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Cincy Refined - Michael Millay-3.jpg
Cincy Rooted started out as an idea for an Instagram account, but it’s grown to be much more than that. It’s a brand. ... It’s a movement. And it’s comprised of three hella talented dudes, who all grew up outside of Cincinnati but now call the Queen City home. / Image: Michael Millay // Published: 12.13.16

We Can’t Get Enough Of The Folks Behind Cincy Rooted

"Rooted locally; branching out globally."

That’s the slogan for Cincy Rooted, a local business comprised of three hella talented photographers.

But really, it’s more than that.
It’s a movement.

Michael Millay (25), Allen Meyer (21), and Nick Brown (19) are the creative minds behind this movement.

None of them are from Cincinnati.
But they’ve all come to call it home.

Michael plays professional soccer for FC Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Cincinnati. “I have a huge passion for photography and ice cream. Orlando raised. Cincinnati rooted.”

Allen studies accounting at UC and has a deep love of the outdoors. “I was raised in South Dakota before coming to Cincinnati — and that move changed my life.”

Nick is a sophomore at UC who grew up in Wyoming (the state). “I picked up a camera for the first time a little over two years ago and haven’t looked back since. Everything I do revolves around photography, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

What was the inspiration to start Cincy Rooted? How did you land on that name?

It all started with an Instagram page idea. The three of us were constantly hoping to get reposted on popular Instagram accounts in order to gain a following. One day, we just decided we should make our own Instagram account. Most Cincinnati-based accounts feature images simply from the city. What we had in mind was a little different. We wanted to feature photographers who had some sort of tie to the city of Cincinnati, whether they were born here, went to school here, work here, etc., but feature their photos from their travels all around the world. Which gave birth to our slogan, “Rooted locally; branching out globally.”

This also is where the name Cincy Rooted came from. Out of the three of us, none of us were born here but have all found roots here and now consider Cincinnati home. Anyone who has any sort of roots here in Cincinnati, past or present, can feel like they are a part of the Cincy Rooted brand.

What makes Cincy Rooted unique?

As a brand, we are building something that the whole city can get behind. From our t-shirts to our imagery, we implement city pride in everything we do. We want fans and customers to be able to go on our website, view our photos, and relate to times they have spent in the city. We don’t necessarily want to be known as a photography or an apparel company, specifically; rather, we want to be known as a brand that represents Cincinnati culture.

As a crew, we are all young, passionate, very hungry photographers and entrepreneurs. Each one of us brings something different to the business on top of photography.

Michael brings a lot of business experience and knowledge to the crew. Before he joined FC Cincinnati, he worked for a startup in Orlando called Rock ‘Em Apparel and closed the company’s first league-wide licensing deal with Major League Soccer (MLS).

Allen (the accounting major) handles most of the books for the business. On top of that, he has a great reputation as a landscape photographer from his travels around the country and brings some solid experience in growing social media accounts.

Nick is the Justin Timberlake to our N’Sync. He has only owned a camera for a little over two years; and in that short time, he’s been published over 300 times in print and has had over 500 collegiate and professional athletes share his photos on Instagram alone.

The balance between between the photography and business expertise makes for a unique and very opportunistic situation that most photographers don’t find themselves in.

What are your respective cameras of choice?

Michael: Nikon D610... My baby is the 50mm f1.8 prime lens. I use it almost everywhere.
Allen: Nikon D810... I love to shoot on a 14mm wide-angle or a 50mm 1.8 portrait lens
Nick: Nikon D750 and D500

How would you describe your photographic style?

Michael: Most people won’t get it, but our crew likes to call my style “goonin'.” It is a very candid style that brings out the inner “goon” in people. I really love to bring out the true character of a person by promoting him/her to pose and feel comfortable in front of the camera.

Allen: My photographic style has developed from being a novice landscape and wildlife photographer to a bit more polished on all aspects. I definitely focus on ‘atmospheric’ shots, trying to show not only the subject, but also the environment the subject surrounds itself with.

Nick: All of my photos typically have the same feel over a broad spectrum of types of photography, whether it be landscapes or portraits or sports and so on. And this is actually pretty applicable to Cincy Rooted as a collective group. Given all of our talents combined, we can exceed at anything that is thrown our way.

What’s your end goal with Cincy Rooted?

To create and capture unforgettable moments. Whether we are shooting for fun or on a job, we hope our imagery and personalities can bring joy and inspire others to pick up a camera. On top of that, we want to be known as the go-to photography crew in Cincinnati, while at the same giving back to the community.

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Now's the time to scroll back to the top and peep that photo gallery. Then, you'll totally understand why we're digging the Cincy Rooted team.

Wanna know more about these talented fellas? Visit their website and/or follow 'em on Instagram.