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!

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

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!

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

Let me just start this out by saying that if all children were as cute as the Loiselle children, there would be massive overpopulation in the world! The dimples, the smiles, the eyes—just gorgeous! Layton was such a dream baby during his newborn session and big sister/brother could not have been prouder!

Brynleigh (the adorable girl with dimples for days) asked more questions than most of my adult clients! “Soo…how long does it take you to edit the pictures?” “How long until we get to see some pictures?” “Do we get to have all of them?” She was super interested in why and what we were doing; I think I see an intern in my future 15 years from now!

Enjoy these pictures of Brynleigh, Declan, and Layton!


I have been putting off this blog post about Tessa simply because….I literally could not find the words to describe just how amazing this woman is!  Tessa has lost more than 180 pounds over the last 4 years through diet, exercise, hard work, and more determination than I have ever seen a single person possess.  She is a beast, you guys.  The good kind! She has gone from 331 pounds to 147 pounds. Pick your jaw up off the floor because you’re going to want to hear even more about her!

Tessa is…
kind. dedicated. positive. beautiful. vulnerable. giving. supportive. ambitious. committed. confident. driven. humble. courageous. inspiring. passionate. disciplined. sexy. strong. selfless. tough. amazing.

I could keep going and, honestly, I should…because when you do something completely extraordinary, you deserve to hear just how extraordinary you are.  This lady has strength that some people don’t even know is possible.  She was in a situation she didn’t want to be in; she wasn’t happy with her life and she changed it.

SHE changed it.

Do you know how hard that is? To break bad habits, to make sacrifices, to follow through on the promises you made to yourself?! I am so incredibly proud and honored and humbled to call this woman my friend.

If you are looking to make some changes in your life and want some motivation, make sure you are following Tessa! She’s on Facebook (, snapchat (username: tessawlj), and Instagram (@tessasweightlossjourney) with over 33,000 followers! She is one badass lady and I know there is nothing she sets out to do that she won’t accomplish!

I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves next but first…
Tessa, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for inspiring me on a daily basis.  Thank you for letting me capture these photos for you.  Thank you for being my friend and for showing me that anything is possible.  I simply adore you and I am so thankful for you!