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. 

A Day In The Rose Garden With Nicee...

Photos & Post By Nicee...

I can't think of a more perfect child to photograph in a rose garden then this cutie!! Little Miss Ava is certainly mommy's little girl- her twin even, right down to those beautiful blue eyes! Oh, but was she shy! During our shoot Ava kept doing the cutest thing ever... every so often when Stephanie would put her down, she'd muster up enough courage to approach me. But when I’d peek from behind my camera, she'd turn and run back to her mom and dad! Oh how it tickled me so! What a delight! These pics definitely captured Ava’s beauty and innocence… Proud photographer moment. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awesome Family...

I've fallen in love...
With this family.

Considering they book a photoshoot like every other week (Sorta kidding but not really) I've grown kinda fond of em. (: 

Luckily we still have Mallory & Joe's wedding yet to go otherwise I may just go on McGowan withdrawal. 

For real...You guys are awesome. 
Yes...Even you T-Mac. (: 

Croatia Wedding!

This was my shortest trip to Croatia. 
Got immersed in the language, food, the people, the traditions, and then realized that I'm actually still in Chicago. 
When all the discussions are either in Croatian, or are talking about what it means to be from there, when the ceremony is not only in a Croatian church but is given in the language, when shots of liquor are given up greeting, and traditional platters of homemade pastries brought by guests overflow numerous banquet tables, and when "Sweet Caroline" is replaced with well... I don't know the name of it because it's in Croatian you feel like you've been transported. 
I absolutely loved it! And I absolutely love today's couple Tom & Ana. 
They're laid back, yet willing to try anything. Including literally jumping bushes to stand on the tippy edge of a fountain.  Seemingly quiet but then can open up and share about life. Their eyes would fill with  genuine appreciate for each one of their guests and then be the first ones lining up a traditional dance or the one to grab the mic and bust out some awesome lip-syncing.
I admire the deep respect they have for one another. They didn't just want to merely please or appease the each other which is good don't get me wrong, but they really took to heart what the other's opinion was; they had a profound respect for one another. 
It was one of those days where I left feeling truly honored to be a part of it. 
It really was something special. 
Congratulations Tom & Ana, may your eyes always sparkle they way they did this day when you look at one another. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Day With Twins... A Nicee Shoot.

Words cannot express my excitement from a day playing with these twins!! Grey's shyness is the perfect compliment to Claire's adventurous spirit and together they are so cute and photogenic!!  Kudos to Mom and Dad for all their energy!  I know it takes a ton of energy to keep up with these two kiddos I had a fabulous time with you all! 


Friday, November 9, 2012

The Day I was Cool...

Okay... Before I totally sounds like I had a deprived childhood since I claimed I didn't have many name brand toys growing up, my family is the most generous, loving, and inspiring group I know. That being said... Yes, I spent more time picking "berries" off of our floral couch than I did with Barbie. 
Totally attribute my creativity to the imagination I was encouraged to have. Now my clothes...I had to get creative with those early on. Brand names? Not a chance. At the time wasn't so fun but I'm now the deal queen! But when you're ten...? You just wana be cool. Today's family, a long time friend of mine made me cool for a day. At summer camp she lent me not only a hemp neckless with rainbow beads in it, but dare I even say it an ADIDAS shirt (Gasp! My dream at the time!) AND.... a pair of black umbro shorts! Most of you don't even know what Umbro is and for those of you that do you're probably chuckling that it was as epic to me as it was. cool I felt that day. 

After many years of soccer camp we reunite 10 years later while attending the same college and dominating on the soccer team. Miss Jeanne... Yeah... the one in the red... She was All American. 
And our team... We were national champions.  
Juuuuuussttttt saaaaayin'! (: 
And we're still friends to this day. Shot her wedding. Went to her baby shower, they too support us when we go to India, they're kinda great. And it is SO fun seeing her with her kids. 
You can just tell she's an amazing mom. 
Love you Jeebs. Thanks for comin' and spending the day with me and my camera. (: 
Love Love!

Shoot with Nicee!

Ok, so how adorable is this little guy?! Meet Zachary. He is thee perfect mix between his 2 amazingly attractive parents. With his big eyes, tan skin, and soft brown hair, I was literally in awe from our introduction. Put the 3 of them together in front of my camera, and they could do no wrong. I mean this family is so hot they make a 40 degree day look like the middle of August!! Lol. I soooooooo enjoyed sharing the day with you guys!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hittin' the Road!

Let me preface this with how I got the above photo....Drivin' down the gorgeous Arizona road on our way home from a photoshoot earlier this year. I thought it'd be a si
ck so I'm trying to take pics with my cell through the car dash when my friend turns to me and goes: "You know you have real cameras right? "
Ah... Yes... Yes I do. So we pull over and with my real gear snap a quick pic. LOVE traveling to new places for photos. And apparently there's many of you that wish that I would. So here's your chance....

Mini Sessions are comin' to AZ baby! 
I've heard rumors that people both on the west coast as well as the east want pics so let me state it now that if you get enough people together we'll make a couple days of it and I'll travel on out to you! To get a lot of people isn't hard by the way. It's already a killer deal plus if you get a friend to sign up your photo disc is free. So the word can spread pretty quick. Round up the troops, and I'll come to your state soon. (: 

Alright, all my friends & clients in the Tucson area I'm comin' to you Dec. 5th! Check out our facebook event page to see the details: And all you local Chicagoans... Holiday Mini Session Dec. 2nd. So check out the events page starting this Weekend. 

Here's to AZ!

My Cabbage Patch Doll...

Back in the day my friend had a Cabbage Patch kid doll. I didn't have too many "name-brand" toys growing up:  mine woulda said like "Baggage Batch doll" but the real deal ones were the cutest and I coveted them. I never did get one; that is till today... The pic on the right....That's the kid I had always wanted. Unreal blue eyes, perfect baby skin, even the knit hat. I'll have to change my expectations cuz my Greekness & my husband who's 50% Spanish & 50% Italian can't produce the blue eyed gem that I always have adored. The minute you see Zac's mom & dad, a previous bride & groom I had you'd say: "Yep, that makes sense..." They're gorgeous. 
They're incredibly patient and to be honest impressively laid back parents especially for it being their first. It was a tad bit chilly that day. Okay, most adults were complaining, it was full out cold and here we are runnin' around the property trying to stay one step ahead of the potential tears from the little man who is only 4 months old by the way. Most first-timers would be at home with their humidifier on sanitizing that hands that walk through the door. Zac... You've got cool parents, always remember that. No... For real, you do. 
Jason & Kristi, so stoked for you guys. Not surprised at all that you two would have a gorgeous kid. 
Congrats and maybe I'll see more cuties runnin' around in the future. (: 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good As Gold...

When you first pull up in the lot it's a bit unassuming but it ain't foolin me. I know this place is photo gold. Historic mansion, rose gardens, a farm, pots of gold everywhere. Ok ok... Before I go all leprechaun on you (no there's nothing Irish about it) I'll just say its a contender for one of my top 3 spots to shoot in the country.

Back in the day, I shot today's couple Steven and Amy here for their wedding. So it's ultra sweet to be back here now with their two kids.

They have hearts of gold! Ok I swear I didn't mean to have that theme throughout this but it's true, these guys are just the sweetest! Steven even changed my flat tire in the frigid and i mean brutally cold weather one day when my husband was out of town and I was in a rush to get to my next shoot. Seriously, they're the best, and their kids are pretty adorable as well.

Reid, their oldest literally ran to me when I first saw him melted my heart!

So glad I got to reunite with this family! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Our relationship started across a tiny table in a Starbucks near the location of a photoshoot I had just moments before. The future bride, Raquel & I casually asked questions to start to get to know each other. There was a slight pause when she leaned in on the small table, and almost said in a whisper: "Are you a Christian?"Before I could even finish "Ye..." she calls out "I knew it! I knew it! And after hearing she grew up in South America I figured she must be a MK (Missionary kid) which she was! 
Guess both of our instincts were right. (: 

Some of the best photos of a day are the ones where we follow our gut. You'd presume that thinking things through would make you prepared... Make one more confident...But the best days are ones where we pick a spot and just go on instincts from there. 

Today, we started where they first met. For them both not really thinking they were on a date to have it end with a kiss under a Chicago lamp post, to four months later being engaged, and will be married before the new year I'd say that was one gut-feeling they were glad they acted on. 

Excited to shoot their big day in December!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sibling Adventures...

A photoshoot/blog from Nicee!

Some of my fondest memories growing up are of times I spent playing with my big brother. Whether we were playing cops & robbers, hide & seek, or having tea parties (Yes! I made my brother have tea parties occasionally) there was never a dull moment in our adventures.  From my brief time with Sammy & Charlie, I could tell that they too shared many many awesome adventures together.  Their joy and enthusiasm was contagious and for a moment, I felt like a kid again as I ran with them snapping candid’s along the way.  What was even more amazing was watching them be so gentle and nourishing to their new baby sister.  The warmth and love I felt with this family truly warmed my heart.  I know that Rose will have many fond memories with her big brothers someday!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Mini Shoot With Nicee...

The one word I’d use to describe the adorable siblings from this shoot is personality!  Whether it was sitting on pumpkins, walking down the street, or playing together in the grass, it didn’t matter, there were havin’ fun and lookin’ cute every step of the way.  They were super adorable, each of them displaying stunning features from their gorgeous mother, Tesia!  So glad I had the opportunity to hang out with this beautiful family for a bit.  Thanks for spending the day with me!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Yep... He's Adorable.

There's two things to gush over when I see these pics. For one... Those long lashes! Kardashians pay for lashes like those! Second, common now... The raccoon costume? HOW STINKIN' CUTE!!
 I'm sucha sucker for kids dressed as animals.
Jen & Ian were a bride & groom of mine a few years back and I've loved getting together every now and then to capture their little man Zach. Have I said how cute he is yet? 

Nicee & I tag-teamed this shoot which I was pretty stoked about because I just adore this family and knew she'd love em too! From sharing new music, them supporting our work in India, to random Facebook comments, I can say I'm grateful to have gained two friends (and a baby crush) with them.