Michael Keel Photography
Michael Keel Photography

Michael Keel Photography

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Introduction: First and foremost - I love what I do. I feel privileged to be able to make art every day and to share it with my clients. My goal is to make images speak, exposing "how it feels". I try to achieve in my work: balance, beauty, consistency and continual growth. I think my photography stands out from others as I have shot on film my entire life. I focus on "real moments", a more journalistic style of wedding photography. When I make photos, I strive to get the shot right the first time "in camera" - not in Photoshop! A lot of photographers overly utilize Photoshop and manipulate their photos far beyond what they originally shot. With my work, I only use Lightroom as a "digital darkroom" to develop my colors of what I saw and try my best to make that shot perfect in my eyes to begin with. Photoshop is only used in my work if something major needs to be done, mistake, or a client has a special request for that magazine look of brushing, for example a fashion shoot, modeling ad and so on. No one should "rely" on Photoshop. You should rely on your "photography skills" - while on the job. I get the freedom to express how I see the world through my lens. These images are seen through my eyes with the help of my camera. My intention has always been to put the viewer in the moment, of actually feeling like they are in the photo, standing at the viewpoint, gazing, and leaving it up to the viewer to interpret their own feelings. I want to find the camera angle from which this feeling can be the most that they can be whatever that is. If it is the grace of the clouds, then I want the angle from which that grace becomes the absolute most it can be at that moment. And so it leads me on, to explore angles, space, reflections, and light. I strive to make "moments" make sense visually, and trust that the metaphor, meaning, will follow. Note: I want to add that I edit my own photos, this is my business. You will see many "companies" that will reach out to you with their photographers . But the photographers do not edit their own photos. I think it is VERY important the person making the photos, edits their own shots. It makes zero sense to me that the artistic side of the photo, or exactly how the shot was taken by the photographer shooting - is edited by someone else. I would not say the company does not care, but this is more "mass produced" photo work in my opinion. Most just throw the same filter effect onto every photo. I do not use fake filters, I actually care about each photo I take, and each one is meticulously edited. No one else touches my work, and each shot personalized with my eye for your special day. Lastly, I cannot make you smaller, look thinner, tuck chins, and basically make you look like someone else with my editing. I'm a photographer, not a graphic art designer, nor a Magician. A photographer. If you're looking to have every single thing you don't like about yourself removed, I'm not the photographer for you. If you want beautiful, natural, real, in the moment, non-fake photos that actually represent your day - and your already beautiful self inside and out. Showing your happy expressions, joy, love, surprise, and so on. I'm your photographer.

Current Top Pro

Hired 391 times

Serves Petaluma, CA

Background checked

1 employee

16 years in business

Payment methods

Cash, Credit card, Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo

Social media

Facebook, Instagram

Currently a top pro

Top Pros are among the highest-rated, most popular professionals on Thumbtack.

Jul - Dec

All year

All year

All year

Current Top Pro

This pro indicated that they reviewed CDC safety guidelines for COVID-19 and pledged to do the following:

Maintain 6 feet of distance from customers

Disinfect surfaces touched during the job

Featured Projects

335 photos

Event type

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Customers rated this pro highly for work quality, professionalism, and value.

Excellent 4.9

182 reviews


Read reviews that mention:

Michael J.

Wedding and Event Photography

Michael was an excellent photographer for our wedding event. We rescheduled due to COVID and he was flexible to make our new and changing arrangements work. We ended up on an outdoor private shoot that ended up very natural. He's a great guy to discuss the photoshoot with, and stays calm and professional in his element. We were loose on our plan and he went with it well. At the end, a few weeks after the event, the photos came out wonderful. Recommended.
May 28, 2021
Nadia N.

Wedding and Event Photography

Michael was awesome! He took both our engagement and wedding photos, and offered us the best price in the area. He arrived to our wedding early and got the most beautiful shots of everything, both candid and posed. I was so impressed by the quality of his work and his overall responsiveness. He also gave us A TON of photos in a very timely manner. I highly recommend him!
Sep 23, 2021
Hang L.

Wedding and Event Photography

Michael did an excellent job for our wedding. We had to suddenly reschedule due to the pandemic but Michael was understanding and helpful with our revised COVID wedding. Michael was also patient with us and our many questions about wedding pictures and overall wedding planning and organizing. We highly recommend him!
Jan 30, 2021
Deepak K.

Michael did an amazing job for our wedding. We also had several date changes owing to the pandemic and he was very patient and understanding through it all. The final pics were exceptional in quality. One thing we both wanted was someone who was willing to help us with poses that would look good and Michael did that. He was very detail-oriented and made us feel comfortable through it all. We had a multi-cultural wedding, so it was important that we had someone who understood the salient aspects of both cultures. He also liaised very well with other vendors. All in all, great value for money and an exceptional job.
Nov 10, 2021
Tiffany B.

Working with Michael was awesome. From our engagement pictures to our wedding photos everything was great! The quality of his work is amazing. He was able to capture the best parts of the best day!
Nov 10, 2021
Background Check

Michael Keel


  • What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?

    When I give a quote, all travel, taxes, my editing time is all included in the quote. There are no extra charges unless something very specific is mentioned from the client. Extra travel, extra hours and so on.

  • How did you get started doing this type of work?

    I started making photos at thirteen years old, inspired by my grandfather who was in the Sierra Club and The California Camera Club back in the 1930's. I remember as as child awaiting the weekend to see him. He'd reach into old trunks that had stickers from places he'd visited; taking out glass bottles of chemicals. I thought he was a wizard, "Look Michael,you see?The tree developing on paper? From there, it never ended. The passion of making photos continued and I only switched to digital photography about five years ago. I try to incorporate old techniques with new technology.

  • What types of customers have you worked with?

    Photography with travel writing, Indie films, indie music, shooting actors on movie sets, A LOT of weddings! Plenty of engagement clients, newborns, maternity, foodie shots, corporate/commercial photography, portraits, family photos, photo editing. All of my jobs involve some kind of research, which could range from the culture I am writing about, chef, food topic, business, area I am traveling to or in, press trips and so on.

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