Michelle Peterson, Southern California

How long have you been a photographer?

I am just starting into my third year.

What got you interested in photography?

Well, I started just wanting to get good pictures of my own children, and it just grew from there.

What is your photography specialty? 

Children and families—it just kind of happened that way. 

How did you get interested in submitting your photos to the Church?

My mother and sister-in-law found an article in a Church publication and told me to go for it. 

How do you feel you can use photography to build up the kingdom or share the gospel?

In my profession I get to shoot photos of a lot of people who aren't members of the Church, and I try to be an example for them.

What about photography inspires you?

I love seeing families and children interacting. I love when a photographer captures a smile or a moment that can later bring tears to your eyes and make the moment last forever.

What part of photography is the most rewarding?

Seeing people's reactions when they view their galleries or when I deliver their photos.

How has photography influenced your spiritual understanding? 

Years ago, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a freelance photographer for National Geographic. One tip he shared was perspective, and to look to the light. Looking for the light has been my inspiration. The way light rests upon any subject can turn an average photo into a masterpiece. Without light, there would be nothing to photograph. As light rests upon the subject, the subject radiates to its full potential. We also radiate as individuals when we allow the giver of all light, our Savior, to rest upon us. We then rise to our full potential and become a masterpiece in His hands.

 

If you could take photos of anything, what would it be? 

My family and loved ones. I want to document life's moments for those I love the most in this world.

Where is your “dream location” to shoot? 

Paris, France. I love the character and the charm of the "city of lights." And my hubby served his mission in France, so that helps too.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Family walking

Outdoors with that yummy natural lighting.

How would you describe your photography?

Fun, colorful, candid, and natural.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference in the quality of your photos?

Don't push for a perfect shot. Capture life as it is. Just let your clients be themselves, and the moments will happen.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Take the time to really learn "your" style, and don't be afraid to just be yourself. You will always have critics, but just block out all the negativity. If you like your photos and your clients like them, then that is all that matters.

How much do you edit your photos? 

As little as possible. Every picture is different, but you don't want to lose the realness of the image. 

Jamie D. Johnson, Arizona

What first interested you about photography?

My interest in photography started when I was a yearbook editor in high school. Back then, most of my work was shooting pictures of specific subjects related to capturing school activities. My passion for outdoor photography started while serving a mission in Chile. I gained an appreciation for the beauties of the world and the creations of God.

How long have you been a photographer?

Most of my work has been in the last 10 years. I took an interest in photography while in high school, but I did not really discover my talent until later in life.

What is your photography specialty?

The majority of my work is outdoor photography. This provides the opportunity to be close to God’s creations and work with natural lighting.

How did you get interested in submitting your photos to the Church?

My wife read an article in the Mormon Times that the Church was looking for members to submit photos for use by the Church and its members. She encouraged me to submit some of my work. I accepted her challenge and took on the assignment to submit photos of Church history sites, temples we had visited, and historic chapels.

How do you decide what and how to shoot?

My camera equipment goes with me everywhere. Every family vacation ends up with a photo shoot of a temple or other Church locations.

How do you feel you can use photography to build up the kingdom or share the gospel?

Each of us is given talents. It took me a few years to discover my talent for photography. The Lord has blessed me with my talent. It is up to me to decide what I do with it. I shared a collage of butterfly photos with some friends. As the center photo, I used a picture of the tree canopy from the Sacred Grove. The friends were impressed with the butterfly photos. However, there were more comments about their feelings as they gazed on the Sacred Grove photo. There is no doubt testimony can be shared through word, song, and photography. As people look at my work, I hope they see the beauties of God’s creations, feel the Spirit that comes though gazing at a temple, and feel the light.

What about photography inspires you?

Years ago, I had the opportunity to have dinner with a freelance photographer for National Geographic. One tip he shared was perspective, and to look to the light. Looking for the light has been my inspiration. The way light rests upon any subject can turn an average photo into a masterpiece. Without light, there would be nothing to photograph. As light rests upon the subject, the subject radiates to its full potential. We also radiate as individuals when we allow the giver of all light, our Savior, to rest upon us. We then rise to our full potential and become a masterpiece in His hands.

What part of photography is the most rewarding?

Seeing joy, peace, and happiness in the face of an individual that views my work, knowing the Spirit is testifying to them of the creations of God.

What has been a favorite experience or memory while taking photos?

As a family, we were in Palmyra, New York, in 2007. We were sitting in the upper room of the log home of Joseph Smith and reading from his history when my wife called to our attention that that day, September 22, 2007, was the 180th anniversary of Joseph receiving the plates. Since we were the only visitors at the log home that morning, the guide allowed us to exit the back of the home and follow the path young Joseph would have taken to the Sacred Grove. We later climbed the Hill Cumorah.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Any temple as the sun is starting to set.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Never hide your talent. The more you share your talent, the more you will be blessed, and your talent will expand beyond your dreams.

How much do you edit your photos?

I don’t do any editing with my outdoor photography. I feel the natural light and subject matter should be preserved as to how the eye sees the subject. Yes, I have removed a few wrinkles and blemishes when it come to portraits.