Michael Heeney

"I never really thought that I would end up pursuing a creative profession, I really just wanted to play outside for the rest of my life."

I grew up in a small town in Southwest Pennsylvania and ever since I was young my passions have always been in the arts and the outdoors. In high school I was the president of our National Arts Honors society local chapter, and was voted ‘most creative’ by my classmates in the senior superlatives. Creativity always seemed to come easily to me but at that time I never really thought that I would end up pursuing a creative profession, I really just wanted to play outside for the rest of my life. 

I loved mountain biking, rock climbing, camping, kayaking, skiing, really just any possible way that I could have fun and challenge myself in the outdoors. My first year and a half of college was spent at Frostburg University in Maryland, learning outdoor education, outdoor leadership and search and rescue techniques, while taking some art classes as electives. I felt a bit lost in my schooling though and dropped out of college to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. 

I traveled the country and also took a NOLS course, which was a very formative experience for me. During my time away from college I decided to go back to school for fine arts/ceramics, since my high school art teachers always told me that I should become an art teacher. So I enrolled in Southern Oregon University to pursue a masters in ceramics. I never made it to SOU though, because on the day before I was supposed to drive across the country to Oregon with my parents, I decided that it just didn’t feel right.  

After I made that hard (yet very fast) decision, I all of a sudden had some unspoken-for money that I had saved for college expenses. I quickly bought my first SLR camera which I had always wanted, and I instantly knew that a career in photography was what I wanted to do with my life. I then enrolled in (and went to) The University of Vermont where I got my B.A. in fine arts with a minor in art history. After UVM I went to The New England School of Photography to learn more about studio lighting and how to run a photography business. I graduated NESOP in 2005 with honors in both advertising photography and fashion photography. 

After that I moved back to Vermont and started my photography studio, so I’ve been working as a professional photographer for about 15 years now. 

On inspiration

Some of the photographers that have inspired me are Albert Watson, Edward Weston, Mark Laita, and Paolo Roversi. Also filmmakers such as David Lynch and Wim Wenders.

Current Kit

Currently my cameras are a Nikon D810, a Nikon Z6, and a DJI Mavic Pro2. 

What’s one tool you can’t live without?

I cannot live without my Nikon 85mm 1.4 AND my Nikon 35mm 1.4 lenses. 

What does your dream photo shoot look like?

My dream photo shoot would be shooting a fashion spread in a remote corner of Iceland. 

Michael Heeney
Michael Heeney Photography