Paige’s Senior Session: Peak Fall in the Park


If you are over 40  like me, you may remember the the “Brek Girl” shampoo ads back in the day in your “Seventeen” Magazines. They were usually beautiful blondes with the sun backlighting their long hair and a wide smile. This is what I kept thinking as I shot this stunning senior, although the antiquated reference was lost on her.

I also know that Paige is much more than a pretty face, since I’ve practically watched her grow up – a fierce competitor on the soccer field and basketball court. I enjoy seeing these girls out of ponytails and their varsity uniforms, and she is just as comfortable in the wedge sandals as in cleats.


Another small world story: her mom, Debra and worked together “BF” (before kids) and although our paths have wandered back and forth throughout the years, it was so fun to have her along on the shoot: to hold a reflector when needed and catch up on the old days.  You can see where this senior gets her looks!



We rescheduled this session back from a September date and managed to land on a warm November morning, and although a little past peak foliage – this park had so many great locations and backdrops that we got some stunning fall color for her session!

2016-11-26_0004Debra captured some photos of me in action, and Paige took one of us together.



For Colorful Fall Family Portraits…Try an Urban Setting!

2016-10-17_0002At this time of year, most of the families calling me for fall family portraits are looking for peak fall foliage and the beautiful settings at the many parks in Fairfax County.

I am happy to shoot at any of these places, but sometimes it’s fun to switch it up and let the colorful outfits and fun expressions of the family brighten up an urban area. There are so many textures and cool backdrops to be found around towns and this fun family was willing to explore with me!

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Urban areas are a great place to focus on lifestyle. Kids can find a way to have fun in any area. Jumping, running, hugging…I like to play and once they know it’s ok to be silly, the posing stiffness goes away and I can capture their true nature and the relationships in the family.

Just like these ultra-cool kids – I love the way the littlest girl is so tiny, but you can tell she looms large in the family dynamic with three older brothers —  no shrinking violets here!

Refresh Those Headshots!

It’s time isn’t it?

headshots Melissa Maillett Photography

Does that profile image on your LinkedIn Page really still look like you?

Or that realtor image that shows up in all your marketing materials. Would your clients recognize you, or was that three hairstyles ago? If that’s the case it’s time to update your headshots.

Remember the saying “a picture Is worth A thousand words” – overused, but there’s a reason people say it. Your image often precedes an in-person interaction or a phone call discussion with a potential client or employer.

Don’t worry.  Headshots are not the stiff and fake/posey style they used to be. They can actually be fun now and, more importantly, reflect your personality.

A good set of headshots and portraits can help advance your career or create your personal brand.

When I shoot headshots I spend time discussing the type of image you hope to present. We determine whether the simple, plain background will work or you want an “environmental” or “Lifestyle” image. That depends on you and your needs. For more information on the different type of headshots click here. No matter what type of session, we will discuss preparation, outfits, makeup and grooming and even lighting and location.

I would love to help you present your best image, contact me for more information and schedule your session today!




What I remember about Mom


As I have a rare moment this Mother’s day morning to sit and peruse my facebook feed, I am happy to see so many posts about and pictures of friends with their mothers – and  I am startled to realize that it’s been 10 years that I haven’t had mine around me. I am startled not because it’s been so empty without her for those years, but because I know she has been with me these 10 years.

For better or for worse, my mother has imprinted into my being and has made me who I am today. Whether it’s that second thought given when I start to throw away a plate of half-eaten food, or my utter repulsion when passing a fast food restaurant, I am the result of her labor  – in more ways than one.

Although I may do some things to prove I am different, from a different generation and have a mind of my own, when my husband tells me I’m just like my mother, I don’t always take it as an insult.

I chose for this Mothers Day to dwell on what I remember about my mother versus how much I miss her.


This is what comes to mind:

Clean houses are overrated. Especially if it takes time to away from doing something more fun with your kids, like collecting shells at the beach and painting them on the patio, decorating Ukranian Easter Eggs, teaching them how to hook a rug or hand-sew bedspreads for dollhouses.

Handknit sweaters and mittens and socks are cozier than store-bought. But when it comes to down jackets and prom dresses, maybe it’s better to go to the store.

There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning.

Meat “continues to cook after you take it away from the heat”

A few pieces of classic jewelry is more classy than revolving costume jewelry and more opulent items. I think she wore her little gold hoop earrings for over 60 years.

Always know where your food comes from. As one of the first natural or co-op food consumers, I remember flexing my muscles as I stirred the stiff, natural peanut butter on rock-hard whole wheat bread, while sneaking Fritos and bologna sandwiches on white bread at my friends’ houses.

Too much screen time is not healthy.  My brother and I were deprived of many of the 70s TV shows and limited to ONE show a week! And you can always tell if your kids were watching TV while you’re gone by putting your hand on the back of the TV to see if it is hot.

Hiking and getting outdoors is good for the spirit and the body. She gave me my first pair of hiking boots and I never went back to spending Sundays on the couch.

Even if you don’t believe in a specific God (or any God) you should still live by the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated. It’s that simple.

Always have at least one pet in the house.

You don’t need to go for the highest salary or job to be happy. Simply choose to want less and value your time not your money.

Most items of clothing, if you hold on to them long enough – will come back in style. And if it is LL Bean or Brooks Brothers purchased in the 60s or 70s, may have some “vintage” value and coveted by the younger generations.

Find a creative outlet (or many). For mom it was sewing, knitting, weaving, quilting, hand-dying fabric, spinning, beading…the list goes on and on. I guess for me it’s photography – although I still hopefully hold on to her looms, knitting needles, sewing machines and spinning wheels (yes, multiple ones) I still go for the camera.

A cancer diagnosis does not mean you should stop living. Try to enjoy and value every day you have. My kids were shocked to learn that their grandma had cancer for most of the time they knew her.  They remember instead the blueberries they picked, the picnics they went on, the beaches they walked, the games they played, the reading of books….and the unboundless love.

And that’s what I remember as well.  I love you Mom.







Beauty of the Boomers

I enjoyed reading about Cindy Joseph, makeup artist turned model and her success after 50.  She was discovered as a model after she let her hair go gray and I think she’s just beautiful!

Just as beautiful is her attitude. She really believes she was discovered because of her confidence and attitude and these only came with age. I remember when I thought the world ended after 40. Now I see so many accomplished women just beginning their new lives and careers at 40 and even 50. It so inspires me and makes me believe that even though I’ve loved my life so far, the best may be yet to come.

Maybe this is why the 40+ is becoming one of my favorite demographics. So much confidence, so much fun with these women!