Thursday, November 12, 2015

At this is the time of year, many of my clients are thinking about Holiday Cards when they are scheduling a session.  I get asked all the time about outfit suggestions, so I thought I would put a few pointers out here, specifically for holiday.  Of course, everyone has their own style and ideas, but from a photographer's viewpoint, and someone who has made a lot of cards, I am providing a few tips that I have found make successful portraits and cards:

First of all, if you are the ultra-organized type and have a specific card design or an idea of the style of card you are are hoping to send out, think about the color scheme and make sure your outfit and scenery will complement it.  You can certainly provide it to me and I will help you make color choices.

People often want matching outfits, and to them this means everyone wearing the same shirt or all in white or black.  However, I've found that complementary shades in the same family group often works better. Select a favorite color family or "theme." Then select lights and darks of that color tone, and even some plaids or stripes with those colors, to create variety and contrast. This will give you flexibility and will make it easier to posed, with the colors blending harmoniously.

As we enter the months of November and December, the sun is lower in the sky and we start losing the bright foliage around us. This is when I try to start photographing at parks and locations that have some type of rustic structures or walls - usually brick and wood. I have found that bright colors provide that element of color that brighten up a picture - reds are the most obvious, but also teals, burgundy and yellows work as well. Think about the colors that complement your hair and skin tones and a good rule of thumb is "3 Colors and a Pop." In other words, three complementary colors and textures - and then maybe a "pop" bright color as a sweater, kids' boots, or scarves.

This year, I am again using Tiny Prints escrow system to help manage your images.  This system is a way for me to release the images directly to your Tiny Prints account to order a card for a reduced digital fee of $15.  It will include a small attribution for my studio on the back of the card,  which is part of this reduced digital fee. You will not have access to the original image file as part of this system, but will be able to use it on the card of your choice.

When you are ready to order, please let me know (do not order directly from the website) and I will upload your chosen photo(s) into the Tiny Prints Escrow system.  I will then send you a unique code for each image into your personal Tiny Prints account.  Once you have retrieved the image, you can use it on any card for up to 30 days. Your card will be printed with the high resolution version of the photo, but you will not have access to that file.

Friday, October 9, 2015

I had fun creating this little video...enjoy it, and enjoy your little ones...remember to capture the moment. Because I know from experience, it's gone before you know it.

animoto_720p from Melissa Maillett on Vimeo.

Monday, September 28, 2015

When I first started out with portrait photography I didn't need to look far for some of my first models. Luckily I had two adorable little girls living just around the corner and a family who appreciated having a photographer in the neighborhood.

This is still one of my favorite photos and I've promised them that we would recreate it sometime soon (a bit difficult since the older girl is now a Junior in college. Yikes).

The other day I had the honor of photographing the younger daughter, Lija's senior session, oh so many years later.

The years between that first picture and the second haven't been the easiest for Lija.  I asked her mom for her input since I didn't want to get any details wrong:

On December 15, 2011 Lija was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and she stated chemotherapy in January of 2012. We were lucky to find it early - but it still took its toll. Lija lost her hair after the first chemo treatments - and ended up in the hospital after the end of each batch of treatments. Through it all Lija never cried; well twice, once when she was diagnosed and once when she had mouth sores. 

 Thoreau Middle School organized a Make a Cut Event for her and she was one of the speakers. She was also awarded the Anthony MCCay Spirit Award - in recognition of her energy, enthusiasm and positive spirit. 

Lija never let cancer own her. One day after her cancer treatments; we were driving to school, and she said that in a way she was glad she got cancer. I asked her why. She said that a girl had come up to her at school and said that Lija was her inspiration because if she could still come to school and be positive even with cancer, then this young lady could deal with the problems that she faced. 

 Lija continues to attend the Make The Cut events and plans to pursue a degree as physician assistant specializing in pediatric oncology.

 I remember that time and how I hurt for Lija and her family as they went through the diagnosis and treatment, and I remember trying to comprehend the enduring fear that follows, even when the healthy diagnosis is given.

But I also believe that some of the beauty and strength that comes out in Lija's pictures are the result of going through that experience and coming out strong. I wish this girl all her dreams and plans come true, and I get the feeling they will, because she will make it happen!

Yes, I feel old when I photograph past clients' senior session, but I also feel special in the participation I've had in capturing memories for my lovely neighbors.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm so happy to be photographing my 2016 seniors - and feeling pretty relieved that this is my bump year - I just sent one kid off to college and have one year of perceived rest before my next one becomes a senior (I know it's perceived because junior year is full of pressure too!)

This guy was so easy to photograph and I loved how the outfit changes really changed the attitude of the shots.

I also like how the August drought has made some trees look almost fall-like already - maybe not good for the grass, but adds some nice variety to location shooting.

The fall will be gone in a blink of an eye, so anyone interested in senior shoots before the weather turns cold, please contact me at

Here are some shots from spring's sessions. All were taken close to Vienna - so lucky to live in an area with such diverse locations for fun shots.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I had so much fun documenting a moment in the life of a fellow runner and her cute family at Colvin Mill Park. I loved seeing all the laughter and all the love....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When I put the call out there for someone to be my "guinea pig" for trying out an athlete portrait shoot, I was so happy Joann graciously volunteered, but a little nervous that I would do justice to her incredibly sculpted body.

As I am often in the company of beautiful women who are serious about their fitness, I want to try to help them celebrate the fruits of their labor.  Even though, I realize that no matter what we do, our body may never look like this.  After all, Joann is a certified exercise instructor and the co-owner of Grass Roots Fitness, which is celebrating it's 5th anniversary in the business of  helping women achieve fitness, strength and health.  She may look fierce but she is firmly directed in helping all shapes and sizes of women feel better through fitness and healthy eating.

Those of you who have taken her outdoor boot camp classes or cardio fusion and strengthclasses know her as a gentle but firm drill sargent when it comes to directing exercises. And she has convinced me more than once to meet at 6:00 am at the Lincoln Memorial to run the steps and do burpees in front of the reflecting pool. So she must have some magic in her!

I tried to shoot as fast as I could while Joann held these incredible poses. Although I may have been tempted to direct her to hold the pose...just a little bit longer...(payback perhaps?) 

I was also happy to capture Joann's signature "leap of joy" near the end of the shoot.

And here are some in black-and-white. I like how the helps focus on the those incredible muscles.

Thanks again Joann, and for anyone is interested in learning more her's

Friday, May 22, 2015

I often get questions or comments from parents who would love to have their child's portrait session but are afraid because "they are at that age..." the age of stranger-anxiety or clingyness, or just not being such a "good listener."

I say forget all that.

This session started out with a warning from the mom "she's a little clingy"  and these are the first few shots in my camera:

Because I'm a mother of three teenage children, I feel like I've experienced every age and stage (except the college years and I'll soon be doing that!)  and I don't give up that easily!

Yes, it was pretty early to be up and out, and yes it was extremely windy and colder than expected.  But give it a little time, don't push it - and let the children just be...children. With new places to explore - pretty flowers, fun stairs and trees to climb on and around, and a real caboose (!) soon took away stranger anxiety and portrait time became fun time with that lady who just is following us around with a camera...

Here are some of the shots from later in the session: