Small Business Spotlight - Philip Marcel Photography

Philip M. Turner, owner of Philip Marcel Photography and his daughters.

Why did you become a photographer?

I chose to be a photographer as a way to express myself creatively. I have been around photography since I was young. Both of my grandfathers were photographers; one was a photographer in the Army and one was a devoted hobbyist. They always had cameras around me. I just took it as “There goes Granddad with the camera again,” at every function or game, family event, etc. Cameras were always around.  I didn't know how connected I was to the craft until I was studying journalism and advertising in college. I took a photojournalism course and from the first class I was hooked! I spent a lot of time practicing, and a lot of time in the photography lab. There is room for creativity in photojournalism and even more in advertising.

When did you start your company?

I've been shooting seriously since 2000. I started my company in Norfolk, Va. in 2003 when I opened up my first studio in Downton Norfolk. 

What kinds of things do you photograph?

I love freelancing at the moment because I have room to bring my ideas to clients and help them with their business or private shoots. Though I don't like to be boxed in to a category or genre, I mainly focus on portrait work, commercially and for more personal photos

When it comes down to it, I'm a story teller. I help my clients to tell the story of their business, or the story behind the things they create, or the story of their family. I capture moments in time where people can stop, look at a picture and see a story or an experience.  For my business clients, I get their message across; if you’re a fashion client, I focus on a design’s impact on people; for families it's reminding them of their "why."

What is your business philosophy?  

I strive to learn as much as I can about my clients so that I can then come up with ideas that are original and unique to them. Pictures are made to be seen. My goal is to create images that people connect with and feel. The images I create for my clients should fully communicate what they want the viewers to feel.

Why are you passionate about your commitment to United Way’s Community Investment Fund?

One of my goals in life is to positively effect and help as many people as possible. The United Way Community Investment Fund allows me to reach further and be more impactful than I could do alone. 

What is something interesting or surprising that most people don’t know about you?

Aside from daydreaming about being a rockstar, I played football and baseball in high school. Baseball was my passion and I trained at it year round and played a little in college. 

Nowadays, I love training in kung fu.

What would your older self tell your younger self?

Give 100% effort and 100% focus on accomplishing your goals. The highs and lows, successes and failures, wins and losses will all take care of themselves. Failure is a learning and growth opportunity.

Tell us about your family.

My wife and I have two daughters who were both born here in Gainesville. They are 9 & 6 and love swimming, basketball, dance, and performing. We love to travel and get them to experience a variety of things. We're not from Gainesville, so the girls get a chance to visit family from North Carolina, Virginia, and the Baltimore/DC area several times/year.

What’s your favorite quote?

I have two:

“Knowing is not enough, you must apply. Willing is not enough, you must do." -Bruce Lee

And "Wins and losses comes a dime a dozen. But effort no one can judge, because effort is between you and you." -Ray Lewis


To contact Philip Marcel Photography, visit the website here:


Small businesses play a critical role in maintaining a thriving local economy. They are no less important to the success of United Way, as we endeavor to improve lives through our work in education, income, and health. Our Small Business Partners are an important, growing family of donors, who are vital to helping us meet the needs of our community.

To learn more about how you and your business can support United Way, contact Chris Wells at or (352) 316-0666.