Miller Morris Photography: A Lesson in True Beauty

Lupita Nyong’o, winner of this year’s Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, gave a moving speech about self acceptance and beauty at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood event.

She speaks eloquently about growing up and not feeling beautiful because of the darkness of her skin. That no matter how often her mother told her she was beautiful, she “…began to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy.” It wasn’t until she was older and started to see images in the media that reflected what she looked like (in the form of model Alek Wek) that she became more comfortable with her looks and realized that “…beauty was not a thing I could acquire or consume, it’s something that I just had to be.”

As a portrait photographer, I can see this same struggle in people that I photograph. They’re hesitant. They need to loose a little weight. Change their hair. Look a little younger. They don’t see the beauty they possess now, as they are.

That’s all I see and it’s what I want to capture in a photograph. The beauty and strength of who they are, right now, inside and out. Thanks Lupita, for reminding us of the importance of loving ourselves for who we are and the importance of showing that to others.

Miller Morris Photography: A Lesson in True Beauty

Miller Morris Photography Portrait Session: Michael

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Michael was referred to me by ReFresh Talent Agency for a series of headshots for his modeling portfolio. Headshots usually conjure up the idea of the close-up of a face with that big smile. While you will find that shot in Michael’s images, when shooting for a portfolio, you get to have a little more fun and show a range of expressions. There is a diverse range of modeling gigs to be had here in San Diego and southern California, from print to commercial to fashion. Having a portfolio that shows your range can lead to all kinds of opportunities. For more tips, check out

But showing that range isn’t just for models. The next time you are thinking about having your portrait taken, give some thought to the range of expressions you’d like to try and talk it over with your photographer. Long gone are the days of your school pictures. Let your photographer guide you through your poses and expressions even if they don’t seem like the “right” way. You just might come away with the portrait of a lifetime!

To see more of my work, visit my website:

Miller Morris Photography Portrait Session: Michael

Miller Morris Photography Portrait Session: Shaunte

I have such a great time shooting portraits. It’s fun getting to know someone and then doing a portrait of them. Shaunte was no exception. Originally from Chico, California, Shaunte has made his way down to San Diego to try his hand in the entertainment industry.

As you can tell from that smile, Shaunte has a great personality, but he needed a variety of photographs for his portfolio. So for half of the portrait session, we went to Presidio Park and did some outdoor, lifestyle-type shots. Then to change it up, we came into my studio and did the black and white photos for an edgier, moodier look.

Everyone join me in wishing Shaunte much success in his modeling and acting endeavors. He will be represented by ReFresh Talent Agency in Orange County.

To see more portrait work, visit Miller Morris Photography.

All images Copyright © 2014 Miller Morris Photography

Miller Morris Photography – Miller Who?

Ryan Morris, Miller Morris Photography
Ryan Morris
Portrait Photographer
Miller Morris Photography

I love images. As a kid, television and the movies were my world. They took me on adventures and put me in worlds a boy from small town Ohio never got to see. Those moving images enveloped me and took me along on their ride. They still do.

As much as I love moving images, there was always something more magical about a still image to me. Wondering when the photograph was taken, why it was taken and what the story was behind it. That allowed my imagination to run wild.

I got my first camera, a Polaroid, for Christmas when I was eight years old. I remember starting to take pictures with it, trying to take interesting pictures. I was a little frustrated because back in the day I could only take so many pictures before I was out of film and I thought my pictures were boring.

So, as I’m running out of my first cartridge of film, I decided on a sneak attack. Our bathroom was at the end of a long hallway and my mom was in there putting on makeup. I got down on my belly and started crawling down the hall, trying to stay hidden in the shadows until I could get close enough to take her picture.

Finally, when I was close enough to her, I raised up and click, I snapped the picture. Now, like I said, it was a long hallway. I was eight. My mom knew I was sneaking up on her. When the photo came out of the camera and developed, I had the best photograph of my mom, leaning over the sink to put her makeup on, looking at me sideways and sticking her tongue out at me.

I still have that picture of my mom and it is my favorite photo of her. I captured the spirit of my mom perfectly in that image. How beautiful she is and how ornery she is. I love that I captured that moment and will have it always.

Capturing a single moment in time, knowing that moment will never happen again, is such a beautiful concept to me. That’s why I love photography.

Miller Morris Photography – Miller Who?

Gorilla Photography Thursday: San Diego Zoo

OK, the title of this post, and the photos, may be a little misleading. As a photographer, I take my camera everywhere and love working to get a great shot.

But… Most times my outing isn’t me alone working on building my portfolio. Usually I’m with friends who aren’t as patient as I am while I’m working the shot. So most times, I’m lagging behind while they’re off ahead of me, probably grumbling that I’m not keeping up.

I’ve termed the photography I do during these outings “Gorilla Photography” because I have to be quick to get the shot and keep up with my friends. So every Thursday, I’ll post some of my gorilla photography photos. For the first post, I thought it was appropriate to post a few photos I took when Jon and I went to the San Diego Zoo.

Sorry though, neither photo is of a gorilla.

Gorilla Photography Thursday: San Diego Zoo

Adventures in Photography – We’re Waiting!

Live your life

Well, so much for living in the present and no longer letting fear stop me. I made a bold statement in my first post. I was going to start living and not let fear hold me back anymore. That was almost a month ago and I’m just now doing a second post. Any guesses on what has taken me so long?

Yes, my old mistress fear wrapped her arms around me and whispered her familiar sweet nothings into my ear, “It’s not good enough,” “What’s the point,” “You’re being ridiculous,” “People are going to see you for the fraud you are.” Oh, she knows just what to say to me to keep me in my place.

But this week, I saw two blog post, one from photographer Zack Arias and one from The Guardian that Zack posted on Facebook, that helped me turn away from those words of doubt and fear. The first is about getting off your ass and stopping whining. The second is about passion for your art. Take the time to read them. They apply to all people, not just photographers and artists.

So I will say again, I will not let fear stop me from really living my life anymore. I am going to embrace who I am and where I am in my life, at this moment, and say it is good enough. Then I will move forward, trying and failing, trying and succeeding, trying and learning, trying and trying and trying. And I ask you to hold me accountable and if you want I’ll do the same for you.

Adventures in Photography – We’re Waiting!

Adventures in Photography

A New Life
A New Life

Welcome to my inaugural blog! I’m looking forward to sharing my photography adventures, some great photographs and maybe some musings on life.

So we might as well jump right in with life musing number one: FEAR. How many of us let our lives be ruled by fear? I don’t know when it started or why it started, but fear has been a constant companion to me throughout my life. It has cast a shadow over every decision, desire and dream that I have ever made or had. Continue reading “Adventures in Photography”

Adventures in Photography