Melanie Grady is one busy lady. She splits her time between her namesake Melanie Grady Photography where she photographs classic and timeless wedding portraits and Bump and Bonnet where she photographs gorgeous family portraits that stand the test of time. She is very focused on delivering beautiful portraits that will be heirlooms for generations to come. She is careful to take into account every.single.detail and I think you’ll love hearing even more about her process and seeing some of her beautiful work! Meet Melanie, isn’t she beautiful!?
How did you start in photography?
I started my formal training in the darkroom at my high school. I was in there so much, I was even voted president of the photography club! HAHA
Canon or Nikon? Film or digital?
Canon – I started with film 15 years ago, but I am all digital now!
What is your greatest strength in running your business?
The connections I make with my clients and the final products that I deliver.
What is the best way you have found to promote your photography business?
This is so tough because our industry is so saturated! Promoting myself was not hard when I lived in my hometown – work just fell into my lap. Now that I am breaking into a new market in Nashville (highly competitive), I am having to pull out all of the stops. Word of mouth is definitely #1! People trust experiences over most marketing tools. Other than that, I’ve actually used Thumbtack a lot to meet new potential clients and it has worked out pretty well for me.
How does your company or style stand out from the competition?
I feel like my brand stands out because I am overly obsessed with making people happy – and that means that I will do whatever it takes to make sure their images are the best they can possibly be. I put in the time, the money, the sweat and tears to have a company worthy of my clients hard earned money and their trust with the most important events in their lives. I don’t take photography lightly and I understand the importance of each image that I take. I’ve heard a lot of people say that my images stand out because they are sharp, bright, clean, beautiful – and that I have a keen sense for capturing those exact moments that make your heart soar.
Where do you find your inspiration?
For me, it’s all about the test of time. I’m not taking photos that are going to look silly in 10 or 20 years, or carry no real value. My inspiration comes from simple, beautiful, high quality vintage portraits and from people’s hearts and souls. I know that a lot of times, my images end up being the last professional photos of someone’s life (especially during weddings with grandparents and great grandparents). I seek out moments during a wedding day that I know will bring tears to someone’s eyes 10, 30 and even 70 years from now. I’m creating a family heirloom for someone’s future children and grandchildren, so it’s my responsibility to do a great job for them. For newborns and children, I believe less is more and we need to get back to simple, beautiful and natural portraits of our children that will always remind us of their innocence, their sweet faces and peach fuzz. 80 years ago, children were photographed beautifully and those images were mounted (and usually framed) professionally and they were meant to be family heirlooms. It makes me sad that children today will likely not have that – and instead they will have several useless and outdated instruments of technology that they think hold their childhood photos.
What 3 tips would you give to aspiring photographers?
- Learn the craft before going ‘pro’.
- Practice shooting everyday.
- Find what it is that inspires you, and never let that go.
Where do you see your career in 5 years?
Oh my, I really hope to have a studio outside of my home. I hope to be photographing a few incredible destination weddings each year. I hope that I am a well-respected and household name in Nashville.
What is the most important step in your workflow?
Photographing my clients of course!
What is the most important piece of equipment that you own?
I have many camera bodies and tons of lenses, but the most important piece to this puzzle is probably my Macbook Pro!
What is your photography shooting style?
I am looking for every possible detail and every little moment to capture! I don’t like to take any chances on missing something. I overshoot (which leaves me with more post-wedding work), but it’s worth it to get some of the hidden gems. I also have a sense of calm around me on a wedding day. I love knowing that I am experienced enough to tackle whatever challenges occur. I love to keep things going smoothly (with gentle reminders of timeline) and I love to take some of the stress away from my couple so that they can more easily enjoy the day, (I am always helping to make my brides feel calm and beautiful, and I can always be found pinning on boutonnieres). Again, I shoot for 30+ years from now,so each and every layer to the wedding day is super important to me (with an emphasis on family, connections, the fun and of course the love).