Derek Yates – Congrats on Becoming Ellen’s New Gardener!

I met Derek Yates several years ago when I was hired to direct a Hip/Hop music video and we quickly became friends. Having each tragically lost a sibling we formed a bond that’s deeper and different from most. He’s become a lot like a brother to me. Over the years I’ve worked with him on a variety of projects from acting to modeling for print and on the runway. Derek is an amazing guy, one of those who is always there for his friends and especially for his family. He’s great to work with, has an incredible sense of humor, and is genuinely just a great guy. Any time I’ve needed an actor for television commercials or a model for commercial billboards, ads, or magazine spreads he’s been there with his A-game ready to go. One of the things Derek and I have in common is the desire and drive to succeed in the professions we’ve chosen. His is modeling and acting, mine is photography – that means we get to work together quite a bit. Derek is one of the most driven people I know and has worked so very hard to make his dreams come true. Saturday evening Derek called to tell me he was flying to Los Angeles and was a finalist for the contest to be Ellen’s new Gardener! Today – he IS Ellen’s new gardener!  I look forward to watching him on the Ellen DeGeneres Show –  I couldn’t be more proud of you, Derek Yates!

You can check out Derek’s filmography here:  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4946463/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Derek also co-founded a non-profit organization to try to stop drunk driving with his beautiful mother, you can read more about that here: http://www.iam1n3.org

You can also view more images of Derek from a recent shoot with BeCouture Group at http://becouturegroup.com/

The current issue of Chattanooga Magazine features an article that I photographed and Derek modeled for (some of the images from that shoot are below).
Hard work pays off, and I don’t know anyone who works harder than you, Derek Yates, to achieve your dreams!
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Chattanooga Birthday Party Photographer – Pumpkins & Chevron First Birthday

I don’t often step outside my role as a newborn photographer.  When I do, it’s usually for the families of “my” babies.  This time, I got to be a Chattanooga birthday party photographer – and it was so much fun!  Easton’s amazing mom put together a stunning party with an orange and aqua theme tied together with pumpkins and her signature print, chevrons.  It’s an absolute Pinterest dream!  It was so special to be there – I  had photographed Easton’s birth the year before, his newborn photos, and every three months up to his first birthday.

Chattanooga Party Photographer

In case you’re wondering, credit for the absolutely delicious and adorable cake goes to Sifted Bakery in Cleveland, Tennessee and the precious cake pops are the work of CoCo’s Sweet Boutique.  (A word of caution: they are ADDICTING.)

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I also have to mention the pumpkin dip.  I am hooked on the pumpkin dip.  I prefer it with the graham crackers, but wafers are delicious too… as, for that matter, are spoons… *ahem*  If you’re planning ahead for your fall get-together, you can find that recipe here!

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Yes, the big sister and her friends are wearing coordinating outfits.  Of course they are!  Whitney and her amazing friends have such amazing attention to detail!

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Sometimes, a boy just needs a break.  Easton’s making a run for it!  I think he was too kissed-out and needed a minute to himself!

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Big sister and her amazing smile and another one of “my” babies snoozing peacefully during the party!

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Happy Birthday, little buddy!  I can’t get over what a handsome, sweet little toddler you’ve grown into!  I’m so thankful to have been a part of your first year and I am so grateful to your mama for asking me to capture your special day, a year later!

Love,
Melissa

Your Chattanooga Birthday Party Photographer (*wink*)

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