Michelle VanTine – "Always Shoot for Highlights!"
Lens Magazine|September 2021
Michelle VanTine has been a full-time photographer since 2008, working all over the US and in the UK. The main focus of her work is creating scroll-stopping images for amazing brands and amazing people.

Michelle VanTine has been a full-time photographer since 2008, working all over the US and in the UK. The main focus of her work is creating scroll-stopping images for amazing brands and amazing people. She is known for creating images that increase visibility, communicate high quality, and cuts through the noise working with sports brands and athlete portraits. Having been an athlete all her life, including NCAA Division 1 Rowing in College, it's been natural progress that her art degree and her love for athletics led her into sports photography. Named #5 of Top Sports Photographers in Miami in 2019 and #4 in 2021- she was honored to be the only female on the list both years. She is based in Miami and continues to work with athletes and brands to deliver beautiful, strong images.

As a child growing up in Montreal, it was soon obvious what I would be when I was older. My mother tells the story that when we walked to the grocery store, which was only four short blocks away, it took a serious 15-20 minutes as I would point out every flower pushing through the cracked pavements and other peculiar objects which caught my eye that could just NOT go unnoticed. Georgia O'Keeffe aptly states: Nobody sees a flower really - it is so small it takes time - we haven't time - and to see takes time. When I think back, seeing was a notable part of what I did in my free time.

I grew up in an urban neighborhood in Montreal. We lived in a busy street with lots of traffic and hubbub. I observed people running frantically from my bedroom window to catch the city bus, walking in and out of the grocery across the street, or strolling leisurely to the park down the block. In the summer, I was perched on the highest branch of the apple tree in our backyard, and people watched.

I remember the old Italian men sitting on their porches with their wrinkled faces and gnarled hands eating pizzelles. In the winter, I sat on the heater under my room's frosted window and watched people scurrying about. I just saw things. Always.

In middle school and high school, I discovered sports. It was not long until I was on the school team and city clubs for everything from swimming to volleyball. You could say I was a 'jock.' I practiced after school on weekdays, and I competed on weekends. When I wasn't doing sports, I was doing art. I remember taking the aptitude test in a high school computer class where students answered a series of questions, and the software suggested possible careers for you. Needless to say, I did not receive the result of professional sports photographer (it was the 90s, after all, I got teacher and nurse!), but looking back, sports photography would have been the logical match.

College came along, and to no one's surprise, I enrolled as an art major at the University of Central Florida and rowed on the crew team my freshman year as an NCAA Division 1 athlete. This is where I discovered photography. As part of our course work, we learned film photography. In my senior year, I even had a job as the darkroom attendant: monitoring students and helping if they had any difficulties with their prints. I shot with my grandma's A-1 Canon camera, which I, to this day, sits on my studio desk. And In 2008, I resigned from my 9-5 job and LLC'ed my photography company.

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