Wading | Fine Art Portrait Photography | Northern MI
Wild Animals | Documentary Photojournalism | TC, Mi
Secret Hideout | BW Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Contrast | Documentary Child Photographer | Northern MI
Personalities | Cousin Reunion Portrait | Northern MI
Going To The Beach | Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Explore | Fine Art Photojournalism | Northen Michigan
Sand Castles | BW Beach Photojournalism | Lake Michigan
Favorite Toy | 1st Birthday Portrait | Northern MI
Innocence | Documentary Beach Portrait | Northern MI
Future Lifeguard | Beach Session | Lake Charlevoix
Fall Wagon Ride | Documentary Child Photographer | TC
Opposites | Sibling Family Portrait | Leelanau Co
Sunset Stroll | Documentary Portraiture | Bay Harbor
Through The Tire Swing | Unique Portrait Ideas | NMi
Sister Love | Winter Children's Portrait | Downtown TC
One Year | Birthday Milestone Photography | NMi
Staring at Clouds | Documentary Portrait | Northern MI
You Can't See Me | Spring Documentary Portrait | NMi
Singing Her Favorite Song | Children's Portrait | TC
Mischief | Documentary Children's Photography | NMi
Sugar & Spice | Documentary Portrait Photography | TC
Stink Eye | Real Life Portrait Photography | NMi
Fall Fields | Child Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Hide & Seek | BW Kids Documentary Photography | NMi
No More Papparazi | Lifestyle Photojournalism| NMi
Stoic | BW Portrait Photography | Charlevoix, Mi
Boys Being Boys | BW Kids Photojournalism | Northern MI
Mood | Real Life Photography | Northern Michigan
It'll Freeze Like That | Fun Portrait Photography | NMi
The Vastness Of It All | Environmental Portraiture | TC
Birthday Balloons | Urban Kids Portrait | Downtown TC
Tiny | Unique Portrait Photography | Northern Mi
Giggles | Real Life Portrait Photography | Charlevoix
Nature Girl | Fall Documentary Portrait | Northern Mi
Playtime | Happy Kids Photography | Traverse City, Mi
Hahahaha | Happy Kids Portrait Photography | NMi
Chucks | Kids Documentary Photography | Northern Mi
Sibling Snuggles | Kids Beach Portrait | Northern MI
Merry Christmas Baby | Holiday Portrait Session | TC
Newsboy | Spring Child Portrait | Leelanau County
Angel Face | Outdoor Children's Portrait | Northern MI
Scheming | Documentary Children's Photography | TC, MI
Butterflies | Documentary Photojournalism | TC, MI
The Chase Is On | Documentary Photography | Northern Mi
Splash Wars | Child Photojournalism | Lake Michigan
And We All Fall Down | Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Climb Trees | BW Documentary Photojournalism | NMi
Aspiring Birder | BW Kids Documentary Photography | NMi
Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay | Child Portrait | TC
Lil Swimmer | Documentary Portraiture | Northern MI
Lake Life | BW Documentary Photojournalism  | NMi
Warrior Princess | BW Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Excited To Walk | Milestone Photography | Traverse City
Upside Down I Fun Child Photography | Northern MI
Dandelion Fluff | Kids Documentary Photojournalism | TC
Melt Down | Documentary Child Photographer | TC
Game Over | Child Documentary Photojournalism | Leland
He Loves Tulips | Baby Photojournalism | Northern Mi
Funny Faces | Cousins Reunion Portrait | Charlevoix
Toothless | Winter Holiday Portrait | Downtown TC
Blossom Run | Documentary Portrait Photography | TC
Cowboy Boots & Cherry Blossoms | Spring Portrait | TC
Spunky | Child Portrait Photography | Leelanau County
Mirror Images | Children's Portrait | Northern MI
Little Lady | Child Portrait Photography | Northern MI
4th Session With Missy | Summer Beach Portrait | NMi
Beach Baby | Fine Art Child Photography | Northern MI
Flowers In Her Hair | BW Child Photojournalism | TC
Action Shot | Child Photojournalism | Northern Michigan
Trouble | Documentary Photojournalism | Leelanau County
Sibling Silliness | Child Documentary Photography | TC
Grandma’s Piana | BW Kids Photojournalism | TC, Mi
Snow Angels | Holiday Portrait | Northern Mi
Sisters | Lifestyle Portrait Session  | Traverse City
Beach Blonde | Outdoor Child Portrait Photography | TC
Peace! | Fun Child Portrait | Downtown Traverse City
Sweet Girl | Child Beach Portrait | Leelanau County
Birthday Portrait | Documentary Photojournalism | NMi
Little Girl Big Water | Environmental Portrait Art | TC
1st Birthday Cake | Lifestyle Photojournalism | TC, MI
Mad Face | Holiday Children's Portrait | Northern Mi
Outtakes | Documentary Photojournalism | Northern MI
Making Up Stories | Fun Portrait Photography | TC
Lake Michigan Kids | Environmental Child Portrait | NMi
Fairy Garden | Kids Documentary Portraiture | NMi
Handsome Boys | Brothers Portrait Photography | NMi
Fall Smiles | Child Portrait Photography | Northern MI
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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.