Melissa Beach is a lifestyle photographer specializing in Maternity, Newborn, Children and Family Portraiture as well as Landscape photography.  She is based in the Antelope Valley and photographs in Lancaster, Palmdale, Rosamond, Quartz Hill, Santa Clarita and the greater Los Angeles area.

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A Little More About Melissa

Where are some of the places you have called home?

I grew up in the Antelope Valley in Southern California, but moved to Santa Cruz, CA to attend UCSC.  I stayed in Northern California for several years and lived in San Jose and Sebastopol, which is one of the most beautiful towns I have ever been to.

 

What do you love about the Antelope Valley?

The desert here is so unique!  I love to find its hidden beauties and include them in my portraits.  We also have some of the best sunsets here.

 

Do you have children?

Yes!  Two, an 13 year old girl and a 5 year old boy.  They are amazing kids!

 

How would you describe your personality and how does that affect your photography?

I am usually described as an extroverted introvert, very sweet, laid back, friendly and hard working.  I usually get along with everyone and people find me easy to talk to and relate with which helps me a ton in photo sessions.

 

How did you discover photography?  How long have you been photographing professionally?

My dad introduced me to photography when I was a teenager.  He gave me my grandfather's film SLR, several lenses and a light meter.  He taught me to shoot in manual mode from the very beginning.  I have loved photography ever since.  I started working in various portrait studios and photo labs at 18 years old and started photographing my own clients in 2009.

 

What photographic education do you have?

I am a combo of self taught, mentor taught and university taught.  Personally I am always striving to improve my photography and editing skills.  I regularly take paid workshops, invest in classes, and read books on photography.  I also practice often, which is so much more important that anything else, in my opinion.  I was taught by my father who was a photographer, I worked for a wedding photographer, several portrait studios, and had paid one-on-one mentoring sessions with expert photographers.  While I earned my BA at UCSC I took classes in Multi-Media Photographic Presentations, Art History, Photography and Culture, and Documentary Photography.  So, overall I have been photographing for 19 years, 7 of those years professionally, spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment and education, and countless numbers of practice hours.

 

How would you describe your photographic style?

I love beautiful natural locations so that is usually my #1 goal.  I shoot more lifestyle.  I love long flowing dresses, natural colors, natural hair and makeup.  I love unique features.  I love the play of light and shadows so almost all my pictures have beautiful light as a key feature.

 

What artists inspire you most?

I love Caravaggio and Vermeer.  Their use of dramatic window light is captivating. For modern day artists I love Brooke Shaden and Barbara Uil.

 

What are three fun facts about yourself?

1.  I get a thrill from learning something new

2.  I am a great cook

3.  I teach high school

 

What does your dream session look like?

I would love to do a portrait session in the snow in Yosemite.  With a stunning family.

 

What lenses do you use the most?

I use prime lenses almost exclusively.  I tend to grab my 35mm and 50mm the most.  I added an 85mm to my set last year and love it!

 

What type of lighting do you use?

I use all natural light.  I prefer to photograph my subjects outdoors during the first and last hours of the day.

 

What is your editing like?  What programs do you use?

I edit pretty cleanly most of the time.  I strive for reality.  I use both Lightroom and Photoshop on every image.

 

How do you help your clients relax and have fun during the session?

I just get to know them.  I ask them questions about their lives like I am trying to make a new friend, because I am!  I have always been good with kids so its usually pretty easy for me to get kids to warm up to me.  I just act like I am a new Auntie who is really fun.

 

If you could photograph anyone who would it be?

Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn.  That would have been amazing!

 

What is next for Melissa Beach Photography?

Over the next year I will be upgrading my equipment, furthering my education, streamlining my website and ordering process, and adding new unique products to my shop.

 

Your favorite movie?

Practical Magic

 

Your favorite TV show?

Game of Thrones

 

Your favorite guilty pleasure?

Starbucks Soy Caramel Macchiato with 1/2 the syrup (yup I am that person)

 

Anything else interesting?

I have Celiac Disease and cannot eat any wheat, rye or barley products.  This has been quite a bummer but I feel so much better now!  I have found substitutions for many of my favorite foods.  Except a great sandwich bread.  Just havent found a good one yet.