Wedding + Portrait Photographer
Hello! I’m Melissa, one half of the Arizona based husband and wife wedding + portrait photographer team. Thought I would answer a few questions to help you get to know me a little bit better. Keith will have his turn as well 😊
Where are you from?
I have lived all over the USA. My maternal grandparents are from the Boston area, so no matter where I live, I consider the New England area my home. Born in Providence, RI my family relocated due to job transfers quite a few times. Stops included Seattle, Pittsburgh, Memphis, Boston, NYC and most recently Phoenix.
What did you do before being a photographer?
More than 3 decades ago, I had recently graduated from college in Boston and decided on a whim to move to NYC, broke and with no job lined up.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I must have had some faith in myself that I would land on my feet. I was going to make it work, spontaneity makes me thrive (spoiler alert: this is a familiar trend in my life).
I took a temp office job that barely paid a living wage, supplemented my income by waitressing a couple nights a week, working a ton of hours every week just to pay the bills.
But I was in New York City and I loved everything about it.
Moving to NYC was a metaphor for what the rest of my life would be like. Taking this chance was more about who I was, a resilient young woman with intuition and never afraid of hard work.
So after what seemed like a lifetime, it was time to embark on a life path that left me more fulfilled.
Becoming a photographer was a second career for me.
I went back to college after having my two girls and studied photography after having a professional life as a CFO in NYC.
What made you want to be a wedding + portrait photographer?
It probably sounds cliche, but Keith always said he never worked a day in his life because he loved doing what he did as a profession. He loved photography with such a passion that it was contagious.
But it is two fold. Loving what you do and knowing that these photographs become part of a family’s story, their legacy, is powerful.
Part of the emotional decision on becoming a photographer was understanding the significance of these images to the people in them.
What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
That’s a really good question.
I love the controlled chaos when we first arrive in the bridal suite on a wedding day. The commotion of everyone getting ready coupled with the emotion of everything happening. There are so many great photos happening all around us.
But the wedding ceremony, so much emotional impact. The couple exchanging vows, pouring out their hearts. I would lie if I didn’t admit to crying almost always.
And then there’s the reception. The speeches, the dances, the party. Candid fun.
I guess my real answer is every part of a wedding day. There are spontaneous moments, emotion, meaning in each all day long. Our job is to anticipate and that is so fun.
What are your professional specialities?
We love being wedding + portrait photographers. I think we would both agree that we are really good storytellers. Weddings for us have a beginning, middle and end. We are on hand to document the entire day, not just the static highlights. We want our clients to look back at these photographs and relive the emotion and magnitude of the day.
Is there a specific wedding story that stands out?
Hhhhmm. There are ALOT! Each wedding is so unique.
A few years back there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland. We were to photograph a full destination wedding at the Phoenician in Phoenix. The bride and groom had made it to Arizona, but many of the guests including the mother of the bride (and her handmade wedding dress) were sidelined in London. Air travel had grinded to a halt because of the air quality so the couple had to postpone the wedding until air travel resumed. The wedding planner was able to get all vendors on board for a Monday wedding once everyone could travel. The wedding ended up being incredible. Just a few days later than originally planned. The bride and groom handled it perfectly and it was incredible to see the wedding community come together to make sure they had the wedding of their dreams.
What do you do in your free time?
Keith and I have two beautiful teenage daughters so when we aren’t out photographing a gorgeous wedding or a lovely family, we are spending quality time with our girls. We have four rescue pups so walking around the neighborhood is part of our nightly routine together. We each have “our” rescue, the one that we fell in love with and couldn’t live without. Grander annual plans include traveling together as a family. We only have 18 summers of childhood with each girl so we max each one out with a month together in a new location, our annual family sabbatical.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
That is so easy. France. Since I was a child it has been my dream and it is slowly becoming reality. We have big plans for the future.
I came across this gorgeous wedding planner in Paris / Provence
Which has me thinking about this random travel photo