Hi!!! My name is Melissa. Welcome to my blog!! I am so excited to share my passion for photography with you but first, I feel like it’s important for you get to know me a little better. I currently work full-time as an oncology nurse. The remainder of my spare time is dedicated to volunteering for events close to my heart, spending time with family and friends and photography. In 2013, I made the decision to turn my picture taking hobby into a business. Here I am four years later putting my heart and soul into my love of taking photos and helping people document memories that will last a lifetime.
When I first began, I dabbled in a bit of everything. I took professional photographs of newborns, families, children, engagements, maternity, etc. I even second shot a few weddings. Through all of my experience gained, I realized that my LOVE and passion truly resides in teen and high school senior photo sessions.
For this reason, just this year, I have decided to re-design my business structure to center around that age group. Though I will still photograph families, children, maternity and engagements, my primary focus will be with teen shoots.
There is much more to learn about me beyond my love of photography. Beginning with the fact that I, like many, grew up outside of sunny Florida.
I am the oldest of three siblings. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. I was born in Fairfax, VA and moved to the country (Bluemont, VA) when I was five. There is no denying that I was (and still am) a tomboy. My life, up until college, revolved around basketball. I played in any league and attended any camp I could. I participated in other sports such as volleyball and soccer as well as being an active member of the swim team but most of those other sports were just to keep me in shape for basketball. I attended Palm Beach Atlantic University where I played basketball on the team as a freshman and then intramurals for the remaining three years so I could focus on my degree. In 2009, I graduated with a bachelors degree in nursing.
For me, choosing to major in nursing was a heart-based decision. My passion for helping others derives from my personal experience with childhood cancer. I was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer at the young age of 10. Because of what I endured, I can help those who are fighting the same disease I faced. I feel so blessed to be able to give back in this way.
This cancer journey tested my faith at an age much younger than most and as a result, I made a deal with God. If He healed me of this horrible disease, I would go back and help other people going through the same thing.
In keeping my end of the bargain, I utilize my passion for helping others not only for my oncology nursing profession but for anything related to cancer, especially childhood cancer. I am happiest and most comfortable when I am surrounded by a bunch of other childhood cancer survivors.
When I am not helping my patients as a nurse or working behind the lens of my camera, you will most likely find me at a pediatric cancer event sharing my story or volunteering for one of many amazing childhood cancer organizations that I am a part of. Specifically, I work to increase awareness about the disease and advocate for more funding. Unfortunately, childhood cancer is severely under researched and underfunded. I won't stop fighting until we get that changed.
In addition to my personal experience with cancer, I have had my share of lifelong side effects as a direct result from the treatments I endured when I was sick. Because of this, I have acquired an obsession for healthy living. It’s amazing how much the lifestyle and dietary changes I made have improved my health and well-being.
Besides being passionate about health, photography and helping cancer patients, here are some fun, random facts about me:
- I am obsessed with dolphins. I would have one as a pet if I could.
- I love anything blue (especially Tiffany blue). It was the main color in our wedding and all of the accent pieces in our house are that color as well.
- Laughter is truly the best medicine and I believe in random acts of kindness and hugs for no reason. You never know how something simple like that can make a difference in someone's day.
- I married my high school sweetheart.
- I love to travel and experience other cultures. My husband and I recently got back from visiting my brother in Japan. He is an air force pilot and is stationed out there. It was an amazing trip!
- I hate wearing anything purple. In fact, I don't own anything purple EXCEPT for my nursing uniform. I dislike purple so much that I momentarily considered not taking the job when I found out what color the uniform was lol
- I am a Nicholas Sparks fanatic. I have watched all of his movies too many times to count. His books are great as well.
- I despise the rapper Eminem and will change the station or walk out of a room if he comes on.
- My favorite type of music is praise and worship and country. I'm also a big old school R&B fan.
- I can’t stand to have my face touched so facials are completely out of the question.
- I have not eaten any fast food other than Chick fil A in over five years and I haven’t had Chick fil A in about two.
- I am a die hard Kobe Bryant fan. My room growing up and my dorm room in college was plastered with his pictures and Lakers paraphernalia . Then I got married and my husband can't stand him so all of my pictures had to be put away...oh the sacrifices we make for those we love ;)
So, now you know a little more about the lady behind the lens :) Thank you for reading. Feel free to check back on the blog to see my most recent photography sessions and stay updated with any promotions or specials.
I look forward to connecting with you and scheduling a photo shoot soon!