Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Weekly Feature | Melissa Bliss Photography

Hey Mama's! Hope you all are doing well! This week we have Melissa from Melissa Bliss Photography as our guest judge. She picked the theme {moody} and we have been loving all of the submissions so far! Keep them coming in! Let's get to know Melissa better!

When did your photography journey begin? I had always loved pouring over family photos as a kid. I would imagine myself transported to those moments, wondering what it felt like to be there.  When I turned 15, I spent much of that summer at our family's cottage on Lake Michigan. It was, and is, my absolute favorite place on earth. The cottage originally belonged to my great grandparents and is filled with family history, having changed very little since it was built in 1893. That summer, I brought a camera to the lake so that I could bring home tangible memories to carry me through the next school year. You see, my parents had divorced and I was struggling with family life, depression and a lot of emotional stress. I wanted more than anything to document every detail of that summer so that I could travel back to those happy memories when I needed to escape every day life. I took hundreds of images and created a scrapbook for myself, as well as one for my grandmother to keep at the cottage and add to over the years. It was a very fulfilling project. Though I was pretty clueless when it came to composition, creative exposure and the technical aspects of photography, that endeavor served as the beginning of my desire to document life in images. Even then I loved photographing details, like the cracks in the wood planks on the ceiling that became stories in my imagination when I gazed up at night. Or the way the sand rippled up at the edge of the shore creating patterns that mimicked the waves on the lake. Those little details were treasures that could instantly transport me back to the moments when I experienced them. 


Tell us three things about you, unrelated to photography. Okay here goes: Before having children I worked as a production manager for an ad agency. I loved working with a team of designers, copywriters and media specialists. It was a work hard, play hard culture and I thrived on that. I was always juggling deadlines and used to ride a Razor scooter or my skate shoes (think Heely's) around the office collecting projects and getting updates from the team. Another tidbit: I adopted a rescue Dane several years ago and fell in love with the breed. We now have three Great Danes, in addition to 4 kids, which keep me quite busy day to day! And lastly: My first creative love was ballet. I danced 5-6 days a week growing up and had dreams of becoming a professional ballerina. It wasn't meant to be for me, but I still miss it. 


If you were going to venture into a genre you currently don't photograph, what would it be and why? Probably documentary birth photography because it is so raw and real. Unfortunately, my current schedule isn't flexible enough for me to venture into that area right now. 

What are the biggest challenges you have overcome in your photography? I would say the biggest hurdle for me was confidence in putting myself out there. I am an introvert by nature and was painfully shy growing up. I have never been all that comfortable meeting new people and generally like to hang back in new situations, observing until I find the nerve to jump in and participate. The first 1-2 years of shooting I was sick to my stomach with nerves before every single session. It was really stressful and emotionally draining. We needed the income, so I pressed on and I am so glad that I did. Even though it was difficult, it taught me that I can adapt quickly to new situations and that meeting new people is a gift. Had I not persevered, I would not have learned so much about myself and my craft, nor would I have had the opportunity to meet the many wonderful people that I met along the way.


What is your favorite piece of gear you own, or what are you lusting after? I want it all! Ha ha. I love trying new lenses and finding new perspective on life. I most often shoot with my Sigma 35 Art and my Nikon 70-200 - they are my go to lenses and I almost always wear two cameras. But, if money were no object, I would own a 200 mm f/2. I might need to work out more to be able to lug it around, but ooooohhh that dreamy bokeh and compression makes me swoon.

Keep your {moody} submissions rolling in! We can't wait to see what Melissa comes up with! Have a great week, Mamas!

Xoxo, Allison and the Mama's 


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