• Why, Hello!

    Thanks for stopping by. My name is Melissa and I like to take pictures...a lot of them really....of you. I am a semi- professional (that makes sense, right?) and am always learning about this beautiful thing called photography. Life is a bunch of adventures strung along together and it so important to be able to look back on, so why not have some photos of it? I love taking pictures, but I enjoy learning peoples stories even more.

    Here's my story. I'm 26 years old. I have a sweet husband, Josh, beautiful baby girl, Lillian and cuddly pup, Wrigley. Originally from Chicago suburbs, we moved to Phoenix four years ago for life adventure number one. During the day time, I teach children who are deaf and hard of hearing. I love that I get to laugh every single day. That also means I do know a decent amount of American Sign Language. I never pass up a good iced carmel macchiato with skim. I love organization...like a lot. I hate socks and if I must wear them, they have to be inside out. My heart yearns to travel. Anywhere, really. Ireland, Italy, Greece, New Zealand. Also, one day, we will go to Africa and then bring home a baby.

Kendall’s Senior Session

Last week I got to head out to north Scottsdale for my very first senior session..
Kendall made it super easy
Surprisingly, 18 year olds are just a tad easier to photograph than 2 year olds;)
I also realized how uncool I am. I think you hit your cool peak in high school and it’s only downhill from there.

Thank you Kendall for looking good in front of the camera and good luck on this next chapter of your life!

Imani & KJ

I was able to spend last Friday evening with the James’ family.
We visited a park in Scottsdale and roamed around for about an hour or so
KJ is a handsome little 6 month old who was enamored with all things grass and rocks
and Imani is just simply beautiful, a free spirited little girl who loves her little brother
She was a little shy at first, but before I knew it, I was witnessing a personal performance of Frozen…
She has Elsa’s character down to a tee, I was pretty impressed!

Family Mini Sessions

So get this.
My friend, Tricia, got her family each a mini session for Christmas.
I just LOVE that idea. An experience as opposed to a material item.
I feel like that is refreshing, don’t you?
Plus it’s fun to get all dressed up to go take photos.

I met Tricia a few years ago when she worked as an OT and came to visit one of my students
We’ve become friends since, I did their maternity shoot
and she was so wonderful this past summer when I had my baby girl, bringing quick on the go snacks for a new momma as well as many other necessary things like holding the baby so I could eat them!

We headed out to DC Ranch with her big (and rather good looking) family and just shot away.
We made sure to hit up the tunnel.
Oh, the tunnel. Everyone loves it and it makes my job easy…it provides such a beautiful, dramatic backdrop!
It was neat to meet Tricia’s family and her adorable little Sophie gave me hope that one day my daughters hair would look normal (we’re in a bit of a mullet phase right now)
Speaking of hair, all of these woman had amazingly thick and gorgeous locks.
I was suffering from major hair envy pretty much the entire time.

March 14, 2014 - 12:29 pm

Tricia - Oh my gosh!! These are beautiful photos, Melissa! Love them :) However I am sad to say that Sophie is definitely in the mullet stage as well…except 8 months later than your little one ;)

Mother’s Day Shoot

This past weekend, I went out with Stacie and some members of her family
She had this idea to surprise her sister with a mothers day present from her two kids, so sweet!
Plus get some photos with her little man, Kai, her brother and mom.

What made this shoot that much more fun is that Stacie’s wedding was my second ever wedding that I shot! I was with my mentor who was showing me the ropes. And now they have a baby! How neat is that?

Here are just a few from the shoot:)

March 7, 2014 - 11:53 am

Stacie - So ADORABLE!!! I love them :) Thank you so much!!!

Lillian’s Behind The Scenes

Every month I do a little photo shoot with our daughter, Lillian, to see how she has grown up.
She has become increasingly mobile which has made it increasingly difficult:)This has made it official. My husband has no choice but to be involved in these shoots.

I have gotten a few compliments and questions as to how I do it so I thought we could do a little behind the scenes look at how this so called “magic” happens.

First, you start with a freshly napped baby to almost guarantee no tears.
She will most likely show off her little white teeth;)

Then you have some food and some nakey book reading time, because really, who doesn’t enjoy that?
Plus it gets out SOME of the wiggles

Next, you find a cute cloth diaper and let the oh-so-curious, needs to be groomed badly pups join in on some of the fun
This next step is one of the most important ones. Lots of kisses!
Then you find a fun background. My personal preference and recommendation is neutral neutral neutral. You don’t want any major distractions. You also want it fairly easy to set up each time.
I’ve chosen the rocker in our nursery. Get her down on the chair, snap a couple shots while she moves all around and adjust your settings accordingly.
More love from dad while mom adjusts. Let’s try again!
Not quite the direction I was hoping you would face…

I HIGHLY recommend having someone else with you to make sure baby doesn’t fall off whatever she is on while she dangerously explores her environment;)

Also time to move the chair to get some better and more evenly distributed lighting.Who wants to sit when you can crawl? Crawling is the bombdotcom

And this standing thing is just SO much fun!There we go! Daddy got her to laugh. Not exactly in my direction but beggars can’t be choosers!

I then throw it photoshop and put some text on top.
Wa La! Magic!

I wish I could say it was just these few shots but I took well over 60.
It’s a process.
A process that is very much worth it.
I’m looking forward to having each month of her first year captured with some little highlights.

OH! and make sure you check and double-check your text for errors….or save it in a format you can edit it in. OR you might end up looking like an idiot. “a long” vs. “along.” Well crap. There is always next month.

Any other tips from experience that you can think of??

February 9, 2014 - 6:50 pm

Bryan Ruesch - Awesome Melissa! Karen, twins and I all love reading and seeing these posts and photos of your precious baby :-). And your photography is really beautiful!

February 9, 2014 - 9:13 pm

melissaivy - Thank you, Uncle Bryan!! I’m happy to know someone is actually looking at it haha. We miss you guys!