Mesa Photographer for Boys |  Professional Portraits for Brothers

Mesa Photographer for Boys | Professional Portraits for Brothers

Mesa Photographer for Boys

As a Mesa photographer, I love capturing the bond between brothers!  If you’re the mom of boys, I’m sure you know how special it is to have pictures of your boys together!  Well it was important for Amy too!  I’ve known Connor and Kaden for quite a few years and have done several sessions for their family, including their older sister’s senior portraits. So when it was time for some updated pictures and modeling headshots, I was glad that Amy called me again to work with her boys. Connor and Kaden make it so easy. Since I’m updating my blog, I’m finally catching up on some older sessions that were amazing and need to be shared!

“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.”
-Marc Brown

Mesa Photographer Boys

Urban Portraits for Boys

We chose an cute little Tempe location that would give us some great urban shots using the brick background for the boys. How could you not fall in love with those gorgeous blue eyes?!?!  And I promise, there is no extra photoshop here. They really are THAT blue!

Mesa Photographer Boys Teens

My heart melts seeing Kaden’s sweet grin! This is always the age that parents miss. Those precious in between years when they suddenly grown up and aren’t babies anymore!

Mesa Photographer Urban Pictures

Gorgeous Greens

In the exact same location, with a little creativity, we were able to the beautiful green backgrounds that moms love!

Mesa Photographer Outdoor Pictures

Mesa Photographer Outdoor Modeling Pictures

Mesa Photographer Outdoor Teen Guys

Awesome Hair

This year I had the added treat of Connor’s longer hair. This teen goes from clean cut preppy to teenage heartbreaker just by running his fingers through his hair! Love that deep stare, and did I mention those eyes???

Mesa Photographer Guys Modeling Headshot

Featured Business | Utopia Nails and Spa | Best Nail Salon in Mesa, AZ

Featured Business | Utopia Nails and Spa | Best Nail Salon in Mesa, AZ

New Owners at Mesa Nail Salon

Mesa AZ Nail Salon Spa

Anyone who knows me knows I am incredibly picky about my nails. While I don’t personally do acrylic nails, I have used gel polish for years. I have been to nearly every nail salon in the area and have found that gel polish is just not something everyone can do correctly. I’ve gotten polish on my cuticles, bumpy polish, polish that chipped, and even been treated poorly by owners.

Formerly Thy Nails

Thy Nails has been on the northwest corner of Baseline and Power in Mesa for nearly 2 decades. Within the last year, the owners remodeled and sold the salon. Back in 2009, I had pretty much given up hope when I stumbled upon Thy Nails. Long story short, Ann & Kathy were the only place I went until 2017. They moved to another location and I missed them terribly.

Without much confidence, I decided to give the new owners a chance. I was delighted when my first gel manicure was flawless! They probably just had a lucky day, right? That was my thought. Not one single cuticle had polish on it!  While I still missed Ann & Kathy, a few weeks later I decided to try them again for a full gel manicure and pedicure.  After taking over in February, I’m happy to give them my personal recommendation. You won’t be disappointed!

And Now I’m Hooked

Both Victor and Johnny have worked in the nail care industry for over 10 years. Previously their families were from midwest, but they relocated to the Phoenix area a couple of years ago. They ran successful nail salons in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Tell them Michelle sent you and you’ll receive 10% off your services! 

Johnny is absolutely amazing and gives the best foot massages! He and his wife, Tina, are co-owners of Utopia Nails. While Tina was off the day I visited the salon for pictures, she has done my gel manicure several times and I couldn’t ask for better service! Johnny will joke that today is his first day and we’ve had some great conversations about his home and family in Vietnam. Even though they lived in the United States at the time, his kids were born in Vietnam and they speak both English and Vietnamese.

You won’t find a better salon owner than Victor! He takes great care to be sure your nails are perfect! He and his wife are co-owners of Utopia Nails. His wife will be away from the nail salon for awhile caring for their new baby! Unlike many salons, they speak very good English. In fact, Victor was just telling me about his citizenship test and how he had to read paragraphs, as well as both speak and write in English. I was impressed! I know many people who are bilingual but learning to write English is quite the accomplishment! Congratulations on becoming an American citizen!

Best East Mesa Nail Salon

The Colors

If you like gel polish, this is your place! They have so many colors it is hard to choose, and they even have a line of polish that includes both gel and regular! You know what that means? You can get regular polish on your toes and gel on your fingernails…and they’ll match!!! This is huge for me! For years I would try to find the closest possible matching polish for my pedicure, but this makes it easy!

Next time you stop in, check out their box of sample colors! This isn’t even close…this is just one set of available colors!

They do take walk-ins but of calling ahead or making an appointment is recommended. They are closed on Tuesdays but check Google for current hours.

Looking for your own professional branding session?

Be sure to give us a call and we’ll be sure to get images that represent your brand and your style! Branding sessions take place at your business showing you doing what you do best and is a great way to share your passion with your clients. While headshots are included, it is equally important to share your brand story with professional photography.

Borrow From Our Style Closet | Queen Creek Senior Portraits | Part II: Hats

Borrow From Our Style Closet | Queen Creek Senior Portraits | Part II: Hats

Wearing Hats for Senior Pictures

I guess I’ve always loved hats. It reminds me of playing dress up when I was a little girl. Many senior girls don’t have a lot of hats, but never fear, I’m always adding to my collection! If you saw my recent post about the accessories in our Style Closet, you’ll know that this whole idea started with one hat. Specifically, a black floppy hat from Target. By 2014 I had started collecting hats and using them with every one of my teen and senior girls. Hats are such a fun way to change up your look and get even more variety for your senior pictures. If you make it to the end, you’ll get to see my favorite hat!

The Original Hat

This black floppy hat has been around forever! I still love it and bring it to every outdoor senior portrait session. Being black, it can coordinate with almost any outfit or if you want to try something fun, grab a ribbon or scarf to add to the hat!

Wearing a Floppy Hat

These floppy hats work great as summer accessories for your senior portraits, but in Arizona, you can pretty much wear them any time! This hat from our Style Closet works great with light, summer colors, sundresses, and rompers. It takes a little shaping but that’s about it. I just love how long hair flows from this hat, but long hair can be tucked up inside for a different look! And of course, short and sassy haircuts look great with floppy hats too!

Sunrise with the light colors and pastels…pure heaven! This one is quite a few years old but will always be a favorite!

Even more gorgeous desert colors in the spring, and this time we paired the hat with a tan scarf, also from our Style Closet!

Hats are a great way to frame your face and show off your eyes too!

Love the rustic look we got when paired with boots and jeans! We had a little trouble deciding how to wear the shirt. Tying it in the front did the trick!


Hats add a different style depending on your outfit. This senior portrait was taken in the fall and was featured in the Modern Teen Style’s 2014 Pictorial Issue!

Queen Creek Fall Senior Portraits


I can’t explain it, but I fell in love with this adorable beret the minute I saw it! Unfortunately I’ve only had the chance to use it a couple of times, but I still love it! If you have an outfit to match (brown jacket or boots maybe?) bring them so we can give it some love again!

Newsboy Caps

I have a few of these too! They make for a great urban vibe!

Blue hats

Light blue and dark blue, you just can’t go wrong here! Again, a little shaping goes a long way!

Do I have a favorite?

Oh yes, my favorite hat? It has to be this navy blue one from Target! I love all my hats but this is probably my favorite because it’s new and I haven’t had it long enough to bring along for my senior portrait sessions. Look out though, it’s gonna be making lots of appearances soon!

If you have hats, bring them! If you don’t have hats, check out our Style Closet and we’ll bring ours! If you don’t like hats, you will once we’re done, I promise! Hats work great for many outfits, styles, and locations so you really can’t go wrong! Here are a few more articles that show off our favorite Style Closet outfits and accessories!

Cassandra, Saint Mary’s High School
Style Closet, Accessories

Borrow From Our Style Closet | Teen Fashion Trends | Part I: Accessories

Borrow From Our Style Closet | Teen Fashion Trends | Part I: Accessories

Mesa Senior Portrait Fashion Trends

It all started with a hat. One simple hat that was loved by all my senior girls. That was back in 2013 and the collection has continued to grow ever since! Maybe you’re wondering why we offer our exclusive Style Closet to our clients. Well, for one, it makes it easy to suggest small additions that will bring something special to your senior portrait session. Also, it is a lot less expensive for us to buy a bunch of items one time than to have our seniors each buy their own accessories. And finally, it lets you choose things you might not normally wear. Who doesn’t love to dress up?!?! Be sure to scroll all the way down to see my favorite piece! If you have a minute, I’d love for you to let me know what your favorites are too!


When I started this post, I intended to add pictures of everything from our Style Closet. That got out of hand really fast! So for Part I I’m going to share some of the jewelry and accessories we have available. Be sure to check back to see more of the hats and props!

It’s a Headband, a Choker, a Belt, and More!

The most versatile accessory from our style closet is this piece.  Mercy wore it as a headband for the vintage part of her senior portrait session, complete with the antique phone which is also part of our prop collection. She really went all out with her acting skills here, having a full conversation with one of “her many male suitors.” Priceless, just priceless!

Mesa Senior Portraits Fashion Headband

Then wearing the same dress, she wore this same accessory as a choker and a belt!  Talk about a versatile accessory! It can also be worn as an anklet, bracelet, or necklace!

Mesa Senior Portraits Fashion Model

Mesa Senior Portraits Vintage Fashion Trends


While you may have the perfect accessories, sometimes it’s fun to pick through our collection to find even more goodies! We have a couple sets that include matching necklaces and earrings.

Mesa Senior Portraits Fashion Jewelry

Mesa Senior Portraits Fashion Necklace

It’s not much, but Alli loves flowers so this pewter bracelet was perfect!

Mesa Senior Portraits Fashion Bracelet

Chunky bracelets are a great fashion trend for your senior portraits. This set of chunky bracelets and the long necklace were added to our Style Closet earlier this spring. We were shopping at Charlotte Russe and they were included with our purchase! In case you’re wondering, this cute top is also from Charlotte Russe.

Mesa Senior Portraits Fashion Trends

“Hello Boys” Sunglasses

I love sunglasses, but these sunglasses are just about the cutest accessory ever! They really are just perfect for teens and senior girls! While wandering through Target with my daughter and her friend, they were joking around trying on all the different shades. And then these popped up. Let’s just say it definitely didn’t go back on the shelf! They’re the newest addition to our Style Closet, so definitely try them out!

Mesa Senior Portraits Swim Dive Sunglasses

Did I mention that this image is in the May 2018 Issue of Modern Teen Style! It was accepted for the pictorial issue which has hundreds of inspirational teen images!

Mesa Senior Portraits Girls Sunglasses

If you love hats, you’ll definitely want to check out Part II: Hats and see what other fun accessories we have for your senior portraits!

Social Media Sharing  |  Scottsdale Senior Portrait Photographer

Social Media Sharing | Scottsdale Senior Portrait Photographer

Social Sharing & Printing Tips

I love my teens and seniors, you already know that!  Your positive reviews and recommendations are a huge value to me personally, as well as professionally.  However, I seem to get two very different opinions when it comes to sharing your professional senior pictures on social media. It isn’t always about giving credit, but we take your privacy and safety seriously!  Once an image is shared online, it is out there forever for anyone to see. Even if you remove the image, it is still out there and can be altered, printed, sold, or even stolen.  That is why your social media images have been watermarked. If you’ve purchased a collection including digital images, you’ll see that you have two folders.  One is labeled “print” and the other is labeled “share.”

Printing Digital Files

These files are meant to be printed for your personal use. They are high resolution files meant to be printed 8×10 or smaller. Why the size restriction?  I prefer that my clients use these files to make prints for friends and family and use for cards, invitations, or announcements.  You’re given a print release, and any time you print them the print lab should be asking to see that release, which is why there is a file included on your USB.  Larger prints however, require a little extra attention. If you’d like a larger print, please just get in contact and I’ll help you out to be sure the portrait will be sized properly for your needs!  Canvases are especially tricky since you need extra room to wrap without cutting off important parts of the image. If you’d prefer to order from us, we can order anything from our product line as long as you have a print release! Not to mention that professional labs require calibration and color management to produce high quality, archival portraits.

Did you know there is a difference between an image that is meant to be printed and those meant to be shared online? The number of colors available on a screen is much greater than what can be printed, so it is critical to know the difference and be able to prepare images in the correct manner. Beyond that, even professional lab equipment varies which is why they require us to calibrate prints to our monitors. One of my labs has a consumer division. They calibrate every 2-3 weeks. However, the professional lab equipment is calibrated daily and after every paper & chemistry change!

Sharing Digital Files

My clients enjoy creating unique artwork from their professional portrait session.  So of course, if you visit their home, you’ll see gorgeous wall displays and portraits on the walls, image boxes on their coffee tables,and beautiful storyboards showing off their favorite pictures. But let’s face it.  The best way to share online these days is social media!  Isn’t it awesome when you can instantly share your images with all your friends and family, even those who don’t live nearby?  We have Facebook albums, Instagram, and Twitter to which allow you to share.  But at what cost?  The rules of social sharing aren’t always followed, or even understood.  Sometimes I see people cropping out watermarks or not tagging the photographer’s business page whenever they share one of their professional photos.  My question is, if you love your photos so much, why would you choose to remove your photographer’s name from the photograph? The most likely answer is, people just don’t realize what can happen.

Gilbert Photographer Copyright

Online Safety

Most people don’t think of this when posting online, but what if one of your pictures is stolen, edited, or displayed on an inappropriate website? When I first started in business, I hadn’t thought of these things either until it happened to me. A client’s maternity image was stolen from my website and displayed on a porn site without my permission or knowledge. I was shocked, angry, and felt awful for my client. Thankfully, because the watermark was in tact, all it took that time was an email stating that they didn’t have the rights to the photograph and it needed to be removed immediately. Yes, there are ways of finding a photographer’s images online, through information that is included in the files from the moment you click the shutter. Being a member of PPA (Professional Photographers of America) gives photographers access to resources, insurance, and education which helps us stay on top of important things in the world of photography!

Copyright vs Fair Use

What is a copyright?

So what is a copyright and why is it so important? Professional Photographers of America has very simply written out the terms of a Photographer’s Copyright and what copyright infringement can mean for you, your photos, and the photographer. Keep in mind that majority of photographers (including Magical Memories by Michelle, LLC) give you limited permission to share your digital images online, with additional specifics in their contracts.  By cropping out watermarks, you are in breach of contract and have infringed on their copyright. Copyright protects artists from theft. Often companies and consumers will copy, share, or print without the photographer’s permission. That too is illegal.

Professional Photographers of America says, ” ‘Copyright’ describes the rights given to creators for their literary and artistic works. But we often don’t consider copyright when we look at our family photos, [share them online] or go to get them copied. Even though it is so easy to copy an image—with scanners, photo-quality printers, and copy stations—it is still illegal.”

Things to remember about copyright:

  • Copyright is a property right.
  • Buying a print or digital images does not mean you have purchased the copyright to those images.
  • Photographs are protected by copyright from the moment of creation.
  • Unless you have permission from the photographer, you can’t copy, distribute (no scanning and sending them to others), publicly display (no putting them online), or create derivative works from photographs.
  • Even small levels of infringement—copying a photo without permission—can have a devastating impact on a photographer’s ability to make a living.
  • Copyright infringements—reproducing photos without permission—can result in civil and criminal penalties.


What is fair use?

Fair use is not the same as free use. Fair use is a legal exception to the exclusive rights an owner has for his or her copyrighted work.  Fair use is in place for the greater good, to allow copyrighted works to be used without permission for the benefit of the public. Let’s face it. We love you and all, but while your senior pictures are priceless to you, they don’t benefit the general public.


Every company out there has a logo and you can bet there is a copyright. Photographers are no different. I work hard to maintain a certain level of quality and I’m proud of what I do, so my company’s logo is on my work the same way an auto maker puts their logo on a car. Ok, so maybe I’m not Audi…but it’s the same idea! Ha ha!

Gilbert Photographer Guys Cars

Tips for Sharing Your Professional Portraits

  • Do not crop out their watermark.  For my clients, if this is issue on Social Media, I’ll happily resize to a square image. Better yet, our personalized mobile apps allow safe sharing of your images directly to social media.
  • Tag your photographer’s business page or add credit such as “Photo by Magical Memories by Michelle”.
  • If you really love your portraits and your photographer, you can share their name and website with the photo. Again, I would like to say that your positive recommendations to your friends and family mean the world to me!
  • Remember, safety first. I don’t want your priceless images to end up in the wrong hands!