Nov 13, 2021
posted in Perspective with 0 Comments
In an instant—the way I looked at myself changed.

So I was listening to a podcast recently [I love me a good podcast] and
artist Ben Von Wong was talking about time. Ok, so he really started off talking about bread. He said something to the effect of:

“When you make bread, you have flour, salt, water, yeast etc…, but you
also have time. If you poke it too early or don’t let it rise, it falls. So, what
if time is an actual ingredient?”

Then I thought – what if time is an actual ingredient to healing, to
growth, to what God [Higher Power, Universe] wants to do in our lives? What if time is an ingredient in who we are becoming?

I like that; because I can very quickly feel like a failure for not being
farther in life then I thought I would be, for not recovering [bouncing
back] from trauma as quickly as I would like, for not being able to “fix”
things right away.

But if time is an actual ingredient, I can remove them as perceived
failures and better accept that dreaded statement I hate so much – “time
takes time.” 

If it’s an actual ingredient, I can trust that the “bread” WILL get made and that I’m not failing because it’s taking more time than I wanted. Who
knows, maybe the more I try to fix/control [aka poke at the bread], the
worse it gets. 

*Probably why I don’t make bread either…LOL.  

I know this is isn’t necessarily photo related but it does help me change
my perspective about how I look at myself. So, I thought you might
enjoy it too 🙂
Nov 21, 2021

posted in BEFORE & AFTERS with 0 Comments

We’ve normalized addiction, it’s time to normalize recovery. These before and afters were created and presented at the Zoe Freedom center’s year end Image Bearer’s Gala fundraiser. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the following for making this possible:

– The amazing Jeet of Glam by Jeet for the stunning hair and makeup
– The staff at Stevenson Ridge for hosting and serving an amazing dinner
– The staff & volunteers at Zoe who covered every detail imaginable.
– The Girls who were so brave to share their stories and photographs.
– Jeanne Allert of The Samaritan Women for the Keynote.
– The over 100 attendees who came in support of this amazing cause.
– Mark & Dana Brown at Zoe Freedom Center for making all of this possible.
– The amazing sponsors that came on board!

Click HERE for photos of the gala.

Nov 16, 2021

posted in Perspective with 0 Comments

I built an entire business out of changing people’s perspective – turns out, it was my perspective that needed to change.

Don’t get me wrong – I love what I do and I will continue to do it and am so proud of the work I create and the people I get to work with. As one of my clients says “for some women, they need to be able to see themselves differently on paper in order to really, get it.” But I think that’s just the beginning.

For many of us, our entire lives we’ve been fighting what we’ve been told or what we’ve told ourselves about ourselves. Then you hire me – and a team of professionals come in and show you the person you’ve always wanted to be.

Well…now what?

The fashion industry gave me everything I need to help you start to see yourself differently on the outside. Life beyond the industry has given me what I need to help you see yourself differently from the inside.

As the survivor of domestic violence and someone madly in love with the idea of being able to save “my addict,” I have had to change my perspective – it become life or death if I didn’t. And it is painful and hard and recovery is not linear. But one thing I’ve discovered from the work I do, is that real beauty shows up in those rare moments of vulnerability. And I can’t ask you to be vulnerable if I’m not willing to do the same.

So this blog is now dedicated to sharing the lessons I’ve learned or am learning in order to walk through trauma with grace. Its a place where I will openly share my experience, strength and hope with you so that you can take what applies to you and know you are not walking alone.

Even if you don’t feel that trauma specifically applies to you, keep coming back. Learning to change your perspective, discovering the person you’re intended to be and continuing to grow is possibly one of the most beautiful things you can do for yourself and for those you love – and you’re worth it.

Thanks for letting me share,

P.S. Here are a few posts to get you started…

“How I became a co-dependent.”

“5 Ways to Gaslight Yourself.

“Time as an Ingredient.”

May 26, 2020
posted in POSING with 0 Comments

He curled up in my lap with his face in his hands and just wept. He is after all, just three years old. See my son had just bumped his head (not his first time and certainly not his last) and he was in a lot of pain so he cried as I held him.

Just another day in the life of a boy mom if you ask me but this was no ordinary day and what happened next sent me on a spiral of self-discovery.

As I held my son in my arms, I thought to myself “aww, I’m going to cherish these moments when I’m able to be the one who takes away his pain.” And it’s as if the second I said that, I heard the voice of God say “Really? Really Shannon? You’re taking away his pain? Tell me, what exactly are you doing to physically remove the pain?” [The God of my understanding speaks my language sometimes – sarcasm]. And I instantly realized…nothing. I’m doing nothing to take away his pain. I’m simply supporting him while he processes his own pain.


Isn’t that what I should have been doing all along; in all my relationships? And then (because I over-analyze) I kept thinking about what that all meant. Because if, as a small child myself, I cried to my Mom and expected her (the one who was to love and protect me) to take away my pain, wouldn’t that make sense as to why I tried to take away the pain of my addict? And why I felt so defeated when I couldn’t? And why I expected him in return, to be the one to take away my pain? 

And then it hit me that this is what Rusell Brand is talking about when he says “You don’t choose between working a program and not working a program. You’re either working a program or you’re being worked by an unconscious program.”

This is my ‘unconscious programming.’ The one that says if you love me, you’ll take away my pain. And the one that says if I love you, I’ll take away your pain.

Hashtag co-dependency!! I can see now, it was never about me taking away your pain. It’s about offering support, love, and encouragement as you process your own pain.

And you know what’s cool about seeing it this way, I can have a deeper understanding and compassion for myself and for others. My mother is certainly not to blame for comforting me when I’m hurt. And it’s not a 3-year-olds fault that he/she would think that their mother is taking away their pain. But it does give me a change in perspective and I can now see how my thinking got a little distorted in that area. I can see where the problem started and I can make the choice to change. I can also have more compassion for others and honor their journey to discovering the same as well.

Nov 03, 2017
posted in POSING with 0 Comments

Ever practice in the mirror just to blank when it’s time to strike a pose? Next time, go ahead & get the pose you like (in the mirror) then stop for a minute – close your eyes – and remember what it feels like. Because you won’t have the mirror when it’s time to take a photo, it will be much easier to remember the pose when you know how it’s supposed to feel.

Want more tricks like this?
Join the VIP group.

What if I told you there’s one thing that most people have in their kitchen pantry that could help you with your selfies, your family photos or pics of your kiddos? Well, there is! And it’s….


I’ve spent lots of money on the best reflectors a girl can buy. But when you’re backstage at NY Fashion Week, and you’ve left one of those dazzling reflectors at home and there’s no time to get a new one, it’s tin foil to the rescue!

Well, that’s how it started at least.

Then I realized that tin foil actually worked better than some of those fancy reflectors! So I started making my own. And so did a lot of other backstage photographers. In fact, for many of us, it’s now the go-to . When you’re travelling, tin foil is easy to get, easy to use and when you’re done with it, you just toss it out. No need to make extra room for it in your luggage.

But for you lovelies at home looking to up your selfie game, try a bit of aluminum foil. Grab a piece just large enough to cover a small baking pan, and while you’re facing the light, try holding the foil at about breast level, with the side farthest away from you, angled up at your chin. You may be able to feel the light hit your face. You should definitely be able to see the light hit your face! Don’t believe me? Check out the two photos below.

The one on the left has an aluminum foil reflector added.

[QUICK TRICK: If it’s windy out or it’s too flimsy for you to hold the foil, wrap it around a book or magazine so that it’s a bit more sturdy]

How to Look Good in Headshots or Selfies by Shannon Michelle Charleston Beauty Photographer

You can easily see that on the left, there is a bit more light on my face than the one on the right. Look at the cheeks, under the eyes, and the shadow on my neck. But the biggest wow of all is the amount of light in my eyes. Totally unedited [for education purposes only…hahaha], you can see how much extra pop or twinkle I have in my eyes when I am holding a reflector.

[QUICK TRICK: Don’t forget, if you’re shooting with an iPhone, you can still take the picture by pressing the “+” button where you normally control the volume. It’s so much easier than trying to reach the round button at the bottom!]

Happy Shooting 🙂

Nov 21, 2016
posted in POSING with 0 Comments

Intrigued by the idea of a boudoir or portrait shoot? Don’t wait any longer!

Take advantage of our annual *Black Friday Sale and book a shoot for just $400. We only offer sales once a year so this is your chance!!! Simply click [HERE], pay for your shoot and we’ll email you shortly after to schedule a time that works for you. Shoots are scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday mornings and include:

  • Includes Complimentary Consultation
  • Hair Styling
  • Full Makeup
  • Lashes
  • Up to Three Outfits Photographed at the Location of Your Choice within the Charleston, SC area. [Ask us about our complimentary concierge booking service]
  • Private, In-Person Ordering Appointment.


Prints and products sold separately.
For a BEHIND THE SCENES look at a shoot as well as product menu, click [HERE]


*All sales are final. Service is available first come, first serve.

Oct 25, 2016
posted in POSING with 0 Comments


The truth is, not everyone has the budget for a perfect smile. Or maybe you don’t have time for Invisalign before your next photo shoot. Many of my clients tell me they don’t like the way their teeth look on camera when they smile big. This leaves them smiling with their mouths closed or not at all. And while you know I love a serious look, it would be nice for you to have a few photos where you’re actually smiling!

QUICKEST FIX: Smile with your teeth closed.  

You ofter hear smile with your lips together or mouth closed but I bet you rarely hear smile with your teeth closed. It feels silly while you’re doing it, but it works. It won’t replace your busted grill but it will improve the look of it on camera.


When you have gaps, crooked or crowded teeth of any sort, your teeth have grown together in a way that “works” for your mouth. When you smile big, your teeth generally separate and you can see between the teeth, showing off all that glorious imperfection.



Charleston photographer bad teeth


The light that hits your face is not lighting the inside of your mouth. That makes darker areas appear in your mouth and once again, contrasts against the crooked white parts of your teeth. Ever looked at a photo of yourself and it looked like you were missing teeth? It’s just that enough light didn’t hit that part of your mouth.


Smiling with your teeth closed gets even light to all your teeth, blocks “dark spots” from inside your mouth and because your teeth have grown together in that way [as imperfect as it is], they look together when closed. Let’s make one thing clear….this will feel ridiculously “cheesy” and like you’re grinning like a fool. But if doing what was comfortable was working for you, you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now, right? Give it a try. You don’t have anything to lose.





How do you pick your polish color? Do you find yourself wanting to try a new color but then going back to the same three or four colors? You’re not alone. I do that all the time. I stick to reds and dark [almost black] purples in the fall | winter and pale or hot pinks in the summer. But yesterday, I found myself at the nail salon…again…with the same dilemma. I wanted something fun and new but would it work for me? Could I take the polish plunge?! I found myslef drawn to this coral color. And I don’t know why I didn’t think about this before but I started to think about what colors I was wearing that week. I asked myself, “What colors am I typically wearing right now?” We all lean towards certain color pallets, depending on the season. I’m loving deep blues, hot pinks, light pinks and golds right now. I occasionally wear a summer green and I often wear black. Then I realized, the coral goes with all of those colors! I’m in!! Let’s do this…new color here we come!

[I admit that as a creative, I did see the color wheel in my head…lol]

Once the choice was made, I was enjoying my coffee and pedicure and realized, maybe the polish is like the pillows on a sofa. It’s an accessory color. It can be changed regularly. Typically you’re encouraged to buy a more neutral colored sofa and then change things that are easy to swap out, like curtains, rugs, pillows etc….even polish 🙂

So the next time you’re at the salon, try something new. Change those “pillows” and give your weekly wardrobe a pop of color. I’m loving mine!!

Nail Polish Color by Shannon Michelle Charleston, SC

[Purse by Kate Spade]



If you liked this article, you might also like:

How You Drink Your Coffee and Your Approach to Beauty

Which Hair Extensions Are Right For You?

Shana’s Makeover | Beauty Story

As I’m waiting for the laundry to dry, I sit here in a nearby Panera Bread on this chilly May morning. Sipping my piping hot latte always makes thing better…even laundry.

While I relax, I think about my afternoon yesterday and how I got to see my bestie on the big screen. I’ve watched her grow as a person long before the idea of acting ever entered her mind. We’ve cried together, screamed together, worked together and she stood by my side as I married the man I now call my husband.

I remember running off to the movie theater together years ago, just to catch a glimpse of her on screen as an extra; and I do mean a glimpse. It was less than 20 seconds and she screamed, “There I am!” Of course, I was looking so hard that I missed it all together. “Where?” I said. “Behind that person over there” as she’d point herself out in the crowded nightclub scene.

I hate to admit it but I still didn’t see her. It happened too fast. Next time, I thought. And there would be next time. The movie Star Trek Into Darkness was the first time I heard her speak on screen and just yesterday I watched her as she had a role in the celebrity-packed movie Mother’s Day. 

Here’s a little sneak peak of her work on the movie, directed by film legend, Garry Marshall.

[Can I just note….thank God she’s making romantic comedies now, they are much more my pace.]

Anyway, back to my latte. Fine, I admit it; I also splurged on a pumpkin muffin! Don’t judge me. Pumpkin in May? Pumpkin anytime of year…who can resist?

Speaking of out of season things…have you ever watched a Christmas movie in June? Or a Halloween movie just because you wanted to be scared? Or a love story outside of February? Of course, you have! Well, I hope you have.

So between Actors and out of season pumpkin muffins, you must think I’m losing my mind. But as I drifted my thoughts from the movie I had just watched to the actors I photograph, to the industry as a whole; I thought about the age old question…are Actors overpaid? And because I’m a business person, I thought, “maybe not.” After all, they are just businesses. And really, what is a good business person trying to do? Most businesses are looking for that golden ticket…scaleability. Actors are paid to entertain us; to tell untold stories and give us a much-needed break from the stress of life. If you don’t agree, don’t watch any movies. It’s that simple. You vote with your dollars.

Whether they realize it or not, Actors have just figured out the ultimate business dream. To do what they do on a global level. Think about it, it’s the ultimate scalable business! They make one movie and get paid residuals based on the number of people who see that movie. It just so happens that for big stars and big movies, a shit ton of people buy what they do! In fact, if you’ve ever bought a movie so that you can watch it out of season [just like my pumpkin muffin], the scalability is even greater!

So instead of focusing on how much money a group of people has the potential to make, why don’t you ask yourself “How can I make my business more scalable? How can I grow my business to reach billions of people?” Because I’ll let you on a little secret… Actors are not the only people who have the capability to make millions. After all, someone has to finance those movies 🙂

And it’s like the old saying goes “Easy reading is hard writing.” Their job may look easy but take it from someone who’s seen firsthand, it takes a ton of hard work, patience, commitment, drive, passion, talent and even a little bit of luck. Absolutely no one is an overnight success and not all Actors will make it big.

And a great, big congrats to my friend Gianna Simone who is on Vogue’s best-dressed list at the 2016 Canne’s Film Festival in a stunning Naeem Khan gown. You rocked it!!! And check another creative genius friend, Holly Nichols’ fashion illustration of that exact moment!

Actor Gianna Simone in Mother's Day movie, Vogue, Cannes Film Festival