“Let her through!” the agent yells.  “Right this way!”

You push past the crowd of fashion hopefuls and glide past security when you have what everyone else wants: The dangling necklace pass with the word “backstage” on it.  It’s NY Fashion Week, and there’s a very brief calm between security and backstage.  A few, private feet to gather yourself, take a breath and get ready.  Then, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, you’re dropped from one frantic and crazy scene to another.

There are hair stylists, makeup artists, nail specialists, PR teams, agents, photographers, journalists and, of course, models. Back here, there is no such thing as personal space, but this group of elite professionals get the work done, no matter who or what is in their way.

Charleston Fashion Photographer Shannon Michelle

After passing racks of gowns and tables overflowing with accessories, you make your way to the area we lovingly call the photographer’s “pit.”  Where there’s space for only one person, we fit five.  Exhausting as it is, our attention is drawn away from the surroundings as soon as we hear the tearing of plastic – security removing the tape at the end of the runway.  The lights go down, the music comes up, and for a few, brief moments, you forget where you are. The only thing I’m focused on is creating “the shot” – the one that embraces the perfect combination of clothing, beauty, light, motion and mood.

Charleston SC fashion photographer

This is a world I am part of a few times per year when I photograph fashion shows. But the rest of the time? I’m bringing those skills to you.  

For just shy of a decade, I have been making women in New York, Boston, and now – Charleston – explore their beauty with fashion inspired portraits.

Yes, I enjoy the rush of schmoozing with celebrities and highlighting the hard work of designers.  But fashion is theater, and I love real life just as much.  When a woman comes into my studio, there is no overwhelming, shouting cacophony, but just as much fierceness and beauty.  And nothing beats the reaction of a woman who sees my photos of her and says “Is that really me?”  (Yes.  It is.)

Charleston Beauty Photographer Shannon Michelle

I’m not in the business of making people fit into some specific beauty “mold” though.  I mean, in my small  Virginia hometown, an “evening look” involved throwing on your best blue jeans and tossing your locks under a ten-gallon hat. Taxis and slew of crazed pedestrians? Try tractors and a family of grazing deer.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I can still power slide a four wheeler with my eyes closed. I just prefer to fire my silver .380 Colt Mustang Pocketlite in my favorite pair of Badgley Mischka 5″ black satin heels.  I’m a country girl with a city heart.  And I’m in the business of helping woman – every shape, every age – come alive on camera exactly how she wants to, looking like her best self.

Let me show you what happens when you step in front of my lens.  

Christian Louboutin shoes Shannon Michelle
[Shannon & Christian Louboutin]

“Let’s blow out the shoe candle,” he playfully said in this thick, adorable French accent. Thank you,Christian, for making my 30th birthday one I’ll never forget [and for signing my new pumps]!!



Shannon graduated from The New England School of Photography in 2004, with a major in Portrait and Editorial Photography. Her boudoir work has been featured in the press and she is a New York Fashion Week veteran runway photographer. Shannon teaches photography seminars and workshops nationwide, guest writes for professional associations and her educational products have sold worldwide. After spending 14 years in the Boston area, Shannon is currently based in Charleston, SC and is available for travel.



My heart melts for animals of all kinds. I am wife to my polar opposite and mom to our two amazing fur kids – a dog named Cotton and a bunny named Tucker. [And yes, they get along; they are best friends in fact!] I feel right at home with a hot latte on a cool, fall day. I love cozy sweaters and rocking chairs, expensive shoes, romantic comedies, food, food and…did I mention food?! I adore impromptu dates with my hubby, travel, riding horses, big sunglasses, brunch with friends, red wine, pedicures, and of course nothing gets my blood pumping like when the lights go down and the music comes up at a designer fashion show! Some of the most memorable and inspiring shows for me have been Reem Acra, Naeem Khan, Badgley Mischka and The Blonds.

“Life is meant to be extraordinary.”

Charleston boudoir photographer wedding
[Photo by Melissa Arleana Photography. Gown by Monique Lhullier.]