What is your specialty?
I am a wedding and portrait photographer, specializing in photos that make you feel saudade – a bittersweet longing for a time in the past that may never come again. I always keep this word close to my heart when photographing your wedding or portraits.
Who are your clients?
My favorite thing about my clients are that their relationships are the most important parts of their lives. In their weddings, it’s all about their new life partner, their family, their friends. That being said, many of them are also into the beauty of the day – as am I! They’re a little glam and want to make their weddings unique. Authenticity often trumps tradition.
When and Why did you start your business?
I started my business four years ago – been full time for just a year – when I realized taking photos was all I wanted to do. I saw a divide between super traditional and super trendy photos, and wanted to bridge that gap for my clients. I like the beauty and timelessness of classic photography, but the heart and soul in many of the more trendy styles. My mission is to bring these elements together in a way that speaks to each of my clients.
What or Who inspires you?
I’m one of those people who (tries to) find inspiration in everything. Mad Men, Cirque de Soleil, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Solange, other photographers. But honestly, mostly my clients inspire me. I draw on these external elements to tell my clients’ stories, and those stories are what drives me every time I pull up my camera.
Do you have any advice for newly engaged couples?
Just enjoy! It’s easy to get swept up into the chaos of wedding planning, but that’s why you’ve hired professionals – so you can take it all in. And maybe consider engagement photos – it’s such a special time in your lives.
What is one of your guilty pleasures?
Being a big homebody – hanging with my husband and dog, eating take out, and streaming shows. Just finished Big Little Lies, which was one of my favorite recent shows. Can’t believe it’s only one season!
What is one thing newly engaged couples should know about your service?
That I have your back. That I’m here for you. I’ll be there for important, funny, sweet, emotional moments so you can be in the moment. My clients’ favorite photos are always the ones they didn’t even know I was there for. I take this as a huge compliment – I want to be there for those moments, but never distract you from them.
What is your favorite part about a wedding?
It’s about to get cheesy in here. But I really do believe this.
I think that getting married is brave and bold and life-affirming. It’s grabbing onto someone and saying, “Yep, whatever happens, it’s with this person.” That decision alone is enough to get me teary if I think about it long enough. But combine that with all the connections and love around the two people at its center? I’m done! Friends and family who all come together to celebrate you, your love and your decision to get married. There’s no other way to say it – it’s a once in a lifetime experience.
Anything else you want to add
All the techniques I’ve learned over the past few years – lighting, posing, location scouting, planning my shooting position – are all in the hopes of creating photos for you with emotional depth. I think of weddings and family sessions as having their own personalities in a way – each one is different. Each one brings up different feelings and connections and moments. I really believe that, and I want to photograph each and every wedding or session as it is, as it feels, so you can remember 10, 30, 50 years from now.
Learn more about Melissa Hirsch and her photography by visiting her website: www.melissahirschphotography.com