Industry Feature Friday: Michelle Spice (Photographer)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
In the spotlight this week is, Cochrane, ABs concert and artist photographer Michelle Spice. I've had the absolute pleasure of working with her for a series of professional and fun pics throughout the years and I can't recommend her enough!
Get to know Michelle:
Sarah Scott (SS): How did you get your start in concert/artist photography?
Michelle Spice (MS): I’ve been a professional photographer since 2011, and loved photographing families and weddings. I never imagined for one moment that I’d be photographing music artists, even though I was immersed in the country music industry as a team DJ at the legendary Ranchman’s Cookhouse and Dancehall during Stampede since 2005.
In 2013, Alberta was put into a State of Emergency with widespread flooding, devastating both urban and rural areas across the province. I went photographed some images from the floods, and created some photos of loss and hope. In the summer of that year, it was announced that there’d be a big concert to raise funds for the victims of the floods. Immediately, I wanted to be involved. I contacted the organizer and asked if I could have a booth there to sell prints of the floods, and I would give all the proceeds to the fundraising efforts. Instead, he told me that he wanted me to be the official photographer for the event! Of course, I said, “Yes!!” It was a huge success on so many levels, and since that moment, I haven’t looked back, and I’ve worked with many established and emerging artists – and love it!
SS: What do you love about photographing artists?
MS: So many things! Having my own background in music and also being on stage (as a singer, dancer and actor for many years), I have a connection with the industry on a visceral level. Whether I’m directing a play, photographing a concert or taking promotional photos of artists, I tend to see things from a creative, involved place. I love that! Being given the opportunity to be creative in my work is so wonderful! And, the outcome always reflects the unique vibe of each individual artist.
I also love the laughter, comradery and collaborative energy from working with different artists. While each band/artist is unique, they are connected by a positive energy that’s like a thread connecting the parts of the whole. They’re connected by the values and deep roots that come hand in hand with country music: being supportive, collaborative and hard working. After all, the farm doesn’t run itself! Being a part of the country music family is truly an honour and gift.
SS: Who have you worked with?
MS: So many wonderful artists! They include Aaron Goodvin, Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea), High Valley, Hunter Brothers, Tebey, Randy Houser, the Road Hammers, Dan + Shay, Marianas Trench, Rogers Hometown Hockey, the CCMA Awards, the Blue Jay Sessions, Drew Gregory, Jake Mathews, Garrett Gregory, Amy Hef, Alex Hughes, Renegade Station, Jordyn Pollard, Chevy Beaulieu, Justin Hogg, and many more! I also work closely with artist managers, and welcome contact from them.
SS: How and what can an artist do to take advantage of the time with you to get the best shots, and how can they prepare for a photoshoot to get the best pictures?
MS: The moment an artist hires me, I am working with them to create an optimal photo session. Together, the artist and I discuss the purpose of the session, creative ideas, locations, etc. It’s a really collaborative process. Specific clothing would be pre-discussed as it depends on the artists specific vibe.
For guys, nails clean, beard trimmed, dark colours linted, boots shined and guitar wiped.
For girls, I recommend getting your hair and make up done professionally, but it's not required. Please also have your nails done or clean, dark colours linted, shoes or boots cleaned or shined and guitar or other instrument wiped clean.
SS: Who would be your dream band/artist/personality you'd love to work with?
MS: You know, I feel as though I’m currently working with, or have worked with, my dream artists! However, of course I’d absolutely love to photograph Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, Morgan Wallen, and so many other amazing and legendary artists.
Michelle offers a variety of different services, depending on the client's needs. For promotional photography sessions for music artists, she offers a special discount.
She say's, "the reason is, this is such a supportive industry and it’s helped me with my career for so many years. So, this is my way of supporting artists and helping them along their journey."
If you're looking for new photos, you can certainly get in touch with her and she can give them a quote. For concert/tour photography she'd love to chat too!