My Why....

Hi, my name is Melissa and this is my why.

I am not big on sharing personal information on my business page, but this is something I think people ask regularly and so here it is.  1 because it pertains to the name of my business and 2 because it is why I offer the service I do with the products I offer.

So here it goes. Yes, this probably took me a long time to write and not delete so once it is up I don’t plan on re-reading it. If there are grammar or spelling errors they will just have to be.

I first learned how to use a camera when I was 6 and no I did not love it. It was a way I bonded with my dad when we lived in California. I remember the most memorable moment was sitting on a rooftop watching him take pictures of heat lighting and learning to count between the strikes. He used a 35 mm with a cube flash. Back then there wasn’t instant gratification. He worked in a photo developing lab and developed his own film. When I moved to Michigan I didn’t pick a camera up. I never stayed in one place long before moving here to Virginia but it all played in my why.

There were 3 people who had a big part in my decision to do photography. When I lived in Michigan I was about 9 when I lost an aunt to cancer and about 4 years later my uncle passed of cancer. These two people played a large part in raising me and I wish on many occasions that they were still around to be a part of my children’s lives. The hardest part is when I tell my children about my aunt and uncle I want so badly to go take a photo album out and show them a picture of these two special people. Yes, I have stories growing up but putting a face to the memory would be nice. So when my uncle passed I started picking the camera up I was 14 at that time so my children weren’t around. I started taking pictures of my sister's family gatherings, scenery, and bugs. Then over the years after I graduated High School I entered the workforce and didn’t take many pictures. I didn’t even own a camera until my oldest was born. Back in 2005, I started picking the camera up again and taking pictures of nature followed by family gatherings, and eventually, I realized I was enjoying taking pictures of my children being children and even setting up backgrounds.

One day my sister told me I should turn my hobby into a business, but that was not what I wanted to do so I brushed it off and just kept shooting as a hobby. I was trying to find a job and get my college degree in accounting. About a year later I stopped the job search and changed my major to business management. Opening my own business was not my goal but everything happens for a reason. In 2013, I opened MC Photography and started doing paid sessions. I did everything by the books from getting business insurance to registering my business for a business license and paying taxes. I made my sister promise that I would do her family pictures for each year since she made me start my business. She was my biggest cheerleader. If I had an idea or was doubting myself she was there to remind me that I could do it and to keep pushing forward. Then in the spring of 2014, she told me I had to make her a promise that I would never give up and I would always keep learning and growing. I refused to make her the promise at that time than on her birthday October 6th, 2014 I made her that promise. Some days I regret it because I think that set the ball in motion but I know everything happens for a reason, fate can’t be controlled. On December 27th, 2014 my sister passed away in a car accident and changed my outlook forever. My rock, my cheerleader, and my reason passed away. I felt like I had no reason to keep going with the business and actually stopped working in my business shooting and everything for over 6 months. Then I realized that she saw something in me that I didn’t. She saw a passion in me and I started to pick the camera up again and doing sessions. You see she cherished printed pictures and I didn’t realize how much until I sat down with my brother in-law and he started pulling out the photo albums that she had. She had pictures of me from when I was 13 and I didn’t even know existed. Now I only have copies of those pictures and nothing from before then of me to share with my children. For that reason I have always been a print photographer. I mean it is hard when my children ask what I looked like growing up and there is nothing to show them but they had pictures of their dad from when he was little. Every year my sister would have me do her family pictures and she would order prints through me. Without her I don’t think I would have ever took the jump into photography as a profession and be where I am today. I made her a promise and I plan to keep it.

This brings me to the name Mindful Light Photography. In the middle of a networking meeting in October 2016, I had a breakdown and was ready to close the business, but after some conversation, I decided that wasn’t the path that I was meant to take instead it was time to make a change and Mindful Light came about. You see my sister was and will always be my butterfly in the light and she kept me mindful of the light that shines in my life. Hense Mindful Light Photography.

She will forever be by my side and watching over me, therefore I will always keep growing, learning, and moving forward while helping others save their families memories in the form of printed photos. Without printed pictures how will our children's children know what their great grandparents looked liked or be able to share the stories about how special they were. I miss my aunt, uncle, and sister every day, and every time I share a story with my children about them I wish I could just go pull out a photo and give them a face to put with the name. I remember my aunt would always wear a red goose down vest and drove a red Suzi jeep and my uncle was a truck driver who loved chocolate chip cookies with black coffee. But my children can’t picture these moments without the picture. With that being said I have made it my mission to make sure families can have the pictures for their children to look back on when they get older. So this is my why and the reason behind the name. There will always be butterflies in my logo and without light, there is not memory. I hope you can understand why I don’t share this story much.

That's me, Melissa.

I look forward to working with you.

Professional Family Photographer