Top 10 Educators to Watch // Featured

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


2015-03-20_0001 Firstly, I apologize for the photo quality of this image. I got super excited and couldn't wait for the actual print magazine to land on my doorstep, so I took a screenshot of the online digital issue. I promise to replace this fuzzy version with a real photograph the second I get it!

Here's the thing with this blog post: I have tried to write it every day for the last week but each time, my fingers just float about the letters. I have been featured on the covers of incredible magazines. I have been featured on VH1 and Good Morning America. And nothing, not one other mention, means as much as this one.

My biggest dream has always been to teach. Even when I was studying law, I'd spend my afternoon library breaks fantasizing about teaching future attorneys, and inspiring the hearts of the next generation of change makers. Some people think being a movie star is every girl's dream, but for me, I couldn't even utter the words, "I want to be a teacher," without feeling the flips begin in my core. All of my personal heroes were/are teachers: Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Pearl Buck, Robert Frost, Rita Dove... (I could seriously go on). When I got a 4.0 in college, it wasn't a fluke. I am madly in love with learning, and education, and  I guess my point is, this recognition is a big deal. Perhaps, the biggest.

As my photography career continues to rise to new heights, many people find it odd that I remain so steadfastly loyal to the business of building fires in other people's hearts and I wish I had a clear way to articulate exactly why. It is a passion that consumes me. I can't begin talking about it in public, because I get so emphatic, talking super fast, quoting academic articles, nerd flag waving so super high, and I suppose I start to sound more crazy that capable, and that's not what I want. It's kind of frustrating! I am a writer, I love language, and yet, I don't know how to assign words to this most powerful calling.

So, no, I don't have a beautiful poem, and I don't have a symbolic image that comes close, but I do know, and want to share, this: I was born to be a teacher, it is my most sincere and profound honor, and being selected by professionals whom I highly respect, as a top 10 educator in the whole wide giant world to watch this year, well, this moment is pretty much everything. At the end of the day, I don't feel successful based on the number of celebrities I have captured, or the number of popularity points I've racked up, even though I am profoundly grateful for all of the blessings I have be afforded. It is the moments spent sharing my passion with others, on the shoulders of my idols, that will forever be the hi-lights of my career.

Featured // BRIDES Magazine


We are busy bees over here working on the new wedding website, dedicated just to our wedding work, but I had to sneak this exciting news on here!

We made history this month with a real wedding featured in BRIDES Magazine. As if being featured in this media giant isn't enough of an honor, the fact that they chose a lesbian, Jewish, super-diverse celebration is flat out incredible.

I am so proud of this one. Because in the ocean of featured wedding photographers who focus only on taking really pretty pictures, I love being the one known for the really meaningful and beautiful ones.

Top in the US!


We were just named as one of the Top 100 Photographers in the US!

As opposed to other websites/blogs that have photographers pay for "awards," this selection was entirely independent and that's such an honor!


I can still remember when I was first named Top 30 in the world, and to know that my work still resonates with people, is such beautiful news to hear!


To be honest, I don't share many of my features on here. Not because I'm not proud, but because I never want perspective couples to choose us because we seem popular in the media. Our wedding images have illustrated two books in bookstores all over the country. We've been in Vogue US and International. But that's not what matters. Those aren't the carrots we chase.

And, that is the last thing we want our couples to care about.

We stand for the preservation of authentic story telling for the sake of posterity, not for the sake of popularity.

OK, that being said, I LOVE these two souls so very much and I am always happy to see their love being shouted from the rooftops. Their wedding left us believing that everything happens for a reason, and what is meant for us will never pass us by. I also love the lady behind Carats and Cake, and am so happy to watch her star rise!



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New Class!

Teaching is such a deeply rooted passion of mine. It was a 9th grade biology teacher who first introduced me to photography, and even my very first Pentax camera. Being able to give it back, and spill my secrets, and share my guts with the world means SO much to me.

Which is why, I am SO thrilled to announce my NEW class with The DEFINE School, Creative Rehab! AND as if it couldn't get any better, the class is sponsored by my close friends over at Artifact Uprising! Free surprises for all my beloved students!

It's Awakening the Spark 2.0 with a giant splash of writing help and a huge wave of technical photography tips (black and white editing, anyone?!) to bring your work to the NEXT LEVEL. The focus is on healing from the inside out, because without a strong foundation, everything just crumbles over and over again.

When I say my spots are SUPER limited, I'm not kidding. I really wanted to keep this group small so that we can all work closely together and form a solid bond of support. As you know, every single seat in every class I have ever offered has sold out immediately, so please set your alarms and mark your calendars. If you are called to join this luminous tribe, I realllly want you to put yourself first and make this a priority!



Here's the full write-up from their website:

You’ve heard friends talk about burnout casually before. In the grocery store line: “Oh girl! I am so burned out. Is it time for my vacation yet?” (giggle, giggle); or at school drop off, a giant cup of coffee in hand: “I have to get my boost for the day! Otherwise I’ll just burn out.”

But when you get to the point where you are truly depleted and run down, you know it. Your job, which was once a creative bonfire of love, is now an all-consuming five-alarm fire and you feel like you may suffocate on the smoke.

Your body is exhausted. Your brain is a constant buzz of activity. You cry at the end of the day because you feel like you aren’t doing a good job balancing it all. You need caffeine to start your day (and maybe an alcoholic drink to end it) and your idea of a dream day is sleeping, sleeping, and more sleeping.

You need a detox; a cleanse; an intentional recovery program. You need to rehabilitate your body, mind, and soul.

Offered only once a year, Creative Rehab is a four-week class packed with lessons on meditation, self-care, nourishing recipes, and photography as a healing outlet.

In this course born from her own journey to physical and mental recovery, photographer Michelle Gardella teaches concrete, holistic ways to get you back to your most vital and happy self and prevent burnout in the future.

We're proud to partner with companies that share our love of supporting growing artists. This course is sponsored by Artifact Uprising. All students enrolled in this class will receive a 5.5 x 5.5 softcover book.