Imagine breathing the sigh of relief you crave, having hired a trusted Senior Portrait Photographer (aka like an extra bestie), to lead you throughout the entire photoshoot planning process so that by the time your once-in-a-lifetime day arrives, you are guaranteed a joy-filled, stress-free experience for your entire Senior Photo Session (envision spending your photoshoot as if you were on vacation, without a care in the world instead of running amok, afraid you’ll miss any of the important details.)

Fun & chic Senior Photos for those who value images that tell YOUR heartfelt story with beauty & confidence

a luxury, authentic photography experience for seniors




I believe in making your Senior Portraits feel like you and everything that makes you so unique, without the angst to be perfect or cookie-cutter. I make it easy to capture the real you, to show off your authentic self with confidence and fun.



let's Work together

You don’t need to spend your hired photoshoot looking over your shoulder, praying that your photographer isn’t missing a single detail that you spent loooooong months dreaming and wishing for (not to mention if you're vacationing in Traverse City and have this one-and-only chance to capture those adventurous, beach Lake Michigan photos you LOVE).

Finally, it's YOUR time to feel bold, beautiful & confident in front of the camera

Your Senior Photos will reflect the authentic heart and story of your relationship (not the cookiecutter ‘gram photos you see everyone else spew, but REAL moments captured for REAL moms)

Authentic heart & story-telling

will lead you from stress to ease, as I manage every situation / person / event the day of your photoshoot, ensuring you can relax and enjoy your day, as if you were on vacation 24/7 (count me as your extra bestie who knows exactly what you need so you feel supported and understood all day long)

My trusted award-winning photo service

as a Traverse City Family Senior Photographer guarantees a full 100+ pictures in your photo gallery that will highlight the most pivotal once-in-a-lifetime laughter, blowing kisses, playing in the sand, wearing gorgeous dresses and gowns - moments you’ve dreamed of your entire life.

My unparalleled 15+ years experience

Just Imagine...

Your luxury experience will be
encouraging & empowering.

let's make your senior year the best one (and filled with magical photos) yet!

^^ Because your memories matter...

These are the kinds of photos that will always bring you back to these precious moments, to remind you why your senior year has been the greatest time of your life.

It's your senior year!! You've been waiting for this time - the senior prom, graduation with your best friends, finally moving on into adulthood and more fun - for too many years to count. It's important that you make this time extra special!

My one-of-a-kind Senior Photo Experience is designed with you, your favorite outfits and locations in Northern Michigan (and maybe your best pup friend) in mind. Sit back and relax, and prepare to be pampered.

We have the same goal in mind - to highlight your authentic self, keeping your senior year journey (and heart-felt story) alive for decades to come.

Cassandra, traverse city mi



"Melissa was great to work with! She was patient and easygoing with our five energetic children, and she did a great job capturing beautiful moments with an artistic eye. Plus, she returned our edited photos sooner than promised. The photos look beautiful! I highly recommend working with Melissa!"

MAY & PETER, traverse city mi

"Working with Melissa was a dream. She made our day so enjoyable. We felt totally comfortable and loved every second of it. Our photos turned out perfect. I would absolutely recommend working with her for any event."



Simon & Liz, traverse city mi



"We loved working with Melissa! We traveled to Traverse City for our babymoon and thought it would be fun to take maternity photo while we were there. Melissa picked the perfect locations for us and sent helpful tips before our shoot to make sure we were prepared. Taking photos can be kind of awkward, but she was so comfortable and easy to work with, which definitely helped us to relax. I highly recommend her!"

got married and started our own family with the greatest love of my life

2023 / 

engagements, proposals, maternity & newborn portrait shoots in beautiful northern michigan

800+ / 

years awarded the knot's best wedding photographer in michigan award

4 + / 

experience as a fine art senior photographer in michigan and landscape painter

15 yrs / 

senior portraits & photoshoots in traverse city, glen arbor, petoskey and northern michigan

1,000+ / 


Through the

Your Senior Photos are the only part of your day/vacation/year you get to take with you for the rest of your life (imagine if you never had any pictures of you during your senior year, doing what truly lights you up - playing, laughing, exploring... lost forever to you?!) I know this pain! And I NEVER want you to feel this lifelong regret.

it’s no secret...

Introducing our unparalleled, stress-free experience for the mom who values story-driven Senior Photos that are authentically YOU

Once you book with us, receive a life’s worth of inspiring step-by-step Photoshoot advice (especially if you’re planning a destination vacation in Traverse City), customized Day-Of Timeline, Photo Shot Lists, Outfit Guidelines, and Posing Instructions to feel candid and REAL - all to easily set you up for success - so you can experience your Senior Pictures in Northern Michigan with vibrancy and joy in a way that works for YOU… all designed and curated so you can receive the best gallery of photos you will ever have!

This process is the exact method I have used to perfect the Senior Photo Experience of over 1000+ moms...and 15+ years photographing families and seniors in Traverse City of award-winning experience for moms JUST like you, looking to hire a portrait photographer that feels more like another bestie, rather than a random stranger.

curated for

our cherished gals


our seniors

An online gallery with unlimited downloads (FREE for you, your family, and your extended family members so they can enjoy your pictures as much as you) Including an option to order prints, canvases, and albums directly from your gallery, without the hassle of trying to figure it out all on your own

Online Gallery

100 beautifully curated images to tell your authentic story, edited with an artistic light & airy style (no slapping on random filters - I personally hand-craft each and every single photo that I create for you)

100 Fine Art Images

60 Min of Coverage

1 hour of Senior Portrait coverage in beautiful location of your choice (whether its sand dunes, beaches, Lake Michigan, botanical gardens + more)

Custom designed Senior Package, designed specifically for you to achieve your dream  photos with you and your kids.

Custom Package

With the push of a button, you will have a photographer (aka like another best-friend who always has your back) here to take care of every detail from today until after your photoshoot, so you can always feel fully supported and understood

Book today, and you’ll walk away with all this good stuff. Every Senior Photo Package includes:

Book today, and you’ll walk away with all this good stuff. Every family package also includes:

Want to dive deeper into our fun-loving photography package?

All-you’ll-ever-need Outfit Guide and Posing Guide (+ a secret Pinterest Board for your dream outfit inspo)

Outfit & Posing Guide


An Exclusive Senior Photoshoot Magazine that will walk you through all your session planning needs so you don’t have to spend hours scouring the internet for answers - it’s all put together in a beautiful digital magazine exclusively for our Lux Light Seniors

Exclusive Photoshoot Magazine


A personalized Photoshoot Timeline that is tailored to a successful outcome for all your personal details, favorite locations, pose inspiration, and more (written exclusively by me, for you!)

Day-Of Timeline


A Photo Shot List for the day-of, so you don’t have to fear leaving anyone out and feel guilty later on

Family Shot List


All booking is completed online for your convenience, so you can save your session details on your own time (I know how busy you are!)

Online Booking for Convenience


Coordination for the best lighting and location inspiration for all your senior photos, ensuring you get those dream images you've always longed for (beach, dunes, you name it!)

Location + Lighting Suggestions


Unlimited monthly communication with me so you can rest assured someone always has your back and knows exactly what you want executed, down to the smallest detail

Unlimited Communication


Hand-edited images all fine-tuned personally by me (no computer-generated, lack-luster filters used here!)

Hand-edited Imaged


Fast turnaround time to receive your edited images after the photoshoot (don’t be one of those horror stories that has to hound their photographer for a glimpse at their pics even months after the day!)

Receive Your Images Quickly


bonus 10

The best heart-led Senior photos of your life. Period.

View next

roberta robinson


Melissa was a dream to work with. Such a great communicator prior to my big day but on the actual day, her creativity just flowed"

What our moms are saying


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may + peter swift


Melissa was an absolute joy to work with!! Highly recommend!!! From the moment we booked she had incredible communication and many words of wisdom and advice along the way. On our photoshoot she was very professional and also made us feel very comfortable and at ease. We can’t say enough great things about our experience with her.



View next

simon + liz smith


Stop what you're doing right now and reserve Melissa! The images she captured are once-in-a-lifetime &  gorgeous!”



View next

amiee danson


I feel like there are not enough words to describe how truly amazing our experience with our choice for Melissa as our photographer for our wedding. Not only was she incredible with constant communication. She made us feel at ease with everything."



Book your session today

Imagine getting to finally post on Insta those REAL feels-like-you Senior Photos (with a fun & stress-free experience to prove it), so you can remember all the best parts about your senior year.

With this one click, you’ve procured a best-friend and photographer all-in-one. I’ll be in touch monthly to help you create your perfect timeline, shot list and more. Expect me to be your voice and backbone from today until even after your portrait date

Pop the Champaigne (or double-shot espresso)

Once you choose your Senior Package, you’ll receive a digital invoice to pay your deposit (50% down) and sign your contract. This will officially save your date for your Northern Michigan photoshoot!

Select Your Custom Senior Package

Fill out an inquiry form with your estimated photoshoot date and the vision you have for your day. I will then be able to send you our Pricing Guide with any custom packaging needs to help you achieve your dream senior pictures.

Contact Us



Book today, and you’ll walk away with all this good stuff!

Our senior Portrait Sessions start at $450 for the entire 1 hour of coverage, online gallery, and all 10 bonuses

Led by her heart-and-soul, who takes the time to genuinely get to know you and what truly will warm your heart (and your home’s walls) for decades to come. 

Hire a best-friend-turned-photographer you know and trust,
with over 1,000 photoshoots under her belt

Don't worry - we will work on getting those "Christmas Card" pictures where everyone is ACTUALLY looking at the camera (yes miracles do happen ;)

But we can also play games, get dirty, sing awkwardly loudly and run amok, to bring out those authentic relationships. It's all about balance and play!

you value play just as much as slowing down

No, things aren’t going to go perfectly on the day of…but you’re ok rolling with the punches and enjoying the intimate moments with your kiddos

You cherish the present moment and want to enjoy the experience of your family time (presence over perfection, please!)

You’re more about the REAL moments and REAL laughter that feels like you.

You don’t want a photoshoot gallery full of awkward looks and weird unfamiliar poses

You’re in the right place if

Yes, that's me. I'm all in!

planning their next trip
wine enthusiasts

planning their next trip
wine enthusiasts
planning their next trip

our clients are 

who we work with /

 Plus, she returned our edited photos sooner than promised. The photos look beautiful! I highly recommend working with Melissa!" - Erin, family shoot in glen arbor, mi

"Melissa was great to work with! She was patient and easygoing with our five energetic children, and she did a great job capturing beautiful moments with an artistic eye."

Kind words from our Seniors

let's Work together

Because I am so confident in the service and high-end photos that I PROMISE to deliver to my seniors, I am only a click away from any communication, questions or support that you need throughout this entire portrait photoshoot planning process. I’m here from start to finish for YOU (no fear of ghosting here). My service is tailored and customized to you (which is why I am VERY LIMITED with my bookings.

Your happiness, guaranteed (aka I’ve always got your back!)

Hey, I’m Melissa, and I believe in creating dreamy, REAL family photos for REAL couples, who value joy over hustle, fun in the present moment, and laughing at the imperfect moments of life.

Because your portrait shoot is more than just a one-and-done sorta day. It’s a huge milestone that you’ve been waiting for your entire lifetime for. And as a professional painter-turned-photographer, I’m here to tell the visual story of your day, led with heartfelt emotion and genuine experiences with the people you cherish most to share in this magical moment in your kid's livesx.

Years from now, I don’t want you to look back and feel like your photos are just another digital folder on your desktop that you should do something with. Every time you view your gallery, my goal is to transport you right back to the moment, so you can relive and fall head over heels in love with being a mom, all over again.

I’m your sunset chaser, dog lover, probably-make-weird-faces-at-your-kids kinda girl

About melissa

As someone who ACTUALLY promises to be dedicated to your happiness, I will be here for you, day in and day out, to be your cheerleader and support system and to personally guarantee that you will LOVE your Senior Portraits.

over 145+
5-star reviews

we love our moms + families

frequently asked questions

we love open and candid conversations

01. How would you describe your style?

For most of your Senior photoshoot, I have a photo-journalistic style. This means that I am constantly documenting the laughter, the running through the fields, laying in the sand. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s beautiful. These are the pictures that reflect the one goal I have for you - to transport you back to the realness of who you are during the best year of your life, and how you’ve chosen to celebrate this year. 

But let’s be honest - we all (and I include myself in this category) are secretly dying for those wind-swept beach pictures, the vivid sunset images, and the ONE photo that will make us swoon every time we see it (aka our new Insta pic). These moments often come with a little help and suggestion from me - which is why we also spend some time posing in natural, golden light, and setting yourself up for a gorgeous mix of both candid and posed images. You never have to choose just one or the other - I guarantee you will see both styles reflected in your Senior picture gallery for you to love.

02. What if I’m awkward in front of the camera? Or have never done a session before?

You’re not alone in this feeling. Most of my Seniors come to me with the admission that they’ve never hired a professional photographer before. But this is great news! It means we get the opportunity to be REAL with each other. I am here to coach and direct you every step of the way. We most often will start off with some more posed and smiling pictures (just to get those creative juices flowing.) As the session progresses, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how fast you start laughing and becoming more at ease in front of the camera. This is when we start incorporating a great mix of both posed and candid images. They tell a story - your story! Led with true heart and genuine emotion. And you never have to worry about choosing a photographer who is only good at posing, or who refuses to pose you and leaves you hanging for “candid” images. I’ve got you (and you can count on both styles in your gallery!)

03. How/when will we get our photos?

I pride myself on a quick turnaround (I don’t want you to become one of those horror stories where you practically have to track down your photographer to get your hands on your images!) You will receive your entire gallery of images (all hand-edited personally by me) quickly, so that right away, you can keep your love and enjoyment of your wedding day alive!

The photos will all be delivered to you in an online digital gallery. Unlimited downloads for you, your family and your extended (if you choose to share the gallery with them) is guaranteed!

04. Can we send you a list of the photos we want?

Ummmm yes! I’m a Pinterest-aholic myself. So I love a good inspiration board. Send ‘em all my way and guarantee that you and I are on the same page for the duration of your Senior portrait shoot together.

05. How can we book you?

Inquire through my Contact Page, or send me an email to melissa@luxlightphotography. If you are from a different area and are vacationing in the Northern Michigan or Traverse City area, I suggest booking your family photos as quick as you can, so you can make sure I am available for your vacation dates. Contact me ASAP, to see if I still have your desired portrait photoshoot date available.

Keep the memories,
the genuine laughter,
& the feels-like-you fun spirit of your senior year alive with the right photographer!

book your family pictures

Everyone says watching your senior year is a blur, but it doesn’t have to be…


ready to book? have questions?

Please, fill out the form below with as much information as possible-this will give you the best answer from me! email me at If you don't hear back within 24 hours, please check your SPAM!

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Please note that office hours at 12-4pm, M-F. I will respond to your email within that time frame. If you email me on the weekend, I will respond the following Monday. Thank you!

thank you!