Family Photo Session: Nora & Asher

I spent a few days visiting these cuties this past week!  Nora, 3, and Asher, 5 months, are my niece and nephew.  I couldn’t wait until summer to see them again so a quick visit was in order.

Asher loves people! When you look at him his whole face lights up. And he likes to be held facing out so he can watch everyone and be part of the action.

Nora says the funniest things and loves her little brother. She loves to sing, read books and play outside with her aunt Mimi!

Love these two to pieces 🙂


Charleston, SC Photo Shoot: Maguire Family

Lucie reached out to me about she and her family gifting their dad, Bobby, a family photo session for his 70th birthday.  I know I’m biased, but I think photos make the best gifts!  The little guys, Scott and James, kept me on my toes and were so much fun.  I laughed a lot with this bunch.  At the end, Robert said, “I usually hate photos but this wasn’t so bad!  I had fun!”  I’ll take that!


To book your own session simply email me at!


2019 Spring Mini Sessions!

Spring has sprung and stuff is blooming in Charleston! 🙂  If you’ve been thinking of scheduling a photo session with me this is a great time to do it.  I’m offering mini sessions (only 15 slots!) so that you can update your family photos! Here are the details…


$180 gets you a 20 minute session and 15 high resolution digital images.

Saturday Morning, March 30 at Hampton Park, Downtown Charleston
[Rain Date: Saturday, April 6]

Saturday Evening, March 30 at Church Street & Stolls Alley, Downtown Charleston
[Rain Date: Saturday, April 6]

Sunday Evening, May 5 at River Landing Drive on Daniel Island

[Rain Date: Sunday, May 19]

I won’t be able to book from direct messages on social media or text.  Thank you!

Sessions are $180 for a group of 6 or smaller.  For more than 6 people add $10/person.

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You may decide that you’d like more shoot time or images than a mini shoot allows.  If so, simply email me and let me know that you’d like to schedule a standard session instead which includes…
-About one hour of shooting time
-Location and date of your choice
-Outfit change (optional)
-At least 35 high resolution digital images
-$350 for color images
-add $50 for black and white images, optional

I look forward to working with you and your family!


Thailand 2019

Pinterest Graphics

I don’t even know where to start.  I just returned from a two week long trip to Thailand with three friends.  This trip has been on my list for a few years now and I’m so thankful that I was able to go.  Here is my attempt to summarize our trip!

Anne and I met Kristina in the Chicago airport.  Let the 21 hours of travel begin!

We arrived in Bangkok around 9:30pm on February 10th.  My best friend, Annette, was already at the hotel in Bangkok and I was dying to get there as soon as I could so I could hug her!

We were in Bangkok for one full day.  We INTENDED on taking a taxi to the Grand Palace then pick up a boat tour to begin our adventures but the gentleman driving the cab decided to bring us to a different part of town and put us on a different boat tour.  We got Bangkoked!  Thankfully things aren’t very expensive so if you make a mistake it doesn’t cost much.

We still enjoyed the boat tour we ended up on and ended at the Grand Palace so all in all not a huge mistake.
Feeding the fish for good luck
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Got off the boat for our first meal out.  Made a good decision with green curry. Watch out for those chilis!

After lunch we visited the Grand Palace.  It’s a group of buildings in the heart of the city where the King and his government used to live.  You can also view the Emerald Buddha.

First, here are our snazzy tourist outfits we wore as we toured the Grand Palace.  We showed up thinking a scarf would be sufficient to cover our shoulders as it is at most temples.  But they’re strict here and require t-shirts.  How convenient that we could purchase one at the entrance for 200 Baht 🙂  Bangkoked again!  Annette had leggings past her knees and those weren’t good enough either so she got herself some elephant pants.
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The palace was pretty incredible.  Gold mosaics everywhere! But also suuuper crowded!


Traveling by tuk-tuk is a tourist must-do.

Icon Siam Mall
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Dinnertime views!


After two nights in Bangkok – off to Chiang Mai!  Chiang Mai is in the northern part of the country, closer to the mountains.  I really loved this city.  The Thais here were so sweet and hospitable.  We felt so welcomed at our hotel and enjoyed chatting with the locals and our tour guides.

Here’s our first meal, near our hotel.  Unfortunately, Annette can’t do spicy!

One of my highlights was a cooking class where we learned how to make seven different things.  They picked us up at our hotel and brought us first to a market to talk about the different fresh ingredients used in Thai cooking.  Then we were taken to the school where we learned how to cook some delish dishes and eat until we couldn’t eat any more!

Here’s our instructor, Doo.  He was so knowledgeable and hilarious!ThailandBlog-18ThailandBlog-19ThailandBlog-20
Ready to make some Pad Thai!
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I made this Pad Thai!!  So proud of myself, haimage1 (8)
Coconut soup, yum! (And ingredients for papaya salad in the background, yum yum!)
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The next morning we were picked up at our hotel again and traveled about 40 minutes to the Patara Elephant Farm.  We learned about the elephants in their care (there are 67), how they make sure they’re healthy and helped them in their daily tasks of feeding and bathing them.  It was incredible!  Annette and I were paired up with a mama, Manoi, and her baby, Natee.  It was a surreal experience!

Look at her side, she’s pregnant!
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We did NOT know this was going to happen….
How beautiful is this lunch?!
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That evening back in Chiang Mai dinner at Dash. I had Pad See Ew 🙂
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Some sights as we walked/shopped around the city…image1 (6)image2 (3)image4 (1)

Lunch the next day at Woo!  This is one of the most beautiful restaurants!  Tons of fresh flowers everywhere and the food was delicious.

Side note: we learned that there is a notoriously stinky fruit in Asia called Durian (mostly by walking through it’s stench on the street).  It cracks me up that establishments will have signs like this on their doors: “No Dogs, No Outside Food & Bev, No Durian!”
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Pineapple fried rice!

The next day we traveled about an hour and a half from Chiang Mai to visit the Doi Inthanon National Park.ThailandBlog-27ThailandBlog-28ThailandBlog-29
We visited the Karen Village where we had a coffee & tea stop.  We ground fresh coffee beans and this sweet woman (and our tour guide!) made us coffee and green tea for Annette and I!
ThailandBlog-30ThailandBlog-31ThailandBlog-32ThailandBlog-33ThailandBlog-34ThailandBlog-35ThailandBlog-36Lunch time!
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Last stop for the day
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Our last morning in Chiang Mai we wandered around the city shopping and exploring and taking a break from the heat for smoothies (we ate mangoes in some form every day).  We returned to a shop we’d already visited because we loved the shop owner so much.  Isn’t he the cutest??
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After five nights we said goodbye to Chiang Mai (and Kristina had to leave us, too) and headed to the beaches!  More specifically, Krabi.  I honestly didn’t take many photos here.  I just enjoyed a few days to relax!  We stayed at the Centara Grand Resort and Villas.


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Okay, I’m still dreaming about this Tim Tam Chocolate Frappe from The Coffee Club.IMG_5059Our resort was only accessible by boat or this monkey trail 🙂  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any monkeys 😦

If eating chips in our bathing suits isn’t the perfect vacation, I don’t know what is.

Back to The Coffee Club again because we loved it so much 🙂  This first pose, “the dolphin,” is inspired by the water aerobics class we did at our hotel with all the old ladies, ha!

Our last full day we spent a few hours on a boat island hopping!  The beaches turned more turquoise as we got away from the main land.  We stopped at four different islands to swim and also did a bit of snorkeling.  So beautiful! image1 (11)IMG_5155


We watched the sunset every night.  Here’s our last one!  image3 (6)IMG_5177

So sad to say goodbye! Had a fabulous vacation with these ladies.  Until the next adventure… 🙂




Charleston, SC Photo Session: Perry Family

This photo session was rescheduled three times due to crazy rainy weather but it was worth the wait!  I loved watching these boys interact with their little sis!


Email me at info@melissagriffinphotography to book your own maternity, newborn or family session!  I’d love to chat with you!

Charleston, SC Photo Session: Wright Family

Perfect golden light out at Pitt Street Bridge in Mt Pleasant!  Add in one beautiful family and two super cute kiddos and you get a session that give you all the heart eyes!


Email me at to book your own photo session!

Photo 101: ISO


Your ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings all work together to determine how much light hits the sensor in your camera.  This blog post will focus on ISO but keep in mind that one affects the other.slides

Once you start getting a grasp on setting your camera manually you’ll come up with a system that works for you.  This is how I do it:
I typically begin by setting my ISO setting before aperture and shutter speed.  I take a look at my surroundings (see graphic below) and set it based on that.  For bright, outdoor photography you can set your camera on the lowest setting, around 100.  If you’re in a cloudy area you may want to set it closer to 400.  If you then are in the shade or the sun is starting to set you can crank it up to 800, 1000 or higher.  Indoor photography with no flash may require you to set your ISO at 2000 or 3200 so that your image is bright enough.  slides9

See the images below.  I kept all of the settings on my camera the same except the ISO so you can easily see how it affects your image.  iso photo 101 (1)

So you might ask, why not just keep the ISO high to get bright images?  I’m sure you’ve all seen photos taken at night when they begin to get “grainy” or “noisy.”  The higher you set your ISO the lower the quality of the photo.  So you want to try to keep the ISO setting as low as you can.  If you look at the images below you can see see the noise in the second image, especially in the background.  The third image is a close up so you can see it better.photo101_iso_noise-1photo101_iso_noise-2

Here are a couple of real life examples from photo shoots I’ve done.  This first session was out at the beach midday.  I don’t typically shoot at this time because the sun is so harsh but we had to work around schedules and some crazy weather.  It was really bright outside so I set my ISO to 200.  100 would have worked, too.stein-12

This photo, on the other hand, was taken inside a room with one or two windows to my right.  It was pretty dark so I set my ISO to 3200 to brighten the photo and it allowed me to set a shutter speed that was fast enough so any movement the dog made didn’t result in her being blurry.aiden-15

See my other blog posts about aperture and shutter speed to help you understand how they all work together:


Shutter Speed

How to Find Good Light

Tips & Tricks for Photographing Children

I live in Charleston, SC and offer one-on-one lessons!  Contact me at if you have questions or would like to customize a lesson for you!

Thank you Emily at Texture Design Co for creating my graphics!