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  1. Mar

    TOPIC: Personal.

    All abuzz.

    This website has been pretty quiet over the last few months, for a very happy reason that I’m sure you’ve already noticed: it’s been getting a head-to-toe makeover!

    A few months back I decided that if I wanted to get really serious about my photography, I needed to invest in professional branding.  I created my first logo several years ago, when I was first taking photos casually, because I decided it was time to move past the belly-up MySpace and get myself a real blog.  But at the time, it was intended as just that: a place to write and post the occasional photo.  I had no inkling that I would ever have a real photography business, so I chose a font for my logo just because it was named “Jane Austen” and that sounded literary.  (I’m not even a big Jane Austen fan, even!)

    I called my blog “Here’s To It,” because my grandma and I used to spend many a lazy afternoon listening to Frank Sinatra CDs and drinking sparkling grape juice, which she would toast with a “Here’s to it, and here’s for it, and here’s to it again–if you don’t do it while you’re up to it, you may never do it again!”  (Going on ten years into her Alzheimer’s diagnosis, I am so, so glad that we did our afternoons with Frank while we were up to it.)  “Here’s to it” always sounded right in my head, and was probably fine for a blog, but it’s kind of a clunky business name.  And the truth is, I just kept it as the name of my business because it was convenient.  I never put too much thought into it beyond that.

    Things obviously picked WAY up with my photography, and at some point last year, I just knew it was TIME.  I wanted something that was much more “me,” and I knew after five years of slapping designs together on the fly that, ironically, the best way to find “me” was to bring in someone else.

    Enter the fabulous Renee of Ribbons of Red.

    When I was looking for someone to overhaul my business brand, I gravitated immediately toward Renee because of both her incredible work and the fact that her own business was named after her beloved grandma.  After working with her for a while, it was so obvious that she was the perfect choice.  She had me start with an inspiration board on Pinterest of things I love–colors, shoots I especially enjoyed, other logos I liked, and just general pretty things.  Along the way I became seduced by the idea of somehow using windows in my branding, which in retrospect may have been me subliminally dissing Apple.  (#nodisrespecttostevejobs)  I had originally wanted to incorporate my obsession with nature (okay, bugs) into my logo in some way, but I started to resist the concept because I wasn’t sure it was “different” enough.

    This is why it was good to have Renee, instead of playing the eternal second-guessing game with myself.

    She looked at my photos, browsed through ::crickets::, chatted with me over Skype, and concluded that there was nothing more “me” than my twin loves of nature and photography.  I knew from the beginning that I wanted to incorporate the color yellow, so she created an adorable little honeybee for my logo (which is, of course, totally appropriate since “Melissa” means “honeybee”).  She added a similarly illustrated butterfly and dragonfly, and chose a soothing color scheme that calls to mind the nurseries where I spend a lot of time photographing newborns and their families.  To tie it all together, she designed this beautiful website for me with such lovely little touches (check out the way the gallery works–genius!).

    It finally feels like my photos have a proper home.  I am so grateful to Renee for all her incredible work, and for being such a delightful person to go through this process is.  It can be hard to get to the core of someone you’ve never met and somehow make a visual representation of that, but I think she gets an A+.   I hope you all like it as much as I do!

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  2. Mar

    TOPIC: Duo Sessions.

    Pretty Wings

    In October I made my annual visit to Florida to visit my friend Silvia and her daughters Izzy and Bela.  As with every time I get to hang out with them, I am reminded anew how lucky I am to have such a wide net of amazing friends with amazing children.  They are 7 and 5 now, and Izzy loves to play with animals and bugs, and Bela loves to take pictures.  Ergo, we couldn’t possibly have any more fun than we do.  We spent a lot of time tromping around various nature preserves and playing with their two pet lizards.  It was the weekend before Halloween, so the girls spent a good deal of time in their Halloween costumes–Izzy as a “goddess fairy” and Bela as a “busy bee.”  When I woke up on Sunday morning, they were already in costume for their Girl Scouts Halloween bowling event later that afternoon, so for the first time ever I got to watch a fairy make herself toast.  It was as adorable as you might imagine.

    I already can’t wait to go back.  Before I do, I’m going to post about our many outdoor adventures on ::crickets::, because these two demand new content, and new content they shall have.  I love them.  Here are some photos I took around the house, culminating in a legitimate grass fight that left us all giggling and filthy just before I had to leave for the airport.  (As a courtesy to my fellow travelers, I managed a quick shower!)

    Just as a postscript, I would like to add: those are some chill lizards.  They don’t bat a lizard eyelash at anything.

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  3. Mar

    TOPIC: Solo Sessions.

    Downtown Abby | Memphis Senior Portraits

    (Yeah, I did that with the title. Sometimes you can’t stop yourself.)

    In early October I had the pleasure of taking Abby’s senior portraits, accompanied by her mom Lee. When I worked at the hospital, Lee was my boss’ boss, and she was always so cheerful and friendly that I wasn’t surprised at the delight she takes in her daughter. The day after our photo session, they were headed on a trip to several different cities to check out rock bands and colleges. LOVE IT.

    We chose Harbor Town and Mud Island as our locations, and they couldn’t have been more perfect. (I’d really been sleeping on Mud Island up until a few months ago!) We started out at Cafe Eclectic to fuel up and got going from there.

    Abby is planning to be a psychologist and wants to go to college in New York. I have no doubt she’ll be an incredible success and have an enthusiastic cheering section wherever she goes!

    Abby - senior photos on Mud Island Memphis

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  4. Mar

    TOPIC: Family Sessions.

    Mel’s Boys | Murfreesboro Family Photography

    Melissa and I have been trying to coordinate family photos for what feels like years.  This is complicated by our living several hours apart, of course, but it always seems like something comes up when we try to get together.  So I am so, so happy to say that we finally managed to make it happen, and I had a blast.  Melissa has been cracking me up on the regular since…I want to say I we met in summer school after the third grade, but we spent a great portion of junior high scribbling ridiculous notes to each other.  (Neither of us remembers how we started writing “NOOT” on every surface, other than this was Newt Gingrich’s era to shine, and the word “NOOT” is just really funny to write.  But there are whole notebooks devoted to it.)

    These days Melissa runs her own business out of her home, Lissa Lou Designs (you should really check it out).   She is ecstatically married to David, and they have two boys under the age of two, Benjamin and Maximus.  Benjamin’s little grin–and his affection toward his baby brother–pretty much melted my heart.  It was a pleasure getting to capture them in their home.  (And not just because of their highly enviable cross-directional lighting.  Melissa also dabbles in photos, and she said, “Oh trust me…I know how good I have it with these windows!”)

    Lifestyle family photography at home Tennessee

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  5. Mar

    TOPIC: Family Sessions.

    Happy Birthday, Grant! | Germantown Family Photography

    It seems absurd to even be writing about Grant being one year old, because he and his glorious hair just got here.  And yet…Mr. Happiest Baby on the Block is growing up.  He’s obsessed with his little red wagon and is never happier than when he’s going for a ride.  He also got a large charge out of the leaf piles at Oaklawn.  I can truly say about this kiddo that when it’s time for his photos, both my mom and I are breathless with anticipation for days beforehand.  WE LOVE HIM.  And we love Megan and Justin too.  These are people whose company one should keep.

    Without further ado…

    Germantown and Memphis TN family photographer

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