We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Rasmussen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
If I had a dollar for every time I have heard “Your camera takes great photos!”, I would be one rich woman! A lot of times, people think that it is the equipment that creates the beautiful image, but there is so much more to it! Does an oven bake a delicious cake by the press of a button? Of course the answer is no! Is an image captured by the press of a button? Yes. But that is not when the art is created, and photography is an ART! It is in the composition of the photo. the settings of the camera, and the editing process where the art of the photograph shines! You may be surprised at the amount of time a photographer sits in front of a computer screen to get the image just right.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What is something in this world that no one has, except for you? It’s YOU! You have a unique background, a unique set of experiences, and a unique personality. So own it! If there is one thing this journey has taught me, it’s to be proud of the person that I am. Growing up, I always worried about what other people thought of me. Were they judging me? Was I good enough? This led me to be painfully shy as a child/teen. I figured it was better to not be seen, than to be judged. Oh, was I wrong!! I have since learned that it is ok to be goofy! It is ok to be yourself. It is ok to stand out!

I credit my photography business for this growth. I was forced to put myself out there. If I want to get clients to book with me, they have to know, like, and trust me first. The me that shows up on social media needs to be the same me that shows up at their home for their in-home newborn session.

This pattern of know, like, and trust is especially important as an in-home newborn photographer. I am being invited into people’s homes – the place where they should feel the safest. I am handling their fresh little newborn, and being trusted to keep them safe. I need them to know me. The real me. I need them to like me. The real me. And I absolutely need them to trust me enough to enter into their safe space, snuggle their new miracle, and capture beautiful images that they will treasure forever.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When someone comes to Surprise, Arizona there are three things that they NEED to experience.

One: The Wildlife Zoo and Aquarium. This is especially a must see for anyone with kids! My kiddos could just go to the aquariums there and be happy, but the rest of the zoo is fantastic too!

Two: The White Tank Mountains. I grew up in Utah at the base of the Wasatch Mountain Range, so I know what “real” mountains are, but these desert mountains are so different! There is a certain beauty that can’t be explained when it comes to desert mountains. They are so unique, and so special!

Three: The Food. There is actually a wonderful food scene in Surprise! Maybe it is the Spring Training venues that have brought such unique and delicious eateries, but I’m not complaining! Hands down my two favorite local restaurants are Booties (best wings I have EVER had), and Ritos (award winning green chile to die for!).

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am where I am today because of my incredible husband. He bought my first camera for me, and has been with me on every step of this crazy journey of owning a small business. My kids deserve a huge shoutout too! They patiently endure photoshoot after photoshoot as I perfect my craft.

Website: melissarenaephotography.com

Instagram: @melissarenaephotography

Facebook: @melissarenaephotography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.