The short version:

When Holli with an i was first launched, I was focused on sharing and selling fine art nature photography at the West Seattle Art Walks and craft fairs back in 2013.

As my work evolved, I took a break to focus on my business photography work at - and it's exciting to see how important our small business community is. I've opened my own studio in West Seattle and am happy to work with clients both in studio and outside, for business or personal portraits.


Holli with an i is the creative way I grew up introducing myself! 

Born and raised in West Seattle, I have always found inspiration in both nature and art from museum galleries to street art to the fine art my mother or other relatives have created.

I love history and our family stories. I remember being mesmerized by family stories shared by my Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents. Part of my role in my extended family has been the archivist of very old family photographs. This is on my Native American family side. I also have Norwegian and Croatian as well as other European ancestors.

It's through seeing my ancestors in photography, especially of my Great-Grandfather, an Eastern Shawnee Tribal member, that I see just how much a photograph adds to our histories. My Grandpa Nichols was a photographer himself, and it is his camera, one of them, that I used started my journey using 35mm film. I still have it and sometimes use it for special projects. It feels like an honor to be able to use it.

I believe photographs can help us connect. They help us connect with our loved ones, our history, our story. In business, photographs can help us connect to our ideal clients.

My vision is to support your journey and create space for you to have a photography experience that's pain-free and fun! It's my mission to help you shine.

- Holli

Black and white self portrait of Holli wearing Traditional Native American shawl.

Self-portrait celebrating part of my heritage as an Eastern Shawnee Tribal Member of Oklahoma.

The long version

The most common question I get is, "When did you become a photographer?" I smile and usually ask, what counts?

As a child, I was fascinated with photography. My Mom has a story of finding me with her camera in my hands, and I took my first photo of her at age 2. Then, she would occasionally let me use her camera to take a photo of her or my little brother. In fact, I won my first award when I was 6-years-old at the Puyallup Fair (before it became known as the Washington State Fair). It was this portrait of her at the right.

Then for my 10th birthday, my Dad bought me my first camera, a Polaroid! It loved taking photos of my family, and even posed my stuffed animals and toys to create scenes for portraits.

My love for photography grew when I attended Peninsula College and took my first photojournalism class. I experienced the magic of the darkroom and wrote for the school newspaper. What I learned was that I couldn't take photos of everything. I covered a breaking story where I photographed a traffic accident and felt awful for days afterward.

Instead, I took my photojournalism skill set and focused on Wedding photography for a time. Then, motherhood and life found me photography natural beauty in nature and people.

Today, I continue to learn and love helping people through photography that celebrates and supports their life.

And, I've discovered I love teaching too! Photography is one of the most accessible forms of art out there, especially with digital technology advances and SmartPhone cameras. While I started through our local college's Continuing Education program, I now host classes for individuals and small groups for people of all ages. It's pure magic to witness someone discovering all of the tools and exploring the world of photography!

Color photo of blond woman smiling at camera by Holli Margell

Portrait of my Mom when I was 6-years-old.

my Why

Family and the legacy that photographs provide are foundation to why I continue to create.

My family helps support my passion by dreaming big with me, and being willing to jump into an array of ideas I envision like this Pandemic family portrait, a composite image.

This was created with each portrait put together in Photoshop. It really took the whole family to get each cat to look the right way toward the light!

Pandemic family portrait by Holli Margell. Yes, it's a composite made from individual portraits.

The Portrait Masters '24

This Senior Portrait is of my son playing the Tenor Saxophone. A huge honor to have this more artful recognized by The Portrait Masters International Portrait Competition.

The Portrait Masters '22

When our youngest decided to cut off 5-years worth of hair growth, it was time to celebrate the milestone with an art portrait. Delighted this won a Bronze award!

The Portrait Masters '21

Such a fun and amazing time photographing these two sisters! I loved creating a portrait that showcases their unique talents. To have it recognized as a Bronze with Distinction by the Portrait Masters International Portrait Competition is a huge honor.

Member since 2014

I'm grateful to be among the thousands of professional photographer in America who strive to be a supportive and elevating community.

BNI WestSide Professionals networking graphic.

Member since 2015

My local chapter of Business Networking International is a wonderful community of small, local business owners. I'm grateful to be a part of the chapter.

How do you wish to be photographed?