Portraits Archive

Lifestyle Portrait Session – {Noah + Renata}

From Renata:

Infertility is the loss of an assumed future.

The past five years of our lives have been fertility-centric.  All leading up to the big guns – In Vitro Fertilization.  IVF was a year long process for us, which was like the slowest roller coaster ride imaginable – filled with mechanical delays and the magical ability to slow down the space-time continuum.  Despite a great team of medical professionals – our journey did not end up in success.

But we aren’t victims of the process.  We were given a chance and we gave it our all.  And oddly enough, I feel grateful for it.  We have a new perspective on life and we get to re-write our plan for the future – this time with a little less assumption.

I submitted my story to Melissa’s contest because I wanted a way to capture how much I appreciate the family unit that I do have. I have an awesome husband that supports me through anything my heart desires… with humor & logic (as opposed to my tears & irrationality.) We have a German Shepherd named Valentino that brings joy & exasperation to our lives. And we have two cats – Ren and Tiger – that provide such a sweet, cuddly love. I am so lucky!

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Melanie – San Diego Nature Portraits


“I reached out to Melissa in hopes of her photographing me to capture this special and symbolic time of my life. The last three years have felt, at times, like literal hell. Now, it is as if I am being rebirthed into a powerful time of femininity, grace and peace that has been in me all along, but I hadn’t fully recognized myself.

I thought I was adaptable. I thought I was flexible. I thought I was capable of making things work in any situation and that my transition from NYC to San Diego would be a breeze. I had no idea what was waiting for me on the other side of the country when I moved in 2012. The Universe had more turbulent plans for me…to help me learn the importance of embracing impermanence, forcing me to truly live in the moment, to let go of things and rid myself of attachments to people and objects.

It took me being perpetually sick, abused and transient to learn these difficult lessons and start being brutally honest with myself about what I need, desire and deserve to give and receive. Eventually, I began to surrender to whatever situation was in front of me, because as it turns out, only pain comes with resistance. Kindness is non-negotiable. Accountability is essential. Go with the flow, let it be, keep moving forward, que sera sera: These are all clichés for a reason. Life lessons are learned abundantly in real-time, if you allow them.”













Balboa Park – Father-Daughter Portrait Session
MMP Gives Back Contest Winners – Rachael + Rudy
Normal. A word which means confirming to a standard; typical; commonplace. When you think of the traditional family, you picture a loving mom and dad, a brother and sister, and maybe even grandma and grandpa. If one had to define a normal family, that’s probably what comes to mind…though I can’t think of anyone who can say with a degree of certainty that they had a “normal” childhood. This certainly holds true for Rachael. She grew up in an extremely broken home, where her mother physically and verbally abused her as soon as she started crawling. Her mother and father fought day in and day out, and after a series of lies told by her mother, at the age of 7, Rachael‘s father, Rudy, would be forced to walk out of Rachael‘s life forever.
All the while, Rachael‘s mother continued to abuse her, until finally, she had enough, and set out to be the victor–not the victim.
Fast forward to today, Rachael, now 21, is still dealing with the repercussions of her mother’s actions, the most recent being identity theft. She had severe depression, and finally decided to reach out to her father. Now, 14 years later, Rachael has been reunited with Rudy. Every Thursday is “Dad/Daughter Day.” They have enjoyed getting to know each other, and noticing how very similar they are in looks and personality, despite their separation.
Rachael was browsing Facebook, and noticed Melissa’s post about wanting to give back to her community and supporters by providing a free mini shoot. Having worked with Melissa in the past, and with Father’s Day just around the corner, she thought it would be a wonderful gift to have some portraits captured of the two of them. (And Rudy just so happened to say what a good idea it would be to go to a studio and have pictures taken).
(from Rachael) Despite everything one goes through, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard to see, but it’s there if you set your heart on finding it. Thank you, Melissa, for being part of that light. Your beautiful photos truly capture the love between a father and daughter. Thank you again for sharing your gifts, time, and talent with us in preserving a memory that will forever be fond in my dad’s heart, and mine.

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Pacific Beach Proposal – {Christina + Nate}

I love love love shooting proposals! An unsuspecting girlfriend, a planner boyfriend – soon to be fiance. It’s such a happy moment and I adore capturing the memory for the couple!

Nate contacted me a few days before it all went down. He was planning to propose to his girlfriend of 8 years, Christina. They were celebrating their anniversary by staying at Tower 23 hotel in Pacific Beach. He wanted to propose over dessert at the amazing restaurant JRDN. I recruited my assistant Katrina to be my date at the restaurant. We showed up a few minutes before the couple and sat down for a beer to wait. We spied on them through the windows, they were seated outside (in the cold!) and we were inside. We were in-cahoots with their waitress (and the rest of the amazing staff of JRDN) and they sat us as Nate + Christina were finishing their entrees. We pretended to browse the menu while I had my camera on my lap ready to go! I saw the dessert coming out and knew it was showtime!

Christina first saw the dessert plate which stated Nate’s intention. She was shocked. Truly shocked. And I kept clicking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man as happy as Nate in that exact moment. It was amazing. After they finished dessert, we headed to the beach for a few engagement style photos of the newly engaged!
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Oceanside Portrait Session – {Tanner + Bex}

Bex is a friend from high school that I recently connected with again! Tanner also went to HS with us, but I never talked to him! Which is a bummer because he’s an awesome guy and wonderful hubby to Bex! They eloped and never had professional photos taken so I was stoked to take some pictures for their walls! We started at their house so their baby, Chancho could be in a few photos! After, we grabbed a cocktail at Masters Kitchen in Oceanside and then hightailed it down to the pier for sunset!TannerBecky_07 TannerBecky_14 TannerBecky_17 TannerBecky_24 TannerBecky_27 TannerBecky_48 TannerBecky_60 TannerBecky_78 TannerBecky_90

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