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In this feature, we will share information and images from photographers who are on our Professional Photographer Registry. That means that you can be sure that each photographer showcased here has been in business (legally!) for a minimum of three years, has a portfolio of professional level work that is technically sound, and is operating a business designed to be sustainable and profitable. In short, the photographers in our articles are operating their businesses with integrity, and dedication to preserving artistry in the photographic industry. If you are on our registry and would like to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org!
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Chattanooga-based photographer Melody Hood has captured over 300 weddings worldwide since opening her business, Innamorata Photography, 11 years ago. She also documents engagements, births, and family milestones. Melody is an award-winning photographer whose images have appeared in magazines, print ads, and national ad campaigns. She is a member, in good standing, of the Professional Photographers Association and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals. She also volunteers for the American Child Photographers Charity Guild and photographs adoptable foster children for the Heart Gallery.
I’ve chosen Melody as our first wedding-focused Photographer Spotlight because her images show her depth of commitment to her art, as well as her strong connections to her clients. She produces the kind of images any couple would be thrilled to have – technically gorgeous and emotionally engaging. Read on to learn a bit about Melody, and enjoy a few of her lovely images!
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NAME: Melody Hood
NICKNAMES: Mel, Mel-Mel, Mom, Pickles, Mellie, and some others that are probably not appropriate to list here
BUSINESS: I have owned and operated Innamorata Photography (Weddings & Portraits) for 11 years. My new endeavor, L’amore Photography, separates my current commercial work from my wedding and portrait business, and allows my business partner Andrea Joki and I to shoot commercial ventures worldwide. Andrea and I also have the amazing opportunity to teach other photographers through Photographer’s Learning Resource (Educational Resource and Training for Photographers)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR STUDIO: I’ve had commercial/storefront studios in the past, but found myself working from home or on location most of the time anyway, so it really wasn’t a smart financial move for me to have a physical studio space. I moved out of my most recent retail space in April of 2011 and currently work from my home office. I will rent studio space as needed for large commercial jobs.
TELL US ABOUT THE STYLE OF IMAGES YOU PRODUCE FOR YOUR CLIENTS: For wedding and portrait clients I prefer to produce timeless images, clean images, images that aren’t overprocessed or trendy so that, when they look back at them ten years from now, they don’t love them any less than they do today. My editorial work is clean, crisp, fresh, and whatever style the client hires me to shoot. My commercial work is shot exactly how the client wants it to be. Often, with musicians, artists, concept art, and book covers, I get to be a bit more creative – which I love as it allows me to step outside of my box. Light is the key element to my images, I enjoy being creative with light (both natural and artifical) and am very particular about how my images are lit.
ARE YOU SELF TAUGHT, OR DID YOU HAVE FORMAL INSTRUCTION AS A PHOTOGRAPHER? A lot of both. I have two uncles who are incredible photographers. One of them handed me a Pro series film camera and a stack of photography books when I was 8 years old. He spent an incredible amount of time teaching me everything there was to know about photography and I spent an incredible amount of time reading, practicing, and learning everything I could on my own. I joined photography club in high school, and took a few classes to learn to develop my own images in the darkroom. I picked up my first paid job at 15, started my own business at 22, switched to digital in 2006, then had to learn everything digital (editing and such) on my own.
WHAT PRODUCTS THAT YOU PRODUCE COMPLETELY KNOCK YOUR CLIENT’S SOCKS OFF? Hopefully the images themselves!My favorite actual products right now are Fine Art Albums, Gallery Wrap Canvas, Fine Art Prints, and Metal Prints. My clients love them and I don’t think they’ll ever go out of style. If you’d asked me that question 5 years ago the answer would have been the same (minus the metal prints which are a newer offering but something I’m completely in love with). It’s really very important to me that my images and my products will stand the test of time and never look outdated.
TELL ME 5 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT MELODY:
- I am a single mom with two amazing kids and I support us, 100%, with my photography businesses and have for the past 11 years.
- I’m in love with love, people in love, and relationships in general.
- I give freely but have a very hard time asking others for help.
- I am working on getting my pilots license. I absolutely LOVE Flying.
- I am currently directing a music video for VH1, I was hired to do this because of my eye for composition and lighting skills. It’s not something I ever saw myself doing but I’m enjoying it!
WHAT COLOR SOCKS ARE YOU WEARING: None! And, most likely, if you ever see me with them on, they won’t match. I think that matching socks is a waste of time. Close enough is good enough for me!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER? The actual process of shooting, definitely. Every aspect of it – getting to know and understand the people, product, or concept that I am shooting, learning new things, creative lighting, challenging conditions, challenging myself to think outside the box, meeting new and amazing people, the interaction, the way that my clients let me see parts of their lives and relationships that they probably don’t reveal to most people.
LEAST FAVORITE THING? Editing. I’d often rather eat a box of thumbtacks than sit in front of a computer and edit. That’s the number one reason I strive to get every single image right in the camera.
NAME SOME THINGS THAT INSPIRE YOU? Music, paintings, nature, laughter, stories, personalities, relationships… I try not to look at the work of other photographers and to pull my inspiration from other things in life.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCE? Lemonade with Pureed Strawberries, YUM! Or a fantastic massage.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU? Usually my age. I’m 35 years old but most people tend to think I’m much younger. Sometimes it’s a good thing, other times I feel like people don’t take me seriously because I look so young.
WHO DO YOU WISH YOU COULD PHOTOGRAPH – AND WHY? Oh, lots of people… Tim Burton – because it would be incredible to work with such a creative mind. Colin Powell – because I think he’s an amazing man and would love to capture how strong of a figure he is. I’d love to travel to a third world country and document the struggles there so that people can truly see what goes on. For the most part I enjoy capturing people who are brave, amazing, and heroic in their own right that the rest of the world doesn’t know about yet.