Photographer Spotlight: Michelle Lockwood

2010 graduate manages her own photography business

A 2010 graduate of Dakota County Technical College, Michelle Lockwood, 43, owns and operates her own photography business, Michelle Lockwood Photography, in Lakeville, Minnesota. Michelle earned her Associate of  Science (A.S.) in Photography at DCTC with the goal to become a professional photographer.

Michelle specializes in high-end portrait photography with a focus on high school seniors and families. She also offers fine art images for home or office décor. She continues building on her expertise through the Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association (TCPPA) as well as Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and other national organizations. Michelle is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP).

During her time at DCTC, Michelle was recognized with Best Photographic Portfolio at the 2010 Visual Communications Portfolio Show; she also made the Presidents List.

More about Michelle…

Originally from Motley, Minnesota, Michelle graduated from Staples High School, Class of 1994. In her free time, Michelle enjoys international travel, weight training and spending time with friends and family. She has been married 13 years to her husband, Brian, a native Australian and software development director. Michelle and Brian have two children, Garrett, 20, a business major at UW Milwaukee, and Quinn, 7, a first grader. The family has one dog, Ozzie, a feisty, 2-year-old black Lab/English shepherd mix.

Michelle and her family are headed for Australia in January 2020 for a six-to-12-month stay. They’ll be living in the Port Douglas area in North Queensland near Cooya Beach and Mossman, the latter Brian’s hometown. Michelle will be focusing on landscape photography as an art form during her visit. She’ll also be traveling to Bali and New Zealand.

New Professional Photography A.A.S.

The Photography program at DCTC has a NEW Professional Photography Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The degree not only gives students fundamental photographic training, but also includes the necessary business and marketing skills to be successful in today’s creative market.

Opportunities to fine-tune skills in a specific genre are available through Independent Study experiences.


Michelle Lockwood Photography gallery

Michelle Lockwood Q & A

Michelle Lockwood

Michelle Lockwood

Why did you choose DCTC?
I heard DCTC had a solid photography program and I was ready to pursue this as a business.

How did the DCTC Photography program prepare you for your career?
I learned all of my technical skills hands on with the guidance of incredible instructors. I also focused on many other aspects of photography including critiques and business classes.

What advice would you give students thinking about making professional photography their career path?
Take as many technical and business classes as you can, get certified and join associations such as Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association (TCPPA) to continue your education.

What do you like best about photography as an art form?
The journey and finding new places and subjects to photograph. Opening your mind to something new and looking for something different. Art is subjective, so having the freedom to create from your own mind and your own style is inspiring. You can be at the same place at the same time as another photographer, but have completely different outcomes. I love to look for a different perspective, something that others may not see.

Three words that describe you as a professional photographer:

What is your favorite type of photography and why?
Travel and art. I get to explore new places, meet new people and enjoy the freedom and creativity this sparks in me. It’s about the experience and the journey.

Who is your favorite photographer?
I have many! When I started I followed Peter Lik and strived to be a better landscape photographer. These days I draw energy from those who love to share their excitement, explore new places and try new things. I have been following Peter Mckinnon lately and find him very inspiring.

What is your greatest strength as a photographer?
The ability to visualize how an image will look before I even capture it and that I help people feel more comfortable in front of the camera.

What advice would you give photography majors thinking about starting their own business?
Have a full understanding of all aspects of being a business owner. Join your local or state associations. You can be the best photographer in the world, but to succeed with a business, you have to be the best business person.

What do you consider the most rewarding aspect of running your own photography business?
Giving my clients images they love and seeing their faces light up when they see the final product. Also, being able to do something I love and enjoy every day and while setting my own schedule so that I can be there for my family when needed. And most recently—feeling the ability to finally share my knowledge and experiences and to open up workshops/mentoring for others.

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


More about Photography at DCTC…

Photography is a creative, visual industry that requires highly trained professionals. As a student in the college’s Photograph program, you will learn all major aspects of photography through hands-on application of image capture, lighting, computer software, portraiture and print production. Courses in design skills, video and color management round out your experience.

Degree Options

The Professional Photography A.A.S. and diploma programs deliver the skills you need to capture excellent images in many different environments. You will also learn how to transform those images into professional-quality prints. The A.A.S. degree includes business courses that provide the knowledge required to manage or own a successful photography business.

You may earn a Technical Management A.A.S. if you’re aiming at entering the workforce after you graduate. You may also earn an Individualized Studies A.S. if you’re looking at transferring to a four-year college or university.


Faculty perspective…

Michelle Lockwood and Lisa Cline

Michelle Lockwood and Lisa Cline

“Michelle has built a solid photography business in the south metro. Her award-winning work is modern and genuine. We are proud that the DCTC Photography program has been a part of her journey to success.

“It is an exciting time to be a creative. Successful careers can be pursued through so many avenues including contracting, corporations or self-employment. The Professional Photography A.A.S. at DCTC provides graduates with the technical and entrepreneurial skills to excel in their future photographic endeavors.”

Lisa Cline, CPP
Photography Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

Michelle Lockwood 12 Answers

Michelle Lockwood

  1. Favorite physical activity: Boating
  2. Place you would most like to visit: I’ve been to 14 countries and counting. Next stop: Moving to Australia and visiting Bali and New Zealand.
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Ultralight flight on the coast of North Queensland, Australia, and sailing the Great Barrier Reef
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Buy a cabin in northern Minnesota 2) Pay off student loans for myself and my son 3) Travel the world
  5. Favorite brand of camera: Nikon
  6. Favorite music genre: Classic rock
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Show my kids the world
  8. Your national bioform if you were your own country: Manta ray
  9. Dream occupation: Work for National Geographic; I’ll take travel blogger as a close second. 😉
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Johnny Depp
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Video and video editing
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Too many to count; most recent on my mind is the homeless population.
Learn more about Professional Photography at DCTC by contacting:

Lisa Cline
Photography Faculty

Darrell Tangen
Photography Faculty