What inspired your business name?
My business name is my middle name and my daughter’s middle name to create Melissa Grace. Lots of people call me Melissa. That’s totally fine since it is my name.
How long have you been in business?
I started this business in Arkansas in 2007. We moved back home to Madison in 2010 and I took about a year of re-familiarizing myself with Madison. In 2011 I shot my first wedding season in Madison and never looked back.
Why did you choose to pursue your current profession?
I am an artist at heart. I can do what I love and share that with people. That of course brings a smile their face and makes me so happy. I get to meet all kinds of folks from all walks of life and share this human experience with them.
What sets your business apart?
I strive to capture the true essence of my subjects. What makes my clients tick? What makes them so in love? I crack jokes and share stories. The result is the emotion unposed and real. My work has been described as emotive, and I am happy that shows.
Describe your ideal client(s):
My ideal clients are happy, carefree people just happy to be getting married and sharing that with the ones they love. My clients know who they are and what they want, and where they are going.
What is your most frequently asked question from engaged couples?
They all want to know if I have photographed at the venue they have chosen for their wedding/reception. Most likely yes, but of course there are many great new venues in the Madison area that I am itching to photograph. It helps to have been in the location previously, but, I will say as a photographer (I think I speak for all of us too) that I can pretty much know as soon as I walk into any room with any lighting situation and we will be just fine.
What’s on your iPod, Pandora, etc. while you work?
Spotify all the way. I love love love my Classic Rock and Stevie Nicks. And of course once in while I have to listen to my hair band favorites like Motley Crew, Poison and Bon Jovi. Yep I am a late 80s early 90s girl.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Hang out with my family! My husband shares my name (Aaron), which is why I don’t mind being called Melissa. My daughter Ella is my world and she helps with the small zoo we have in our house. This includes two pit bull mix rescues, a snake, a hedgehog, and a rabbit. I think I need a hobby farm. We also enjoy boating in the summer and traveling to Northern Wisconsin whenever we get the chance.
Who inspires you?
Oye… So many. Annie Leibowitz is by far my number one as far as photographers. My family and my extended family who cheers me on to keep pushing. On my dad’s side we have several starving artists and I know I was given a gift to pass on.
Do you have a quote you live by?
One day at a time.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Sounds corny but seriously, follow your dream.
Photo credit for my headshot: Maureen Cassidy Photography
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