Best Portrait Photographers in Mesa, AZ | Professional Senior Pictures

Best Portrait Photographers in Mesa, AZ | Professional Senior Pictures

Hire the Best Photographer for Senior Pictures

I believe that a great reputation is earned and built over time–and it takes a combination of great clients, a desire to continually learn, and a passion for what you do. It’s about more than just being voted the best or having a huge social media following.  I’m always looking for ways to deliver a unique experience for graduating seniors, as well as provide Mom and Dad with photo shoot fun that will forever remind them of their kiddo’s exciting day. Of course, the heirloom keepsakes I design after the photo shoot don’t hurt either! Storyboards, images boxes, and heirloom albums are always a hit, and there are plenty of creative portrait gifts the grad can choose for family and friends too.

In 2019 and 2020 I was voted one of the Best Portrait Photographers in Mesa by! In 2021, there are fewer professional photographers, but again I was voted one of the Top 8 Portrait Photographers in Mesa! connects people with the best local professional photographers. Portrait photographers are rated on more than 25 variables across five categories, resulting in a hand-picked list of the best portrait photographers in Mesa, AZ. Over 160 photographers were nominated this year, and then selects the top photographers based on the following criteria: Reputation, Qualifications, Experience, Reliability, and Professionalism. Don’t take my word for it. Go check out the complete list of the  Best Portrait Photographers for 2021!

What’s changed for 2021? Well, I was mystery shopped. Haha, I couldn’t believe it! Someone called and of course I answered, gave them all the necessary info and we chatted a bit. Then about 5 minutes later I got a notice that does in fact do random calls to see which photography studios respond and handle client requests professionally. So now, when you go to my profile you’ll see that I now have an A+ rating for both reputation and professionalism.

Top Professional Photographer Mesa Arizona

Find Best Senior Portrait Photographer Mesa Arizona

Best Portrait Photographer Mesa Az

Best Portrait Photographer Mesa AZ

These days online reviews are everywhere, but isn’t it frustrating when you’re searching reviews for a particular service and one site gives 5 stars, but another site gives 3 stars? How do you know? Top Rated Local helps take the guesswork out of online ratings by combing reviews from several sites. Every month I receive an updated report and I’m proud to say that since joining in 2019 I’ve had a 97% rating! Here is the most recent update from October 2020. As of September 2021, my rating is actually 98%, but they aren’t doing these updates anymore.

Best Senior Pictures Near Me

Reputation: A history of delighted customers and outstanding service.

5 Star Google Review Mesa Photographer

Since 2009, Magical Memories by Michelle has had the honor of photographing clients from all over Arizona! High end portraits are my number one priority! If people didn’t love my portraits, I wouldn’t be in business. By treating each client with respect and collaborating together to create their dream portraits, then finalizing with top notch quality prints, wall displays, albums, and custom artwork, I’ve earned a perfect 5 star rating across every review site! I want every single client to be thrilled with the process and the final images! Feel free to check out all of my online reviews! In August I hit 50 reviews! Do you know how hard that is for a small business? I never thought that would happen! I love my clients, they love me, we have a blast together at every senior photo shoot!

Website | Google | Facebook | Yelp

Qualifications: Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditation, and awards.

While I didn’t necessarily start out strong, I did start out right! Magical Memories by Michelle has been licensed with the State of Arizona since 2009 and became an LLC is 2012. I am also an active member of PPA, Professional Photographers of America and my membership allows me to be insured and provides numerous resources and classes. Feel free to visit my profile there too! This year, when Senior Year Magazine published their spring edition, 9 of my seniors were included! Since 2014, I’ve had almost 50 images published nationally and internationally in 12 of the industry’s leading magazines and had dozens of teen and senior images featured over the years.

 Phoenix Senior Photographer Guys Best Chandler Senior Photographer Girls Top Phoenix Senior Photographer Top Senior Photographer Mesa Az Mesa Teen Photographer Magazine Best Arizona Photographer Modern Style

Experience: Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.

As an artist, it isn’t easy to hear about your mistakes and flaws, but it is necessary. I’ve spent years having my work reviewed by my peers, because let’s face it…my family and friends always think I’m amazing! Annual classes and workshops keep me at the top of the field for senior pictures and ensure that I am able to offer the best experience to graduating high school students. With a wide variety of skills, my sessions take place during the day, and now I offer an Ultimate Senior Portrait Session that includes nighttime photos for a completely unique look! I’ve even been named one of the Top 200 Senior Photographers Worldwide!

Senior Year Magazine Top Photographer AZ

Reliability: Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.

The key to my success has been staying low volume. I always thought I’d need to shoot hundreds of clients annually, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that’s not what works best for me or my clients. You’re not just a number to me, I want you to feel valued. By never having back-to-back sessions you’ll never be rushed out to get the next session started. I only schedule a maximum of 8 sessions per month, so there is flexibility to reschedule due to illness or weather.

Professionalism: Providing service with honesty, reliability, and respect.

I can honestly say that I’ve had very few client issues throughout my years as a photographer. By using only professional print labs and having a relationship with each one, I’m immediately notified of any problems. They call if I mess up…and I have. I’m not perfect, but I am a perfectionist which means I will require a lab to reprint artwork with even the smallest flaw. I’ve only had one product that was damaged over time, and that was replaced within three days.



Senior Picture Ideas for Dance, Ballet, Pointe | Phoenix Senior Photography

Senior Picture Ideas for Dance, Ballet, Pointe | Phoenix Senior Photography

The Heart of a Dancer: Capturing Your Passion In Pictures

Mavery is a 2021 graduate, and I can’t get enough of her senior portraits! Why do I love them so much? Because we worked so closely together to incorporate one of the things Mavery is most passionate about in her photo collection: Ballet!

On Your Toes

A dancer for many years, Mavery’s flexibility, grace, and strength were things I wanted to highlight in her senior pictures. With her training and hard work, she’s able to pull off near super-hero moves that leave most of us regular humans in awe! As easy as she makes everything look, I know it’s taken a lot of dedication and hundreds of practice hours to reach the level she’s at. And THAT’S something that should be framed and put on a wall for everyone to see!

Dance Senior Pictures Ballet Pointe Chandler

Tips & Tricks for Your Ballet Pics

There are a few great tips, given by Mavery herself, that will help you plan for upcoming senior pictures of your own. Whether you’re a dancer, a basketball player, or a theater aficionado, these tips all apply in one way or another:
  1. Take older shoes, especially for pointe or ballroom pictures. (Also, don’t take your brand-new cheer or basketball shoes to the waterside because they will get dirty!)
  2. Practice your poses…and your tricks. If you plan on going en pointe on a giant rock, for example, be sure to brush up on your balance work so you can really hit that pose on the big day. Likewise, if you want to spin the b-ball on your fingertips, make sure it’s doable on your day.
  3. Loosen up…your muscles and your clothes. If you’re planning on more active photos, make sure you wear outfits that are comfortable and cute! You’ll need to be able to move freely if you want to pirouette or even kickflip your skateboard.
  4. Costuming is key. Whether you’re performing on stage or posing for pics, be sure to pay attention to where you are and match your outfit to the setting. In dance, styles always match the scene; so be sure you think about matching your surroundings for your senior pics, too.

En Pointe

A dancer at heart, Mavery’s graceful ballet moves were on display beside the water. In pointe shoes and a floral, flowy dress, she made every move look effortless as she extended into long, elegant lines.

outdoor senior pictures ballet pointe arizona

The fun thing about these photos is seeing the joy on Mavery’s face as she shows off a skill she truly loves. That’s why I enjoy talking to seniors and getting to know them before their photo shoot so I can get even more great ideas about what drives and inspires them.

Natural Beauty

Mavery has been a dancer for 15 years, and she has been competitive for the past 11 years in pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, ballroom, and hip hop. Talk about a serious collection of talent in one young lady!

She’s been Clara in The Nutcracker and has performed in the ballets Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. During her junior year, she received a superior choreography award from the State Dance Festival, and most recently, Mavery was captain of her competition team at iDance Studio in Gilbert, Arizona.

outdoor senior pictures dance chandler az

Extracurriculars Add Extra Joy

Whether you participate in extracurricular school activities like sports teams, art clubs, or special interest groups…or whether you blaze your own path and belong to teams and groups outside of school, ALL of these things are an important part of who you become as a young adult!

When you share those things as you plan your senior picture package, we can work together to come up with some unique and creative ideas that reflect ALL the amazing things that make you who you are!

Hot Locations & Chill Vibes | Gorgeous Desert Locations for Your Arizona Graduation Pictures

Hot Locations & Chill Vibes | Gorgeous Desert Locations for Your Arizona Graduation Pictures

Stress-LESS Senior Portraits in Mesa, Arizona

As a senior portrait photographer, I’m constantly tuned in to the location station! Whether I’m out running errands or hanging out with friends, you can bet I’m scouting for everything from dry creek beds to trees with character to unsuspecting ditches with enough pizazz to pull off an incredible photo background.

You’d be surprised at the number of brick walls and sandy washes full of desert scrub brush I’ve encountered and morphed into fave picture spots with just a little flick of my magic wand. When most people see dust and dead plants, I look for nuggets of beauty in our landscape that I can incorporate into senior photos. I’m on the lookout for the few tiny flowers that thrive in our dry climate, the bits of green, the wildlife, the places to play—and I find a way to pair them with individual client styles and personalities to create cherished photo keepsakes.

No Stress, Just Smile

Bri and her family didn’t have a ton of time to dedicate to an hours-long photo shoot. (Understandable! You guys are busy during your senior year, right?) So I immediately knew we needed to find a really great place where we could capture a wide range of photos without having to add a lot of travel time to our schedule. We needed diversity, natural settings, and fantastic backdrops—preferably all within walking distance of each other. In fact, this worked so well, I’ve added this location for a new 1-hour GOLD senior portrait session for the Class of 2022!

Sound like a tall order? Wait until you see Bri’s amazing senior portraits! You’ll think we spent an entire day and traveled everywhere under the sun to get them!

Arizona Senior Photos Desert Locations

Natural Photos, Natural Look

I love the fact that Bri had an instinctive knack for styling. Her fashion sense and style immediately told her to go for a lovely natural look since we were going to be shooting several of her photos in settings with natural desert backgrounds. Her loose, wavy hair accentuates her face, which is brightened and highlighted with light makeup—a winning look that highlights her beauty!

A quick outfit change took Bri from casual denim to a chic daytime black jegging paired with stylish black booties and a crop top tied at the waist. A true pro at pulling off breathtaking looks, she knows how to pull together an outfit that is perfect for her!

Arizona Senior Photos Desert Ridge High School

Of course, we always get a little playful on photo shoots, and those who know me well shouldn’t be surprised to see things like grads who are upside-down on park benches! Why? Because having FUN always brings out the true and most relaxed personalities of my clients—and that’s exactly what I want them to be able to show off in their senior pictures.

Enchanting by the Water

Remember that whole thing about needing an amazing photo spot that had EVERYTHING? We found it! In a blink, we were waterside and ready to start shooting again.

Bri was prepared for photos beside the water with a couple of lovely strappy and flowy dresses that added that perfect casual-dressy touch to the moment. With her strappy polka-dot dress, her black booties take on a completely different personality and stand out as a bold accessory choice. Notice that for these natural waterside photos, Bri opted for minimal jewelry and accessories, letting the focus fall solely on her and her choice of location.

AZ Senior Photos Desert Ridge High School

Is She a Mermaid?

Looking ethereal and magical sitting on a rock in the water, Bri is right at home. For this portrait, she opted for a strappy-back white mini dress with bare feet. The placement of the sun as it begins to go down adds an enchanting element, and it’s pretty easy to believe this girl belongs right there beside the water.

Arizona Senior Photos Beautiful Locations

Adding Pretty to the Desert

Want to know how to jazz up the desert? How to add glam to the sand, how to dress up the scorpions? JUST KIDDING! No scorpions were harmed in—or invited to—this photo shoot!

But I will give you some top-secret information. If you want to add some gorgeous scenery to your desert photos, simply add a lovely graduate who’s dressed to the nines and glowing with excitement at her accomplishments! I absolutely adore the way Bri stands apart from the scenery in her pretty dress and graduation gear in these photos. You can see how she’s simply beaming as she shows off her 2021 tassel!

Arizona Senior Graduation Photos Desert Locations

You Glow, Girl

As the sun dropped in the sky, Bri pulled out one more outfit. As soon as I saw her rust-colored skirt, I knew the perfect spot to highlight her entire look and make her look like a superstar. Sunglasses and a floppy hat topped off her look, and a couple casual leans against this vibrant wall pulled in the end-of-day sun to create stunning images. Not only is her outfit flattering and stylish, but the artistic play of light and shadow truly gives this client something special to share with her family.

Arizona Senior Photos Desert Ridge High School Eastmark

Ambitious & On Her Way

A 2021 graduate from Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Arizona, Bri is looking forward to continuing her education to become a dental hygienist. She’s a fun, hardworking girl and loves to hang out with friends and family. She even has a trip to England on her bucket list so she can visit family there!

She’s proud of her biggest accomplishments—graduating from high school and getting into East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT) to study for her future career.

Her goals are to simply enjoy life and not rush things. Asked to leave behind a piece of advice for future freshmen, Bri says to have fun and avoid drama, because it’s toxic. (I knew this girl was smart!)

Arizona Senior Photos Cap Gown Graduation

She’s off to do incredible things, and I can’t wait to hear what’s next for her!

Ultimate Senior Photo Shoot | Chandler, Arizona Senior Pictures

Ultimate Senior Photo Shoot | Chandler, Arizona Senior Pictures

Center Stage: A Musician, a Dancer & The Senior Pictures of Her Dreams

When a client comes in for a consultation and already knows they want the ULTIMATE senior portrait package, I immediately go into all-out planning mode! I do this for every photo session, but for Ultimate sessions, it takes a little more time and energy, simply because of the time that will be invested—as well as the outfit and venue changes that will be involved. There’s more moving around, which means even more creativity and more outside-the-box ideas to make sure we don’t duplicate a single pose.

Inside Scoop

I’ll admit I had some insider knowledge about Mavery’s senior pictures because this girl has been hanging around my house for about as long as I can remember! She’s besties with my daughter, and that means I’ve had lots of time to chat with her about what she was thinking about her graduation photos.

Let me just say this…I’ve had a few clients that made me feel like I could keep clicking and getting shots all day and all night—and Mavery is one of them! She has a captivating smile, a multi-faceted personality that shines both when she’s smiling and when she’s serious, and she’s a standout in casual AND dressy outfits. When I heard her ideas and saw her adorable outfits, I knew we had a gazillion photo options! It was going to come down to how much energy we both had, and trust me, neither of us was aiming for a short photo shoot!

Any Outfit, Any Place

Mavery can pull off absolutely any look, and we started our day in a nice, casual location at San Tan. She stole the show in a breezy floral jumper and low, strappy heels. Her long, red hair perfectly complemented the combination of blues she chose in her outfit, too! She even topped this look off with a floppy-brimmed hat in a few photos for a jaunty vacay vibe.

Ladies, if you love jumpers and feel comfortable pulling off this look, it’s definitely senior-portrait-worthy! Jumpers are flattering and tend to photograph well. Plus, they make an easy all-in-one outfit you don’t have to worry about pulling together. Simply accessorize…and BOOM…you’re photo shoot ready!

Fun Senior Pictures Model

Notice Mavery’s expressions in all of these images. She’s carefree and smiling. That’s because we took our time getting warmed up, chatting, and even having a few laughs before jumping right into posing. I do this for all my clients because I think it helps them feel more comfortable in front of the camera if we have a good rapport before I just start clicking!

I Scream, You Scream

We all scream for ice cream! Whenever there’s a chance to add a sweet treat to a photo shoot, I go for it. Why? First of all, who doesn’t love sweets? Plus, it gives clients chance to take a quick break. And during that break, I often get the chance to capture candid, fun-loving moments of clients as they kick back and have a little fun. Talk about authentic smiles!

Senior Pictures Ice Cream

No Hat Tricks Here

Why do I love hats? So many reasons! But some of my favorites are the way that hats can add so much texture, dimension, and style—and all you have to do is pair one with a lovely outfit and pop it on your head to get a completely different and updated look.

I had to get a close-up of Mavery’s hazel green eyes and the way the light captured their glow under the wide brim of a sun hat. The hat perfectly framed her face and ended up being the perfect backdrop for her natural makeup, wavy hair, and dreamy gaze.

Cute Outfits Senior Pictures Girls

Capturing Talent & Passion

Mavery has a ton of talent, and I wanted to make sure we captured a variety of her skills in her photo collection. From dancing to playing the ukulele, you name it and this girl can pretty much do it all!

An outfit and location change took us to a waterside location, which was perfect to display her artistic abilities. Her lovely flowery dress perfectly complemented the local scenery, and Mavery looked like she was putting on an enchanted concert when we got to the photos of her with her ukulele.

Senior Pictures Music Instrument Ukulele

En Pointe

A dancer at heart, Mavery’s graceful dance moves were also on display beside the water. A change to pointe shoes made things official, and she made it look effortless to extend into her long, graceful lines.

The fun thing about the transition between these photos is that there wasn’t much of a wardrobe change required. A simple change of shoes had Mavery going from musician to ballerina in mere minutes, and in the end, she’ll get to show off more of what she loves in her senior photos.

Dance Senior Pictures Ballet Pointe Chandler

Natural Beauty

Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers during your photo shoot! This is no time to be stressed. Instead, relax and enjoy all the little moments that present themselves. You never know when you’ll stumble across some natural beauty that will add to your graduation pictures in pretty and unexpected ways.

PRO TIP: If you’re here in the desert and you ABSOLUTELY know you want flowers in your photos, it’s a good idea to plan ahead! Think about the blooms you want and consider grabbing a fresh bouquet from your local florist, just in case everything is a little more sandy than…er…bloomy. (We desert-dwellers know that can happen!)

I love Mavery’s bouquet photo because it shows off the absolute perfection of her eye makeup! Seriously, zoom in! It’s a beautifully shaded ombré—slightly darker than she would wear for everyday, because through the camera lens, makeup looks lighter. Her brows are meticulously done, as are her nails, and her lips have the slightest hint of colored gloss. Ladies, this is an AMAZING look when you’re shooting natural photos! In this image, Mavery is the star of the show…exactly as she should be!

Professional Senior Photography Girls

It’s a Wrap

Nighttime photos give clients a chance to show an entirely different side to their personalities, and Mavery went all-out! When the sun went down, she opted for casual chic in a faded denim jacket over a white tee—which she wore to perfection! A quick tousle of the hair let me capture a fun-loving, kick-back moment and a super-natural smile that reflects Mavery’s lighthearted and lovable personality.

Senior Picture Outfits Denim Chandler az

A 2021 graduate of Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, AZ, Mavery is planning to study to become a veterinarian in college. In her free time, you’ll probably find her hanging out with her friends or watching some of her favorite shows like Big Bang Theory and Disney/Pixar movies. Some of her favorite books are To Kill a Mockingbird, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Book Thief…and so many more!

This bright and beautiful girl is going places, and I can’t wait to see where her next amazing adventure takes her!