MY name is Ali Steele, and I am a portrait and fashion photographer based in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Photography has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. Through this article, I aim to share my journey, techniques, and the experiences that have shaped me into the photographer I am today. 

Ali Steele, owner of ALI STEELE PHOTO

In the late 90s, I enjoyed playing around with my mom’s Polaroid camera, capturing moments with my siblings. Throughout middle school, I attended photo camps during the summers and always had a camera in hand to document my friends and family.

Photography has always been special to me because it captures moments in time that you will never get back. Holding a print of a past moment is remarkable and allows you to relive the emotions of that time. What has always been most incredible to me is the range of emotion and impact a single image can have. 

In high school, I began to take photography more seriously, using it as an outlet to process my own stress and emotions. I would wake up at 4 AM to open the high school darkroom and develop rolls of film every day, mostly portraits of my friends.  

This dedication paid off when I was awarded a Boston Globe All-Scholastic Art Award for one of my film photos and received the school Art Award my senior year. 

After high school, I attended Fairfield University, where I majored in Communication and Media Studies.  

Post-graduation in 2016, I took film photography classes at the New England School of Photography while working an office job.  

However, I always felt something was missing. When my mom gifted me a digital mirrorless Sony camera for Christmas in 2022, I was initially apprehensive, being a film lover, but soon decided to make photography my full-time career, and Ali Steele Photo was born. 

Shooting film for most of my life, I was not initially a technical photographer, but I knew I needed to develop these skills to succeed. 

Determined to improve, I enrolled in a local photography workshop to learn the basics of composition, lighting, and post-processing. I also took masterclasses, Photoshop lessons, and found a mentor to guide me through the world of digital photography. 

Portrait by Ali Steele

One of my first significant shoots was with Boston model and clothing designer Madeleine Poulin 

We worked well together and did many shoots throughout the year, starting with natural light outdoors and progressing to using strobes and various studio equipment and lighting techniques.  

To celebrate the first anniversary of Ali Steele Photo, I planned a special shoot. The goal was to showcase my improvement over the year, assess what I wanted to learn next, and, of course, capture some amazing images.  

Image by Ali Steele

The shoot featured Madeleine as the model in Rent The Classics‘ Porsche Speedster, with Danny Tognacci on makeup, Mellissa O’Donnell on hair, and Daniel Hales doing videography and behind-the-scenes work. The resulting images were incredible and left me feeling both accomplished and eager to continue improving. 

Other accomplishments in my first year included shooting the iconic Yolanda Cellucci for the cover of the 5th-anniversary edition of BostonMan Magazine, working with Seaav on their Coast to Coast Collection launch, and having my work featured in Boston Weddings Magazine.  

These opportunities, along with the relationships and connections I have made, have been invaluable. 


Publisher’s Note: Below is a quick Q&A between model Madeleine Poulin and photographer Ali Steele, further exemplifying the incredible chemistry this dynamic duo have with each other.

MADELEINE: You have said you get a lot of inspiration from songs, what’s the genre your most inspired by?  

ALI: I absolutely do and always have! I really love music. Songs that put imagery in my head give me the most inspiration. One of the artists I find this happens with the most is Lana Del Rey, her songs are true poetry and paint beautiful imagery. I have always been a huge fan of her and many of her songs have inspired shots.  

Portrait by Ali Steele

MADELEINE: When working with a new model during one of your model development shoots how do you keep them comfortable and help them pose?  

ALI: In my style of portraiture I aim to show who the subject is through an image.  I think making sure the model is as comfortable as possible is not only a top priority always, but also the images will be more authentic if the model is comfortable. Keeping open communication and always asking what someone is comfortable with is key! I always ask if the model has any poses that they love, and for posing direction I use the Lindsay Adler Posing Guide. 

Portrait by Ali Steele

MADELEINE: Who is your biggest inspiration in photography?  

ALI: Annie Leibovitz is a huge inspiration to me and my work. She is incredible and the authenticity and uniqueness of her photos is something I strive for in my own work.  

MADELEINE: What was one of the hardest things to learn when you started, and how did you overcome it?  

ALI: Definitely making the transition from film to digital. I was doing film for so long it was hard to learn all the technicalities of the digital process and post production.  

Portrait by Ali Steele

MADELEINE: What are some brands you would love to work with?  

ALI: It would be a dream come true to work with For Love & Lemons and LoveShackFancy!  

Portrait by Ali Steele