Every member of “team couple”, your wedding execution team, is extremely important, but there is one that I’m absolutely partial to as they make everyone on the team shine by capturing those moments to look back on. If you guessed that I’m referring to the photographer, you are correct!
I had the opportunity to chat with Roberta ‘Ro’ Simantel of J Michael Photography Co. for our SBC local business highlights we are doing all month long. She is the leading lady of the dynamic duo with owner James Michael. Their creative perspectives make J Michael Photography Co. an amazing brand with a beautiful balance of his focus on portraits and her focus on wedding and lifestyle photography. Ro also authors their photography blog, where you can check out some of their stunning work. She is a fellow military spouse and a go getter momma that is proud to let a few dishes pile up to purse her passion. Clearly you can see why I love her so much! Without further ado let’s dive right into our conversation.
Bree: What makes J Michael a great photography company?
Roberta: James is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G to say the least! He is a painter by hobby and pulls inspiration from fashion and architecture to create the most stunning portraits. He truly captures the beauty of each moment, and he is such an artist at what he does. Honestly, we both have a passion for photography, and I can definitely feel the love we put into our work - especially when we get our ordered prints back.
Bree: What do you love most about what you do and how do you feel about styled shoots?
Roberta: James and I differ a little on this one, but I love capturing those authentic moments that depict the emotion in its raw nature, that’s why my style is geared more towards lifestyle photography. I joke that styled shoots are false advertising! (laughs) Don’t get me wrong though, styled shoots for marketing purposes are great, but for me there is nothing like shooting a wedding and being in the mix of it all! Capturing the emotion and beauty is my niche. I emulate film - Kodak Gold to be exact - so I focus precisely on lighting and color. Sometimes, it’s a challenge to be able to think fast on my feet and be able to get the correct settings on my camera, find the right angle, and capture the moment. But the rush is amazing and the product is priceless. I obviously don’t take wedding photography lightly, but it helps that I am extremely comfortable with what I do that the work doesn’t feel like work. I am creating art at every moment.
Bree: I love your location downtown. What are you passionate about in this city?
Roberta: Being downtown Shreveport is super special to me. James has made this studio our home away from home. I am his work wife and this is our shared home. He has tastefully decorated it and I’m obsessed with this space. Even when he is not here, I feel his presence. It’s lovely that we are located in the heart of the city. Shreveport has a lot to offer if you just look for it. I’d love to see the area continue to flourish with businesses and real-estate. It really is a fun area, but to really enjoy it you just have to jump in and get plugged in! We are hoping that our magazine (J Michael Magazine) will become a platform to help get the word out there of the fabulous artist community and culture Shreveport has to offer.
Bree: Share a little about yourself! Favorite place to eat, where you get coffee in SBC.
Roberta: I love grabbing coffee at Rhino downtown. Their coffee is tasty and their space is warm and welcoming. I am also obsessed with the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits that Chef Blake prepares at Whisk, which is also a pretty rad pastry shop on Azalea Dr - a skip and a hop away!
Bree: I hear you have an exciting new project coming up with the launch of the magazine! Tell us a little about it and why you’re doing a magazine?
Roberta: This is really a passion project for us. Three months ago, James came to me with this idea of providing a platform for the creative community in our area. I fell in love with the concept. We partnered up, opened up JamRo Creative LLC, and just went for it! We pride ourselves in the purity of our content. We are definitely not selling out content to fill our pages, instead we are going out and networking and creating a platform for all these amazing artists in our town. We want them to be reflected in our magazine exactly as they are and should be. Also, our ad style is also a little different. James is to thank for that. We want the readers to think twice about the ad. Is it an ad? Or art content? This is where James has the ability to create. He never touches anything that doesn’t come out absolutely stunning. Furthermore, we are actually hosting a magazine launch - gala style! The concept is that it will be a living magazine. Everyone highlighted will have a part in the event. It’s going to be quite unique! You absolutely must come out to our launch gaga on September 21st to see it for yourself.