We had the good fortune of connecting with Melanie Monroe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melanie, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
I think exposing children to a lot of different types of people and ideas is one of the greatest gifts parents can give to their children and really, to civilized society. I think at nearly 14, our children are starting to understand that there are not a whole lot of easy answers to big questions. We live in a world with lots of shades of gray filled with people who long for black and white. Getting comfortable in the gray is a concept that I didn’t really grow into until well into adulthood, but I’ve come to determine that the gray is where compassion and empathy and kindness flourish.
What should our readers know about your business?
I studied graphic design and advertising in college and worked for a design firm for a few years and did some freelance work before I became a mom. When I decided to dive into photography, I already had a lot of graphic design knowledge that comes in pretty handy when you start learning to edit photos. Social media was really starting to take off about the same time I started learning more about how to use my camera. People saw my photos online and started volunteering their children up as tributes to help me get more practice. Soon after, I started taking on clients. My first clients were primarily families from the San Diego Parents of Twins Club, of which I was a member. This meant the vast majority of my clients starting out had twin babies or toddlers. It was like family photographer boot camp. Figuring out how to take photos of two or three toddlers running in different directions was a PROCESS. I’m proud to say that a lot of those first clients have stuck with me all these years later! I love getting to see my twins club clients every fall for their annual family portraits. Watching their kids grow up and getting to document that for them is an honor and a blessing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I was born and raised in San Diego, as was my father, and his mother, so I’m a third-generation San Diegan! (Yes! Those exist!) I love San Diego County and truly can’t imagine living anywhere else! I currently live in Jamul, which is in east county. I love being able to raise chickens and have a whole mess of fur-babies, on a big piece of land, but also zip into the city in under 30 minutes! Our beautiful beaches, Sea World, the Zoo, and Legoland are the big-name San Diego attractions and are definitely all worth a visit! My favorite beach is Fletcher Cove in Del Mar. I also love going roller blading at Mission Beach or Mission Bay and then having lunch at the roof-top sushi restaurant (Cannonball) at Belmont Park. Cabrillo National Monument is wonderful for an easy hike or a visit to the tide pools. A drive up into the Laguna Mountains to visit Julian is also a personal favorite! In how many cities can you go from downtown clubs and the beach to a quaint forested mountain village in under an hour?! San Diego is a wonderful place! If you are into “hidden gem” type restaurants, I recommend: 1. Sushi Ota in Pacific Beach. It’s literally in a strip mall next to a 7-11, but it has the BEST sushi in San Diego! Make reservations!!! 2. Ali Baba Family Restaurant in El Cajon. The most amazing hummus and baba ghanouj and freshly made bread you will ever have! 3. Taco Shops. We all have our favorites, of course, but generally speaking, you can’t go wrong picking up food at a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican food restaurant in San Diego. We have the best Mexican food in the country, hands-down!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I was an avid scrapbooker way back in high school and college, so I’ve always liked pictures. My interest learning more about photography than just what you can do with a point and shoot started with my husband’s father, Jerry Monroe. When I had my twin girls 14 years ago, my father-in-law came over and took some photos of them with his DSLR camera and they were so much better than any other photos we had of our babies that I asked for a DSLR that Christmas. A couple of years later, my sister, Amy Gray, and I started taking classes and started learning the basics of photography. Soon after, we made connections with a few new friends who were interested in photography. Sarah Albert taught me how to toggle my focal points. Heather Starr told me about “Golden Hour.” I’m now a member of an amazing group of photographers in San Diego who help and support each other. (SDWIP rules!)
Melanie Monroe Photography