So, without further ado, Merrilee!
When did you fall in love with photography?
My grandfather was a photographer so I have been around it all my life. It wasn't until about ten years ago that I really fell in love though. I took a B&W photography class where I learned to develop my own film and print my images in the darkroom...what magic! The first time I saw my image appear on a piece of photo paper, I was enamored. I realized how much control I had over the light and what I could do with it. It was like a door had been opened and I couldn't wait to learn more.
What's your philosophy as a photographer?
As a lifestyle photographer, my goal is to capture images that tell a story. I love to help a family create a memory of what their life is like right now. I want them to be able to look back at their images and remember the little things...what it was like when their baby was learning to walk, their little one feeding himself in the highchair, the tiny fingers on their newborn baby's hand, storytime with a favorite book. I want parents to be able to show these images to their child and say this is what it was like when you were a baby. I love shooting in clients' homes because when everyone is in their own environment, they are much more relaxed and natural and the images are so much more a reflection of who they are.
Tell us about one of your favorite shoots.
Every shoot is unique and I have learned that each family is so different in how they relate to and love each other. It is a beautiful thing to watch and it is such a blessing for me to experience. It would be hard to pick a favorite shoot, but there are definitely favorite moments like when a child unexpectedly kissed his Mom's pregnant belly or a little one crawled over and peeked through her Mom's legs or when a Dad said "group hug" and suddenly the family had the most intimate moment that I could never have created. I love capturing these unstaged moments that are just raw beauty...it is my favorite!
Paxton just turned one. What have you most enjoyed about being a mom?
Being a Mom is amazing and life-changing in ways I never imagined. What I have enjoyed most this first year is watching Paxton grow and change from a tiny baby into a little boy. He has learned so much and every day is an adventure for him. It is such a treat to watch him discover the world!