Photographer Spotlight: Mike Moats

March 26th, 2010 by Chris Klapheke


The journey to become a professional nature photographer can be as unique as each individual.  As photographers we find it fascinating how each of us makes that choice.  Mike Moats made the transition from painting contractor to nationally known macro photographer later in life, when circumstances dictated a change, and gave him an opportunity.  During the economic turmoil that hit the Detroit area several years ago, Mike was forced to reinvent his career, and decided to follow his passion.  He has never looked back.


Here is Mike's story in his own words:

In 2001, at forty seven years old, and a painting contractor from Sterling Heights, Michigan, I purchased my first SLR camera and lenses off ebay.

I had spent most of my life pursuing outdoor activities, and during the many hours of hiking in the local park systems, I observed all the interesting artwork in nature that would later become the subjects for my photography.  As I would hike and admire all that nature had to offer, I thought it would be fun to pick up a camera and photograph some of these intimate scenes.

I spent the first few years of photography traveling to some of the national parks shooting landscapes, as many photographers do.  But as I stood alongside forty other photographers shooting El Capitan, it hit me that this great scenery such as this is photographed everyday of the year by thousands of people. Those special images that I’d traveled so far to shoot, would lose their mystique.  I didn’t want images that everyone else had–I wanted images that I could call my own. 


With macro photography, I realized that the images I was photographing would only last from hours to a day or two, and would then be erased by the environment.  I would be the only one to witness that image, and the only one to photograph it. It gives me a good feeling when I show and sell my images as they are my own original artwork, just as a painter creates an original painting.

A huge benefit of macro photography is that I can do 90 percent of my shooting within twenty minutes from my home and at local parks.  The macro subjects are endless and forever changing with the four seasons.

In 2005, I came to the decision to develop my photography into a full time business. I now sell images at art shows, do macro workshops, provide images for publications, and write both hard copy books and instructional eBooks. Perhaps my painting background gave me my eye for color and composition.  My decision to become a full time photographer has been a rewarding experience.




Mike has authored three ebooks which are available in the store:

Running a Successful Nature Photography Business

How To Sell To Art Galleries

Macro Workshop

As a pro photographer, Mike gives successful business strategies applicable to any photographer wanting to obtain or increase income through their craft.

In Mike's Macro Workshop ebook, Mike brings his yearly sold-out Macro Workshop to you, with all the details, tips and tricks of Macro photography.

A prolific photographer, writer and workshop instructor, Mike has had articles and images published in Outdoor Photographer Magazine, Nature's Best Magazine, Nature Photographer Magazine, Photolife, Whisper In The Woods, Michigan Game Finder, NANPA’s Expressions Books, Pure Michigan Book, Fujifilms Newsletter and Tamron’s “Angle of View” Blog. Winner of numerous local and international awards, Mike is a member of the Fuji Pro Talent Team and a "Macro Master" for Tamron Lenses.

You can visit Mike's blog here:  Tiny Landscapes



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6 Responses to “Photographer Spotlight: Mike Moats”

  1. Ed Cooley says:

    I had not seen Mike’s work before but he is fantastic. Thank you for spotlighting him.


  2. Pattie says:

    Great photos! Inspired me to get out this week and take some of my own!!

  3. Bob Brisson says:

    I first met Mike at the Ann Arbor Art Fair where I was really impressed with his work. I spoke with him about his art and I immediately signed up for his workshop on macro. I was so inspired I have been pursuing macro and nature photography with a passion ever since. He is truly an amazing artist.

  4. Mike Moats says:

    Thanks Patty and Ed, appreciate your comments.

  5. J.David DiCristina says:

    What a great inspiration, thanks for the article.

  6. Mike Moats says:

    Thanks Bob and David for commenting.

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