FACES Update

Just a quick update on the FACES fundraiser in July... since you know, it's the end of July! Scary. Anyway, I wanted to keep you all updated on the process.

I'm excited to share I am currently at $567! That means I've got under a thousand to raise before December. I think I can do it.

I am so thankful for all those who were a part of this event. Obviously there will be another one before the end of the year so please stay tuned. Thanks again! And if you would like to donate to them directly please visit the website at www.facesfoundation.org. Did you know that only $200 covers an entire surgery? That's like the price of a pair of jeans. Crazy. And if you want to contribute to me getting there and back please mention my name when you donate.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can read about FACES on their website at www.facesfoundation.org. You can also CLICK HERE to read about my involvement in FACES.

Thanks everyone!

Big Smiles! Melissa with Soul Mates Photo.

I'm in with the cool kids now

I caved. I guess I just finally realized I wanted to be in with the cool crowd. I've been resisting forever but today I caved. Come hear me sing like a bird on twitter... or, rather, I guess the correct phrase is "follow me" @soulmatesphoto

If you are on twitter please let me know! I'd love to follow you too!

And because all of us wish were were a little cooler these days here is what you need. Go get yourself a glass of iced tea, close your eyes and picture yourself here...

The above is my new desktop image taken last summer in Tahoe.
Big Smiles! Melissa with Soul Mates Photo

Naomi | Senior Portraits

Naomi is full of life. She spent the whole session laughing and giggling with her good friend from grade school. I think it's safe to say this girl had fun. Like I said, Naomi brought her friend along for her senior portrait session in downtown Portland. Her friend was there to, and I quote, "make me smile naturally." But here's the thing– Naomi has the perfect smile every single time. And when I say every time I mean, every time. It's so perfect my jealously factor was swiftly rising!! Even as a photographer I can't produce a natural smile for the camera. Anyway, I know this post has a lot of serious poses but it's only because I had to convince Naomi she had a great serious expression. Don't you think so? Of course her smile is gorgeous... but so is her serious!

Check it out.

Can we say Roxy model? Yes we can!

So glad Naomi braved the bugs for this image.

Let's just end on one of my favorites from the session.

Thanks Naomi! I can't wait for you to see the rest!

Big Smiles! Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photo.

Carrie and Kevin- Married!

"Carrie, can you look right over there?" I ask.
Carrie's not exactly paying attention to me. She's too excited, thrilled and having way to much fun to look in to a corner. "What? Wait. Who is that? Mom, who just came? I can't see who that is." Carrie says as she peers through the second story window of the Marshall house.
I try again. "Carrie. Can you look right over there for me?"
Surprised she responds, "Oh, sure!" She exclaims as her big smile and infectious laugh fill the room making me smile with the rest of her girls.

Carrie and Kevin's wedding day was all about the people. It was about their love for each other and about who they celebrated it with. It was fun. It was carefree. It was as if someone had just called up all their bff's from preschool all the way through to career for a celebration together. It was a party. It was a evening full of laughing, friends and good times all around.

July 11th.

Mom was so sweet. As you can see here she's on train duty.

Isn't she just stunning? That's what I thought.

Kevin looking pretty dapper himself.

And while we're at it let's just skip ahead to the paaaartyyyyyyy. HAAAAyyyyy.

That's a wrap. I hope I didn't embarrass anyone with the dance photos :)
Big Smiles! Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photo.

It's Friday!

'nough said. It's Friday and I'm happy. In all honesty Friday doesn't really mean that much to me anymore working for myself and working weekends... Friday is more like my casual Wednesday as I'm currently chilling in jeans and a t-shirt. I'm gearing up for this weekend (mentally) but not before I enjoy some more fabulous NW sunshine, sour patch kids (which I've recently become obsessed with) and Lady Gaga pounding in my ears. Did I ever tell you I love energy?? Like I had to spell it out for you.

Either way, happy Friday to the rest of the world who has Saturday and Sunday off! Oh, and here's a sneak peek of Carrie and Kevin on their wedding day. More to come next week!

Sunny Smiles! Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photo

Parents, Succulents and MIA.

My parents were in town.... for a week. I know, right. You're thinking insert **gasp!** here. Actually, I could venture out to say it was their best trip here. My parents still live in my home town in SoCal and every time they come up I pray for perfect weather. I want them to know Portland has summers too! The last time they were up was last Christmas... and boy did I feel bad for them. They got caught in all that delayed/canceled flight nonsense as well as all the snow. I loved the show but I didn't have to travel in it. Either way this past week was parents week... the reviews are out: FUN FUN FUN.

When my parents officially booked their tickets to come visit I commissioned my garden-artist mom to help me with the front yard. If you've been to my place you know it needs saving and my mom is just the one for the job. By the time they got here it was prepped– retaining wall installed, fill dirt with compost mixed in and so on. Pictures of the front yard layout were sent to mom before she arrived so planning could take place. My requirements? Something I can keep alive, something that comes back every year and something I don't have to trim all the time. When it comes to gardening I'm a low-maintenance kinda gal. In other areas of life, not so much.

Buy plants, drive home and plant. I'm thinking this couldn't take more than a few hours. My parents informed me they didn't want to spend more than a day doing yard work. My thoughts, "I don't want to spend more then a few hours doing yard work, ever." Buy some plants and plant. Right?? Riiiiight. Needless to say it was a good day. We made a few trips, bought plants and pots and even spent money on rocks. I know, rocks. I think it was totally worth it. And don't worry we had fun too. Wait till you come over and see the improvement. Hopefully the next heatwave doesn't kill anymore plants! Sometimes they are just so delicate :)

All in all I'm back at the computer now. I dropped my parents off at the Airport, got a fresh pedi (gardening does nothing for your nails) and now I'm ready for action. I'll be steaming through my emails today, so If you haven't heard from me in a while. Get ready. I'm no longer MIA.

Mom and Dad- thanks for visiting! You guys are the best. I had so much fun berry picking, playing at the coast, eating our weight in ice cream, sun bathing at the pool in Bend, BBQing, moving watching, paddle balling, walking, laughing, racquetball playing, and gardening then I could have thought. Thanks for everything. You are the best parents. Miss you already.

Here's just a small photo of something I can keep alive, something that comes back every year and something I don't have to trim all the time– succulents!

Big Smlies! Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photography.

Secret Sessions are BACK!

Good News! The Secret Sessions are back but for one weekend only.

You remember The Secret Sessions, don't you? I hosted a weekend back in May and now I'm hosting one in October!

The special boudoir sessions will be taking place at a luxury hotel downtown. It's brand new and oh, so fabulous inside! I had so much fun there in May I'm going back. The session will be about an hour long in one of the suites. You are welcome to bring a change of "outfits" and heals and props if you would like. The boudoir sessions are very tasteful and classy and I would love if you were a part of it! The session is scheduled in October to leave enough time to make Christmas/ Holiday albums for the love of your life.

I will be shooting one weekend only, October 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
If you are interested I would love to give you more information. Shoot me a quick email at soulmatesphoto@gmail.com

I've already announced this to a list of girls who wanted to be the 1st to know so let me know if you are interested. Sessions are limited and are on a first come first serve basis.

It would be fun if you and a few friends booked back to back sessions and made an event out of it and then grabbed a cocktail in the hotel lounge after.... or before! Whatever.

Here's a photo of the room last time. I'm telling you... gorgeous!

I'm excited!
Big Secret Smiles. Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photography.

For Photographers- Q & A

Lately I've been receiving questions from other photographers about business and photography stuff. To be honest, this surprises me. I know (or at least I'm crossing my fingers) others feel the same regardless what they do in life. I'm sure doctors, motor cart drivers and ice cream makers all have days where they have no idea how they are doing what the do. How did one get here and what makes me a go-to person? Like I said... I'm surprised by this. Honored, but surprised.

There is one saying that looms in the back of my head from elementary days. It goes something like this, "There are no dumb questions. Chances are if you have a question someone out there has the same question." You know what I mean. I even hear it on the radio. Call in! But whatev. I'll ride the FAQ or Q&A train. If it helps someone then that's enough for me.

Here goes nothing. I've decided to post Q&A's. Feel free to ask more via email if you want it posted up here. I want to make this an ongoing thing.... I've been given so much help it's time to Pay it Forward.

The 1st question comes from Lauren.
Q: I was just wondering if you would share a few of your tips on how you got started and how you learned the specifics about photography."

A: How I got started is another story all together that I'll share with you... maybe next week... but learning the specifics of photography looks something like this: Education. Practice. Trial and Error. Art History.

I know that's like oh-so vague so I'll break it down for you.

Education: We are in a technology driven field so it's vital to keep up with the times. Take seminars, join national organizations such as PPA, and WPPI and local ones as well (Oregon as PPO and PMPA). They are continually offering workshops and seminars to attend. It's a huge jump start info the industry.
Practice. You know your mom always said practice makes perfect. Well, turns out she was right! You will never be able to advance in what you do if you expect yourself to be perfect the first time around. That applies to anyone in any area of life. Really, do you think we learned to read perfectly the first time we picked up a book? Photography is the same way. Sometimes your rocky but sometimes you're great... the more you shoot the more times you will be great. Guaranteed.
Trial and Error. Trial and Error spills into practice but I think deserves it's own category. If you see something you love shoot it from all sides. For example: a person. You naturally want to show their face because we learned this awesome phrase which I think should be extracted from the English language. It goes something like this "Cheese!" Ugh. Photographs are stories. They are moments. A real life moment is not the second you say cheese. Photograph the back of one's head just to break the mold. The best thing of all is if it's terrible just delete it. Sometimes it's so vital to our growth to just break the mold. Change the expected.
Art History. This is vital for me... but not for everyone, but for me, yes. I truly believe I know composition like a rock because of my studies in art history. Yes, some of the poses are traditional but you make it your own. Think of it this way; painters spend hours, maybe even days, studying the light, choosing the perfect accessories and location and subject. They sketch to no end and paint a understudy before they begin the actual painting. That's two paintings plus endless sketches for one image. My point is– they spent time and thought on the work. We should be so lucky to view their work and learn to do the same.

Thanks Lauren! Great question.

The next Q comes from Erica.
Q: What do you do for advertising?
A: Well, not a whole lot. My goal is strictly referral based business. That's my goal. Right now you can find Soul Mates Photography on a few wedding planning websites as well as local planners blogs. I've found that the best way to get your name out there is to provide outstanding service coupled with a fabulous product and a good attitude. Your name will get around. I would also recommend finding local businesses who you would like referring to your own clients to and work with them. People want to do business with people they like and feel comfortable with. Be the person you would want to refer and business will come.

Well! I hope that helped someone out there. By no means am I a expert but that's my opinion and it works for me :) I'll leave you with a archived photo of yours truly... Josh took this of me on our vacation last May. It's not really that great of a photo... horizon line running through my head, it looks like I'm talking, and there is this really distracting little man right by my face... but I like it. I like that it's real and I like that it's relaxed and casual. So there. Sometimes in the guidelines of life you have to break free and do what's best for you.

Big Smiles! Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photography

Elise and Beau | Married!

You can feel the excitement in the air. It's June 28th. You remember that gorgeously warm and delicious day? "Is everyone ready?" I ask. Everyone is not ready, but everyone is excited. And on your wedding day that's a area you are willing to give a little on.

It was a photographers dream. Elise and Beau scheduled their wedding at sunset and as a photographer we tend to call this the golden hour– for good reason. The light was perfect, the day was beautiful, Lakeside Gardens couldn't have sparkled more and neither could have Elise. She was stunning. A true princess on her day. Every bride should feel this way. After all it's the day you depart on your new life with your prince.

Off they went together. Prince and Princess in this adventure we call life. Elise and Beau, I truly wish you all the best. I hope you never tire of the adventure.

Isn't she stunning?

Beau is on his way to see his bride for the 1st time.

These few portraits below give me the chills. I just adore them.

A quite ceremony location before the guests begin to arrive.

Elise walking to her groom.


And the party continued well into the night...

The End.

Big Smiles and Congratulations to Elise and Beau!
Melissa Tomeoni with Soul Mates Photography.