Meet Mika!

With over 20 years of diverse photography experience, Mika is a visual storyteller who uses media to transform ideas and share authentic viewpoints guided by those they're collaborating with. As a Queer Chingona and second-generation Mexican American, Mika understands what it means to be heard and to have your vision authentically reflected in imagery.

Mika has a trauma informed approach, that centers the experience through collaboration, authenticity, and agency for everyone involved. Part of a vibrant and rich international community of mindful and ethical storytellers who are working to change the world one story at a time, Mika is based in Portland, OR and frequently travels to the Los Angeles, the California Bay Area, Chicago, IL, and Dallas, TX for sessions, to teach workshops, showcase work, and to collaborate on impactful projects. Inquire about Mika's schedule or reach out to chat about bringing Mika to your city, state, or country to collaborate.

Becoming M.Martinez

Have you ever tried to fit yourself into a box? I bet, despite trying your best to fit you still felt slightly uncomfortable. My name is Mikaela Martinez, and I am a facilitator of memories and a creator of experiences. I’m a visual storyteller who uses digital photography and videography to transform ideas of possibility. The truth is, fitting into a box is something that I’ve never been good at.

There was a time when I was told over and over again that I wasn't a 'real photographer'. That formal education was the way to success and that art and business were not connected. I knew that wasn't true and every time I tried to follow a conventional pathway, I felt like I wasn't being my authentic self. It was as if the chance to grow and explore ideas and challenge traditional concepts was closed off to me because that wasn't the kind of pictures I created daily.

For the most part, I'm self-taught. Because of that, I recognize that there's no way I would be where I am now without the support of those who saw my passion and potential. I didn't grow up with a camera in my hand and once I decided that was my path I knew that I had to start somewhere so, I began my career as the picture lady for schools. Lifetouch School portraits was an entry-level seasonal job that gave me access to learn the fundamentals principles of photography.

"Being a lens-based creator is a privilege and a responsibility I don't take lightly."

(Mikaela Martinez)

When the season was up, I transitioned to photographing families at the mall at my local Sears portrait studios and learned everything I could about studio photography. I worked my way up from being the lunch girl who only came in for 6 hours a week to becoming a district training manager and working across the Pacific Northwest. In 2009 I became a guest on the land of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and with help, I started to explore photography beyond the studio. I found myself interested in the experience, and the why behind the image. Working for both Sears & JC Penny Portrait, people would come in for graduation, a new baby, or to update their family photos, and these were milestones for them. Yet, the experience was one that was often stressful, and sometimes forced, and authentic moments were lost. I didn't like being a salesperson, it would break my heart when people felt like they had to choose between moments because the cost was a factor. When I left that industry, I had a greater appreciation for the meaning and moments an image can hold.

When I established M.Martinez Photo I was working with a borrowed camera and a passion to change how people experienced photography. I was determined to ensure that the process was just as important as the images I was hired to make. My goal was that whoever worked with me would come away from the session feeling empowered, seen, and celebrated. And that the images would act as a touchpoint for those feelings for them. Over the years, I've been fortunate to explore commercial, documentary, wedding, boudoir, event photography, and more. I've had the privilege to collaborate with and support individuals and organizations whose values align with mine and I've even traveled in and out of the United States to record people, places, and significant moments.

People often ask me, 'What kind of photos do you specialize in?' and the truth is, I don't specialize in any one genre. I specialize in storytelling. The more I come to understand the power imagery has on how we see ourselves, others, and the world around us the more my process evolves. I am reminded that what I create has an impact. Being a lens-based creator is a privilege and responsibility I don't take lightly. The work I create is done to challenge the boxes society has most expected people to live in. I believe that images in traditional media such as magazines, TV, and movies lack authentic and diverse representation and I want to change that.

It took me years to embrace that I don't fit into a box and the work that I do as a visual storyteller, educator, changemaker, advocate, and filmmaker is all about inviting others to break out of whatever box they're encouraged to occupy. I don't think anyone should have to conform who they are or feel like they are alone because they don't see themselves reflected in media. I can't do this work alone, so I share my experiences and support creators of all ages, levels, and backgrounds in telling their stories, finding their creative style, and refining their craft.

An Award Winning Filmmaker

In 2024 my first short documentary film, "Portland Catrinas" was selected as the second-place winner for the Ubuntu Film Climate and Culture Storytelling Showcase and was a semi-finalist for the Black and Brown Fem Film Festival in Chicago. While I may be new to the medium, the purpose and process are the same.

Teaching Artist, Coach, and Public Speaker

In 2019 I started my journey as a teaching artist with Arts for Learning NW. With more than two decades of experience in photography, I am excited about supporting creators of all ages, levels, and backgrounds to refine their creative eye, explore new and traditional composition techniques, and build a relationship with the craft that is mindful and ethical. I have been fortunate to work with students from 5 years young to grown adults older than myself.


I just need to take a moment and gush over what an amazing photographer Mika Martinez is!!

With Mika's stellar choice of location, gentle instructions, and genuinely pleasant personality the shoot day was absolutely perfect. The photos came out exactly how I imagined them but somehow also a million times better!

Morgan & Family


I'm interested in collaborations that disrupt traditional narratives and value equity, intentionality, and authenticity in the work being produced. I have extensive experience mindfully creating photographic projects and essays from start to finish, I support other creators through mentorship, professional development, as well as project management.

I love supporting others in creating their vision. Collaborative projects are my passion. If you have an idea for a photo or video project and are looking for a producer, let's set up a meeting. With more than 22 years of photography experience, I have gained a lot of different skills as a creator and photographed nearly everything you can think of.

Let's talk about ethics! It's one of my favorite conversations to have with creators. From the words we use and the meaning behind them to the power that we hold as artists and the influence we can have on the world. You don't have to be a visual storyteller to examine your why and explore more mindful practices. Facilitating these conversations for businesses, artists, and corporations is pivotal to creating change.

So, let's connect and create some change!

we could work together.


Based in Portland, OR

Frequently in the California Bay Area

Frequently in the Chicago, IL Area

Frequently in the Dallas, TX Area

**Will Travel For Collaborations




M.MartinezPhoto - Instagram

MMartinezPhoto - Faceboo

Blog Posts & Updates

Recent Collaborations and CLients