Fine Art Portraits: “Art is About Love…Not Likes.”
Recently I received a newsletter from one of my professional print labs and it said “Art is About Love…Not Likes.” The world we live in is so used to posting online that this generation will be by far the most photographed ever! Did you see that? EVER! But what do we really have? Images on your phone that could easily get lost or deleted. Images on a USB that is stored away in a drawer. Old CDs of images that you promised you’d print. Some day. However, professional photographers have always printed heirloom pieces of fine art for their clients and Magical Memories by Michelle does exactly that. Do we offer digital files? Yes, but the main purpose is to keep them for archival purposes and backups. The fine art we offer our clients are not products you’ll see elsewhere. Even our standard “Signature Silk Prints” aren’t something that all professional print labs offer. All of these beautiful keepsakes are combinations of products from our favorite vendors.
Signature Silk Prints
These gorgeous heirloom prints are printed on crystal silk paper. While many people choose to frame their prints, I offer a line of modern ready to display fine art. These mounted prints are thick so they aren’t easily damaged and offer multiple ways to display them. Yes, you can frame them! Because they are rigid, they are also beautifully displayed on your choice of easels. If you prefer a modern frameless look but still want to hang them on your walls, there is a secret. Are you ready? 3M Command Strips! Yes, if you’ve ever seen my office walls, all of the portraits are hung with Command Strips! It makes it much easier to correct if something is crooked or if the spacing isn’t quite right. I’ll be sharing my custom wall displays soon, so be sure to check back!
5x7 Signature Image Box
Since nobody can ever choose a favorite, our Signature Image Box was introduced in 2017. So now you can order all your favorites, choose a couple to display, then store the other prints safely in the image box. This 5x7 image box also comes printed with your favorite image and text of your choice, making these a truly one-of-a-kind keepsake! The false bottom fits perfectly inside and holds your USB safely so it doesn’t get lost.
The Signature Image Box comes complete with 10 double sided prints. Yes friends, that’s 20 images! Can’t decide on a favorite? Pick one side and simply turn it around the next day! If you want the entire collection we can do that too! Check out this huge display from one of our senior guys! It has a deeper box that fits up to 40 double sided prints, then we added 8x10 prints as well. Really can’t get much better…or so we thought!
5x7 Luxury Image Box
While I love our wooden Signature Image Box and it is definitely one of our biggest sellers, I always keep my eyes open for new items from our professional print labs. Sure enough, along came this beauty which is now our Luxury Image Box. This one is also sized to hold 5x7 prints and comes custom printed with your favorite image on the cover, but it opens like a book and can have both the spine and back printed.
11x14 Luxury Image Box
Now, let’s just say you want larger prints to display, or a variety of sizes. Check out this stunning 11x14 Luxury Image Box! So now you can choose any combination of double sided prints in 11x14, 8x10, 8x8, and 5x7. The possibilities are endless! These are perfect for larger wall shelves or entry tables. And of course the folio box itself is worthy of a prime spot in your home. While the sample shown is from one of our beautiful senior girls, these really become the perfect way to hold an entire family session! Grandparents, this is your dream! Fill it with prints of all your children and grandchildren so you can enjoy their sweet faces on display in your home!
Signature Image Box
Almost every portrait session I’ve done has resulted in clients having too many favorite images and really not a great way to display or store them. For years, storyboards and wall displays have been a favorite, but this year, when I was contemplating adding a new product, I really wanted something that was made it easy to display and change images. I’ve had image boxes before, but typically they’re for standard prints and don’t always have a place to store a USB. This product however, has the option of a false bottom, making the perfect location for the USB as well as a couple of bamboo stands! Of course that lab only offered standard prints, and I really love our 5×7 double sided silk prints, so I just combined them into a single signature keepsake product that was introduced for the Spring 2017 season. I was ecstatic!
Decorate Your Home With Custom Artwork
So far this year, it has been our most popular product! I’m all about showing off your portraits rather than leaving them to collect dust in a desk drawer. One of the most popular combinations is the 5×7 Signature Image Box complete with 2 bamboo stands, a custom USB, and 20 double sided silk prints. That’s 20 pictures! Of course your favorite is on the cover, and the USB holds any digital files that you have purchased and/or the premier slideshow which also showcases all your images set to music and ready to watch at any time.
Our 5×7 Signature Image Box comes with 2 bamboo stands as well as a custom cover, so at any time you can easily display 3 of your favorite pictures. The other pictures fit neatly in the box to avoid damage, and can be swapped out at any time. Do you have a hard time decided which pictures to display? Me too! With this option, you don’t have to choose! You can just walk by and decide to flip over an image and show the other side! Better yet, since we offer these double sided silk prints in several sizes, many of our clients are adding on 8×10 or 11×14 so images can be displayed in multiple areas of their home or office.
More Pictures Please!
And then it happened. I had a client who wanted MORE than 20 images…in fact Brandon’s mom wanted them all! I called the professional lab we use for the custom boxes to see what other sizes they offered, and now we offer an upgrade to a larger box that holds at least 20 double sided prints! Tou don’t even have to worry about making selections! Talk about a dream come true! Look at this variety!!!
Each double sided silk print has a 2mm mount so images are sturdy and won’t warp or bend.
A New Look and A New Website
Welcome to MagicalMemoriesByMichelle.com and Magical Memories by Michelle, LLC!
If you’ve been around in the last year or so you’ve seen quite a few new changes. A new look last fall started the ball rolling, and it just keeps getting better!
I’ve been professional photographer in Mesa, AZ for over 8 years now, since the spring of 2009. Back then, photography was new and exciting to me, and I loved working with so many different clients! I started with newborns and maternity and progressed over the years with a goal of being one of the best senior photographers in Arizona. I’ve always been determined to keep my business completely legal, taxes and all, so in 2013 I formed the LLC and that was a big moment. I felt legitimate, and still didn’t specialize so I was working with everything from kids and families to engagements, pretty much everything but weddings. I’ve met hundreds of families, photographed their moments and smiles, and cried when tragedy struck. The loss of one of my newborn clients was enough for me to know that I didn’t want to continue newborn photography of my business. Also, I found that I preferred working outside and moving around, I enjoyed outdoor edits more than studio, and after one of my mentor’s reviewed my work, she was shocked that I wasn’t taking more clients for senior pictures. I realized how much I enjoyed taking senior pictures, being out on the town with teens, and being a part of their new chapter as they finished high school and moved on to college and careers.
The following years were tough. I had some amazing clients, but had many walk away as my pricing increased and my product line grew. I knew I wanted to be more of a full service photographer, but I couldn’t do that and still be lower priced, offer fully retouched images, have a full line of high end products…and keep my sanity! And yet I tried…for over 3 years I tried. Then last fall, October 2016, the transformation began. I worked with an amazing designer to help me rebrand, and for the first time in 7 years I felt like everything was coming together. It felt like me!!! It’s fun, it’s colorful, trendy enough for teens, and professional enough for families. And perfect for my business!
So why now? What changed? Here are the 4 reasons I decided it was time for a change.
1. I started reaching a different type of client.
I was no longer interested in taking every single client and became perfectly happy to work with clients that want exactly what I have to offer, clients that wanted a full experience. There are clients for every service and every budget, and I can’t possibly meet everyone’s needs, and I have to be ok with that. Some people want a photographer who not only takes beautiful pictures, but also creates works of art and offers quality products. People that don’t want to rush , but enjoy the actual portrait session as much as the final images, we’ll work great together! I want to gush over my clients, spoil them, and develop relationships that matter. I want to connect via social media and hear all about your family and keep up on your teen’s new adventures! Teens and seniors are truly a perfect match for me. They want to be treated like a star, they want someone who is invested in making sure they look amazing in every single image! Most important, they want unique images, something that fits their personality whether it be a 13th birthday, senior pictures, or family portraits that haven’t been taken in years. My clients currently are all families with older children, tweens, teens, and seniors. I LOVE IT! How can I not love it when I’m having as much fun as you are?
2. I wanted to offer a full service experience
I know there are hundreds of photographers that do photography as a side job or hobby, but I’m not one of them. I don’t want to meet you for the first time at your session. I want to meet you before your session to be sure we’re a good fit, find out your ideas, and get to know you so you’re not quite so nervous! I want you to trust me, trust that I will do everything possible to make sure you have an amazing experience for senior pictures and not a boring, sit-and-smile set of pictures that will be stored in a desk drawer. I need that pre-session consultation to make your session a success! My clients let me play and often we get amazing results! I get all the great shots, and then we’ll try some different things and see what works. I don’t want you to feel like I’m in a hurry to finish the session and send you on your way. At the Reveal & Design session, I get to see the excitement on a teen girl’s face when she sees her slideshow for the first time…and sees how beautiful she is! Moms love pictures of their kids, so it means the world to me to be chosen to capture these amazing teenage years. Often parents have a hard time connecting to their teens. Parents are busy, kids are busy, and they don’t take the time to enjoy each other. So I love offering a fun afternoon to a mom, who will soon be sending her baby off into the world. I want to take some stress away from this time in your life. Whether you’re racing around with kids or prepping your teen for college, I want you to be able to remember this time.
3. I love the design aspect.
Handing over a bunch of digital files has never been my style. Too many times over the years I’ve had clients say they have had pictures taken, but the images are still sitting in a desk drawer. That’s heartbreaking to me. Seeing my work in print is such a joy, and seeing the happiness it brings to my clients is totally worth spending time to be sure everything is perfect! Do you want large prints of your teen and family? Let’s do that! Do have you a bare wall that could use some images? Let’s choose your favorites and figure out what fits! Do you want spectacular graduation announcements instead of the cookie cutter designs all your friends have? I have thousands of images of my family and it is nearly impossible to choose what to print. How can I expect you to do that without help? When we work together, you’ll have lots of options and because we take the time up front to finalize your order, once it arrives…you’re done! You don’t have to worry about going home and figuring out what pictures to print or what you’re going to do with them.
4. I needed the consistency of a brand
I’m a Gemini, have at least 2 personalities, and can never decide exactly what’s right! I have redone my logos, colors, and website nearly every year which takes too much time away from my photography. Plus it’s exhausting! Now I have a complete set of tools at my disposal. Everything from colors and fonts to my image processing is consistent. That doesn’t mean I won’t play with images and create some fun things too, but at least I have the courage now to say “newborns aren’t my specialty” and be ok with that. I can be proud of the fact that while I can shoot anything and everything, I have chosen to focus on teens and seniors. While I could do mini sessions for $100 and all the images, I preferred having fewer clients and knowing that packages that start at $800 aren’t for everyone. And that’s OK!
Professional Senior Portraits by Tempe Senior Photographer
Tyler recently graduated from Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe, AZ. Since I’m specializing in senior pictures, I was super excited for Tyler’s session! Of course, most guys aren’t all that interested in senior pictures, but Tyler and I had a blast, and his mom Lori was thrilled with the outcome! Moms don’t seem to get a lot of opportunities to get good portraits of their boys, and having a teenage son myself, I knew how much Lori wanted amazing pictures before Tyler headed off to college. When we discussed Tyler’s interests, it was very clear that two of his favorite things were his dog, Mocha, and his gorgeous red Audi. Those two things made his session even more fun!
Yes, of course you can bring your dog for senior pictures! No, there isn’t an extra charge!
I love dogs, so bringing your furry friend along for your senior pictures is always a treat! Mocha was so sweet and well behaved! She posed perfectly and they became some of Tyler’s favorite pictures from his session. While it may take a few more shots and some extra patience, this image made it all worth it!
Being a Tempe senior photographer, I absolutely love it when we have a cooperative sky! I’m sure I looked ridiculous laying the dirt to get just the right shot, but this is totally a favorite! Like one of my favorite images ever! When you bring your dog along, always make sure you have some treats to get them cooperate a little more. And a baggie for…well, you know. Gotta clean up after the pups!
Styling Ideas for Guys
Having unlimited outfits and poses allows me to get a great variety for senior pictures! Tyler had multiple outfits, including a nice shirt and tie, which he paired with jeans for a semi-casual look. Because we chose several locations in downtown Chandler, it didn’t take much time to move from one location to another. And then of course, I wanted to play. Cars, dogs, and a willing senior guy? Oh yes, this was so much fun!!!
Your car? Oh yes, that too please!
Tyler brought his red Audi to his senior session, and besides being a great ride, it was perfect for senior pictures! He loves his car, I wanted to play a little with different angles, so he was very patient as we tried several different poses. Unlimited poses and not having a specific set time for my sessions allows us plenty of time to have fun and get a little creative for senior pictures! We stopped at the top of a parking garage for a little fun, and what Tyler’s mom calls his “Ferris Beuller” look! Love it, and so true! Tyler looks ready to ditch school for a day of adventure, don’t you think?
Storyboards and Metals
Of course when the session is over, the experience isn’t! During Tyler’s Reveal & Design session, we watched the slideshow of all of his final images then began sorting to select their favorite images. Along with custom graduation announcements, we also designed this 16×20 Storyboard showcasing Lori’s favorite images. Because all of my designs are custom, we were easily able to adjust the sizes so Tyler’s images fit perfectly without cutting off important parts of the picture.
One of my favorite products are the metal prints. For years we’ve had metal shapes and curves, but this year we started offering prints and storyboards as metals too! This collage of images showing off Tyler’s diploma cover and tassel is a great keepsake to remember his graduation. It also made a great gift for relatives! Smaller storyboards like this can be displayed on an easel or hung. When hung, they appear more three dimensional because the mounted hanger and bumpers allow the image to sit away from the wall for a modern feel.
Heading to U-Dub!!!
Congratulations, Tyler!! I was very excited to hear that Tyler received an academic scholarship to the University of Washington! He’ll be studying law & justice and political science. It’s always fun to see all the different plans these teens have!
Chandler Senior Portraits
I don’t know how I missed this, but in going back through my blog I realized I never shared Kelci’s senior portraits! So yes it is late (very late!), but how can I not share these images of this beautiful young lady? Kelci is a Perry high school graduate who received a full scholarship to Bryant University!!! Now that she’s done with her sophomore year of college, I can say I’m even more proud of her! I can’t tell you how often this talented diver breaks records and wins meets with her team!
Styling Ideas For Senior Girls
Anyway, I remember her session well even though it has been a couple of years now. Mom wanted wildflowers, Kelci wanted water, I knew it would be amazing!!! We headed out super early one morning, Kelci was quite the trooper. We shot for nearly 2 hours and incorporated everything from her dive medals and gear to her perfect spring wardrobe! They even brought along her cruiser bike! Oh, and the flowers!!! How could I forget those? Just a simple colorful bouquet, but it really was a stunning, colorful addition! I encourage all my seniors to bring anything their heart desires. I’ve seen everything from animals, favorite outfits, props, buckets full of shoes, long boards, and more! These are definitely some of my favorite sessions! Watching these young adults really show off makes my heart smile every time!
Kelci’s styling was exceptional! Her beautiful blonde curls just flowed and worked well with the blue hat from our Style Closet. She chose a colorful bouquet, which was different from other flowers I’ve used for props. And I love getting new ideas!
These senior portraits prove that you don’t always need a spectacular location. This here? This is a ditch off the side of the road that happened to have some color. Of course, it takes the right lens and proper styling to really make it work. This hat and scarf from our Style Closet worked perfectly with Kelci’s spring dress!
Include Your Favorite Sport
Being a diver, of course Kelci wanted to incorporate water into her senior portrait session. Well, this waterfall was exactly what she was looking for! She had no problems standing knee deep in the water and splashing either! While I love the gorgeous smiles, I also love having my seniors be in a relaxed environment. That is why most of our sessions take place weekdays, so that we don’t deal with a lot of people around.
Ohhhhh, those beautiful lashes!!! No wonder I love my seniors! Kelci and her mom were so much fun and willing do do anything! This image actually was just a test shot. I was setting up for the glitter shot and Kelci was carefully picking through the glitter in her hands.
Products to Show Off Your Senior Portraits
And to top it all off, the products Kelci chose were amazing!!! Mom got a beautiful heirloom quality 20×20 gallery storyboard showcasing her favorite images. Kelci chose my personal favorite, a custom senior portrait magazine, which has all of her session images. They also chose a smaller 8×8 storyboard to display in her dorm room. Then we designed beautiful custom graduation announcements to use for the open house. Her parents also wanted to share information about Kelci’s scholarship, so for the first time I was able to order small, double-sided square inserts with the exciting college information on one side and an image on the other side. So unique and useful, exactly what they wanted! I love that I’m able to design and order so many custom products, all depending on what each client requests. It makes the entire senior portrait experience special for each family.
Custom Storyboard Collages
This is one of our best selling items for high school seniors! Our storyboards come in many sizes, but this 20×20 storyboard is definitely a client favorite! It allows our seniors and families to choose 9 of their favorite images and can be printed with a beveled edge for a timeless look. The smaller storyboard, an 8×8 of Kelci’s favorites, is our deluxe mounted storyboard. This thick mount ensures that your products will last for generations to come!
Custom Senior Magazine
Ok, what girl doesn’t want to be a cover girl??? Now they can! This senior magazine is 20 pages and allows you to show off your entire senior portrait session and makes a great keepsake! Everything is personalized; titles, stories, patterns, and colors! During your Revel & Design Session, you may see a sample cover. This is one piece that is not designed right away, but you’ll receive a proof of the entire magazine before it is ordered from our fine art facility.
Mesa Senior Portraits
Senior portraits are one of the most exciting parts of senior year! I love it when I find fun ways to incorporate any ideas my seniors have. Planning ahead for your senior pictures really can make the experience less stressful. What an absolutely amazing session I had with these twins who recently be graduated from Red Mountain High School! From the second Paige contacted me about a senior portrait session with her twin brother, the planning began! We chose Downtown Mesa as our location for the afternoon, Paige brought several amazing outfits, and Alex (like most guys) brought just a couple of things. But one of those things was a crown!!! Ok, so they’re both theater kids, but a crown?!?! I really wasn’t sure how this was going to go, and we did a few basic shots for Alex. And then, get this, a TREE got in my way! It happened to be perfectly blocking out the letters “par” from a parking sign, so that was it! With a little photoshop magic, we made Alex the “king”!
Multiple Locations and Unlimited Outfits
I love going out on location and just wandering, particularly with teens because we can shoot whatever looks fun. So we made the rounds from the Sirrine House, to Main Street (well, the back side of it) to Pepper Street, to…ok, let’s just say we wandered for nearly 2 hours! When all was said and done, their professional portrait session produced nearly 50 unique images of these two talented teen actors without leaving the area! Of course we also got some amazing shots of the two of them that are a must have for Mom. Then we got some gorgeous fashion images for Paige and some urban images for Alex! That’s one of the things I love about this area. We can get some traditional shots, colorful urban images, or even add a vintage touch, depending on your style!
Personalized Keepsakes for High School Graduation
Custom Graduation Announcements and Invitations
And the products?!?! Mom chose a beautiful slideshow keepsake showcasing all of their images and gorgeous custom announcements!
Unique Shaped Metal Prints
We created an amazing shaped metal featuring Paige’s favorite shots.
Our signature storyboards are perfect for parents and grandparents!
Behind the Scenes
What do I remember most? That outtake…you know, the one where Alex’s antics brought out that super crazy reaction from Paige? Priceless!! Even with actors, you can’t plan a reaction like that!