Happy #FollowFriday! 'm so excited to share this interview with you! Melissa Griffin is an incredible young lady, and I'm proud to call her one of my close friends. She and I started our creative businesses around the same time, and it has been awesome to watch each other grow! She has been the camera behind several of Texture Design's photo shoots. (So I can highly recommend her!) Another side note, Melissa was one of my first logo and website clients--always thankful for those first clients that take a chance on you! Recently, Melissa opened an ETSY SHOP stocked full of stunning photographs! SERIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS! So check out the shop and read below to hear more of Melissa's story!
Etsy Shop: MelissaGriffinPhoto
Owner: Melissa Griffin
Product and/or Service: Photography Sessions and Fine Art Prints
TDC: Briefly tell us what led you to become interested in photography?
MGP: I’ve had an interest in art for as long as I can remember. When I was young I’d fill sketch books with drawings. As I got into high school I began taking photography classes which I loved and continued into college. I’m not a super creative person who is able to come up with something from nothing. But I enjoy photography because I’ve learned (and am learning) how to find light, colors, textures, etc and arrange them in a way that creates a striking image. I NEVER thought I’d take photos of people. But once I started doing it, I fell in love with it. A positive response from a mother who sees a candid of their children or a granddaughter seeing a photo of her grandparents smiling at each other makes my day. It’s so humbling that people let me into these personal moments and milestones in their lives! And it’s a privilege to know that these photos are one of the few material possessions that they will have forever.
TDC: What types of photography sessions do you offer?
MGP: I offer everything from engagement and maternity sessions to senior portraits and family photos. It’s fun to start with a couple when they are pregnant then take pictures of their newborn and again as the baby grows up! I enjoy having repeat clients who I get to know while watching their family grow. I just worked with a family for the third time and found out they have to move from Charleston to Seattle soon. We’re planning on taking family photos in Seattle when I travel there next year! I love that.
TDC: Now that it is summer, a lot of families are interested in beach photography sessions. Do you work with families coming to Charleston for vacation?
MGP: Absolutely! I’ve worked with several families who live out of town. They found me online and contacted me to take their photos of their immediate or extended family after they all arrive in Charleston. It’s been fun to stay in Charleston but work with people from Nashville, New York, and other places. Vacation is a great time to do family photos because everyone is together and there aren’t a bunch of other “real life” distractions around.
TDC: We all worry about what to wear for photo shoots. Do you have any recommendations for outfits? Any suggestions when there is a large group of people? Are there colors or patterns you would recommend avoiding?
MGP: Definitely wear something that’s comfortable and YOU! I like layering – necklaces, scarves, jewelry, etc. I think simple patterns and solid colors work well. You don’t want a super crazy pattern that takes attention away from your face! For large groups, coordinating colors and patterns are good but not matchy-matchy. Don’t put everyone in khakis and white ;) I like fun pops of colors too like a necklace or a fun pair of shoes.
TDC: Tell us what led you to open an Etsy shop. (And congrats on the new shop!)
MGP: Thank you so much! This has been in the works for quite awhile. I have wanted to open an Etsy shop for some time because I had images from trips that were just sitting on my computer. Earlier this year I did a series of Charleston church images, and when I started posting them I had a really positive response. People started asking if I sold them, and I had a few people ask if they could purchase them for wedding gifts. That was the push I needed to make the shop a reality. I’m currently selling 8x10 prints on paper and a few metal prints that are unique pieces to hang in your home or to give as gifts. I’m looking forward to continuing to update my shop and making connections with different people.
TDC: Can you share a little background or history behind some of the photos in your shop? Are the photos mostly Charleston sites?
MGP: Most of the photos are from the Charleston area. I’ve lived here for 8 years now, so I have lots of photos that I’ve taken during that time. There are so many inspiring and beautiful places here to photograph! I also have a travel bug. I went on my first trip to Europe in 2007 and since then have been to Australia, India and back to Europe again. Looking at a photo will bring me right back to the place I took it so my images from my travels are really special to me. I’ve listed some of these images in my shop as well.
TDC: During your years of photography, is there a picture that you’ve taken that stands out as your favorite?
MGP: I really don’t have one favorite image, I could never choose! But I can think of two that stand out to me right now.
One is a photo I took of two boys in India [Pictured above]. We visited their school and they were running away from me and giggling while I attempted to take their photo. They finally sat down at a table in one of their classrooms and both smiled at me. Their little faces just remind me of the sweet, humble and playful children we met while visiting Kolkata. I was so grateful that I was able to go on that trip. It was eye opening and life changing.
The second is the photograph that I took of the Mother Emanuel church back in January [Pictured above next to wood doors]. At that time, of course, I never imagined that such a tragedy could happen in this city in that beautiful church. As soon as I heard the news I found the image I took and re-posted it with the Bible verse, “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you” from Psalm 55:22. Now that I look at this image again after these shocking events, the angle of the church reaching to the blue sky symbolizes hope to me. And I think that HOPE has been represented in the words and actions of the victims’ families and the church members at AME.
I've posted two images of the AME church on my Etsy shop and 100% of the profits I make from the sales of these two photos will go toward the Mother Emanuel Hope Fun.
TDC: Favorite Charleston restaurant right now? (hard question!)
MGP: That IS a hard question! I love trying out new Charleston restaurants and lately it’s been hard to keep up! Two of my favorites right now are Minero on East Bay Street and Leon’s on Upper King. Both have a fun atmosphere and everything I’ve tasted at each place is delicious!
Thank you Melissa for your time! Be sure to follow MGP on Instagram as well!
GUESS WHAT ELSE? Melissa is offering a 10% discount to Texture Design Co. followers!
Just use the coupon code below when checking out on Etsy. (Expires 7.17.15)
Coupon Code: TEXTURE
Who do you recommend following? What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts? I would love for you to share them in the comments section!
Best, Emily Kirby