• Brandy O'Brien

Mike turns hobby into full-time career; Lighthouse member owns local photography business

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Lighthouse member Mike Maloni has shaped a career out of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary. In the past year, the part-time photographer turned his passion into a full-time endeavor. As the Founder of Mike Maloni Photography, LLC, Mike sells his images on his website: mikemaloni.zenfolio.com. His subjects include seasonal pictures, beaches, cityscapes, fruit, sports, flowers, and landmarks in Western Massachusetts, and are available for affordable prices.

Mike Maloni (right) stands with Patrick Carnevale, Director of the Governor’s Western Massachusetts Office in Springfield, when he came to visit Springfield’s Lighthouse clubhouse in February 2019.

Products range from prints and greeting cards to calendars and ornaments to home décor, including canvas prints and collages. Prices vary from $6.58 for a set of four wallets on E-Surface paper, which boasts accurate color, lifelike skin tones, and a traditional photo finish; to $152 for a 16-inch by 24-inch aluminum art image. Mike said one of his influences, Getty Images, suggested retail prices and he adjusted them to make them as affordable as possible.

“I have a broad range of customers from the college kids to the senior citizens on a fixed income to working families with three to four kids,” Mike said. “I want people to understand they don’t have to go bankrupt to decorate their homes and businesses. These are good quality photos and I don’t want them to have buyer’s remorse. I want them to be able to lead a full life and enjoy art.”

The Wilbraham, Massachusetts, resident said his passion for photography began in 1989 as a 19-year-old college student at Boston’s Northeastern University. Told he’d have to take an art elective, he chose photography. After all, it was his dad’s hobby. Over the years, Mike has worked as a consultant for Getty Images and worked with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network. With ongoing support from Lighthouse encouraging him and cultivating his confidence, Mike began his business four years ago.

“Mike has an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong inner drive that helps him to succeed,” said Toni Bator, Lighthouse Program Director. “He possesses the determination and grit to achieve success in business and as an advocate for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.”

Mike uses a Canon EOS 70D, a digital single-lens reflex camera, which means it uses a mirror and prism system from the mirror’s reflection and produces exceptional resolution for an amateur’s camera. Mike said his favorite subject to shoot used to be sports because he is a Boston sports fan, but now he enjoys finding the extraordinary in everyday occurrences and referenced a pond in Wilbraham. Having driven past the pond dozens of times, he hardly noticed it. By getting out of his car and seeing it through fresh eyes, he found inspiration.

To see Mike’s portfolio, go to mikemaloni.zenfolio.com

Lighthouse is one of six clubhouses in Massachusetts. VIABILITY’s clubhouse-modeled programs are driven by a belief in recovery through work. Clubhouses provide members with a supportive environment to increase their vocational, educational, and social skills. With a primary focus on work and work-related activities, staff and members work together as partners in the operation of the clubhouse.