Lacie Dague Haarmann of Designs by Lacie did some sprucing up on my logo. Small adjustments yet I think it's just right. Let me know what you think. :)
Mattoon Flower Shop and Melissa M. Harden at Studio 21 collaborated by creating a space for gorgeous prom photos. There were over fifty prom goers at the event between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Sit back and enjoy the show.
On April 9th, I went to Doudna to set up a pop-up studio for the Charleston High School prom goers. Everyone looked sooo good! They were a little shocked that I was photographing them for free. What is more fun and rewarding than photographing a bunch of gorgeous people going to a fun event?!
Share this blog! ♥
Is your DREAM session outdoors, with horses? In a flower field? If not, where? If your click the button below, we can set up a free consultation and studio tour. While you are here we can chat about everything you want your session to be and then some!
Your wouldn't leave one of the most important time of your life to an amateur now would you?
Contact Melissa to make your senior portrait dreams come true!
This is what a VIP session at Studio 21 looks like. Fun outfits, accessories, posing direction, lights, fog, and awesome portraits!
Want to learn more?
Just click the button!
My office is slowly becoming a mini museum of all sorts of cool items. Some of my treasures are from my family and friends. See the name plate in the photo above? That was on my grandfather's mailbox. My late brother, Lester, was named after him. I didn't know my grandfather very well since he lived in California and I grew up in Mattoon, IL. We didn't even meet until I was a preteen. I am grateful for the time, however short, that I had with him.
The pencil sharpener on the wall to the far right, that was my late Uncle Jack's. He used it a lot in his line of work as a foreman at a company called International Extrusion in California.
The camera is a welded metal-work piece that was created and gifted to me by a client-friend.
Looking around my office and seeing all of the different tools and imagery inspires me daily.
What inspires you?
Want a fabulous gift item?
I just couldn't resist adding this classy crystal holder to my offerings. It holds six-two sided 8x6 sturdy, mounted portraits for you to proudly display on a desk, counter, or bookcase. You can change up the portrait whenever you want to.
Just in case you are curious... portrait consultations and studio tours are complimentary. All you have to do is hit that button, I'll contact you to set a date. Easy as pie!
Some of the advantages of becoming a Studio 21 VIP are the unique or exclusive locations, one-of-a-kind props, and modeling opportunities!
Liv is the OG VIP here ate Studio 21! We had so much fun creating art together. Check it out!
Applications are only open for 4 weeks!
Let's see if you think this program is for you...
Hit this LINK if you want to apply. There are limited spots so don't think on it for too long. ;)
Today, my mission is to share the difference between those awesome small prints and what we should admire on the walls of our home and office. Studio 21 is a full service photography studio. I will guide you on which prints will work best for gifting and the different sizes and materials for installing your masterpieces. You may be asking yourself, "Materials?". Studio 21 offers wall art in metal, acrylic, linen, and mounts. At your consultation and ordering session, we will discuss which will suit your decorating style.
Let's get started!
What is a gift print exactly?
It is an 8x10 or smaller. These are intended for you to gift to others. They are wonderful for displaying on desks, table tops, shelves, and bookcases.
Wall art pieces are substantially larger. They make a statement all on their own.
Wall art galleries are a collection of wall art pieces that compliment each other.
In my experience, most people think that an 8x10 is a large print and needs to be on the wall. As you will see in the photos below, that it is really too small to showcase by itself. A fantastic presentation is a collection of 8x10s. I personally prefer metal prints on float mounts however, in 11x14 frames with mats are another great presentation.
As you can see, one tiny 8x10 on the wall just isn't working. To create an interesting gallery, it takes multiple prints. The larger ones are nice by themselves however they present much better and even "tell a story" with more than one.
I would love to meet you, show you the different wall art materials, and to see how we can get some gorgeous art work on your walls! Click this button for your complimentary consultation and a tour of the studios.
Melissa M. Harden
Just letting the world know that I am in L♥VE with my new crystal albums! They are absolutely fabulous! This album is wrapped in black leather with a beveled crystal cover that features your favorite portrait. Talk about an elegant heirloom! Your family will pass this gem down the generations! I carry it in 12x12 and 10x10 sizes.
Now, let me tell you about the super cool keepsake boxes. They come with twenty mounted 5x7 portraits and a personalized crystal USB. ((do you see a theme here?)) These photos just do not do them justice. You reeeally need to see them in person.
You could call me for a complimentary consultation and tour of the studios (insert grin here). 217-962-0048 or hit this button below. :)
Right before a portrait session, Nina handed me a beautiful purple, satin bag and told me to open it. She had the biggest smile on her pretty face so, I knew it was special. When I opened it, and read those beautiful words, I could have just bawled!
You see, Nina has been my biggest fan from the first moment we worked together in my studio. She has been calling me 'World Renowned' for years. Why? Am I truly a world renowned photographer? No. Not yet. She is speaking to my future. She is giving me the gift of positivity but really more than that. She has complete faith in my abilities in my profession and God to bless me. I already loved her beyond measure but now I know without a doubt that she is and always will be in my corner.
I am thankful for the beeeeautiful camera strap but more than that, I am most thankful for her unfailing ability to lift me up and give me another reason to smile.
"Every time I think of you I thank God for you."
Philippians 1:3-5 ♥
Alyssa Gullion, Haley Watkins, Paula Turner, and Chance Harden
I cannot brag enough about this team of mine! They are absolutely TOP NOTCH! I am thrilled with their work ethic, attitudes, and the end results of their awesome work!
Everyone should have a team like the Studio 21 team!
Lifestyle photography is all about capturing you in your element. If your element is working at home, the session should be there, are you a wine taste tester, you session should be at a winery while you sip and test wine. Indoors, outdoors, at your desk, cooking, traveling... let your imagination run wild! There are several types of headshots sessions and Lifestyle is the most freeing because you are truly being you!
If you are ready to update your headshots just call me! 217-962-0048
Here is a link to all of the different types of headshots sessions that are available at Studio 21 in Mattoon.
It is bitterly cold outside and most of us we are indoors with dry air heat. You know what that means right? DRY SKIN!
Get out the body lotion and the lip balms to keep you from itching, scratching, and your lips from cracking and bleeding! Aw come on now... it only takes a few seconds and it will help you feel more comfortable.
Take care of your skin! I mean, it's holding you together right?! lol
High school senior portrait sessions are all about the experience and creating special memories right? Well, in order to make that experience extra special, I offer hair and make up done by my team of professionals Haley Watkins and Alyssa Estes of Sapphire Salon in Mattoon.
How often do you get pampered? I don't know about you but for me, it's not often enough! This is a significant day and time for you! You might as well go all out! The hair style and makeup application is totally your choice. We do collaborate with you on what will compliment you best and what color pallet will be spot on for all of the outfits you bring into the studio.
Another very good reason is because any time I am getting ready for a special event, my hair doesn't cooperate and then I am running behind or my eye liner is uneven. UGH! To sit in a comfy chair and allow a pro to do it all for me sounds sooo good! Am I right?
If you have ANY questions at all, please email me anytime! firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma and her mom came to my studio looking for a senior photographer that fit her portrait needs. I gave them a tour and then we discussed the type of photos they desired and the type of wall art they wanted for their home. Once we squared away the details, we scheduled a date.
On the day of the senior session, they had a mental list of photos they definitely wanted and I was bound to achieve it!
We started off in the dressing room. Haley Watkins from Sapphire Salon applied her makeup beautifully and fixed her hair half up and half down. Emma looked divine!
While she was in the salon chair, she was served fresh fruit while I went through her clothing items to see all that she brought. Each outfit chosen was for a specific backdrop or photo prop.
My son, Chance skillfully recorded video of the entire day. He made sure to capture details that we may have overlooked.
Paula Turner was my awesome assistant. She was there to make certain that Emma had everything she needed, all of her hair was perfectly in place, and the portrait lighting was spot on.
The three of us and Emma’s mom, Kristina were the dream team!
We started the photography session using the two indoor portrait bays and worked our way to the outdoor studio. She really liked the graffitied oil barrels, tire swing, and egg chair. ((One of my favorite indoor photographs of her is on the red chair.))
We then headed out to a special ivy wall and then the Mattoon High School. Since Emma is in the Color Guard, we wanted to get some action shots of her throwing her riffle and twirling her MHS flag.
Once we were done there, we headed back to the studio to get drinks and pack up her clothes for our final portrait destination; Fox Ridge.
Her dad and Brody her dog met us there. Her dad had a special photo prop... a McDonald’s Happy Meal. She sat on a footbridge and indulged in her favorite meal as I snapped photos. I must say, it was a fun moment!
We then went down to a deserted, sandy beach that Emma and Kristina had chosen for her photos. This was the moment I couldn’t wait for! I had a special dress for her to wear on the beach and in the water. It was a gorgeous, red parachute dress. Emma was so lovely! She made this dress sing! Let me tell you!, it was a photography dream come true!
Once we were done with those photographs, Emma changed and had some portraits taken with her dad, and finally her mamma.
Chance, Paula, and I shook out the sand from our shoes and headed to McDonald's for a treat.
It was a fun-filled photography day! I loved every moment of photographing Emma. I hope you enjoy her portraits.
I would love to know, which photo is your favorite?
A new blog and this one IS about photography.. well a little. I was honored to photograph an event and I want you to know all about it.
Do you own a business? Are you in need of an office or workspace? Do you just need a spot to make important phone calls without distractions? Or, do you need a comfortable spot to kick back while opening all of those emails? Well, I can say with all confidence that you do not need to look any further. Check out Elevate CCIC, Inc. at the Cross County Mall in Mattoon, IL.
On August 27th, I had the honor of photographing Elevate's official opening. Carlos Ortega, Elevate's Executive Director and a client of mine, spoke of all the offerings there. After his presentation, the audience was encouraged to tour the facility. It has 3-D printing, mailboxes, large meeting spaces, a kitchen, a sound room for podcasts, and excellent security.
Elevate is colorful and the decor is inspiring. I love going there because I want to create. Bonus! You know you are surrounded by other business people which can be very helpful! You can look at the donor wall photograph to see all of the wonderful business sponsors.
Below are some of the photographs I took of this gorgeous facility. Included are a few of Carlos' headshots from my studio. He is such a great business leader in our community. I hope you will go to Elevate, take a tour, and join many professionals who need a space to create, dream, and make their future great.
Oh! Please check out that awesome, metal Elevate logo on the green wall. Wouldn't you love to have your headshots photographed there?! Secret sale: When you call me to book your headshots, mention Elevate for $25 off your session!
((click the link below to go to their website))
Elevate CCIC, Inc. <--- this link right here.
700 Broadway Ave E Space #8, Mattoon, IL 61938
Mattoon, IL 61938
Melissa M. Harden at Studio 21
Headshots for all professionals
08/03/2020 This blog isn't about photography, high school seniors, headshots, or a fun place I visited. This one is painful because it is about my mom who was very ill and suffered great pain for several years. She lived in a nursing home for the past four years. One that is very close to my home/studio. My niece is a CNA there, so that made it all the better.
My mom passed away peacefully in her sleep with my niece, my husband, and myself by her side.
Through all of the time my mom has been in that facility she has received very good care. They did for her what I was not able to do. The Lord knows I tried. That is a looong story. I am THANKFUL to the entire staff for all of their hard work and love for my mamma. Some of them became like family. I will never ever forget them!
I love you and miss you mom. ♥
What do you get when you cousins together for a photo shoot? A whole lotta fun!
CUPCAKES, GIFT BAGS, DRESS-UP, AND PHOTO SHOOT.. WHAT?!
That's exactly what these sweet girls experienced here at Studio 21. What they didn't know is that this photo party has been planned since November! This photo session was their Christmas gift from a family member.
They had been waiting since December (that's a loong wait for little girls!) ..and THE day was finally here! They were giggly and ready to party. First, they gobbled up their strawberry shortcake cupcakes, then changed into their first outfits. They each had beautiful dresses they wanted photos taken in. Then, they changed into their Cardinals gear and posed with hats and sunglasses. The girls reeeeally enjoyed getting dressed up. They especially loved choosing which necklace and earrings to wear from the Studio 21 dressing room. As you can see, they have good taste and look fabulous in the portraits!
They led the way on where they wanted to have pictures taken next... it was the tire swing, then with their stuffed horses under the arbor, and on the tractor tires. Of course they all loved the flower swing and I have to say, they are my favorite photographs of them!
If you know some children who would love to have a photo party please contact me at 217-962-0048. You bring the children and I will do the rest!
One little girl once told me that he favorite part was everything! ♥
As a professional photographer, I know a lot of thought and planning goes into getting your portraits taken. You've taken the time to research the perfect photographer that fits your style; light and airy, dark and moody, purest, or not. Then, you decide on the look your going for with all of your favorite outfits and accessories. Hair and make up, and oh yeah! Buy some (more) new clothes and shoes. Now, finalize plans. Where and when to meet. Aaaand it's time to head over to get this party started!
Put the brakes on! (insert sound effects here) Some things got left behind. What?! Well, have you taken a look at your fingernails? Are they in need of a good clipping, filing, and/or paint job? No one wants an awesome photo of themselves with gnarly nails! Toes nails too!
One things that really opens a person's eyes up are a good brow waxing! Most salons do this service and no, it isn't painful. I suggest doing this one or two days before your portrait session. You'll thank me for it someday!
This one is mostly for little people's caretakers: Dirty hair. I can do a lot with Photoshop but one thing I cannot do is clean hair. Sorry. lol Oily hair is very evident in photos. It's best to have a clean scalp before your portraits unless you are have an appointment for hair and makeup and the stylist says otherwise.
Hair color is fun and funky these day with all of the pinks, purples, electric blues, and even greens. With all that fun comes regret.. not today of course. Some day, oh, say in ten or twenty years from now, you may ask yourself what were you thinking?! I highly recommend staying as close to a natural hair color as possible for your portraits.
Speaking of hair... I also highly recommend that you do NOT go for the latest hair cut trend right before your photo sesh. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the regret of someone who has chopped their locks and hate it! Hold off for the neon colors and A-symmetric cut for afterwards. As a friend to snap a few pics.
Clothing choices are essential to how you feel during your session. If they are too tight or too loose, you are not going to be confident. Have those outfits out and ready for a fun fitting fashion show for a best friend to help you pick and choose. Solid colors are easiest to photograph. Neon colors are tough to photograph because they do what is called color cast. Your hot pink shirt may transfer to your neck and chin. (^_^;) I really don't have a thing against neon. lol Promise.
What goes UNDER the clothes is important too! Ladies, it's best you wear under garments that are close to your skin tone. Stark white may be your favorite and wild colors and prints are fun buuut they will wreck your photos.
Of course, if you have any questions about the aforementioned, please talk to your photographer.
Melissa M. Harden, Professional Photographer
Studio 21 Mattoon
Where boring is impossible!
Back in the Saddle Again
Lee Ann called Studio 21 to inquire about getting senior prom portraits for her daughter Emily. It's not unusual to get a call like that however since no one was able to go to prom this made her call very special! Lee Ann told me about Emily and described her dress. My immediate thought was... WE NEED A HORSE! lol Thankfully, she agreed with my suggestion.
I only had to make one call to a friend who is an equine enthusiast and horse owner and we had our plans all made. It was helpful that Emily was no stranger to horses and riding. It was a bit (a lot) challenging in her dress though. We tried a side saddle position but.. yeah, that didn't pan out.
Emily walked around the stable and grounds in her high-stylin' yellow chicken boots. (I was secretly jealous in my daisy rainboots) It was while on Blaze, the saaaahweetest horse ever, her mom donned her feet with sparkly high heels.
Emily took to Blaze and they were the perfect match for this portrait session.
I cannot wait for the next time I get to work with this gorgeous horse again.
Hair and makeup by Haley Watkins of Sapphire Salon.