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Monday, March 18, 2013

A little country with a lot of style ...

I LOVED this senior shoot!  I think the locations were a perfect fit to accomplish our vision for "T"'s senior portraits: a little country with a lot of style.  And "T" did an incredible job coordinating outfits, hair, and make-up that really enhanced her natural beauty and worked well with the location and theme of the shoot.  Thanks for a great shoot ladies ... here's a sneak peak!

Love her hair?  Call master stylist Michelle Neal-Fry (619)405-1401

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

"J" Family Beach Session

Many thanks to the "J" Family for an amazing family session.  We really had a lot of fun!  I found a great new location for beach portraits ... can't wait to launch the summer special!

Thank you "J" Family!

Vendor Highlight: Day-of Wedding Coordinator

As a wedding photographer, I have worn many hats. I have helped brides buckle their shoes, saved bouquets, calmed difficult mother-in-laws, sewn a bridesmaid's split seam, tracked down Uncle Joe for the family photos, coordinated the ceremony rehearsal, and I have even helped a bride write her wedding vows just before walking down the isle!  These are usually weddings without a day-of coordinator, someone to help execute the details of the bride and groom's plan flawlessly.  

Brides spend countless hours (sometimes over a year) planning and choosing every detail to create their perfect day.  I highly recommend choosing someone to oversee and execute the day-of details (the details won't just take care of themselves no matter how well you planned/prepared, and there are always those unexpected surprises). While a family member or friend can be assigned the duty, a hired professional is always best. They know what to expect and are equipped to handle most situations in a calm and efficient manner.  This is key to a beautiful celebration of your love. You can blissfully ENJOY your special day without stressing over the details.

If you are looking for a GREAT day-of wedding coordinator, please consider Kelly Instone Weddings as your 'personal assistant' for your wedding day. Kelly and her team have years of experience in event planning/coordinating and are licensed and insured.  Please check out the site for additional information and wedding ideas!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope each of you had a blessed Christmas! Now it's time to clean up and get ready for 2013! But before you store (or throw out) any photo Christmas cards you received, consider taking a snapshot with your smartphone and using the Christmas card photo as the contact picture for that person/family. What a great way to enjoy those precious smiles all year long! Just remember to honor copyright laws for any professional images. :) May your holidays be blessed and the new year fruitful! ♥

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Love Notes

I just cherish my ‘love-notes’ from clients.  It is so sweet to hear back from you about your session experience and images.  I truly appreciate each e-mail, text, or phone call.   

Here's a note I received just this week:

“Thanks Melissa! We got the package in the mail yesterday! We loved looking at the pictures, and I was able to get one to my husband before he left. The pictures turned out really good! Thanks again, 
Elisha B.”

Two weeks ago I photographed Elisha’s sweet family just before Dad left for a military deployment.  Knowing his eminent departure, I focused on capturing not just a ‘family portrait’, but sweet moments dad was spending with each member of his family: his wife, his sons and daughter - images that would help get him through his time away from his precious family. 

This is what I LOVE about my 'job'.  I love blessing families - from mom and dad 'giving their daughter away' to welcoming a new baby into the family.  And in return they bless me by inviting me to share an afternoon with their family to capture and create precious images they will cherish for many years.   

Many thanks to the “B” Family for the opportunity to capture your memories and sweet moments - and thank you for serving our country and sacrificing so much.  Praying for each of you.  

Oh, and I have to add this 'out-take', because it just makes me smile.  This is the REALITY of motherhood!!!   Have a blessed day everyone!  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Great Hair!

Everyone thinks about what they will wear to a photo shoot, but another very important detail to think about is your hair.  Your hair says just as much about you as your wardrobe choice in a photo.  I partnered with a fabulous hairstylist to provide a list of suggestions to make sure you have GREAT, photo-worthy-hair on picture day and EVERY DAY!


Photo Courtesy of
Michelle @ Coconuts
If you plan to keep your current style/color, meet with your stylist about 1-2 weeks before your shoot.  This will ensure a polished and fresh look.  Be sure to ask about any styling products that will help you get that just-walked-out-of-the-salon-look: need body, add a ‘root lifting spray.’  Want extra shine, add a ‘shine serum.’  Everyone’s hair is different, so be sure to use any new product BEFORE the morning of the shoot so you know what to expect and avoid any hair disasters. 

If you have been considering a new look, meet with a professional stylist you trust at least 8 weeks before your shoot.  Work together to choose a cut/color that is flattering for your face and skin tone.  Before you leave, make your next appointment for 2 weeks before your session.  You now have time to wear the new look and love it - or make a change before the big day!   

Simple. About a week before the session, get a classic, timeless cut and keep your ‘natural’ color.  For those with aggressively short hair, get your trim 2 - 3 days before the shoot.  And for the bold, adventurous type - break all these rules and let your individuality show!   

Get trims and cuts about 2 weeks before your shoot.  

For the girls (moms can sport some hair-flair, too), hair accessories can make a fun and fashionable addition to your images.  And you never know when the wind will pick up (especially at the beach), so bring a band and/or some pins that work with your outfit just in case you need to tie back a lock of hair.  Stylish hats are always a fun accessory that are  easily added (or removed) for a few images to add a little personality.  This may also help someone with fine or thinning hair feel more confident taking photos.     


Keep it clean.  Keep it simple.  Use styling products that will hold your hair but have a natural look. Worried about fly-aways?  Bring a toothbrush and a can of hairspray - spray the brush and lightly lay down the culprits. 

Guys, be sure to shave/trim facial hair for a perfectly groomed look.  Do all this with a smile and a ‘yes, dear’ and you will make her a very happy woman who will cherish her photos forever.  

I hope these tips help you prepare for your session.  And a HUGE thanks to Michelle Neal-Fry, Master Stylist at Coconuts Salon and Day Spa, for your extra tips and tricks to get fabulous hair on family picture day (or any day)!  If you are looking for a new stylist and live in the San Diego area, I recommend calling Michelle to set up an appointment (619)405-1401!  She is talented and friendly, and the salon feels like a mini-tropical vacation!  :) Hair by Michelle at Coconuts Salon & Day Spa

Have a blessed day everyone!  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What to Wear?

A lot of clients ask: what should we wear for our family portrait?  While each family is different and unique, there are a few general guidelines that help coordinate a fabulous, put-together-look for the entire family:

(1)  Try to coordinate with the your location, choosing outfits that fit seamlessly with the environment and are comfortable for your family.  This ensemble could work well for a casual beach session...

(2)  Choose a 'key' piece/person and build the other outfits around the key.  In the photo below, the little girl's dress is the dominant print, so find a color palette that compliments this key piece.  Move on to the next person, let's say Mom, and choose this outfit.  Don't try to dress everyone at one time.  Instead, focus on each family member and incorporate their individual style with a common 'thread' throughout the outfits (your color palette - there's a helpful link on the right for finding color palette inspiration).  This would make a great option for a Fall family shoot at the park...

(3)  Take into consideration the type of portrait you want and your family's lifestyle ...  casual or formal?  quiet or BOLD?  A portrait is a representation of who you are, as individuals and as a family unit - be true to yourselves.  To me, this family is a bit formal but with great style and are not afraid to stand out in the crowd.  

Lastly, have fun!  And if it's get overwhelming call me for suggestions - or just keep it simple ... jeans and white shirts work well - let each person throw in an accessory to liven it up (a hat, hair band, scarf, jewelry, etc.) and you are finished!

Photo Source: Thanks to Corina Nielsen for the great clothing combinations!