Wading | Fine Art Portrait Photography | Northern MI
Hide & Seek | BW Kids Documentary Photography | NMi
Splash Wars | Child Photojournalism | Lake Michigan
Beach Baby | Fine Art Child Photography | Northern MI
Wild Animals | Documentary Photojournalism | TC, Mi
And We All Fall Down | Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Flowers In Her Hair | BW Child Photojournalism | TC
Secret Hideout | BW Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Climb Trees | BW Documentary Photojournalism | NMi
No More Papparazi | Lifestyle Photojournalism| NMi
Contrast | Documentary Child Photographer | Northern MI
Aspiring Birder | BW Kids Documentary Photography | NMi
Stoic | BW Portrait Photography | Charlevoix, Mi
Action Shot | Child Photojournalism | Northern Michigan
Personalities | Cousin Reunion Portrait | Northern MI
Trouble | Documentary Photojournalism | Leelanau County

Random musings, recommendations & hilarity:

Rule #1. You have to be FAST when photographing kids. Like, Jedi fast. And flexible. I highly recommend yoga and/or training with the Navy Seals. OKayyyy, fine. I've never trained with the Navy Seals. Probably.

Rule #2. Relax. Kids sense stress & anxiety a mile away. They KNOW something's up the minute they hear the tags pop off that perfectly ironed all-white collared shirt that matches sister's perfectly ironed all-white dress. A word of warning, your child may act out in ways you've never seen before if they've never worn a collared shirt before. I recommend keeping them comfortable, well-fed & going with the flow. Or drinking heavily. Some wait to drink until after the session though. No judgment here.

Rule #3. Have a backup outfit on standby. If your child has never blown out of an outfit before, it's because he was saving it for his portrait session. I can also recommend bringing (non-explosive) snacks/drink, beach towels & baby wipes. For unique & original photos, you may also enjoy bringing a beloved book, toy, blanket, stuffed animal, or other happy distraction. Perhaps, a designated driver. ;)

Rule #4. Let kids be themselves. If your child is anti-camera & never smiles for you, they may not smile for me either. But they probably will smile for me, because I'm sometimes fun, most of the time. Don't take it personally.

Rule #4.5b. If your child has a meltdown in the middle of our session, I will (quietly & masterfully) photograph it. Not to be cruel, but as a loving memory of parenting an unpredictable force of nature. Go ahead & pick up your child, dry their tears, hug them, kiss them, snuggle 'em up. Those moments may very likely turn out to be your favorite photographs. If your child is behaving in a way that makes you question why you ever thought booking a family session with THE Melisa McKolay was a good idea, please feel free to pull them aside & do the parenting thing. A good "talking to" always makes for super cute & responsible pictures. Also, that insane face your kid makes when they scream cry? That face slowly disappears, never to be seen again. Thank God, right? No worries, I'll be there to capture it.

Rule #5. Live, Laugh, Love, Play & Have Fun! We're going to have a wonderful adventure. Whatever happens.

A mother to one hilarious teenager, a former daycare provider, a professional photographer of 14 years, and one heck of a great gal, Melisa McKolay is a master at engaging children & capturing authentic reactions, smiles & mischief.