Although he has been taking pictures for a long, long time, Michael List only went pro three years ago, when he and his wife, Honey, launched their studio, M-K Photography, in January, 2010. Ever since, Michael has photographed senior, family and maternity portraits and even branched out to sports and wedding photography.
However for Michael, photography is a part-time profession. By day, Michael works as a supervisor of quality control at a railcar plant in Danville, Ill. But his passion is photography, and for the past two years he has honed his craft at the Illinois school.
"Every year it sets my work apart," said Michael. "It's a phenomenal class and I learn something new each year."
Michael says it was a fascination with lighting that attracted him to photography.
"Just how you can capture the look on a person's face through different lighting," he said. "That's always been a challenge and a joy for me."
Michael shared his appreciation and looks forward to what another year at the workshop has to offer.
"I'm very excited to have won the scholarship," he said. "I'm thrilled to be a member of PPA and the honest truth is that I'm a better photographer because of these workshops. If it wasn't for them, I would just be a guy with a nice camera. My harshest critic, my wife, even says so!"
Last year was Nikki Winklemann's first time attending the Illinois Workshop, but it left a lasting impression.
"The information I learned was invaluable," said Nikki. "It's an experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I was so excited that at the end of the week, I joined PPA!"
Nikki's mother was a photographer, and Nikki fondly remembers spending hot summer days in their basement dark room together, making butterfly shapes with their hands and placing small hot wheels on the photo paper to see what designs they could develop. Nikki's early exposure to photography inspired her to focus her studies in college on becoming more than just a photographer. She focused on not only photography, but Graphic Design, Digital Media and Psychology and graduated in 2008.
Shortly after, she started Dinnius Photography with her business partner--mom! With her skills and her mother's years of experience, Nikki hopes to take their business to the next level and capture memories in a studio outside of their home.
Another goal is to help her mom retire, a goal she says the Illinois Workshops will help her reach.
"I realize that while my mom is our main photographer now, someone has to step in and take the reins eventually," she said. "Illinois Workshops along with PPA are large contributors to the success of our business, we wouldn't be here without them."Another goal is to help her mom retire, a goal she says the Illinois Workshops will help her reach.