jackson mi

Photographer Interview: Tiffany Cornwell

This one is personal – Tiffany Cornwell has shot my family, engagement, wedding, and maternity photos (and my current profile pic)! She’s a family and wedding portrait photographer, local to Jackson, Michigan, who is super fun to work with.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Tiffany Cornwell and I’m the owner and sole photographer of Tiffany Marie Photography LLC. I received a bachelor’s degree in photography from Saginaw Valley State University in December 2011.

How did you get started in photography?

I was about eight or so when my grandpa would come visit from Arizona. On his week-long trips, he would buy me a couple of disposable cameras and tell me to go to town and document whatever I wanted while he was there. Before he left, we would get them developed and we’d check out my photo treasures together. Ever since, I had been known to always have a camera of some sorts all through middle school and high school!

What do you like about your photography?

My own photography excites me. I love that I can capture a moment that turns to a memory. Of course then, through post processing, I’m able to put my own artistic spin on the image to make to my own piece of art.

My favorite pieces have lots of color or emotion in them. I get a sense of joy and pride when I look at images where I shot exactly what I was looking for. I’m also a huge advocate of getting work printed! To see the hours poured into an image, then having it printed seems to bring the moment back to life!

Where do you get inspiration for your style/ideas?

I’m 95% a happy person, so I tend to lean towards images I can produce that emit that same feeling. That could be why I love shooting weddings…the love and happiness in someone’s big day brightly shows in their images.

I love a lighter feel in images. The grungy, dark, mysterious images tend to make me feel anxious, so I shy away from styles that could evoke that within someone else.

For ideas within a session, it usually stems from the person or couple I’m photographing. Seniors tend to have their own sense of style and their own passions, so we try to collaborate for at least a few quirky and unique poses that really shows their personality. One senior played drums for marching band, so we thought it would be cool to put glitter on them so that as she was playing, there would be clouds of glitter flying up. It was captured pretty nicely!

Your work focuses on families and couples, with some portraits in there. How do you get comfortable working with people on these intimate photos?

Meeting with them first beforehand has helped tremendously! Having in-depth discussions about their desires for the session, wardrobe choices, their likes and hobbies, and what they wish to accomplish from their session is key. It breaks the ice for seniors and couples alike to know I’m interested and invested in them. They tend to open up more during their session because they also invested the time to have their session be great and they know what the end goal is.

I’m also a bit quirky, so if they’re still a bit jittery during their session, it doesn’t take long for them to laugh at my clumsiness! Little kids are a bit more work…I tend to get a workout in from jumping around getting them to look my direction and maybe unlock a smile!

What kinds of themes do you explore with your work?

Love, closeness, growth, future. All things that tend to strengthen a family or a person. As I stated above, I love capturing special moments! I love helping seniors find confidence and strength in themselves through having their portraits done with me. The excitement and relief in a mother’s eyes when she sees I got not one but many great images of her three amazingly independent children make me beam with pride. I adore my brides when they’re crying tears of joy seeing the love between her and her new husband in their photos. I feel like I accomplished what I set out to do for them knowing I did my job to the best of my abilities so they can have memories to cherish forever.

Any upcoming projects or shoots you’re working on?

I would love to set up a fun bridal shoot with multiple women in bridal gowns and accents of a wedding day to showcase what I love, and perhaps it even becoming a promotional piece for those involved. But it has barely been put to paper so plans are still in brainstorming mode.

I would also love to continue my ferris wheel series throughout 2016. I have three or four favorite images I’ve taken and would love to create a series of fine art images focusing on the ferris wheel that people can purchase as a collection or separate pieces.

You can view more of Tiffany’s work at her Tiffany Marie Photography Facebook page, and her Instagram profile

It’s Here: Artists In Jackson

Today I’m releasing my portrait project Artists In Jackson to the world. Since June, I’ve interviewed and photographed 15 Jackson-based artists about their talent, their challenges, and their hometown. The final product is a beautiful, 100+ page book featuring stories and portraits from the artists.

You can learn about the project at artistsinjackson.com. And the book makes a great holiday gift!

Thank you so much to the artists who participated. Through painting, or photography, or metalworking, or tattoos, they’re making my hometown of Jackson, Michigan, a more beautiful place. Support them!

And thanks to all of you who have supported and shared this project.

Artists In Jackson

Since June, I’ve been working away on a portrait project featuring artists from my hometown of Jackson, Michigan.

For one, it’s the second part in what I hope will be an annual project of highlighting interesting people in my community. And two, I love talking to people with interesting talents and hobbies. It was great to meet the 15 artists profiled and chat about artsy stuff with them, the artistic community in Jackson, and what their successes and roadblocks look like.

The project is now just about ready for primetime. You can see the particulars at artistsinjackson.com.

There’s lots more to do. I’m working on a printed book, the flagship end product of this project. Once that’s done and ready to print, I’ll publish the artist profiles on the website, and release an eBook version of the print book.

And from there, I hope to have a show of some sort in the Jackson community, and invite the community to meet the artists and see some of their work.

It’s been a lot of work, and a lot of fun. Artistically, it’s very different from the kind of photography I’ve focused on in the past. I feel different, too. It’s like all the portraits and images I’ve worked on before this have been overly amateurish.

With this project, I’m actually making photographs that matter.

I hope you join me for the ride in the next few weeks.

Trains: David


They call David “The Conductor.”

He joined the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club at 16. A wunderkind who became the club’s treasurer.

He’s also a bit of a jokester.

“I still live in my childhood home,” David says. “I just kicked my parents out.”

Trains: Banana Car

David is the first one in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, and usually the last one to turn out the lights. The club meets in a second story loft in downtown Jackson, Mich. The hours come from the club’s old location at the local mall. It used to be they’d meet on Mondays and Fridays, but David says they started using Wednesday as a “work day.”

Though “work” is always code for “social.”

“It’s more social than anything. This is my social club,” David says.