Archive for Families
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The City of Flagstaff and the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau were looking for some images for a campaign that promoted the close proximity to Phoenix baseball and the Grand Canyon. We live in a spectacular part of the world and are within two hours of some awesome places with Sedona, Prescott and the Grand Canyon all in our backyard. Having the Grand Canyon, a natural wonder of the world, only 75 miles from my front door, is such a treasure. I’m probably at the Grand Canyon once a week, on average, for weddings and I love how different it looks each time I’m there. It’s a beautiful place for portraits, weddings and commercial shoots like this one.

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Grand Canyon has some spectacular locations to choose from but we chose Lipan Point at the Grand Canyon because of it’s grand views, beautiful outcroppings and a great view of the Colorado River. I think it’s one of my favorite overlooks at the Grand Canyon National Park. However, it’s not best for anyone with issues with heights. There are drop offs at each angle of approach and you’ll need secure footwear and no vertigo to navigate them.

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Jerome and his daughter, Grace, are clients and friends of mine. When the City of Flagstaff described the models they needed for the shoot, I knew they’d be perfect. Plus I loved the thought of using a real father-daughter relationship for this commercial photo session.  I try and use organic situations when I can because they lead to better, natural expressions.  I did Grace’s newborn photos and can’t believe she’s this old now. Where does the time go?

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If you want to visit Lipan Point, I recommend approaching it from the East Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Plus, that route will take you through the vast lands of the Navajo Nation and it’s beautiful landscape. On a clear day, you’ll even be able to see the Painted Desert in the distance on your drive.  Sunset and sunrise are both spectacular times to visit this gorgeous point.

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The Grand Canyon is a magical place to photograph. Every time I go there, I’m met with different cloud coverage and hues of the magestic rock walls. Keep in mind, however, if you’re planning a commercial shoot, you’ll need a permit to do so. I’m a big proponent of permits and how they help regulate the impact of our public lands.

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I have a little secret, I have a big soft spot for adult family gatherings. I grew up in a family that used to gather every Sunday at my Grandmother’s house in Trion, GA. She made a feast that was so large, it could have fed 50 people, instead of the 10 people who attended. We did that up until I was 14, and then my mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed within a year. When mom was sick, she didn’t have the energy to make the 20-mile road trip to Granny’s house, so we stopped the tradition. I suppose it was grief and the fact that my brother and sister had married and moved on after mom had passed, but we never had those family gatherings again. During those years after, I missed my uncles, aunts, and cousins, but I suppose, life went on.  I went to college and then moved to Arizona after I graduated.  I didn’t even know what I was truly missing out on until I was much older.

When I started to regularly photography family gatherings, it hit me like a brick wall. These relationships, these moments, you never get them back. At every shoot, I’d soak in the laughter and giggles, and even sometimes the tears as I reminisced on moments of my own family’s memories lost. I love these shoots and it’s so nice to capture these moments for families. I know they’ll cherish these moments in 40 years, even more than they do now.

I love spending the morning with the Berthelsen Family in Oak Creek.  This little piece of paradise has always been a reminder of home, with the cool streams and beautiful riparian environment.  Plus, this family was just so happy to be together, to smile and laugh and reminisce.  Thank you for having me as part of your family history 🙂  ~ Melissa

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July 09, 2018
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Sweet, sweet summertime in Flagstaff.  It’s my absolute favorite time of year. Now, I know that I say that about every season in Flagstaff, but that is because I love the season I’m in.

To celebrate my favorite time of year, I am scheduling mini-summer sessions. While I am having a hard time narrowing down the spot (because there are so many great ones to choose from), I can guarantee you the backdrop will be stunning in a way only Flagstaff can deliver.

Flagstaff Summer Mini-Photo Sessions

Each session includes:

  • One planning meeting via telephone or in person
  • 30-minute photo session in Flagstaff
  • Up to 20 proofs to choose from
  • In-person photo review session in my downtown studio OR an online gallery that will be live for one week

Three summer mini-photo session packages are available to choose from:

  • Package A: $99 + tax – One digital image or $99 Print Credit
  • Package B: $249 + tax – Five digital images or $249 print credit
  • Package C: $399 + tax – All digital images or $399 print credit

Prints start at $75 and are all mounted on matboard and printed on matte archival paper.

Mini-sessions are my most popular offering and they always sell out. Call 928-774-0220 or email me at melissa@tangledlilac.com to secure your spot today.  Please note, a $49 payment is required to book the session and will be applied to any package. Your payment is refunded if canceled 72 hours prior to your session.

3 Reasons I Love Flagstaff Summers

There are many more than three reasons why I love Flagstaff in the summer. In fact, I could probably talk about this topic all day long.

Many people look to the fall to showcase the vibrant colors of the city. But personally, I love photographing in summer. Summer represents a slowing down and a little more play. And there is no escaping that everything is alive. The gardens are growing, the grass is greener,  and the flowers are plentiful.

Here are just a few reasons I love Flagstaff summers.

1. The hiking, biking and summer cocktails on the patio.

Everything happens outside in Flagstaff during the summer. Hiking or biking in a Ponderosa pine forest surrounded by the beautiful Aspens is breathtaking. There is beauty all around and I have no trouble getting lost in a lovely daydream. I regularly take my dogs into the forest for their morning walks and the smell of pine and the warmth of the sun never fail to start my day on a positive note.

2. There is always something going on downtown.

Flagstaff’s historic downtown is something very special. During the summer there are Movies on the Square, Musical Acts and local events showcasing local talent. It’s always full of activity and laughter. While some might think it can get a bit crowded, I love to see locals and visitors hanging out downtown. I firmly believe it is summertime that keeps the city alive.

3. The smell and cool air from a summer Monsoon

Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the smell of this wonderful mountain town following a monsoon shower. People in Flagstaff don’t shy away from the monsoon rain, they revel in it – myself included. I appreciate the need to feed the forest, the beautiful flowers and to help keep fire danger low. But there is something a bit magical about a gentle rain falling and slowing down the whole town.

I hope you’ll join me so we can pay tribute to summer together. Maybe the reasons why you love summer are different than mine, but the photos from our session together will always serve as a tribute to the season the keeps Flagstaff thriving.

Once again … here are those details.

Flagstaff Summer Mini-Photo Sessions

Each session includes:

  • One planning meeting via telephone or in person
  • 30-minute photo session in Flagstaff
  • Up to 20 proofs to choose from
  • In-person photo review session in my downtown studio OR an online gallery that will be live for one week

Three summer mini-photo session packages are available to choose from:

  • Package A: $99 + tax – One digital image or $99 Print Credit
  • Package B: $249 + tax – Five digital images or $249 print credit
  • Package C: $399 + tax – All digital images or $399 print credit

Prints start at $75 and are all mounted on mat board and printed on matte archival paper.

Mini-sessions are my most popular offering and they always sell out. Call 928-774-0220 or email me at melissa@tangledlilac.com to secure your spot today.  Please note, a $49 payment is required to book the session and will be applied to any package. Your payment is refunded if canceled 72 hours prior to your session.

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It’s been over a month since I’ve posted any of my work to my website. The first quarter of 2017 was the busiest I’ve ever been in ten years and I’m so grateful to all my clients with trusting me with their memories. And then there came new equipment to learn and new computers to install, a new employee to train and priorities were just redirected.   Being a full-time photographer for the past ten years in Flagstaff has been a blessing.  But, I’m always amazed at how much time I spend doing other things than actually photographing.  When I had college photography interns, that was their greatest disappointment, they were not using their camera.  I crunched the numbers one afternoon and found out that I only click my camera shutter about 12% of my working time.  While it wasn’t a surprise to me, seeing that small number stare back at me was an eye-opener to how I spend my time.  However, I’m getting into a rhythm now and I wanted to kick off my return to posting with one of my most cherished clients, the Byers Family.

Amee has been my hairstylist for the past ten years and owns Shanti Salon here in Flagstaff.  When I’m in her chair, I feel loved and with a friend.  Her husband, Thomas, owns Thomas Byers Guitar Studios and teaches music to students and adults in Flagstaff.  I’ve been with this couple every step of the way from their wedding to their first baby,  Cohen and their rescue dog Maple.  Amee and her family are now expecting their new little boy any day now and I can’t wait to meet this little angel! I love that they are going to wait to name him until they get to meet him face to face.  What a lucky soul to have chosen these kind and loving people to be its parents. Congrats! I can’t wait to see him! ~Melissa

Amee chose the gorgeous Oak Creek Canyon as her backdrop and it was so fun watching Cohen play in the creek while we did her photos.  If you’ve never been to Oak Creek, I highly recommend you go, but on a weekday.  The secret is out about this enchanting slice of Arizona and the weekends are crowded and chaotic.  Amee’s rose colored maternity gown was gorgeous and her gold headband enchanting.  Amee has always been very stylish!  Amee was even brave enough to step into the creek for a few photos despite the creek being freezing!  (Snow melt is very cold, lol).  Thanks for being so adventurous Amee!

Congrats to the Byers Family! I can’t wait to see him! ~Melissa

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October 28, 2016
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The Casey family wanted to come to beautiful Sedona, Arizona for their annual family photos and who could blame them?  The red rocks, beautiful vistas, and the gorgeous sunsets are unrivaled in the Southwest.  I love shooting in Sedona because at every turn there’s something that will take your breath away.  There are many reasons why so many people make the pilgrimage to Sedona…from acclaimed vortexes to the healing waters and sounds of Oak Creek to the peace you get when you find a trail all to yourself.    If you’ve never been, make the trip!

Jessica and Gerry are expecting their second baby in December and big brother, Elvis the Bernese mountain dog, and big sister, Delaney are very excited!  I loved the custom signs for Delaney and Elvis!  But mostly, I adored how much this family loved one another.  There’s nothing quite like being able to observe a close family and how they make each other laugh and smile.   The Casey family were adventurous and wanted to go to the summit of the Sugarloaf trail and Jessica hiked it like a pro!  The views were definitely worth the effort!

It was great meeting each of you!  Thank you for coming to Sedona! xoxo ~ Melissa

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October 22, 2016
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I’m not only lucky to have this beautiful family as clients, but also as friends.  This family has been entwined in my life for over 13 years.  (where does the time go??).  It’s been quite the journey…from having Adam as my roommate in 2003, to him and Kristen dating, getting engaged, married and the birth of their sweet munchkin Kensie, not to mention all the wonderful, crazy moments in between all the milestones.   We’ve all been through a lot together and they’ve all shared some of my most joyful, precious and even sad moments of my life.   They were cheerleaders to me to start my own photography business in 2007 and I’ll always be so thankful for their support and love.  I always look forward to photographing them and watching Kensie grow up really has been a privilege.   It was wonderful spending the afternoon with them and their parents.  Love all you lots!!  xoxo ~ Melissa

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