Michelle Grace Hunder is a fashion photographer from Melbourne, Australia. When we first checked out some of Michelle’s stylish portfolio we were very impressed so were delighted when she agreed to complete a spotlight interview with Urbanity Chic. Read the full in-depth interview below to discover how Michelle became interested in fashion photography, how her career has blossomed over the last 12 months and what music she enjoys listening to.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
I quite literally ‘fell’ into it. Just under two years ago, my husband bought me my first DSLR for Christmas as he noticed I enjoyed taking photos on holidays and at parties. I was always the one who documented events and I always had my photos up first on Facebook for friends to see. I love the memories that photos capture.
I was a freelance model in a past life and have quite a few good friends who are professional photographers. I asked one of them – Wayne Quilliam – if I could come out on a shoot with him one day and see how I go. He was kind enough to agree. Quite literally it happened from there. I showed a few photographers my photos and got fantastic encouragement and just decided to start to go out and shoot!!
I started literally the next week, and very soon people were responding to my work so I set up a website and Facebook page and soon enough little jobs were coming in and it snowballed from there!
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
I love the feeling of when you have a concept in your head and you spend weeks planning it and you see it all come together on the day. I can’t explain how excited I can get on shoots (ask some of the people I work with, its quite embarrassing haha) when I know we have got some really amazing photographs. Nothing comes close to that feeling.
Q: How has the last 12 months been for you?
Incredible! I’ve gone from a hobby photographer, to part time to now professional photographer in the space of a year. I can’t even begin to imagine what the next few years will have in store when so many exciting things have already happened!!
Q: Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by every day people rather than celebs or other well-known people. One of my best friends Sami is battling Leukeamia and she inspires me every day.
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
I don’t tend to follow fashion icons, I take bits of current fashion and like to put my own spin on things rather than emulate someone else’s style. In terms of designers – probably Alexander McQueen, which I totally credit my friend Michelle V for introducing me to!
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
I think a good photographer that clients will continue to use and recommend is someone who is easy to work with. This makes a shoot fun and enjoyable and shows obvious passion.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
Digital – I think film photography is a beautiful art and I admire anyone who does it well, its just not my space.
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
Location – without a doubt! I love the freedom and the random nature of location photography and I think my studio work sucks – quite literally! I so admire people who do it well and I am constantly working to get better at it, but Location work is where it’s at for me right now!
Q: Do you have any interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
Yes – the photo I called “The Good Witch” of the model jumping in the air with the trees in the background. This photo is especially special to me. It’s the first photo (actually this entire shoot) where I looked at it and thought ‘ WOW’. It really was a turning point from hobby to taking it very seriously. I took that within around 5 months of getting my camera – quite early on.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
Yes – it’s a very recent photograph of a model named Tara. Quite literally I got a bit emotional when I was editing the photograph. I thought to myself that it was the most beautiful photograph I have taken to date.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
Hmmm, depends in what space.
I have just started separate business (Mish&Oli) that I’ve just started specifically for weddings with an amazingly talented young photographer named Oli Sansom and we both adore and admire the work of Jonas Peterson.
Fashion Photography wise – I have a couple of favs:
-- Georges Antoni
-- Justin Ridler
-- Peter Coulson
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
I would love work with Peter Coulson (I keep hounding him to assist him on a shoot… so perhaps one day) as I adore his work.
When I first saw this year’s Next Top Model winner Montana on my TV screen, I immediately wanted to shoot her! Such a stunning girl!! Not sure of my chances any more, but its nice to dream!!
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is self expression, its how we externally represent ourselves. It’s such an incredibly powerful way of being able to say “This is me” by how you dress on any given day.
That’s what is so wonderful about it, you can change your representation yourself to the world on any given day, depending on your mood! Its creative, its beautiful and its inspiring!
Q: How would you define your personal style?
HAHA! It changes from day to day but I always have a little ‘rock’ edge. I like denim, leather, studs, boots etc, so there is always a bit of that I tend to throw in on a daily basis!!
Q: Where are you based?
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I adore living and working in Melbourne. I wouldn’t live anywhere (other than perhaps NY) else in the world. I can’t tell you how much I love this city!
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
The first time your work is published is always pretty exciting! Seeing your name credited is pretty cool! For me that was a major news publication, it was a photo I had taken of a live dance performance and the photo was used for a review. Nothing too major but it was still exciting!
I get excitement out of many things though. This interview is pretty exciting!! J
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in the future?
Honestly I want to become the best I can be. That means shooting more, learning more and developing my style.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I love hanging out with friends, shopping, going to the gym, listening to music, stalking on facebook. The usual things! 😉
Now that it’s warm again I like to get of my scooter ‘Sophia’ and ride around Melbourne!! That’s so much fun!
Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Too hard to name! I have so many favourites! I generally find every time I travel somewhere new its my new favourite! And I have so many places I want to go!
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Oh, you wont find a more extreme mix of music. My roots are hip hop, so I have a LOT of old skool west coast rap like Snoop’s old stuff and Tupac, Dre, Cube etc. The majority of the music I love is hip hop but then
I’ll have some power ballads by Mariah and Whitney on there, some System of a Down and Metallica, – I mean its so varied its quite ridiculous! haha
Q: Do you have any interesting hobbies?
Umm not that I can think of!
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Go out and shoot, as much as you can. Every opportunity!! I think I learn something new on every single shoot!!
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
I’ve had a lot of jobs and careers in my time (that in itself is an interesting story! Haha) but there is nothing I have ever done in my entire life that makes me as happy as being a photographer. I could never go back to a 9-5 job again, this is my passion and what drives me. I’m an incredibly lucky girl that is for sure!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I have no formal training in the area of photography, everything I’ve learned has been from great friends giving me little technical lessons and literally picking up a camera and going out and shooting.
I think it’s incredibly important to know the technical aspects of photography, but it can be learned through practice, not just theory. I still have so much to learn in that area but I am literally learning new things every day.
Editor’s Note: Michelle Hunder has a natural flair to create a timeless fashion style in her photography. Definitely one of Urbanity Chic’s photographers to watch!
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Michelle Hunder just follow the links below:
twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/MichelleGHunder
facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/MichelleGraceHunderPhotography
web page link: http://www.michellegracehunder.com
(New website: http://www.mishandoli.com)