Thursday, December 27, 2012

Solid Family...

There's something about this family that I just loved. The way they embrace life yet are seemingly still so grounded. Grateful for what each other means in their lives. And their kids are so incredibly polite. Leaving that session I knew those images were going to mean something to them and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to be the one to provide that for them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

American Eagle Shoot...

Dear American Eagle, I found these kids first, I officially claim the rights to being he photographer for their first ad campaign. What middle schoolers look like this!? Maybe a better question would be what middle schoolers act like this!? 
They were so kind to eachother's and remarkably polite.
 There is hope in the world. (:
P.S- "F.R.I.E.N.D.S" fans... Does he not look just like "Ben" in the older years!?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chilled Out Family...

This is one of those couples I wish I could introduce to everyone, cuz surely you'd love em too. They are one of  the sweetest, most down-to-earth couples.

You know how people say animals take on the traits of their owners? Well thankfully, for the world, Ryan & Emily's 3 month old son, Owen seems to already be taking after his super cool parents as he's super mellow, didn't cry even once! I've seen adults act less put together.
Congrats on the lil' man!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cheeks... A Shoot With Nicee.

Now if this isn't thee most laid back, chilled out baby I've ever met, I don't know who is!! Once Aidan nestled down in the crook of his dad's arm he was set to go. He never made a peep. No matter how we posed him, he was content and maintained his absolute adorableness. And his cheeks...Oh his cheeks!! Oh how I adore a baby with soft round cheeks. And his were to die for!
Thanks for spending the afternoon with me Susan & Chris. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pinterest Family...

Yes... Mentally I name just about all of my shoots based off of total generalizations. (:
For example, this shoot was my "Pinterest" shoot. First, let me say that I have a minor obsession with Pinterest. I actually had to quite cold turkey because in photo season, I barely have time to go to my mailbox let alone browse how to turn my mason jars into soap dispensers. (:
All this to say I got my Pinterest "fix" after seeing this families outfits. 
Their personalities were as fun as their clothes!

And despite this shoot being across the country from where we are on a daily basis we actually have mutual freinds that we didn't know about. Love finding new connections and love me some Pinterest!  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys...A shoot with Nicee

Boys will be boys! Peter & John are no exception which works out great to get some fun shots of them and their lovely mother by the trees.  Plus the Christmas hats she brought along were a fun addition. (: 

Their enthusiasm and brotherly love was refreshing, even when they put each other in head-locks! Lol. The bond between these brothers is strong and I look forward to watching them grow closer throughout the years!!
Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Trading Snow For Mud... A shoot with Nicee...

It's amazing how children are instantly drawn to mud. Even in a park with bridges, grass, sidewalks, and benches the mud is always alluring. Upon approaching this amazing family the first words I heard Dad tell Emily was "stay out of the mud". By then, little miss Emily already had a nice mud smudge on her light brown Uggs. Now while a  smudge on my boot would totally ruin my day, Emily was all smiles and had no effect on her cuteness!  Emily & Will are thee most adorable bro & sis ever! Totally enjoyed my time with you guys!

Monday, December 17, 2012

7 Years With The Great Love of My Life...

After 11 years of being together and as of today, 7 years of marriage I find it sometimes hard to put into words what this ridiculously handsome husband of mine means to me. Without getting too gushy (cuz I will boohoo in-front of my computer!) The little things that would on the surface seem insignificant or in many ways not out-right noticeable are the things that make him my better-half. Those of you who know Bart know he's "over the top goofy," life of the party,  which don't get me wrong, he is the funniest person I know but he's also one of the most thoughtful. 

You see that blanket? Re-wind time to my first birthday while we were dating...I walk in to his apartment (after arguably what was already one of the best days of my life thanks to him) there's candles everywhere...and after he serenades me ( gets better!) he gives me this gift; a blanket. And not just any blanket but one he made himself! A college senior learning to crochet? Awesome. 
 He went on to say he made it so that we could stay out longer together in the gazeebo before I'd ask to be walked back to my dorm at night because I was cold. Fast forward 3 years and he sets up this romantic proposal in that same gazeebo.  Mega thoughtful right?
A few short months later near that same gazeebo I stood hand-in-hand with him vowing my heart forever.

That was the first of what has now been hundreds of weddings for me. I'm obviously now on the other side the wedding aisle (: 
 but I often get asked: "Seeing what you've seen would you change anything about your own wedding?" 
I can honestly say no...
Wanting to go back on something implies regret. I've never had a regret when it comes to Bart. 
For as busy as I end up... 
For how often I can take him for granted...
For how I sometimes give him the raw end of the deal...
He is and always has been yes, that humor in my life that many of you have come to know him for but behind the scenes this intensely thoughtful, supportive, true-to-his-word man that I still can't believe I got to marry. 

Happy Anniversary Barto! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thank You Google...

People often ask how i get my clients to which I can honestly say primarily its through word of mouth (which p.s- thank you for passing my name along!) and considering this shoot was out of state (What? We don't have mountains in Chicago?) (: I assumed that a referral must have been the case. well, long story short, after a few confusing questions/answers  it turns out we had google to thank for having us meet. But not until the end of our booking did we realize that ironically, they know others that I was going to be photographing later that week. So glad they found me as this family is as easy as it gets. They're gorgeous, photogenic, and undeniably sweet.

Thanks guys for spending some time with me. And thank you Google for the connection. (:

So... If we saw mountains in Chi-town (like real mountains not the bunny hills that they charge a fortune for us to "ski" down) we'd flip right? Well...In Arizona, To find real trees (Not cacti) and grass is a mega big deal. So many a photos were taken on this little stretch of grass. (: 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Speed Racer...

Ooohhh my goodness how precious is little Sophia!! I guess that makes sense considering her two gorgeous parents. She may look like a doll but I'm pretty sure she'll be a soccer player like her mom & dad cuz that child musta ran a mile in our brief session! (:

It's all good, gotta work off my holiday obsession; eggnog chai. Seriously... It's epic you probably should go to Starbucks, get a cup, and read the MMP blog of course. (:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheaper By The Ten...

About to go old school on ya, you ever see the movie Cheaper By The Dozen? Ok... I guess it's not THAT old school but the point is I feel like this is that family. Big on numbers, (There's only 10, I counted) (:  big in heart, and this may sound weird but it feels like the holidays when I'm with them. No... It's not because there's a festive wreath in the background of our pic either. The 60 degree weather, though brilliant for Chicago in December, doesn't help it feel like the holidays. Maybe it's because  I shot their daughter's wedding in the wintertime? or maybe they're all those type of people you just want to be around. (I guess that's the opposite of the holidays for some. Not me, love you familam!)  all this to say they're a great family and I appreciate the times I have with them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Easy Peasy...

You'd love this family, I'm sure of it. The kids are absolutely endearing, polite, and oh so cute! The oldest, Angelina (4yrs. Old) would be the first to run up to me to hold my hand after a set of pictures. Presh! And the twins? Put one in each pocket please, my goodness are the little sweethearts. Even after a long car ride, the sun pretty much was already set so it was chilly, and spot after spot they just went for it! Easiest shoot with 3 kids under 4 ever. (:

Had a great time with you guys!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pony Tail Magic...

Girls, you'll especially know what I'm talkin' about when I say, having a good hair day can totally propel your the rest of your waking ours to greatness. Obviously, the other side of that coin doesn't bring good news which is what I was feelin' when I was desperate to get my hair in just a plain ol' pony tail. Shoulda been simple enough right? Well, it just wasn't happenin'which wouldn't have been a big deal except I know that the pony was the only thing that could get today's kids to smile. For real, the mom goes: "oh no... Your hairs up."

Wasn't as easy as with the pony charmer but let's be honest, these kids are gorgeous, their bad day is no bad day at all! Stunning family.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

When Two Great Friends Marry...

Our friendship kinda started by accident.
Back in the day before I snagged my hottie-bo-bottie husband, my now husband and I were still in the stage of I have great sway of what he does since he liked me. Well, my plan to get him out to late night Denny's (it was college people, plus the sampler platter is legit, don't judge.) totally backfired and it ended up being me and this guy Aaron that I barely knew. Thought it be awkward but 6 hours later we're still in the car having a heart to heart. And he has been one of my best friends ever since.

As quirky & fidgety as "McMahoners" as we like to call him is, he, more than anyone I know can sit for hours and genuinely talk and desire to hear about your life. (One of the many reasons he makes a great councilor. He has unofficially been my husband and mine for years.)

When I'm at my breaking point on the verge of tears, Aaron's there.

When my car breaks down and I need help, Aaron's there.

When I have leftovers in the fridge, Aaron's there. (:

So I couldn't be happier for him to have found Abby. She is the real deal and no doubt, the perfect match for our dear friend. In fact, I've gained a new Aaron in my life now that I have Abby. She's genuine, sarcastic, and loves God with all her heart, and bonus, she loves coffee. Pretty much the best attributes anyone can ask for. (:
We took a few pics at one of my favorite cafes; Cook Street Coffee.
Toasted Marshmallow, Brown Sugar latte, hello! (:

So so stoked for these two! Can't wait for all the lifelong memories we'll make from our friendship.
Love you guys!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Family TIme... A Shoot with Nicee...

Loosing my teeth was no doubt an awesome experience growing up, but I don’t remember being as cute as Miss Julia is!! I mean seriously. How adorable is she?! With her soft blonde curls and big smile, I could not help but take a million and one snapshots of her! From the moment I entered their home, I felt like an extended family member. Nicole and her husband were so welcoming and warm. And Julia, well Julia, was just a doll. She even offered to let me play with her dolls in her dollhouse. How precious is that? ! There’s no doubt she’s gonna be an amazing big sister to the beautiful Lyla Rose!

What a precious family! Thanks for sharing your Sunday afternoon with me

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let Me Take Yo Picture...

So much goes down during photoshoots that most of the time no one else notices. 

Take the dude creepin' on me with his camera in this pic for example. He literally paced back in forth till I put the camera back up to my face to take his pics...of me. 
You do know that I can see through my camera right? (: 

We got nose pickers, people' talkin' to themselves, people trying at all costs to be in the photos like a real life "Where's Waldo" all sorts of stuff "behind the scenes." 

Something front and center today other than the creeper is this amazing couple who got engaged two weeks ago! They love the city and I love shooting where people get engaged, I'm a sucker for nostalgia; So off to Orchestra hall we went! 
Excited to shoot their big day in June! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Not Your Average Picnic...

Don't get me wrong, I love gardens, parks, the beach, and forest preserves with the best of em but I was pretty stoked to hear that a previous bride & groom of mine wanted to take their family pics in an area that wouldn't be the norm. If you by-pass the iffy- nature of the location, and the skateboarding documentary goin' on in the background this was actually a sick location to shoot. 
You may want to by-pass the weather too. Not everyone can be a rockstar in the temps like 2-year-old Emma. Seriously, she handled it the best out of all of us.
So glad I got to reunite with this family. (:  

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Holy cow... Nearly 6,000 people from over 10 different countries view the Melissa Marie Photography blog each month. That's ridiculous! If only you knew how boring I actually am. (:

Sure... If you take random snip-its from my life:

Have 3 birth certificates...
Was in a hot-air balloon crash...
Have played soccer all over the world...
Lit my bangs on fire when I was eight pretending I was in a music video...
Am a published author...
I was a camping major in college...
Once was asked to stop eating so much by the manager of a buffet...
Married the once in a life-time God literally made him for me hunk of an Itallian Stallion...
Won a soccer National Championship in College...
I'm adopted...
I'm also a food blogger...

it may initially seem intriguing but I assure you, these days I'm not all that interesting to read about. Really... The most interesting thing in my life right now is that we've potty trained our cat. Not joking. Full on dumps in the toilet haven't owned kitty litter in forever potty trained. It's not that kind of info that get the loyal readers like we've got on this blog. And it sure isn't it's "cool" design. (New blog coming in a few months!) I'm guessing it's the amazing couples I get to work with everyday. From high-school sweethearts, to war veterans, you inspire me to capture life's little and big moments and I'm so thankful that I get to stop time even for just a moment for you through photos.

So thank you...!
Thank you for all your referrals, it's how we stay in business.
Thank you for your friendships...
Thank you for your encouraging notes & recommendations...
Thank you for loyally following us...
Thank you for all your funny comments online &  Facebook it's makes the long days more fun. (:
Thank you to Nicee who's an amazing partner in photo crime as well as dear friend.
Thank you for keeping in touch through life's milestones...
Thank you for cherishing your images...

From the bottom of my heart, I'm so incredibly grateful to be able to do what I do. And I have you guys to thank for that. (:

Hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keepin' It Real...

We were in a room maybe the size of my bedroom? Though I would kill to have that ridiculously cool room be in my house at all (Do you see the reclaimed wood ceiling? Sick!! Shoot, the whole place is ridiculously cool) but none the less there were maybe 15 chairs for a super intimate 'non-wedding" as I've heard them describe it. This "non-wedding" really at the end of the day is what every "normal" wedding wants to be if they didn't' get so side-tracked with people's expectations. They made it clear, there's no fuss, no posed photos, just a party with top of the line artisan food & drinks with the people closest to them, to honor the commitment that their hearts made long ago but now has been made official. 
I remember the bride from another wedding I did as she has some epic dance moves! it didn't matter that this "dance floor" was probably the size of my car. A Honda. (: 
She was there to have a blast and it was so fun watching her do so! 

We're comin' up on engagement season here and I think there's lessons to be learned from today's bride and groom: Sarah & Patrick. The more you stay true to what you actually want, who you really are, and what is the best reflection of who you are as a couple. Do that...I think you'll find wedding planning to go a whole lot smoother when you do and no doubt you'll cherish your big day all the more. 

Patrick & Sarah, thank you for sharing yours with me. (: 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Surprise Engagement!!!

She had no idea...
I knew for a couple weeks when Melvin ingeniously asked if we could capture his proposal and my heart was still racing! Racing and melting! My gosh was this moment precious. 

I love hearing your stories. How couples met, how they got engaged, all the fun details of wedding planning but to actually be there for a moment they'll remember for the rest of their lives is a deeply moving opportunity.
 We could not be happier for them! 

I'm mildly obsessed with the photos that Nicee got from the moment so I posted a few... (: 

The only thing better than having the love of your life “pop the question” is actually catching that moment in a photograph so that you can relive it over and over again.  Melvin & Marquita.  I am so honored to have had the opportunity to capture those moments for you two.  I wish you both much love and many many blessings for the years ahead.