Melanie Swanson Photography bio picture
  • Hi there! I am pretty dang excited that you found me! Grab a cup of coffee (or tea...or water...) and have a look around! Before you do though, I think it's only fair that you know what you're getting yourself into when you book a session with me so here's a quick intro:

    I love: coffee, my nieces and nephews, traveling (especially if it's to the ocean!), literally any sport, adventures, and movies.
    I don't love: how long winter is, anything spicy, when I'm out of coffee.

    If you want to get to know me a little better, head on over to the About Me section! If you're ready to get to the good stuff (I know you're really here for the pictures!), check out the Portfolio tab up above or scroll through the blog!

I am so excited to share this session with everyone! Cameron is the youngest of my cousin April’s babies — and he is just so adorable! We met up at Snail Lake Park on a hot July evening but the heat didn’t seem to bother Cam — his eye contact with the camera was insane! He was such a trooper, he let us change him into three different outfits and do a cake smash! Although I think the cake smash was his favorite part — he was so into that cake (make sure you scroll to the end to see him demolish it!)

April — thank you for trusting me to capture Cameron’s one year portraits!

Do you all see that adorable little grin?! It almost never left his face!

^Cameron thought the grass looked delicious — wasn’t quite sure once he actually tested it out though! 😉

I asked April to hop into a few photos with Cameron — she wasn’t sure at first as she said she hadn’t dressed to be in pictures or done her hair, but mamas? Always jump in the photos! You are beautiful just the way you are — you don’t have to be in fancy clothes with perfect hair and makeup to be in photos with your little humans.  I just know Cameron will treasure these photos with his mama when he is older! I wish I had photos like this with my own mom — and I know for certain I wouldn’t have cared if she was in sweats or dressed to the nines.  Thanks for jumping in anyways, April! You are BEAUTIFUL!

Alright, ready for the best cake smash photos ever?! At the beginning, you could literally see the cake finger prints on Cameron’s cheek because he would just grab a big handful and smash it into his face! He may have gotten a little sugar high from all that cake + icing but I definitely think it was worth it!

  • Christie - Twin Cities looks like the perfect location to be a Family Photographer!! What a happy baby!!!ReplyCancel

One of my very favorite times of year is when these gorgeous trees in Roseville blossom each year! I found them by chance and I’m so glad I did — we first shot Rachel’s maternity session with these trees while she was pregnant with little Miss Ellie.  Lucky for us, they bloomed again just about a month before Ellie turned 1! So Rachel, Andy, and Ellie made the trip up to Roseville from Mankato and I am so glad they did! I’ll include a then and now from Rachel’s maternity and this session at the very end!

I am thinking of holding spring mini’s at this location when these trees bloom again — they are only in bloom for about 2-3 weeks so it’s a really quick window — but if you are interested in a spring blossom session, drop your email below to let me know! The FIRST place information about spring mini’s will be going out is in my brand new newsletter I’m starting this fall — if you want to subcribe to that, you’ll have first dibs on spring blossom session spots! Comment here, shoot me a message on Facebook or Instagram, or send me an email ( to let me know you want to be added to the newsletter list — and BONUS, there will be a giveaway in the first newsletter for one lucky subscriber!

Alright, enough with the business — onto the adorableness that is Ellie and her parents!^^there is never a shortage of fun when Andy is around! More shenanigans to come later in this post… 😉

Last but not least, here is the before and after I promised you! When Rachel told me they were able to come up during the spring blossoms window, I asked her to bring the same outfits for her and Andy (she actually texted me asking if she should at the same exact time I was texting her — so great minds think alike!) — there is nothing I love more than a little before and after, except maybe a before and after that includes an adorable belly and the absolutely crazy cute baby that called that belly home for 9 months!

Don’t forget to drop a comment below, message me on Facebook/Instagram, or shoot me an email if you want IN for a spring blossom session next year!

  • NIna Bashaw - This looked like a really fun family portrait session, you did a fabulous job as their Minneapolis Family Photographer!ReplyCancel

  • NIna Bashaw - This looks like a really fun family portrait session, you did a fabulous job as their Minneapolis Family Photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - This is so cute! Always love sessions with cherry blossom backdrops! Great job as their Minneapolis Family Photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Zilke - This Minneapolis family session is so beautiful, and so funny!! I love Dads faces!! Great job as their photographer catching the best candid moments!ReplyCancel

  • Katerina - What a beautiful Minneapolis Family! I bet you loved being their photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Christie - Minneapolis looks so gorgeous!! I wish we were closer for us to have you be our Family) Photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - Oh my goodness this makes me miss spring in the Twin Cities! I will have to look into booking you as my family photographer next year!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Trumbull - This Twin Cities session is so gorgeous! What a perfect location picked out by an amazing family photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Chris - I’ve never been to the Twin Cities but I totally want to bring my Family there to have you be our PhotographerReplyCancel

Alright friends! I am committed to posting more frequently which means YOU will get to see a bunch of new images from sessions over the last year! Don’t worry, I’ll still share current work as well — but these sessions from the end of 2017 through now are too good not to share also!

Up today is my not so baby anymore sister’s LAST high school prom! Briana is always just the most stunning — but she blew me away with her beauty this year! She went with her boyfriend, Luke, who our entire family absolutely adores! They are two of my favorite people to photograph because….well, I’ll let the pictures do the talking… 😉

I mean, you guys get it, right?! Briana has been my little muse since Day 1 — any time I needed to shoot creatively or felt like I was out of my groove, she was always willing to head out with me to a fun location and let me do my thing! I love that Luke lets me drag him along for those now too!

All I’m saying is I definitely did *not* look like this in high school!

I think I’m going to be an emotional mess the day this baby sister of mine leaves for college — luckily both she and Luke will only be a little over an hour away at UW-Eau Claire! Not too far for a one day trip when I’m missing them….I’ll make sure to bring my camera 😉


Hair: Hair On Earth
Makeup: our amazingly talented sister, Stefanie
Location: St. Paul Cathedral

  • Nina Bashaw - WOW!!! These prom senior portraits are stunning, that dress is gorgeous!! I wish I lived in Minneapolis so you could be my family photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Cynthia - So cute! I can’t believe they’re only teenagers, they look so grown up! Awesome job as their Minneapolis Senior Photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Christie - You did an amazing job with these photos! Minneapolis is so lucky to have you as a senior and Family Photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - Wow, I wish I had photo like this to look back on from my Senior prom. But then again there wasn’t a Twin Cities senior photographer like you back then 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca Trumbull - Goodness gracious these are beautiful! You have the most wonderful location ms in the Twin Cities! If I had to do high school again, you would definitely be my senior photographer!ReplyCancel

Hi friends! It’s been awhile but I’m back to blogging and really hoping to keep you updated on sessions here on the blog this fall!

In June, I got to head out to the Madison, Wisconsin area to photograph an extended family session for my college roomie (who also happens to be one of my favorite people AND has an adorable family to boot)! So I got the best of both worlds — to take some amazing photos for the Sharp family and spend some quality time with Kristy and her fam! I love when I get to spend time with Owen and Lucy — they are growing up way too fast and I wish I got to see them more often!

I also want to take a minute and say happy anniversary to Beth and Steve, the ringleaders of this big family! They celebrate 40 years of wedded bliss this year! They truly are the most genuine people I’ve ever met so I was happy to be able to get them some nice family portraits to print BIG for their wall!Thanks for a fun weekend, Sharp’s!

  • Lindsay Zilke - How awesome that you traveled outside of Minneapolis for this beautiful family session!! Thats a dedicated , and amazing photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Katerina - It’s great to see you offer Minneapolis Family photography for larger groups. I know that is more difficult for a photographer so it’s great to see you are skilled in it!ReplyCancel

  • Nina Bashaw - Oh my goodness these family photos are gorgeous! You did a fabulous job as their Twin Cities Family Photographer!ReplyCancel

Hi friends!

In my philosophy of ‘doing things my way’ in 2016, I am changing up my pricing just a bit! I have struggled with this A LOT in the past, in regards to what to offer and why.  It seems people really WANT digitals and they really LIKE the ease of ordering products from me and just having them delivered as opposed to ordering themselves….BUT, when push comes to shove, I think the immediate desire for digitals outweighs products for most people.

And I get it.  I really do.  It’s nice to have those images on a disc or a hard drive or in the cloud to access at any time.  On the same hand, as an artist, I really really want you all to have physical items from your session.  It’s hard for me to see people invest in a session with me to only have a disc sit in a drawer for three years.  We all have good intentions and think we’re going to print pictures or order canvases–but life gets busy and this is just one of those things that gets pushed back.  It pains me a little to see that because, and I’m not just saying this because I think I have to, I LOVE how your session turned out.  I truly do.  I want you to have a giant canvas on your wall or a coffee table book of pictures that you can look through every day.  I think it makes us all happier to actually see moments of our own happiness daily.

^That’s the professional side to this decision.  The personal side is this (I’m keepin’ it real this year, you guys, so I’m all about honesty!): life is just really really BUSY for me right now.  I love photography; I couldn’t imagine my life without it.  Even if this industry continues taking the turn it’s on to really cheap shoot-and-burn photogs and those of us who invest time, money, experience, and true passion end up having to close up shop, photography will *always* be a part of my life. It is so much a part of me now that I honestly don’t know who I am without it.  With that said, photography isn’t my only passion in life.  I also nanny for an absolutely wonderful family (some of you might recognize those sweet girls from my Facebook page) and I also take care of one of my best friends’ little girls; that combined with family obligations and some semblance of a personal life means really busy days for me.  So the ease of going to more streamlined digital packages (with the option of products) seems to be the best balance for both you and me!

So…what does that mean?

Starting now, I am condensing my packages into two digital offerings (vs. four). There will be the Petite package (which includes 12 digitals) and the Deluxe package (which includes a minimum of 30 digitals–but, between you and me, is usually closer to 50!)–with these packages also comes an even bigger change for me: NO MORE SESSION FEE! That’s right! There will still be a retainer due upon booking but that retainer will be applied to your balance once you choose your package! I know, it’s kind of a big deal and I’m pretty pumped about it!

Well….what if you want products?

What if you dislike everything about ordering products and just want me to do the work for you? That’s ok! Products will still be offered and are able to be purchased through me; I will take care of the ordering and delivery just like before!

So, that’s the big news of the day from over here! If you are ready to get your end of summer or fall session scheduled, head over to the ‘say hello!’ tab and let’s get you scheduled!

As always, I am thankful for each and every one of you that supports me and my business (in WHATEVER form that support comes in!); I could not do this without you <3