after-shave to avoid bumps and redness. Ladies, even if you have light facial hair, you’ll want to do a waxing prior to shooting as even the slightest amount of hair will show in your images. Finally, both guys and gals will want to clean up their eyebrows.


Your Smile – If you want to make sure your smile is as bright as your personality make sure you start any whitening treatment at least two weeks prior to shooting.


Rest – I can’t stress enough how important this is – for all parties involved! If you have a shoot on Saturday, don’t stay out all night Friday at the local disco (showing my age!). Get at least eight full hours of sleep if possible.


More to Come


I’ll likely create a shoot prep guide soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions – or suggestions for great tips going forward – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


As always, thanks for reading! Be sure to share this article if you liked it using the icons to the left. If you’re not subscribed to the blog, you can use the form to the right to get signed up! Take care!


MJ | YOUR Light Scribe

michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) beauty photography chicago photographer fashion photographer getlightscribed series midwestern photographer prepare for your shoot professional headshots social media images http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/3/shoot-preparation-part-one Wed, 07 Mar 2018 12:00:00 GMT
Focus on Collecting Moments http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/3/focus-on-collecting-moments Inspiring Quote with Camera PicCollect Moments Not ThingsMonday Mood: Collect Momemts

Hello Beautiful People!

In today’s consumption minded society, we tend to focus more on “stuff” than substance. As the saying in the image above points out, we should be focused more on the important things in life. Lasting things. Things that will be with us long after the “stuff” has faded away. That’s one of the things I like most about photography. If we look at images that inspire us, that move us, that matter to us, they are usually focused on the people, places and things we love.


All About the Moments

Young Male Baby PicMy Grandson: Caden JosephMy Grandson: Caden Joseph

We are blessed to be able to carry a time machine in our pockets. In an instant, we can capture a photo of a loved one, a beautiful sunset or whatever catches our eye. We should never loose sight of that wonderful ability. We should cherish the ease with which we can assemble a collection of all the best things – or the worst, if you choose – that exist in our worlds. Isn’t that better than worrying about getting that next generation gaming console or the newest fashions? Isn’t that more important than buying the newest mobile phone just because Joe or Jane has it? I think it is! So, what are you waiting for?! Go out and collect the memories tomorrow’s conversations will thrive on! I can just about guarantee you’ll be happier in the long run.


Thanks for reading! Be sure to Like and share this post and don’t forget to subscribe for more content using the form to the right of this post. :)


MJ | Your Light Scribe

michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) beauty photography chicago photographer fashion photographer midwestern photographer monday mood professional headshots social media images http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/3/focus-on-collecting-moments Mon, 05 Mar 2018 12:00:00 GMT
Retrospection: SymbolizesME Shoot http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/3/retrospection-symbolizesme-shoot Prudence Story PortraitPrudence Story of SymbolizesME


Hello Beautiful People!


I believe it’s good to look back on past work every now and again to see what you liked and disliked about it as well as how you can improve going forward. Think of it as a #FlashbackFriday with meaning! With that mentioned, today I’m going to look back at one of my favorite shoots to date. Let’s get into it!


Prudence Story and SymbolizesME


I’d known Prudence for many years prior to doing this set of shoots for her. She’s always struck me as being a go getter, intelligent and focused. She was looking for someone to shoot her latest offerings and I humbly offered to help. The line, which uses African Adinkra symbols, consists of fun and functional tees, hooded sweaters and skirts that communicate a desire to inspire. They incorporate Prudence’s own personal style: funky, a little spicy, practical and free!


SymbolizesME CollageSymbolizesME in Full Effect!


About the shoot


I scheduled two days to shoot with two models per day. We were going to be shooting at two different locations and I didn’t want to have to go through the hassle of hauling gear across Chicago if I didn’t have to. The first day proved the most successful, in my opinion. The space had lots of natural lighting (which I required since, at that time, I didn’t have any lighting gear) and decent indoor and outdoor places to shoot. The second day, while not unsuccessful, proved more challenging as the space was smaller and there were fewer places in and around the location that offered interesting backdrops for the models. In the end, fun was had, and both Prudence and the models liked their images so that makes it a win for me as well!


What I learned


First and foremost, I learned just how important scouting a location before a shoot is. While I’m capable of “shooting from the hip” and making a location work, I think the resulting images would have been so much better if I’d had time to plan around the less than stellar second location. Also, regardless of enjoying shooting in natural light, I learned to always have access to at least one external light source like an off-camera flash or strobe (which I have now).


Thanks so much for reading and always be sure to like and subscribe if you’re enjoying the content!


MJ | Your Light Scribe


michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) chicago photographer client shoots fashion photographer midwestern photographer retrospection self portraits http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/3/retrospection-symbolizesme-shoot Fri, 02 Mar 2018 12:00:00 GMT
Becoming a Light Scribe http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/2/becoming-a-light-scribe Old Selfie w/ 40D


It’s been a while since I reflected on the circumstances and events that led me to pick up a camera. I figured I’d share it with you because – well, it’ll give us something to talk about. [smile]

It began with 4-H


For those not familiar, 4-H is a youth organization “empowers young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime.” The four H’s stand for Head, Heart, Hands and health; the following is there pledge:


4H Pledge

I pledge my head to clearer thinking,

My heart to greater loyalty,

My hands to larger service,

and my health to better living,

for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

I know you may be asking yourself, “what does this have to do with how you became a photographer.” Well, I have a story about that. Want to read it? Here we go! (Get the In Living Color reference?!)


Basically, when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, there was a 4-H meeting during recess. There were representatives from various clubs within the organization discussing how to join in so on. I remember seeing this funny looking little box on a table surrounded by these fabulous images. I don’t know why to this day but something about knowing I could use that little box to freeze time and capture important moments really resonated within me! Unfortunately, I couldn’t join the club as my mom just didn’t have the money to afford the club fees. Disappointed, I put the thought of photography out of my mind. Little did I know I would be blessed with a means to begin my journey!


My first camera

My mom, really is the best! She saw how awestruck I was with photography that she worked extra hours and purchased me a Polaroid One-Step camera for Christmas that year! It wasn’t quite like the little box presented by 4-H. In fact, it as better because this camera produced prints on the spot! I took pictures of EVERYTHING with my One-Step! People, barns, insects, street signs, nothing was safe from capture by my little Polaroid. Yet again, I would have to give up my beloved hobby as replacement film was too expensive. To top that, the camera was irreparably damaged. It would be nearly 30 years before I’d pick up another camera. The saga continues!


Daughters to the rescue

So, like I mentioned, I’d not touched a camera since the middle to late 80’s. Then one day while shopping in downtown Chicago, I saw this photography student shooting with a model in Grant Park. My little family group had walked about a block and a half when they noticed I was glued to the spot surveilling the interaction between the two. It was almost like a dance as the model shifted her pose and the photographer, in kind, adjusted his stance to capture the moment. Finally, after several minutes of trying to get my attention, I rejoined my family and shared the experience. For weeks after that that’s all I could talk about and how I wished I could take photos again. Well, again during Christmas, my daughters gifted me a little point and shoot camera! Eventually, I would trade up to a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera and I’ve been going strong taking images whenever I’m inspired to do so!


BTS Aretha Bright Shoot

Continuing the story

I’ve been shooting since about 2011 beginning with that little Kodak point and shoot camera. I even attended college for a bit in pursuit of a degree in photography – but that’s the subject of another post! I got the nickname “light scribe” from a fellow photographer buddy. “Well,” he said, you used to like writing stories with pen and paper. Now you write with light!” Funny how things work out when you keep your dream alive. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to pursue photography. Someday, I want to be a blessing to a young boy or girl that has the same twinkle in their eyes when they see the wonder a small box and some glass can create!


MJ | Your Light Scribe


michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) beauty chicago photographer midwestern photographer portraits self portraits http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/2/becoming-a-light-scribe Wed, 28 Feb 2018 12:00:00 GMT
Welcome to Michael Stagg Photography http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/2/welcome-to-michael-stagg-photography Dalena Beauty ImageDalena Hello Beautiful People!


Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog and site. You can call me Mike or MJ! I am a midwestern beauty and portrait photographer with roughly seven years of experience capturing the essence of who you are! Below, you can find out fun facts about yours truly, what to expect from my blog and what to do to set up a shoot with me! So, without further ado, let’s get started!



Five Fun Facts About Me!


  • I binge watch Anime – I think I watched every episode of BLEACH, Naruto (both series…working on Boruto now!), and Dragonball Z in about two weeks! Yeah, back then I had LOTS of time on my hands!
  • I LOVE Chai tea! – I should have stock in Starbucks for all the money I’ve spent there on Venti Chai Lattes! OMG! I swear, if you ever want to get on my good side all you need to do is shake my one hand and place a cup or Chai tea in the other! :)
  • I used to be in vocal group – Yep, I used to sing in two groups back in the 90’s! If you ask nicely, I might be persuaded to sing a par or two (read the fact above for how to easily make this happen! HaHaHaaa
  • I grew up in Louisiana – I was born in Chicago, raised in the south and then migrated back to the big city right after graduating high school. As much as I used to dislike living in Louisiana I find myself longing for the simple life I had there (sigh, I’m getting old!).
  • I married my best friend – Yeah, yeah, it sounds cliché but it’s true! Not to get all mushy but there’s something to be said about going from a deep friendship to dating to marriage. Something must be working; we’ve been married for 19 years, together for 22! :)


Hopefully this is enough to “get a feel for your photographer.” If not, you can always find out more here. Like I mentioned previously, I have no problem sharing stuff about me so feel free to ask me anything!


What to expect from the blog

I’m a firm believer in applying the “KISS” (Keep It Simple Sir) method in all I do. With that mentioned, here’s the type of content you can expect to find in this blog:


  • My Photography – No brainer, right?! I won’t post a lot of images (that’s what the Portfolio pages are for) but I will share shots that I REALLY like and talk about why I love the image.
  • BTS clips and photos – Who doesn’t like behind the scenes stuff?! See what goes on before during and after a shoot!
  • Tips and tricks to make the most of your shoot experience – Regardless who you shoot with, the more you know about what to expect and how to prepare for a shoot the better your experience will be and that will show in final product.
  • Contests and Give-a-Ways – Who doesn’t like contests and prizes?! Periodically, I’ll give my awesome readers the chance to win makeup products, free shoots and other fantastic stuff so be sure to subscribe to be notified! You can use the form to the right of this post or visit our Facebook Page to subscribe!


To start, I’ll be posting about three to four days a week. As the blog grows I’ll likely post five days a week. If you have an idea for content that you think may be interesting for other readers, please let me know. I'm open to suggestions!


How to book a shoot with me


OK, so you’ve looked at my portfolio, you like what you see, now you want to book a shoot. Great! Here’s how to request a shoot:


Option #1: Visit our Scheduling page, complete the short form and I’ll follow up with you in 48 hours, max.


Option #2: Click on The Connection page, complete the form and submit for a prompt reply.


Option #3: Don’t like email? Give the studio a call directly at (312) 291-1872 and let’s discuss your needs!


I guess that does it! Feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions and thanks again for visiting!


MJ | Your Light Scribe


michael@mstagggphoto.com (Michael Stagg Photography) beauty images beauty photography chicago photographer personal branding professional headshots social media images http://mstaggphoto.com/blog/2018/2/welcome-to-michael-stagg-photography Mon, 26 Feb 2018 12:00:00 GMT