#ColorPopWCW: NYC Wedding Photographer, Mikkel Mihlrad of Mikkel Paige Photography

It's sometimes hard to remember exactly how I first meet people and it took me a little while to backtrack to figure out how I first met Mikkel. And then I remembered. Ah yes, I Instagram stalked her. I had been a fan of her work and following her on Instagram for a while when one day she posted a photo that showed her wearing one of my favorite Kate Spade bracelets (the black Goreski glasses, in case you were wondering). I commented something to the effect of "I have that bracelet too!" and we decided that it was fate that we should meet. We met up for coffee in Long Island City (when she was still living in Astoria) and the rest is history! What I love most about Mikkel is her energy, upbeat spirit, photography talent, and, of course, her love of color! I also love that she asked to reciprocate the #wcw love and feature me on her site. You can find all of that goodness here.

photo by  Cassi Claire  

photo by Cassi Claire 

When did you know you wanted to be a professional photographer? 
I fell in love with photography years ago when I was a project coordinator for a creative team in Orlando, who also became the unofficial construction progress photographer. It was around that time I was getting more involved in the pro photography community and decided I wanted to second shoot weddings, which parlayed into me photographing my own. 

When did you start your business? 

What sets you apart from other photographers? 
I have a style that seems to be uncommon these days: vibrant and true to color. I joke it matches my unique, colorful personality! I also sincerely love what I do, everyday, not just the good days. A lot of other vendors, from the band to wedding planners (not just guests) at weddings I photograph, continuously come up to me to compliment me and tell me they've never seen such a happy photographer. They say, "We can tell you love what you do!"  

Do you have an all-time favorite photo that you've taken? 
It's a photo from a styled shoot of a bride holding a beautiful bouquet. It's a crowd favorite! I adore the story behind it more than the photo, even though I love the photo. It was a really low key shoot in a friend's wedding dress startup headquarters (her Brooklyn apartment) that I planned. Again, it was low key. The concept was one bride, four looks. My friend Sachi, of Sachi Rose (one of my favorite florists and good friend) had a vision of this bouquet and spent a lot of personal funds to create it. I asked the "bride" (Sachi's best friend) to lean over the back of a cool chair so I could get a unique angle on the bouquet. Well, I'm happy to say I've lost count of how many times that bouquet's been featured in both online articles and print. It kind of went viral and I'm proud of it - we worked hard to come together to create that photo! 

What are some of your favorite locations to shoot?
I love new locations because I think they're really challenging. I love urban graffiti and beautiful parks. 

What advice would you give to couples who may be a little nervous about getting in front of the camera?
If you find the right personality in a photographer - not just the actual photos they take - you'll be comfy and the camera will melt away.

Are there any go-to jokes you tell to get people to smile in photos?
If you're not a well practiced photographer, don't try this at home, folks! It has to be the right couple: I get a kick out of telling a bride to grab her man's butt or a groom to go ahead and grab a boob it he feels inclined. It always makes them smile and immediately puts them in a playful mood.

What are your go-to wedding day shoes?
Flats I buy at Target!

When your couples decide to work with a wedding planner, how does that impact you?
If it's a good planner, it's amazing. I know the details will be plentiful and the schedule will be on point and he or she will work with me to succeed for the couple. If it's not a great planner, it unfortunately hinders my success. So make sure your planner is a team player with vendors, not just someone who's going to police your wedding day.

What's the most memorable event you ever attended?
ANY event? The Bloomberg company party in 2002! Wedding I've worked? My destination weddings come to mind, whether it was a small vineyard in California, a destination all-weekend wedding in Jamaica, or "local" nuptials in the north of Norway

What other business women do you look up to?
My sister and Oprah (no joke - she's incredible - she's the original successful "boss lady" in my head).

What advice would you give to other women starting their own businesses?
Patience, perseverance and sincerity. I hear people complaining their success isn't happening immediately and they want to ride on other people's coat tails for it. Have patience and persevere - and be genuine and gracious. 

Do you have any daily routines that you think are critical for having a successful and productive work day?
Every day is different for me. I try to reply to emails as fast as possible though. Communication is really key to me. Not just in business but personal relationships too! 

What's your favorite business book?
The Leadership Challenge.

What's one question you'd like to answer that I didn't ask?
Question: Why are some photographers expensive and others seem more "affordable"? (insert: planners, florists, etc.) 
Answer: They're REAL professionals doing their craft full time with expenses you probably don't consider from insurance, to equipment, to digital storage, time they spend on their couples, and more. Hence, they cost more than newbies or part-timers. I was once a part timer - so I have nothing but love for them...but their associated costs reflect their skill level. As years go on, they gain more experience and strive to be the best in their field. Hence, there are associated costs with that, just like a doctor or lawyer at the top of their field. 

What's your favorite color?
Yellow! (Hard to pick though - I love color in general.)

For more on Mikkel, check out her site and both her Instagram pages, here and here.


Mikkel, this one's for you, girl.