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Rising Stars: Meet Morgan Whitney Cook

Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgan Whitney Cook. 

Hi Morgan, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
Hello! I am Morgan Whitney and I am a lifestyle photographer based out of Columbus, Ohio.

Photography has been a defining part of my identity for at least ⅔ of my life. I shied away from making it my career because I loved it so much + I didn’t want to have to depend on my passion to make a living. So, I studied something close; visual communications. My specific sequence was informational graphics and page design with a specialization in journalism because I have always loved art + the power it has to communicate a story with feeling.

After graduating from Ohio University, I freelanced for an advertising agency doing page design. I realized I wasn’t ready for the big corporate world so I booked a one-way ticket to Thailand to teach English.

The experience completely broke me open and changed me as a person. As I tried to figure out how I fit back into American culture, I found myself sitting at a desk as a Senior Graphics Specialist for American Chemical Society Publications. I learned a lot in this position and still feel grateful for the experience, however I knew it wasn’t going to last.

I gave that position my all while also working part-time managing Kitty Maer Studio. This side hussle allowed me to learn all about owning a photography business while getting hands-on shooting experience from an incredibly talented photographer.

Managing Kitty’s studio turned into second shooting for her then working as her associate photographer. Kitty and I eventually went into a 50/50 partnership creating a black and white portrait studio called KARAKTER.

After a few years of trying to balance a 9-5 and a photography business, life took me to San Antonio, Texas. Once again, I found myself seeking a safety net in a graphic design job even though I knew my heart was still in photography.

I decided to stop denying my passion and go for it – this time under my own name. After years of being an apprentice to some amazing creatives, I was ready to own my dream. In 2015 I went out on my own as Morgan Whitney Photography.

I have done a lot of different types of photography from working with creative entrepreneurs to families to weddings. Currently, I find myself working mainly with women through three different experiences; motherhood, wellness, and intimate portraiture.

All three categories are a direct reflection of moments in life that I deeply relate to on a personal level as well as moments I aim to nurture for others. I believe photography is an opportunity to connect, heal, and celebrate and I am forever grateful for my clients who trust me to see them in these moments.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I would say the biggest challenge has been self-doubt combined with my intense investment around my craft + clients. I think a lot of people who make a living from their passions, especially if they’re not classically trained, struggle with imposter syndrome. That feeling combined with a business that feels deeply personal – both for me as an artist and for my clients – can be a challenging combination.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in photography for the intuitive woman by offering a space to create images that evoke exploration + celebration of self.

I offer three different photography collections which each create this space in different ways.

1. The Private Room Photo Shoot is an intimate portrait series that calls for courage, vulnerability, and freedom.

2. The Motherhood Collection honors expecting mothers, new mothers, and newborns through their first year of life.

3. The Body + Breath Collection is for those looking to create a visual representation of their wellness practice.

I would say what I am most proud of and what I hope to be known for is really being able to see + collaborate with people based on who they are, where they’re at in life, and how they hope to grow.

Photography can create a beautiful representation of someone, but beyond that, my main goal is that my clients walk away feeling like they were able to feel something beautiful inside themselves.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
I love when clients reach out because of a specific “why”. I am very interested in how they want to feel during the shoot + when they see the final images. It tells me they are invested in the work on a deeper level + it helps drive me to connect.

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