Michael Henley started his career in photography by working his way through college at Portland State University, doing freelance photo assignments and working in a portrait studio on a variety of photo projects. He operated a studio with a partner for awhile and then in 1977 opened his own studio, Contemporary Images Photography, in Milwaukie, Oregon.
He has been a working professional photographer for 50 years in both portrait and commercial areas of photography. Much of his commercial work is used in ads, on the web and in magazines and promotional materials. Some of his clients have included: Flyfishing Magazine, Shilo Inns, Pittock Mansion, AAA Via Magazine, Public Playhouse Theatre, Sandy Actors Theatre, and Pure Dance Company, to name a few.
He has been teaching in-depth photography courses for over 35 years in the Portland area at PSU and Marylhurst University, and for the past 21 years at Mt. Hood Community College. Michael also enjoys teaching private workshops and has presented programs on many photographic topics to a variety of photography organizations such as Portland Metropolitan Photographers Association and Columbia Council of Camera Clubs.
Michael's detailed understanding of studio lighting has given him the opportunity to work as lighting consultant for Art Wolfe, a world acclaimed landscape and nature photographer on his Human Canvas Project.
Michael has judged photography exhibits for the Clackamas County Fair, Deschutes County Fair, Oregon State Fair, Lane County Fair, and the Columbia Council of Camera Clubs has been a rewarding experience for Michael.
In 1980 Nancy Ratlaff joined the studio and became an asset as a photo assistant, darkroom technician and customer service representative. She has worked with Michael as the business transitioned into digital work and continues working as a digital technician. Nancy enjoys photography, drawing and watercolor painting.
Michael, and his partner/photo assistant Nancy also conducts photo workshops to the desert southwest in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. They have been doing this for the past 14 years and enjoy taking small groups to out-of-the-way locations to capture the beauty of the desert. Depending on the interest of the attendees, they sometimes provide a model for environmental portrait work.
They like to personalize the work to suit each clients needs, whether it is a building interior, products, or portraiture. Michael’s understanding of how to use light gives a natural quality to his images.
In his portrait work Michael likes to bring out each client’s personality in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Clients are encouraged to bring props and mementos that mean something special to them. He enjoys studio work but also loves to take clients to outdoor locations.
When not teaching or working in the studio, Michael and Nancy enjoy traveling, shooting fine art scenics, camping, hiking, and antiquing in small out-of-the-way communities.