RSS/Buy Prints/Categories/::Crickets::

FAQ

How long does this process take?

After you’ve made your initial session inquiry, I will respond to you as quickly as possible. From there, we’ll choose the date of your shoot (or approximate date in the case of newborn shoots). Following your session, you’ll have your images, an online proofing gallery where you and your loved ones can view and order your images, and some fun extras within 3-4 weeks.

Do you offer prints and products?

Yes! You can order prints through my online store at proofs.melissamcmasters.com. I’ll leave your gallery up for one month following delivery of your images.

I also offer wrapped canvases up to 20’x30′, and two different types of photo albums, both of which are custom-designed by me.

If you could recommend one product, what would it be?

Photo album all the way! Think about it–how do you look at your grandparents’ photos? Albums are what gets passed down from generation to generation. These albums are sturdy, great quality, and each one is unique. As a bonus, if your kids are old enough to talk and you know prior to the session that you want to buy an album, I’ll conduct an “interview” with them during the session. Their answers will appear as a spread in the album so you can remember just what they were like at that moment in time.

Is there any obligation to buy?

No! If you’re happy with your digital images, then that’s great! But I want you to have the option of beautiful, custom-designed, professionally-created artwork too. Decide what’s right for your needs and your budget and we’ll go from there.

When is a mini-session right for me?

Mini-sessions are perfect for documenting milestones, particularly when focused on a single child. The Baby’s First Year Plan, with minis at 3, 6, and 9 months, is a great example. If you know you’ll be booking a newborn shoot, you can add a mini-session a month or two beforehand to document your bump. Minis are also good when you just need a few shots for your holiday cards, and I’ll be hosting some special “mini-thons” in the fall, where I’ll choose a location to shoot for a full day, and you can book a timeslot.

What they’re not is a substitute for a full annual family session. My goal with any family shoot is to capture natural interaction, and it can take kids (and occasionally dads!) more than a few minutes to warm up and feel comfortable. If we’ve had a full session to get to know each other, the minis become pretty effortless. For this reason, I require that anyone booking a mini has also had a full family shoot within the past year (or has booked one for the coming year with paid deposit–as with a maternity shoot pre-baby).

Do you have props for newborn shoots?

I have a limited selection of hats, headbands, and blankets, but I encourage you to use things from your own home whenever possible. It’s a great way to work in pieces of your story, like the hat your best friend embroidered or the quilt your great-grandmother made.

Do you shoot weddings?

I have shot a few weddings in the past, but they are not my specialty. I find that a wedding photographer has to be a pretty rigid taskmaster to get all the requisite shots and still find time for sweet candids with the bride and groom. (Wedding photographers are amazing, is what I’m saying.) I can shift into that mode if absolutely necessary, but I am a goofball at heart and I’d rather be having fun shooting portraits in a less structured setting.

So I’m not currently booking any weddings, although I love shooting engagements and other couple just-because portraits. If you’d like the names of some local wedding photographers whose work I adore, just ask!

How did you get into photography?

I counter with my own question: Do you like long, rambling answers? 😉

Growing up, I always thought I’d be a writer, but I took lots and lots of pictures too. Naturally, I supplemented them with captions which had to fill the allotted insert space COMPLETELY in order to be considered detailed enough. If anyone ever tells you I have a good memory, it is only because I took a bunch of pictures and then obsessively captioned them. (This impulse gave way eventually to Project 365, which now constitutes my short-term memory in its entirety.)

In 2006, I started working for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy as the Communications Coordinator. I was constantly receiving requests for images of the parks, and we just didn’t have very many. What we did have was a digital point-and-shoot, so I embarked on a five-year-long campaign to develop a good, quality image library. At first, I was as green as the trees I quickly became obsessed with, but along the way I fell in love with macro photography and with anything tiny that I could shoot and then observe in great detail when I loaded the images onto my computer. (Thus was born my dragonfly obsession, which ultimately led to my nature diary, ::crickets::, and the very real phenomenon of bug tourism. I totally plan travel around the life cycle of dragonflies now. It makes the world into a treasure hunt!)

During what I thought was just going to be a love affair with nature photography, I surprised myself by really wanting to photograph people. I’m a capital-I introvert, which until recently I thought meant I was shy. I was therefore confused by wanting to seek out people to photograph. I recently read a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking, that finally explained introversion not as shyness, but as heightened sensitivity. While we don’t always have the quantity of relationships that extroverts have, we tend to make strong, deep connections, and become genuinely interested in the lives of those we do interact with. And that is why portrait photography feeds my soul: I get to know people on an intimate level, because they let me glimpse their lives and see what truly makes them happy. I’m being honest when I say I love every one of my subjects, and every time I do a second, third, or fourth shoot with someone, I consider that the greatest gift. I feel honored to be the one trusted with people’s memories, and I hope to live up to that every single time.