Posted by: Michelle Stella Riordan | March 11, 2011

It’s good to be the Queen…

It’s good to be The Queen…The special event Queen…Queen Ruler of my crazy photographic universe. 

So, here I am.  I’ve been shooting events and can probably do them in my sleep.  Many have asked me if I sleep with my camera under my pillow.  I DO NOT!  My Canon 5D has a very special place with its own pillow right next to me.  But I digress. 

I found a certain calling, a special niche in my part of the world.  I didn’t plan to do this but I was in the right place at the right time when I really needed it in life.  Divorce has a way of teaching you how to “Put up or shut up” so to speak.  It motivated me to succeed.  I had two kids to feed, a roof to keep over our heads and I wasn’t running back home to my family.  So move it or lose it in this industry.  And I move quickly. 


special events photography-Photography By Exposure


I love what I do.  I love photography.  I love people.  I love photographing events. 

It gives me the opportunity to make someone excited about being there.  It’s kind of like I am the head cheerleader.  My clients have an extremely stressful job.  My clients have to; plan an event, set a floor plan, decorate a room, hire the talent, streamline a budget, deal with the agents, make all the bosses happy and deal with the invited guests.  I’d like to think that I give my clients ‘peace of mind’ when they hire me to photograph an event.  I always arrive early to an event.  I set up and then usually have to break it down and start again. (Long story)  I tend to take over the shoot.  I set the flow of people, I keep us moving, I play security but I do it all with a gentle smile and a loud voice. 


special event photography-chef-food photography-Photography By Exposure


Adaptability, flexibility and consistency.

Read it, learn it, live it. 

Adapt to the constant change in the special event arena.

Be flexible…always say ‘YES’.  There is always a solution.

Consistency in lighting, delivery and SERVICE. 


special event photography-Photography By Exposure


It’s not often I step into a photograph.  BUT, I am a devout NEW YORK GIANTS FAN and there is no one like Tiki Barber.  It’s not easy working with celebrities.  Some have challenging egos while others have T-Rex type agents telling you what to do.  There have even been a few times when the ‘talent’ tries to tell me how to shoot.  I just give them a huge smile and say ‘Yes’.  And move on.


Special Event Danny DeVito's Premium Limoncello Photography By Exposure


My favorite story.

Danny DeVito came to promote his Premium Limoncello.  Never met him before.  Not sure what to expect with someone of his experience.  We started the shoot and then he asks to see how the image was framed out on the back of my camera.  What do you say to him…?  My heart skipped a few beats.  Not many can shut me up.  I said, ‘Of course.’  He looked.  Gave me the thumb’s up and we went back to shooting.  He is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing, inspiring & THE funniest man I’ve ever had the honor to photograph.  I’ve had the opportunity to work with him a few times.  He personally made sure that everyone who came out to see him made it through, no matter how long it took.  This man signed so many bottles his hands had to be cramped up.  He’s a Jersey Boy.  He knew he couldn’t let one person down.  Now that’s class!

Check out the slide show I put together for his appearances.

Danny DeVito’s Premium Limoncello


 I would like to honor all the amazing people who work these events:

Special Events, Public Relations, Decorators, AV Crews, Techs, Bartenders, Food service personnel and marketing.


Who is your favorite celebrity?


Michelle Stella Riordan

Photography By Exposure

Special Events Photographer

Corporate, Portfolios, Aerial, Portraits

Studio, On Location, Beach Portraits

Special Events, Corporate, Portfolios, Aerial, Portrait Photography



  1. Great photos and a wonderful story. It’s always nice to hear that a guy like DeVito who is probably used to class A everything is still simply a nice guy. My fave celeb is Eddie Izzard. I would kill to have a photo with him like your fun shots here.

  2. Instead of killing for that shot, just stalk him when he comes to the US! Thanks for commenting.

  3. Fabulous story and great photos! It is really inspiring to hear how much you love what you’re doing for a living. Way to go “Queen” Michelle:) Oops, almost forgot my favorite celeb is Colin Firth (also have to give a shout out to my favorite team the NY Yankees).

    • Hmmm….a NY Yankees fan??? You had me at ‘Hello’.
      You love your Englishmen don’t you? I’ll keep my eyes open. Thank you.

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