Photographer or Therapist? She Said, Both! -Wantdo Stories Vol 4


This week on WantDo Stories, we have Andrea Michelle (@andreamichellephoto), a photographer, and a licensed mental health therapist. From our interview with Andrea, we learned that she is very determined with the kind of life she wants and strives for it. What made her story even more aspiring is that she actually made it! Read on to find out what dream she carries and how she realizes it. 


Wantdo: First of all, please introduce yourself briefly.

Andrea: Hello! I’m Andrea Michelle! I’m a wanderlust inspired lifestyle, boudoir, and wedding photographer in my home state of Washington and the beautiful PNW! In addition to being a photographer, I am also a licensed mental health therapist. I spend half my week supporting others in healing and the second half of my week exploring and creating. 

 Andrea's Photography Work

Wantdo: What are 3 things you are most passionate about?

Andrea: Three things I am passionate about are photography, mental health, and passion. Yes, I said I’m passionate about passion. I say this because I truly enjoy doing what makes me feel the fire inside and helping others find their fire. Passion is something I’m passionate about these things because I’ve had the special opportunity to follow my dreams not only in career paths for both photography and mental health but also for creating and explore beyond my comfort zone. 


Wantdo: What’s an exciting thing going on in life right now?

Andrea: The most exciting thing going on in life right now is that I recently quit my full-time job as a therapist to create space to do more with my passion for photography. Working as a part-time therapist from home is allowing me to explore more of the world and put more love into my art again. Burn out is an evil mistress and changing my life and following my dreams has allowed that to disappear. 

Andrea's Photography Works

Wantdo: We want to know more about your career as a photographer. Would you tell us how did you get into photography?

Andrea : How I got into photography was a Highschool art class. We had a really special opportunity to have a dark room, which allowed us to develop and print our own film photography. It was amazing. So I become really interested in film Photography first which I think fueled the passion for taking photos.  

Wantdo: What made you quit your full-time job as a therapist and focus more on photography? Why now?

Andrea: There were many reasons why I left my full-time job, but one of them was the idea that I was losing sight of my goals. My goals since going to school were to be a therapist three days a week and to let my photography take me on adventures for the rest of the week. When I began noticing I was losing sight of that goal I knew I had to make a change. I got an opportunity in a different practice that was part-time and received my license so I knew it was my chance. I also realized I have the ability, the drive, and the community support to pursue more photography so I took that leap. 


Wantdo: Would you share some of the fun stories behind the photos you shot?  

Andrea: I have so many fun stories about all the images I take, I don’t think there’s an image I’ve taken without any story be it fun, emotional, or just silly. There’s been shoots in a Home Depot, three bee stings, one sinking sand incident, and a couple near water camera deaths. And of course many more, but all silly stories. When shooting portraits my clients know when I’ve gotten “the shot” because I start saying words that aren’t really words. Another fun story is a series of photos I started with a friend because I was in the zone taking gorgeous photos. I told them to stand in a bush, yup, IN a bush! And that’s what started #portraitsinbushes and it’s been fun to do with all my clients, I get silly reactions and beautiful photos. 

 Andrea's Photography Works

Wantdo: Is there anything missing in life right now?

Andrea: Well, I’m the middle of a pandemic a lot is missing. I’ve had four trips planned in the last four months to multiple countries or states but as we’ve all probably noticed that didn’t happen. So what’s missing right now is that physical wanderlust that comes with traveling. 


Wantdo: What is your favorite outdoor activity and where is your favorite place to go outdoors?

Andrea: I love being outside and doing multiple things, but lately overnight backpacking has been my favorite outdoor activity. Especially when I can take my dog or spend time with friends. Backpacking with no service is where it’s at! Although, I do enjoy day hikes, beach volleyball, kayaking, the list goes on. 


Wantdo: Name your favorite piece of Wantdo clothing you purchased and why.

Andrea: My favorite Wantdo clothing item is my black puffer jacket! I ordered this as an emergency item on a trip to Iceland and I didn’t have much money to spend. It was incredibly affordable but also: warm, compact, and comfortable! 


Wantdo: Did you make some memorable moments when wearing the item? 

Andrea: I’ve made lots of memories in this jacket including backpacking and traveling. But the most memorable was my solo trip to Iceland. I needed a warm packable coat for traveling to Iceland in the fall where it does get pretty chilly. The jacket experienced tons of waterfalls, incredible beaches, and cliff sides. It definitely got an amazing trip as I did :)

Shop for Andrea's Favorite: Packable Down Puffer Jacket