Local photographer balances parenthood and small business ownership

Photographer Daniele Carol Miljour is shown with 8-18 Media journalists. In front, from left, are Miriam Miljour, Daniele Carol Miljour and Anna Martinson. In back, from left, are Liam Ulland-Joy, Ella Falk and Ivy Pomeroy.

Story and photo by 8-18 media
Click! The sound of a camera capturing a moment was more common 15 years ago than it is today.  Years ago when you attended an important milestone event such as a birthday party or a graduation you would make sure to bring along your camera or a disposable camera to document it.  Today, however, most people are using a smartphone as their everyday camera. Although you can take thousands of pictures with ease using your phone, do you ever print them and frame them?  The answer is most likely no or not very often, and that is why hiring a professional photographer to capture life’s important milestones is still very important to many families.

Daniele Carol Miljour, owner of Daniele Carol Photography first opened her studio over 15 years ago.  Her studio, which at first was located within a closet in her home, has now grown into its very own building, located on Third Street in Marquette. Miljour said she was inspired to pick up a camera during her high school career when she gave a black and white film class a chance.

“I had a friend who really liked the class and I really liked photography,” Miljour said. “ I really liked to take pictures.  Before I even took a class, my friends and I would shoot off a whole roll of film and go drop it off and then laugh at all the funny pictures we took.  I really liked it then, and then I got into class when I was just 16. I really liked the teacher and the process and development, and then by the time I was a senior he really liked what I had photographed. He said I had a really nice eye and said maybe you should go to school for this.”

Miljour took her teacher’s advice and studied photography in college and then was able to turn her passion into an impressive career.  Miljour said owning a busy studio is a challenge that has ups and downs, especially because she is a mother to three children.

“Balancing being a studio owner, photographer and being a mom would probably be the hardest thing because you really have to separate what you do for work and being home and giving your kids love.  You need to do that,” she said.

Miljour is able to balance it all a bit more efficiently with the help of her assistant who can watch the studio when she needs to be on mom duty.  Having a second person to help out is an advantage because Miljour said that most photography studios are a one-man band.

Despite some of the challenges trying to balance work life with personal life, Miljour said the positives outweigh the negatives and photographing families brings her a lot of joy.  In fact, her studio walls are covered with framed photos of chubby-cheeked babies and smiling families.

“I would have to say is the biggest return from what I do is watching the kids grow up along with my kids,” Miljour explained.   “Then watching their parents look back and remember the way their kids were by looking at their pictures. Some of our clients have been with us since I moved here and started to have five or six years worth of portraits around their house. That’s what I like the most.”

Future plans for the photography studio include growing the portraiture aspect of the business but also branching out in new directions.

“I don’t know if you guys know that there are sort of two aspects to photography.  There is the portraiture type of stuff, which would be anything for a family—mother, son, newborn, one year, things like that—and then there are things we do that are for companies and businesses.  So, for the future I would like to build up more of that business-to-business type stuff because I enjoy seeing other businesses get their visual act together,” Miljour said.

Miljour also shared a few tips and tricks to help us non-photography folk get our visual act together when using our smartphones to snap photos.  Not everyone walks around with a professional camera and lighting set, but Miljour insisted that it is possible to take amazing pictures using only your cell phone camera.

“I always tell people to make sure when you want to take a picture of something that you look in all four corners and along the edge and you make sure that everything you want to be in the picture is in the picture and if it’s not instead of using the zoom button, if you can, just step in a little bit closer. Turn it a different way; make them step to the side,” Miljour explained. “You kind of do a little check. Make sure everything that is in the picture, you want to be in the picture. That’s composition wise, just making sure that you have a clear subject and you are eliminating things that are distracting. Another thing for the iPhone, is if you are looking at something and it has a cool lighting and it’s coming in a certain way and you put your phone in there and it goes really bright or it goes really, really dark, it’s trying to go to the brightest spot and make that spot have the correct exposure. You can tap on it and a little sun comes up, and you can drag that sun up and down and you can change the look and the exposure on it.”

It seems that everyone is guilty of taking a selfie and then posting it on Instagram or other social media platforms.  Miljour laughed when asked if there is indeed a time and place for using a selfie stick.

“I think they work great.  A lot of people don’t have long arms and I think selfies have become something of the time you know? I love a good selfie with a group of friends and everyone is laughing because you are super close, so they can be super obnoxious. I have seen some people overuse it, but in general, I think the selfie stick is a win,” Miljour said.

Miljour also believes it is important to be involved in the community that has given her so much by volunteering her photography skills at non-profit events such as Mom Prom and the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum’s Culinary Journey.

“I do like to be more involved in the community to give back.  A lot of people that we see at those functions are clients from here, so it’s nice to give back when you can,” Miljour said.

For more information about Daniele Carol Photography please visit her website at For better pictures, smile, say cheese and use a selfie stick sparingly.

Written by Annabella Martinson, 14 with contributions by Liam Ulland-Joy, 13; Ella Falk, 9; Ivy Pomeroy, 9; and Miriam Miljour, 9.


(This regular feature is produced by kids ages eight to eighteen in the 8-18 Media news bureau in Marquette. Our mission is to empower youth by giving them a significant voice. We report on youth issues that are of interest to all ages. In addition to stories in Marquette Monthly, we produce stories broadcast at 8:30 a.m. and 6:50 p.m. on Fridays on WMQT-Q107 Radio and at 9:34 a.m. on Sundays on WNMU Public Radio 90. We thank the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development for its continued support. If you have a story idea or would like to comment on our work, contact us at 8-18 Media, 123 West Baraga Avenue, Marquette, MI 49855, call 226-3911 ext. 107, e-mail or visit 8-18 Media is a program of the U.P. Children’s Museum.)

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