Lancaster Branding Photography: Fringe by J macrame art

Macrame fiber art branding photography in Lancaster, PA

Every now and then I get to do some branding and lifestyle photography for friends and clients. I especially love it when I can help budding small business owners by taking some quality photos of their work. Jette is a new friend and neighbor of mine here in Cabbage Hill on the South West side of Lancaster City. She recently started a business creating macrame art called Fringe by J. She can make most anything, from wall hangings to plant holders to purses and pillow covers. I loved photographing her in her element where she works in her beautiful bright attic studio space.

One of the things I learned about Jette is that she is a country girl at heart and she grew up on a farm in Virginia. She even incorporates pieces of home into her work by using wood that she has found around the farm and forest for her macrame pieces. She and her fiance will soon be getting married and she is planning to create a macrame backdrop for their wedding ceremony.

If you have a moment, I recommend checking out her Etsy shop to see more of her creations.

Melissa Engle Photography offers portrait and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Please contact me if you would like to make some photo magic together!

Personal: Freelensing with Cora in the Lititz Wildflower Field


If I'm being honest, most days motherhood does not leave me with much energy to be creative. With the heat we've been having this summer and the demands of an infant and a toddler, I feel pretty drained most days. Sometimes it takes a lot of motivation to even climb up a set of stairs to get my camera when there's something I want to photograph of my kids. Yet at the same time I have found that motherhood has deepened my desire to express my artistic side even more and compelled me to document life for my children through photography. In a way, I would say that taking beautiful photos of my daughter running through wildflower fields allows me to not only process my reality but to escape for a moment. I look through the viewfinder and see all the colors that make my heart soar and watch my carefree daughter twirling around and for a second I forget that I am majorly sleep deprived and in need of quality adult interaction. 

I've been a stay-at-home mom for three years now, and in that time I have come to realize that I NEED to take time to create, even when I don't have the energy.  Getting the creative juices flowing refuels me. So, I decided to do some experimenting with freelensing, a technique where you remove the lens from your camera and hold it over the shutter. It creates a really shallow depth of field and allows most of the image to blur with just a tiny portion in focus. I think it creates a really dreamy effect, though I will say it's best to practice on non-moving objects first to get comfortable with how it works. I used a 50 mm and a 35 mm lens for these freelensing shots in the Lititz wildflower field. Also FYI, not all of them are freelensed, as you can probably tell.

The large vertical image of Cora lying down in the wildflower field encircled by black eyed susans is probably one of the favorites I've taken of her so far this year. As summer comes to an end and we enter into the busy season of fall, I hope I can continue to find ways to fuel my creative spirit in the every day rhythms and routines of life.

Melissa Engle Photography offers portrait and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Please contact me if you would like to make some photo magic together!

Lancaster Family Photography: Garden of the Five Senses with the Koppes Family

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These friends are new to Lancaster and also happen to be my neighbors. The Koppes family moved here from Colorado less than a year ago and chose to live in our neighborhood in part due to one of my personal projects called "Who's Who on the Hill", documenting people and their stories in Cabbage Hill (the Lancaster City neighborhood where we reside). It was a muggy evening but the light was golden and the kiddos were in a good mood (probably motivated by their ice cream reward post photo shoot). I have been working at trying to capture more candid moments in my family photography and am excited by the fun expressions and overall love and joyfulness that comes across in these photos.

Melissa Engle Photography offers portrait and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Please contact me if you would like to make some photo magic together!

Lancaster Family Photography: Spring Session with Janet & Kai


I have been antsy to get out and take photos to get my creative juices flowing after being cooped up all winter and adjusting to life with a newborn. With the spring blooms everywhere and Mother's Day coming up, I asked my friend Janet if she and her son Kai would model for a mother-son session with me at Buchmiller Park, just outside Lancaster City. The light was absolutely perfect and the cherry blossom curtains made for some fun playful images. I've been photographing Kai since he was a newborn and I can't believe how much he has grown into a little boy. 

I also want to take this opportunity to remind all the moms (and dads) out there to get in the frame with your kids. You won't regret it and your kids will appreciate it years from now. My mom was the picture taker and documentarian in our family. We have carefully organized photo albums from all of our childhood years, thanks to my mom, along with detailed baby books and binders of our childhood artwork and other school papers, even "love notes" that boy crushes wrote to me. I know I have appreciated looking through these memories over the years and hope that I can do just as good of a job documenting life for my own kiddos AND also make sure that I appear in the frame from time to time. So here's my pitch to you; make your spouse or your friend or your dog take some photos of you and the kiddos interacting (selfies don't count!). OR hire a photographer (pick me!) to photograph your family. In fact, I've got gift certificates available and mother's day is just around the corner...

Lancaster Family Photography: Natalie One Year Session at Stauffer's Greenhouse

Little miss Natalie is turning one at the end of March and we wanted to find a place to do her one year session that felt colorful and fun but was also warm. We decided to go to the greenhouse at Stauffer's of Kissel Hill. Since spring is on it's way, there were plenty of flowers galore, and we sat her right among them for photos. I think she probably tasted a few too. Big brother Josiah had a great time dipping in all of the fountains while Mom and Dad took turns getting photos with Natalie.

Lancaster Newborn Lifestyle Photography: The Millers Welcome Baby Ben

My friends Shawn and Candice recently welcomed their newborn son Ben into the world and I had the pleasure of doing an in home newborn lifestyle session for them. These types of sessions are quickly becoming some of my favorites because of the candid, raw moments I am able to capture. Big sister Eva wasn't a huge fan of being in photos at first but she was happy to show off her awesome cowgirl hat and when baby brother started crying she was quick to comfort him. I have enjoyed documenting the Miller family over the years, starting with Candice and Shawn's engagement, then the arrival of their daughter and now as they have become a family of four!

Soon we will be welcoming our own baby boy into our family and I am curious to see how the transition will go with my own daughter, who is very close in age to Eva.

Melissa Engle Photography provides portrait, family and lifestyle photography in Lancaster, PA. Get in touch to schedule your session!