meet our team

At The Photographer’s Element, we are 100% committed to ensuring you not only learn a ton, but that you enjoy yourself along the way. We make it personal! Full-time students benefit from plenty of student-teacher interaction, including personalized feedback on assignments. And all students benefit from the years of professional experience and learn-from-my mistakes approach that each of our teachers brings to the table.

Why not take a moment to get to know our team? And then hop on over to their course pages to learn more about how they can guide you on your own photography journey.


Meet Sarah Grace Allred

sarah allredSarah Grace is celebrating her sixth blissful year as a photography teacher. Mentoring flourishing photographers makes her heart sing, as well as collecting vintage Little Peoples, and devouring all things Drum Corp (check out and watch her inner-geek emerge!). Sarah believes in holding no secrets back when teaching and that photographs can truly change the spirit of your home sweet home.

Sarah Grace lives in Louisiana with her husband, Loves-to-ride-the-bus-Kindergartener, and scambled eggs lovin’ baby boy.

Sarah Grace is our lead instructor for Mastering Manual, Oh So Composed, and our tutor for Mastering Light and Spark.

Hop on over to the course pages to learn more about them. And if you have specific questions about what course is right for you? You can reach Sarah Grace here. (And if you’ve got a line on vintage Little People? She’s your gal!)

Meet Brooke Snow

brooke snowBrooke wants to live in a world where background music plays along to life’s adventures, the smell of a new baby can be bottled, and morning nature walks happen every morning.

As a photographer, she’s been published in Where Women Create and Where Women Cook magazines, featured on the Huffington Post, The $100 Startup, and is a regular contributor to her local NBC lifestyle show Studio 5. A sought after instructor and speaker, when she’s not putting the magic into her next presentation, you can find her drooling over organic recipes, hiking with a mountain buggy carrying precious cargo, and hanging out in her Farm House with her fabulous little clan in Northern Utah.

Her free course Living a Thriving Life is the perfect anecdote for those seeking balance in the midst of chaos. Discover how to create meaning in both your photos and your life at

Brooke is our lead instructor for Mastering Light, Finding Your Voice, Spark and From Practice to Portfolio.

Hop on over to the course pages to learn more about them. And if you have specific questions about what course is right for you? You can reach Brooke here. (She’s also open to hearing about your favorite organic recipes!)


meet kristy chapman

kristy chapmanBased out of Canada’s national capital — Ottawa, Ontario — Kristy is a natural light photographer.

This lover of photo editing is primarily a Lightroom user dedicated to sharing her knowledge with others. She will tell anyone who will listen about the amazing power of Lightroom and how it can be your ultimate editing tool.

Her super-friendly attitude and obvious love-affair with Lightroom makes her easy to approach with those editing questions you have. She’s your girl. She’s got your back. She’s also happy to chat about shoe sales and Etsy finds, so don’t hesitate to contact her. When she’s not chasing around her toddler son or watching Netflix marathons with her husband (Have you seen Orange is the New Black?), she can be found behind a camera capturing life’s moments.

Kristy is our Lightroom instructor, and you can hop over to Get Grounded in Lightroom, to learn more. Do you have specific questions about whether this course is for you? You can reach Kristy here. (She’s also open to hearing about your favorite Etsy shops!)


meet deborah nash

Deb Nash

Deborah Nash lives near gorgeous Boulder, Colorado, where the mountains are constantly beckoning her to come have an adventure.

Her best adventures always happen with her handsome husband, her kindergartener who is too smart for his own good (or hers!), and her brave toddler who seems to have no fear whatsoever. She loves photography and how it allows her to capture all her adventures, big and small, and to keep them forever. In order to fund her love of all things photography, she works part-time from home as a CPA.

Deborah is our instructor for The Legit Department. Wondering if this course is right for you? Drop Deborah a line here, and she’ll be happy to help you decide!

meet Kristin Brown

kristin brown

Kristin Brown started photographing weddings and portraits in 2008 and fell in love with business along the way.

She began offering studio management services, workshops, and consulting in 2013 and loves teaching and talking about business. She lives in Utah and loves reading, writing, and yoga. She believes in living simply, making meaningful connections, and baking lots of cookies!

Do you have specific questions about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Kristin here. (She’s also open to hearing about your favorite cookie recipes).

Kristin is our instructor for The Thriving Business. Do you have specific questions about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Kristin here. (She’s also open to hearing about your favorite cookie recipes).

meet erin freeman

erin freemanErin Freeman is a natural light newborn/family photographer based in Suffolk, UK.

Originally from Canada, she upped sticks and moved to England 13 years ago, where she started a new adventure with her British husband. Her love of photography was ignited over 20 years ago when she travelled to Moscow, Russia aged 14, she hasn’t looked back since.

She started her business nearly 3 years ago, she soon realized that to offer her clients the best possible service, it needed to be personal, so she started looking into more ways to create this service, when the opportunity came to meet with Elizabeth Halford to take the Sales in Plain English class, she jumped at it.

When Erin isn’t working, she enjoys hanging out with her son at the British seaside and camping (or glamping as her son calls it). She also loves a bit of crocheting and sewing in the winter months.

Erin is our instructor for Sales in Plain English. Do you have a specific question about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Erin here. (She’s also open to hearing about your favorite needlecrafts!)


meet jenny gibson

Jenny GibsonJenny Gibson has been pursuing her passion for photographing children for 17 years, since the ripe ol’ age of 18.

Married and living in Roseburg, Oregon with 4 kids of her own, she is one of the most real, honest and down to earth people you will ever meet. It’s been said that Jenny has an uncanny ability to elicit great expressions out of any kid. She believes there isn’t a child out there that she couldn’t get a great photograph of. Her secret?? Patience. Determination. And an understanding and love of children.

Jenny’s confidence and passion spills out from her ‘Can Do’ spirit. She doesn’t believe being a successful photographer is a matter of what gifts you were born with, but how hard you’ve worked and how many failures you’ve overcome. Being completely self-taught has presented her with many challenges, but also an understanding for the needs and doubts among aspiring photographers. She never claims to be the absolute expert, but is willing to do whatever it takes to figure it out, and to help those around her succeed.

Jenny has earned recognition as an award winning photographer by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, Shoot and Share Magazine and various other blogs and websites. When she’s not being a mama or photographing clients, you can find her filling her time with a variety of creative avenues like: refinishing furniture, redesigning/remodeling her home or cutting a friend’s hair.

Jenny is our instructor for All the Cool Kids. Do you have a specific question about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Jenny here.


meet kylee ann maughan

kylee ann

I’m Kylee Ann aka Kylee. I’m a twenty-something year old wife, mother of two and lover of love.

I was born and raised in the land of Evergreens, mild temperatures & rain. I am a Washington girl through and through living in hot and cold Cache Valley, Utah. I got my Bachelor’s degree from Utah State University, majored in Family Life and loved every second!

Family and my faith are everything to me. My favorite things include chocolate, Netflix, deep fried sushi and Costa Vida.

When my husband and I were dating, I shared my dreams of becoming a photographer with him. Two months later, he sold his Xbox and bought me my very first real DSLR camera for Valentine’s Day and thus begun Kylee Ann Photography. I was completely clueless and inexperienced, but I NEVER stopped dreaming. I specialize in a photojournalistic style of shooting. My goal in every session is to capture love in natural, real-life ways. The pictures I cherish the most are the candid laughs, kids chasing each other and other genuine fun. I also love to teach! Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to be an educator online and in-person – teaching several courses, setting up workshops, mentoring sessions, organizing local clubs and writing for national blogs.

Kylee Ann is our instructor for Fab Families. Do you have specific questions about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Kylee Ann here. (She’s also open to hearing about your favorite Netflix picks!)


meet michelle gifford
michelle gifford

Michelle Gifford wants to live in a world where watermelons are always in season, summers are spent in the mountains and women realize how beautiful they are.

As a high school senior photographer and creator of Beauty Revived, she has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Teen Photographers by Modern Teen Style and on the Hot 100 List of Senior Photographers by Senior Style Guide. She has been featured on Seniorology, Senior Style Guide, Beyond the Wanderlust and Beauty Revived. Her articles have been published on The Photographers Connection, Beyond the Wanderlust, Chic Critique site and magazine, Senior Style Guide Magazine, The Snap Society, How Does She and The Twelfth Year. She has created a high school senior photography business and is currently working on a marketing course and a spiritual business course for creatives.

When she’s not taking pics and writing, you can find her chasing her four children, holding hands with her handsome husband and sewing a fine seam.

Michelle is our instructor for The Graduate. Do you have a specific question about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Michelle here. (She’ll take your pattern suggestions, too!)


meet malia battilana

malia battilanaAs a former school teacher, and now a full time newborn portrait photographer, Malia has combined her love of children and teaching to help others spark their passion in their own newborn photography journey.

It’s an honor to be photographing the world’s newest little human beings. It takes that special touch, patience and a pure love. She believes emotional connection makes for influential newborn portraiture and that anyone seeking that, can find it.

Malia lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with her most supportive husband and her 3 fun-loving children. As the owner of Malia B Photography, she photographs the cutest babies in the Valley of the Sun. Want to see Malia’s stunning work? Check her website out here.

Malia is our instructor for Newborn Beginnings and Newborn Flare. Do you have a specific question about whether either of these courses might be right for you? You can reach Malia here.


meet meagan opel

meagan opelMeagan is a wife, mother of three, animal hoarder, and passionate photographer. She hates wearing shoes, loves Murder She Wrote, and is starting an adventure in dutch oven cooking.

She started down the road of photography with a gentle push from her husband and hasn’t looked back. She loves being able to capture those “real life” moments that can slip by in the blink of an eye. Like most photographers with kids, Meagan became fascinated (obsessed) with photographing her children from second she laid eyes on them, and loves helping others hone their photography skills to better capture their own children.

Meagan is our instructor for Get Grounded in Photoshop, and is also our official Operations Queen. She keeps everyone organized, scheduled, and on track with blogging, Happy Hour, Extra Credit, communication, customer service, and anything else that keeps TPE operating on a day to day basis just for you!

When she isn’t working for TPE, running her own business, or running after her own three small kiddos she enjoys being outdoors, cooking, spending time with her animals, and swimming.

meet jen golay

jen golayJen Golay is a Midwest mom of two boys–ages 14 and 10–who constantly amaze her with their creativity and cleverness.

She is married to her best friend who willingly indulges her love of film photography and never rolls his eyes or complains when she brings another film camera into the house. Learning is Jen’s real passion, and she is always willing to share whatever knowledge she has collected. If she’s not hiding behind a camera, she’s probably hiding behind a book.

You can find Jen’s photography on her blog Daily Life Photography and Instagram, where she shares film images from her everyday life and work. She loves comments and questions and promises to reply!

Jen is our tutor for From Practice to Portfolio and Finding Your Voice If you have specific questions about whether one of these courses might be right for you, you can reach Jen here. (And don’t forget your reading list recommendations!)


meet nikki dunford

Nikki DunfordHello from Sunny South Africa, a photographer’s dream world of beautiful beaches, majestic animals, sunrises and sunsets!

And that is how my journey started, I would look at everything and think: “Imagine seeing that from behind a lens, imagine capturing that beauty for all eternity, a moment in time that can never be lost or undone!  A legacy of photographs to inspire people to shine their lights to one another”.

Pix by Nix Photography was born in 2013 and is a never ending exciting adventure of learning and growing as a photographer, which comes a very close second to my passion of being a mom to two beautiful teenage girls and wife to an amazing man!

As The Photographer’s Element Business to Business Guru, I want to share the love we have for our personally-tried-and-tested companies and products with our readers and followers! Photography is a love affair with life and we hope to share that love affair with everyone, from our incredible vendors all the way through to our incredible clients.


meet michaela ristaino

michaela rastainoMichaela has a deep passion for all things creative. With a background in professional music and theatre, it came as no surprise when one day she picked up a camera and fell in love. As a child she was obsessed with the boxes of old photo albums and slides in her parent’s basement. Seeing this other world amazed her. Black and white images printed on linen that had been painstakingly “colored” by hand with soft watercolor beauty. Pictures of her grandparents as teenagers…and her great grandparents on their farm in rural Wisconsin looking just like “American Gothic.” Somehow, even then, she knew that photographs had the power to change people.

Michaela Ristaino Photography was officially launched in 2014, and Michaela is in her happiest place when working one on one with a client to create images that sing with their truest inner beauty. She was thrilled when one of her images was featured on the cover of the Beauty Revived 50 Most Beautiful Children magazine. Her heart is still overflowing.

Michaela teaches Mastering Manual and is the heart and soul of The Photographer’s Element Student Lounge. Having the ability to create a safe and nourishing place for the TPE community to continue to grow and collaborate (even after your course is over!) fills her heart with joy. She truly believes that the nurturing environment at TPE is what sets it apart from other photography schools.

When she’s not traveling, you can find Michaela in sunny Florida, where she lives with her amazing husband and best friend Cap’n Tony. With way too many unfinished latch-hook rug kits in her childhood closet, she is a tiny bit amazed with herself for having finished her first Project 365 last year.  Follow her here on Instagram!