hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

for clients: to view my portfolio just click on this link - theCOCOgallery.com. to book sessions please send me a message through theCOCOgallery.com or contact me via michelle@thecocogallery.com | 949.734.0604

Monday, December 7, 2009

mila | balancing life

it's hard for me to believe that just a year and a half ago i was living a burnt out life in the corporate world dragging my feet through the motions and wishing for control.  i got a surge of energy every now and then, a spike of excitement ... because despite it all, i really did enjoy what i did for a living.  but living on someone else's schedule, pushing everyone else's envelopes and having my hands tied by corporate red tape was bound to wear thin.  i am so grateful for all the support and encouragement from everyone around me -- especially curtis for letting me live out this dream.  but it's not all sugar and bon bons.  

i read an article this morning that made me snicker.  it isn't uncommon that people think the life of a photographer must be fairly chill (that's what this article was about).  it's actually a whole lot more work than i ever did in corporate america.  i have to be everything to my business.  i am the CEO that makes hard decisions like firing myself from designing my own website coz i don't know anything about good web design.  i am the marketing director that convinced the rest of the board (i, me, myself and curtis) that we had to bite the bullet this year and pay for advertising.  i am the accountant, the strategist, the photographer, the editor, the slave chick, i am everything and everyone 7 days a week and 15 hours a day.  it's non-stop.  sometimes i get tired and sometimes the baby does cardio kick boxing in my belly to remind me that i need to eat, pee or just take a break.  but i love it!  i love it so much that i had to instill some discipline.

most people get 2 days off a week and a full time job usually means an 8 hour work day with appropriate breaks.  this leaves time for life, family, personal growth and all the important things.  i try to make sure that i don't lose that in the little world i've created for myself.  it's so easy to spend all my time and energy on my craft because i love it so much.

curtis has weekends off and i usually don't... but when i do i make sure that the time is reserved for family and friends.  i try to be done with all my work by 6.30 pm at the latest during the week so i can spend time with curtis at the end of the day.  i start out each day with a list of items to do in some kind of priority order knowing full well that staying up till midnight does not make for a shorter list tomorrow.  so what gets done will get done and the rest will have to get addressed later.  and just because my work station is a few steps away from my bedroom does not mean i rush off to work every morning.  i take the time to cuddle and hug and make coffee and chat.  i left the burnt out world of corporate america not so i can get burnt out in my own world but so i could live my life first and pursue a passion second.  

this is what i tell myself as i finally edit some photos from a shoot i did a few weeks ago with a couple of friends.  i could barely keep my fingers off of them .. i was itching to go through them and share the joy with everyone.  but now you know how i managed to sit on these for so long. 

The models: Chelsea Ravitch, Erika Cook, Tiffany Amber , Whitney, and Bao Sun
The venue: an awesome studio owned by lyle okihara http://www.lylephotography.com -- you should contact him if you are in need of a professional and well equipped studio.

special thanks to kevin hall for inviting me and lorrie to the shoot.

michelle can be reached at 949.734.0604 or by email michelle@milaPhotography.com  |  www.milaPhotography.com


  1. I think this is one of my favorite sessions of yours to date. I love the series of three of Chelsea. The concept and execution was brilliant.

  2. LOVE the shots Michelle! SOOO rad! Too hard to pick a fave. ;) And HERE HERE on the needing balance thing. I'm working full time plus doing photography and feeling BURNED OUT! I can't escape corporate america if I put myself in situations that make my life out of balance! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Thanks for sharing Michelle! You've definitely come a long way and your photos show it!