Posted on July 9, 2014
I was born in , raised in, and still visit Grand Rapids, MI. It’s where my parents bought a tiny red brick house and made it their home. It’s where the kids left the nest from. It’s my mother’s resting place. It’s where my daughter loves to visit Papa.
It’s where I met my husband, it’s where my husband’s family lives. it’s where I see my in-laws, its where my husband sees his parents and family. It’s where my daughter loves to see GiGi and Grandpa Joe.
Regardless, it’s a place full of memories. It will always remain a place of memories.
I mock the hashtag and saying #PureMI or #PureMichigan because of the semi-famous “Pure Michigan” (click that for commercial) travel ad campaign that started in 2007 and still runs to this day. I have friends here in Phoenix, AZ that they always see the ads, I saw them when we lived in CA and people worldwide probably have the same testimonial.
She’s never seen a whirly-bird before. (helicopter, whatever you call them.) Her shirt? says it all.
This trip revolved around my brother getting married to his amazing fiance. I may be a bit bias, but she’s awesome. I didn’t photograph their wedding, thank gosh, because I had enough fun in the party to convince me to never shoot a wedding I’m invited to, ever. The amazing Peach Moon Photography based out of Grand Haven, MI shot their engagement photos and wedding photos and were great people to work with. I’m the tall blonde in the family image on the alter with the PRECIOUS flower girl that is my daughter, and the tall bald ravishingly handsome man that I’m married to. Thats my “cleans up well” dad next to me, and then of course her family on her side.
There are plenty of other #thelillis wedding insta-pictures on my IG Feed but you gotta go back a little ways. You can’t miss ‘em!
Besides being there for their wedding, we were there for personal vacation as well. We saw plenty of family, scenery, and I took so many nature/still life shots it will make your eyes numb.
We went to the Grand Rapids Arts Festival downtown Grand Rapids, MI.
We visited Grand Haven State Beach both as a family and as a couples date to just get away.
We went to Traverse City (TC), MI which is known for their berries, and cherries. We went because our daughter had never been there, and I haven’t either. There’s this place called the Sleeping Bear Dunes which is like, arguably one of the prettiest places to visit in the lower peninsula of Michigan. WE LITERALLY SAW A BEAR CUB CROSS THE ROAD. <– caps necessary.
Known for their berries and cherries, so naturally I had to have a very berry filled pie at Grand Traverse Pie Co. Some lighthouse that wanted $4.00 to walk upstairs in it. No thanks! We visited family for Father’s Day. The best part was that my dad came along with us to my husbands side of the family’s gathering. It’s so nice to have them integrated!
My husband and I respectfully saw friends I see once a year (when we visit.) Nothings more refreshing, more awesome, and more rewarding than maintaining friendships over years and years. We pick up where we left off the last time we saw each other — it’s how I’m able to have friends nation and world wide. Friends are the flowers in the garden of life!
Making S’mores with out friends Lisa and Conor whom will be getting married this year.
childhood best friends grow up, and have kids, who hang out with each other — i’d say that’s more like family.
The literally awesome part of the friends that I visit is they continue to grow up, prosper, and I get to see them from afar on facebook them actually meet their kids they’ve had or the ones they’re about to have! (a friend announced she was pregnant on fathers day!)
I saw old high school friends, old family friends. Family.
Oh, and I continued to shoot barns for no good reason at all.
Category: Arizona, Family, Travel, Uncategorized Tagged: #, #PureMI, Arizona, AZ, blogger, chandler, Desert, facebook, Family, Family Photographer, gilbert, Grand Rapids, Melissa, Melissa Garcia, MI, michigan, Oh! MG Photography, OHMG, Phoenix, Photog, Photographer, photography, photos, Pictures, Pure MI, search, South Mountain, Sunday, Sunshine, Vacation, Visiting, wordpress
Posted on July 6, 2014
May 24th we took a trip.
My husband wouldn’t tell me where we were going but he was like, “get ready we are leaving.”
So 1) I knew we were leaving far away, and 2) I know he understands my appreciation and love for the scenic Arizona so I was pretty sure I’d like what I see where we ended up.
After some windy roads that gained elevation, then lost some, then gained again, we passed through scenes unlike ones I’ve seen in Phoenix, AZ.
Mind you, these were shot from the passenger side of our car, window down .. me saying, “sorry really just one more.. ” each time.
I gave my camera a rest and those awesome clouds you see sort of just lurked around. Finally we arrived somewhere between the 188 and 288.
We stopped into the National Park up there and there’s a visitor center in Lake Roosevelt, AZ right across from Roosevelt Lake Marina.
Without spending money on any park passes or parking passes for recreational areas, we made an afternoon of just seeing the sights.
Below is Roosevelt Dam.
A pretty awesome view of the iconic bridge they have there (and an all natural sky, that stuff isn’t made up!)
Then there’s my scared-of-ants photographer-4-year-old daughter.
We taught her the ipad takes good pictures, so she walked around taking umptillion shots of EVERYTHING. (that was fun to delete later.. )
And an Oh! MG family trip wouldn’t be a trip if we didn’t take a family picture. We do this almost everywhere we go.
There was literally three cement pedestals there likely for this purpose, to be tripods.
Lake Roosevelt had much more for us to see. Here’s some that really stood out from our day-trip:
Category: Arizona, Family, Uncategorized Tagged: adventure, ahwatukee, Arizona, AZ, Beauty, chandler, Desert, facebook, Family, Family Photographer, gilbert, Lake Roosevelt, landscape, Natural, nature, Oh! MG Photo, Oh! MG Photography, oh!MG photography, OHMG, Phoenix, photo, Photog, Photographer, photography, photos, Pictures, road trip, Scenic, search, South Mountain, Sunshine, Tempe, Trip, wordpress
Posted on May 17, 2014
I got two new lenses recently (a belated mother’s day gift from my husband) and I’m sort of, really completely, totally and utterly am obsessed with my new Sigma 105mm 2.8f AF lens.
I was so obsessed with my olloclip and I still love it but this brings my macro TO LIFE! Everything can easily be gorgeous now with this amazing lens.
I do have a complaint against it when working in low light situations, that’s when I’d go with a fast acting 35 or 50mm. My 50 has never steered me wrong in low light!
Soooo I made a gallery because of the nerdliness.
This lens is going to make a newborn shoot much more interesting! I get to shoot baby “B” on the 24th, and I am counting down the seconds until I get to use this lens in a real shoot :)
Category: Blog, Testimonial, Uncategorized Tagged: AZ, baby, blogger, chandler, Desert, facebook, Family Photographer, Luke AFB, macro, Melissa, Melissa Garcia, Mother, move, newborn, Oh! MG Photo, Oh! MG Photography, oh!MG photography, OHMG, Phoenix, photo, Photog, Photographer, photography, photos, Pictures, review, sigma, Sunshine, Tempe, Twentynine Palms, wordpress
Posted on May 14, 2014
I was ecstatic when I got the text that said “baby is here! here’s our room number, when will you be by?”
I LOVE visiting these itty bitties in the hospital, so fresh and so new and so amazing. All they know is mom, the sound of her; the smell & what she offers for them.
to view the whole album, visit my portfolio page link at the top, or click here!
I am honored to be onboard with this family for a year for Newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months & 1-year shoots. Although I’ve done numerous (and I mean NUMEROUS) shoots of different ages of different children I can’t say that i’ve been around for all 5 of those awesome milestone ages for too many people that weren’t my direct friends. Needless to say, I’m super excited!
Category: Arizona, Blog, Clients, Family Tagged: Arizona, babies, baby, blogger, chandler, Family Photographer, first 48, gilbert, hospital visit, lifestyle, lifestyle shoot, Melissa, Melissa Garcia, Mommy and baby, Mother, newborn, Oh! MG Photography, OHMG, Phoenix, photo, Photog, Photographer, photography, photos, Pictures, search, Tempe, wordpress
Posted on May 7, 2014
I want to thank everyone who trusted me to capture some awesome memories for them in Twentynine Palms, CA. I had families of 5, I had small babies, older kids and a blissfully wed couple without children.
I traveled to Twentynine Palms with one mission: to capture one last session for my best friend’s family before they move overseas for the next few years.
This same best friend was my first real client. Our next shoot is tentative for 2018. What can I say, I book out! ;)
Never forget who helped you get where you are now, and never forget what leaps and bounds you took to get here.
Posted on September 19, 2013
It took me forever. I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier? I’m not sure, really.
Oh! MG Photo is now in Phoenix.
We’ve been situated for a few weeks but it’s been busy with getting unpacked, figuring out routines. Our daughter is enrolled in PT preschool now which sorta frees up but confuses my mornings a bit.
I’ve met some neighbors and really right now i’m just trying to spread word right now; Meet & greets. Networking meetings. Social gatherings. Uprooting is hard! Especially integrating into such a large city such as Phoenix.
I’m just one family portrait photographer amongst a sea of other photographers.
Posted on May 13, 2013
I had a great family shoot this weekend with a super sweet family. It’s hard to believe mom has had 2 kids. WHATTTTTTT — right? & both the lil men have just the best photogenic smiles. Mom, you did well!
It was so good to have such a great shoot after not being able to book with this house selling crap. The day was gorgeous, and the whole family was so easy going. This once again was shot down in Morongo Valley, CA (one of my most favorite places to shoot — ever. )
Posted on April 11, 2013
I want to celebrate life.
Recent events in my life, mostly my mothers health, have made me realize that if you got it – flaunt it.
I have a beautiful mastermind child. I have a strong, handsome, giving husband. I have a clean bill of health. I have the luxury of moving around the country on the governments dime. I have the amazing ability to capture moments that scream, “FRAME ME.” I have skills with photography, photoshop, and knowledge of professional print labs.
For my 26th birthday, I’m promising to myself that when we move to Arizona and make a comfy rental our own for 3 years, that I will MAKE it our comfy rental.
I’m talking ACTUAL, PROFESSIONAL GRADE printed, framed images. throughout.
My walls are bare, and there’s no reason for that. I have so much to show off in my life, but I don’t. But I should. i should be screaming from the top of my house that life is good.
My mom has pictures of her only grand child, my daughter, strewn everywhere in her house. It’s a shrine to Hailey. She’s got pictures of me as a child, pictures of my brother, old picture Christmas cards, pictures of my dad and her, a picture of her passed parents. She’s embracing what she loves in life, even if they’re passed. She’s got a happy picture of sunflowers, and a nostalgic blue-print/map of their sub-devision when it was first mapped out in the 50’s-60’s.
I’m making it for my birthday, but thats because i’m sure this will be a costly endeavor. (mostly on frames.) Birthday = money. But, I can’t enjoy that promise and wish to myself until I get to Arizona with the Mister because of selling the current home. (it’d just be pointless to decorate now.)
Celebrate life, and smile more.
Posted on April 10, 2013
Fact: Unfortunately, I don’t do homecomings anymore.
The last one I may ever book is coming up soon, so I don’t want people to think I’m selectively – choosy when they may see it on facebook. hear me out.
A friend approached me, frantic, like half a year ago, freaking out, “THEY’RE ALL GONNA BE BOOKED BY THE TIME I GET BACK.”
She was leaving town for the deployment and had enough on her plate to where she wasn’t gonna be able to book while she was gone. I took her on. *and only her.* You don’t calm down a crazy mom of two with a deployed husband by saying, “it’ll be okay. contact me in half a year see where I’m at in terms of bookings, k?” You sorta just say, “okay okay okay breathe, sit down.”
Now, on to why I don’t take them on anymore. Gosh, where do I start with this?
When you book a homecoming I have to completely leave a window of empty dates around it. Every date on the calendar is a possible sale for a photographer. With that said, I’m denying X days of sales because of the 1 I have booked. The logical thing would be to raise a homecomings price to the equivalent of 2-3 lost days of sale. I mean, to me. To me that’d make sense. If I have to make perspective black-out dates for one shoot, I’m going to charge you for more than one day. because you can potentially hurt me sales wise. but. I wouldn’t do that. Because no one would book a session. So – I don’t even offer them.
The dates fluctuate, horribly. Nothing comes off more annoying and unprofessional than a photographer who says, “I shoulddd…. be … available on the 12th?” The uncertainty in their voice should send you running to the hills (and toward a different photographer.) I like static. I like planned out, organized dates. I have a child, I have a husband, I have a life, I have a business. I can’t be everywhere at once and I can’t CAN’T double book. So I don’t offer them, because the shoots I actually love to do are easily set in stone and never move around.
I focus on what my REAL passions are. I’m a sucker for a sunset, and a happy family with kids running amuck. I look forward to little smiles giggling over a cake they’re about to smash. I melt when a newborn walks into my house with those little feet and eye lashes and lips.
I just don’t have a passion for homecomings. Although a homecoming is LOADED with emotions, and should be a priority to a photographer living in a military town, I can’t afford to offer them along with shoots I actually have feelings for.
Obviously I feel a tad guilty about no longer having them on my menu, mostly out of peer pressure. I can’t tell you how many homecoming inquires I’ve received. However – there’s a plethora of people in this town who are willing to help. There’s also OpLove (http://operationlovereunited.wildapricot.org/)