Marla Michele Must has lived and worked in Birmingham for 13 years, specializing in photographs of families, high-school seniors, dancers and equestrian portraiture under the name of Enchanted Photography by Marla Michele Must (enchantedbymarlamichele.com).
“I’m often asked about the creative process of choosing locations for portrait sessions,” Must says. “While there are different factors that go into this, including weather, lighting and, of course, the subjects, there is also a bit of magic.” And though she considers the whole world the backdrop to creating her art, Must has a few favorites up her sleeve — which she shares with us here.
“I love discovering back alleys in Downtown Birmingham to contrast an urban vibe with the delicate elegance of ballet portraiture,” Must says. Here, members of Ballet Edge Detroit model handmade dancewear that was created by Freda Silk in Bath, England.
“Downtown Birmingham is a favorite for high-school seniors to capture an urban feel in their photos,” Must says. “The Community House, pictured here, and Shain Park are high on my list too.”
“It was always a dream of mine to combine an equestrian session with the beauty of the beach,” Must says. “We have so many lakes in the immediate area, with Kent Lake being one of my favorites because of its stunning curvature of the shore line.”
“I truly believe that beauty can be found anywhere,” Must says. “I found this random magnificent Magnolia tree on Lincoln in Birmingham in front of someone’s house. I knocked on the door and the homeowners very graciously agreed to my request to bring clients over. Part of the magic of Magnolia trees is that they are only in bloom for a fleeting moment.”
“Johnson Nature Center in Bloomfield Hills is a place that is near and dear to my heart and offers a stunning variety of flowers and foliage,” Must says. “I’m a big supporter of the Nature Center, often holding fundraisers to donate back to its preservation.”
“High-school seniors have fun of walking around the residential side streets and finding just the right combination to incorporate beautiful landscaping and architecture,” Must says.
“Quarton Lake in Birmingham was always a special place for these long-time Birmingham residents. We celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a beautiful and emotional portrait session — the bride even wore her original wedding dress,” Must says.
“Living in Birmingham — whose tagline is ‘Birmingham, A Walkable City,’ we have the benefit of multiple parks that make for so many locations to choose from in every season,” Must says.