Amanda & Alan Engagement Session

The Delavan Arboretum is a great little gem that I first learned about when photographing Amanda, Alan and their family for the recent engagement. The trees and flowers were blooming and the property had a special little wooden arbor in the middle of it all. Set on a calm lake with a walking path, we have more than enough opportunities to capture the family in nature. A soft shake of a tree overhead and you were being snowed on with gentle petals from vibrant white, pink and purple blossoms.

I have noticed that incorporating children into engagement photographs has been very popular. As Alan said, he's not just marrying Amanda; he is marrying the whole family. We were able to get some really special photos with the kids...

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Family Session at Frame Park

Frame Park in Waukesha, WI is stunning and a great place to have family photographs taken. The park boasts a large English Garden with circular hedges, a stone and beam structure with sitting benches and a variety of flowers highlighting every color of the wheel. It's really a place that you can literally stop and smell the roses.

This family session was taken at two different location, thanks to Mother Nature answering the rain requests of several farmers! The first session was indoors at the home of youngest youngster. This tends to make it easier on both the children and the parents because it's a familiar place, everything is on hand if needed and there is always an extra set of clothes just in case.

The second session was about a week later at the park where the kids could run around and have fun. Photo sessions that are molded around the kids tend to be a little easier and more natural than the traditional studio "say cheese!" sessions. On location photo shoots gives the opportunity for so many props and backdrops that you just can't find on canvas.

Miss to Mrs Bridal Consignment Boutique - East Troy, WI

I had the privilege of photographing a very unique boutique, Miss to Mrs Bridal Consignment Boutique in East Troy. Started by sisters, Molly Nogalski & Tasha Ventimiglia, Miss to Mrs. Bridal is the first Bridal Gown Consignment in the Milwaukee area. Gowns are sold for 30-50% off their retail/valued price. Those who choose to consign their dress will receive a check for 40% of the sold price within 2 weeks after their dress is sold. The boutique is not limited to wedding gowns; they also feature mother of the bride dresses, flower girl dresses, accessories, shoes and veils.

If you are looking for your perfect wedding gown be sure to check out the unique shop on the square in East Troy.

Miss to Mrs Bridal Consignment Boutique is located at 2893 Main Street. Suite C (Upper Level), East Troy, WI 52130.





Photographing the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, WI

Photographing reenactments and historical festivals is one of my favorite things to do, especially in the summer. Within the first few days of moving out to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin I discovered the Bristol Renaissance Faire. I could barely contain myself, and shortly after we were at the faire surrounded by professional actors, singers, jugglers, visitors that came dressed up and HUGE turkey legs and sautéed mushrooms. The sounds, the smells and the overall experience was amazing, and everyone was clearly having a great time. After impatiently waiting for a few hours, we finally got to see the jousting and what a show! The day was slightly clouded over (perfect for photos) and the weather was not to hot and not too cold. And then within 5 minutes the weather changed and we were caught in a downpour. No worries; there were shops, eateries and sitting areas where we could browse until the rain stopped.

After getting home (soaking wet!) I went through the photos whole-heartedly believing the jousting photos were the stars and all the others were the “extras”. The lesson I learned that day was just the opposite. Although those photos were good, my favorite photos were those where the people were just being people in the moment of the atmosphere and not putting on a show. They were acting, but not for anyone in particular, just for themselves in the moment in the midst of medieval structures, dragon sculptures and the tempting smell of traditional food.

There are a few reasons I enjoy photographing these events. The first and most important is because I enjoy the events and enjoy sharing the photos even more. The second is that it is a great way to sharpen my photography skills and work on capturing poses and facial expressions in a very non-traditional environment. So it’s both practice and memories all wrapped up in a day of fun.

If you every get the opportunity to visit the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha, Wisconsin I highly recommend spending the entire day. Watch the shows, don’t have an agenda and have a great time. There is always something amazing just waiting around the corner for you.

Photographs by Melissa Miller Photography are available for sale here.


Family Portraits - On-Site Event Photography

A photojournalistic approach to events is expected, but when used for portraits it can turn into something almost magical. Not only are you capturing moments in the lives of those you love, you are capturing them doing what they love too. If you find that your family photos turn out a little on the uncomfortable side because the smiles are forced, consider an on-site portrait session. I had the opportunity to share the day with M-jai and her twin boys at the Milwaukee County Zoo. The weather was in no way cooperating (a full week of straight rain and floods!) and on day for everyone was getting a little cabin fever. So we broke out the oh-so-adorable umbrellas and made our way to the zoo. These photos are officially some of my favorite photos, because despite the weather we had fun and the kids practically had the zoo all to themselves! 

Another great addition to family portraits are props; not necessarily anything out of the ordinary or crazy, but just like in this case a simple umbrella. Adding props to your photos can seal a memory in a photo and keep it cherished for years to come. The photos are what you make of them – if you want the posed smiles, those are great too. There is nothing wrong with that; but if you are looking for a more casual approach to capture your family try a day of on-site event photography. You will be surprised just how many photos turn out to be wall-worthy!

Find out more about family portraits and pricing here.

Melissa Miller Photography is located in Southeast Wisconsin and serves the Southeast Wisconsin area as well as Chicago, IL and surrounding areas. Photographer will travel to towns including but are not limited to: East Troy, Lake Geneva, Fontana, Williams Bay, Milwaukee, Madison, Beloit, New Berlin, Brookfield, Burlington, Chippewa Falls, Cudahy, Delevan, Eagle, Edgerton, Elkhorn, Fond du Lac, Fort Atkinson, Fox Lake,  Janesville, Kenosha, Pewaukee, Mukwonago, Menominee Falls, Muskego, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha in Wisconsin.


Family Photo Session at the Abbey Resort - Lake Geneva WI

  What a great day for family photos at a location that just glowed with autumn colors. On-site photos can turn out to be some of the best images especially with kids because it gives people a chance to enjoy their surroundings. It is out of the studio, in fresh air and surrounded by open opportunities for great family photos. These photos were shot at the Abbey Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The leaves were still crisp and colorful, the air had a spice to it and the kids were ready to smile. Lake Geneva offers a great variety of places for on-site photography.  With the open fields, the farmland, the lake front images as well as all of the great businesses and historic sites, it’s almost harder to choose because there are too many amazing places.

Read More: Photo Session at the Abbey Resort

Erin and Mike Dandridge

Erin and Mike Dandridge  9.29.12

It turned out to be a beautiful day for Erin and Mike for their autumn wedding at the Abbey in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The stunning ceremony was outside with close family and friends and the sun starting to set shining light through the leaves. There was just enough wind to give movement to the veil giving the entire ceremony a beautiful natural atmosphere. The wedding party flowers were stunning; the bouquets were make up of dark red and white blossoms being garnished with classic pearls on the stems.

The wedding party then joined their guests for cocktail hour while I was able to go into the reception area and get some great shots of all the details they planned for their guests. The reception area was three levels, the third level as a balcony where guests were able to watch the events. They had chosen to have cupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries instead of a traditional cake which was a hit with all of the guests. The reception area had a natural feel to it with warm colors, natural elements such as vines and twigs and gorgeous chandelier lighting.

It was an absolutely beautiful day, congratulations Erin and Mike!


Angel & Chris Kamine

Angel and Chris Kamine - 07.07.12

I had the opportunity of shooting Angel and Chris's wedding in July. It was a beautiful wedding at Elkhart Lake right on the beach overlooking the water. The weather turned out to be gorgeous despite the call for rain, and the clouds made for some really dramatic lighting. Since the wedding was right on the water, there was a pier that was awesome for family group shots as well as the couple and there was an amazing tall wooden staircase that was the entrance to the beach area. The foliage around the area was fragrant and colorful making for a beautiful beach wedding.

Congratulations Angel and Chris!