I just love living in the college town of Flagstaff. Northern Arizona University, with its 20,000 students, brings so much to the table. Each year, I get symphony tickets, go see various plays, volunteer with my alumni sorority, get to see some great collegiate sporting events and even get to use the Sky Dome to do some serious leg exercises sprinting to and from the bottom of the field. But my favorite part is meeting wonderful students each year as they prepare to graduate.
Nikki came to her session with some great props and a smile that lit up all of Old Main. She was so sweet and I loved hearing about her future plans, all wrapped up in fresh excitement that made me excited for her.
We chose Old Main, the oldest part of NAU, for her photos. The historic buildings stand tall over the grassy lawn, and remind everyone who pass, they are part of a larger future of NAU graduates.
Congratulations Nikki! I can’t wait to hear where the future takes you. ~ Melissa
The last time I photographed Lauryn she was two. Yep. Two. I remember it like it was yesterday. Fifteen years ago, my friend Pam (Lauryn’s mom) and I worked at the Summit Center. She had two adorable little girls and I had a new camera. So I took about twenty rolls of film (Yes! Film!!) to her home and photographed those two giggle boxes rolling around in piles of leaves. I’ve never had so much fun. Soon after, I was thinking about starting a photography business but scared out of my mind. Pam was always the one I turned to for reason. While she probably doesn’t know it, she talked me into purchasing my home in Flagstaff. I was obsessing…could I afford it…what if I couldn’t find a roommate…did I really want it…was I going to stay in Flagstaff, etc. Pretty much, I was paralyzed with indecision. “Why not?” she said, “Don’t be scared, just do it!” With no emotion, she just said it matter of fact. “If you don’t like it, you can sell it. What’s the big deal?“. So, the next thing I knew, I had a new home. And thirteen years later, I still live in that home. Pam coaxed me along my photography path in the same manner she did for my real estate fears. In 2005, I was on the fence. Should I leave the security of a great job? “Just go for it!“, she said. I obsessed. I made spreadsheets. I made pros and cons lists. I obsessed more. But, in the end, I followed my heart and I have Pam to thank for that.
Pam after my home purchase, Pam and I both quit our jobs. She went to work at the Northern Arizona University Marketing Department and I, well, I made the leap of faith to photography. We’ve both never looked back.
This session was special to me in many ways. I got to spend a couple of precious hours with an old friend I don’t see nearly enough, and I got to get to know her beautiful daughter once again. Thank you for taking a chance on me Pam, so many years ago. And congratulations Lauryn! You’re going to do great things with your life. Your contagious smile, your laughter, and your bright soul will lead you to much success! xoxo ~ Melissa
I’ve known Miranda since she was about seven years old and I could hardly believe it when her Dad, Dave, called me for her senior photos. Dave and I have served on the board of Flagstaff Biking Organization together for a long time. It’s a bicycle advocacy group here in Flagstaff with a mission to get more people and kids on bikes for health and the environment. Specifically, he and I have a passion for Bike to Work Week and our elementary school children program of Bicycle Rodeos, which teaches safe riding for kids. Dave also recently retired from the Flagstaff Police Department and has participated in the Police Unity Tour for many years. I’ve always been thankful for his service and dedication to the public.
When I first met Miranda, she was just getting into mountain biking. I remember her first ‘race’ in downtown Flagstaff where she and her sister rode one mile and at the end, collected a medal with hundreds of other kids. Her big grin and laugh were contagious. While her Dad lived in Flagstaff, Miranda, and her sister live in Camp Verde, so a couple of years would go by before I would see them again. This was the case when Dave called for her senior session. When Miranda showed up for her photo shoot, I almost didn’t recognize her. She is no longer the little girl of my memory, but a beautiful and smart young lady. However, that gorgeous smile is still the same. Miranda will be graduating from Camp Verde High School this coming May and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for her. Congrats Miranda! xoxo ~ Melissa
We chose Red Rock Crossing State Park for her senior session. I love discovering old locations and being inspired by the changes in the landscape and foliage. I’m usually at this park as a Sedona Wedding Photographer, and it’s always wonderful to be able to photograph seniors and families at my favorite locations. I’m loving being a Camp Verde Senior Photographer this year and getting to know many of the students there!
Brittney and her family traveled from Canton, Georgia to the southwest on a business trip that also involved sightseeing and relaxing with the family. The whirlwind trip involved a couple of days in San Francisco, some time in Scottsdale and of course, the Grand Canyon National Park. Brittney and her family had never seen the Grand Canyon until all of us approached the rim to start her photos. Being that I live so near, and frequent the Canyon so often, I often forget just how incredible the view really is. As they neared the edge, I continued to talk (yes, sometimes I talk too much, lol) and I noticed no one was responding. As I turned to look at them, I could almost hear all their hearts stop. They were all staring into the Canyon, mesmerized. It really is breathtaking and yet, impossible to put in words. The Grand Canyon is just something that you need to see in person.
Brittney is graduating from Woodstock High School this coming May and I loved chatting with this beautiful and bright young lady about her future. It’s not often that I get clients from my home state, and I adored listening to updates about my alma mater, the University of Georgia, and all the changes that have happened in Atlanta since I left the South in 1995. (Has it really been 21 years!?!) This young lady has big plans for the future and I can’t wait to follow her success.
Congrats Brittney! I hope you and your family enjoyed your visit to Arizona! ~ Melissa
Bailey will be graduating from Camp Verde High School this coming May and I was so honored to do her senior photos. Bailey and her mom wanted to come up north for her session and take advantage of the spectacular landscape we have and the contracting urban area of downtown. We were chasing the last bit of sunflowers here, but we found two beautiful areas with both the taller sunflowers and the shorter ones in a different location. For the downtown photos, we choose a cool block in the up and coming ecletic Southside Flagstaff. Bailey was an absolute dream to work with and I loved spending the afternoon with her, her mom, sister and best friend. I loved that she brought her sweet puppy, Cooper, who just turned one and her amazing Chevrolet Camero. There was no way I could add all my favorite photos here, so check out her slideshow here! Bailey has aspirations to become an ultrasound technologist and I have no doubt that this smart, dedicated and beautiful young lady will be very successful. Congrats Bailey!
Arron graduated from Coconino High School and is attending Northern Arizona University this year. We loved that he brought along his French horn and his concert tux. A native of Texas, this brave young man started his senior year at a new high school. We also loved meeting his younger brother, Ryan, who joined us for a few photos. Congrats Arron, we look forward to your bright future!