Board of Directors: Susan Michal
M.Photog.Cr., CPP, ABI
PPA Member since 1998
Location: Jacksonville, FL
- Read her bio.
- Read her Board Spotlight interview (June 2007), featured in Professional Photographer magazine.
Susan Michal is an internationally published, award-winning portrait and wedding photographer. Michal holds the Masters and Craftsman degrees in photography and is certified by the Professional Photographers of America. She has been named North Florida’s photographer of the year and is an active member of several professional photography groups, along with PPA. In addition, she has won numerous awards and has had the distinction of having five of her images included in the PPA’s Loan Collection.
Michal’s unique photographic images have been featured in calendars, greeting cards, and posters around the world. Her specialty is capturing what is special and unique about individual sessions to create memories that will be treasured for generations.
Board Spotlight, June 2007
Jump On In…
By Angela Wijesinghe
Remember the icy shock after you cannonball into a pool? That shock is worth it, because jumping in lets you experience the whole pool—from bottom to top—and you’re only cold for a few seconds. Jumping in headfirst…that is partly how Susan Michal was able to come so far. And by far, I mean from being a traveling musician to photographing the Super Bowl and teaching photography in China.
Despite traveling as a musician, she knew photography was her “thing” when her first roll of film came out. Michal started hand-coloring photos for fun…never realizing that years later, that style would define her as an artist. And just as she joined her local guild, she had another jumpstart: Walmart started carrying her calendar. Perhaps it was the reality of seeing her creation on Walmart’s shelves; perhaps it was something else. But the minute she realized that photography was what she should be doing professionally, Michal jumped in headfirst. She volunteered, spoke, and competed. As Michal puts it, “I looked at what [PPA] said to do and did it. I’m the PPA poster child!”
But soon, with zero computer skills, she was staring digital in the eyes…and it felt like she’d lose everything she’d fought to learn. Luckily, a friend gave her the invaluable advice to jump into it full force. He warned Michal that the change predicted to happen in ten years would happen in only two. And it did. “Without that advice and the support from PPA…I wouldn’t have survived,” she notes.
Now she wants to share what she’s learned from jumping in. As a Board member, Michal hopes to elevate the level of professionalism in the industry. In her words, she sees photography as an added level of business. “We’d all love to just be photographers. But we can’t. What goes on in our business isn’t too different than what happens in other businesses.”
Basically, Michal took good advice to heart and worked to turn her fledgling business around, tweaking and improving it until she achieved success…and then tweaking some more. She commented, “People say, ‘What’s PPA? Just a magazine.’ Well, that’s true only if that’s all you take out of it.” So somersault, flip, and jump on in. Get your head—not just your feet—wet in the business of photography. And take control.