Karen and Frederico’s Gorgeous Wedding at The Grandview on Lookout Mountain . Chattanooga Wedding Photographer

Karen & Frederico’s Wedding was very unique for me as it was the first wedding I’ve ever photographed where I didn’t speak the same language (Portuguese) as my Bride and Groom. They came to Chattanooga from Brazil for their destination wedding at The Grandview on Lookout Mountain. Since they both speak little English I didn’t really communicate with them at all prior to (or even very much at) the wedding. I spoke primarily with Frederico’s amazing sister, Erika to make all of the arrangements. Erika was my translator for family photos and I had her briefly give Karen and Frederico some instruction before we headed over to Rock City alone to take photos of them together. The rest of the day I really didn’t speak much, I just documented their wedding day as it happened. I loved every minute of it.

I’m not that much of a talker during weddings anyway, the day is about you, not about me. I prefer people have honest and natural reactions and that they stand in ways that are natural to them and interact the way they normally interact. I want people to be able to look back and see how they felt. Real emotion. Real interaction. Their real selves. So it didn’t much matter to me that I couldn’t understand their conversations or even the wedding ceremony itself (the entire ceremony was in Portuguese) because I am so used to watching body language and reading emotions anyway.

There were so many amazing moments during Karen & Frederico’s wedding. Tears shed as Frederico saw his beautiful bride walking down the aisle toward him, the first glimpse of her he had all day. I can’t tell you what words were spoken during the ceremony but I can tell you that they brought out a lot of emotion. I also loved that, after slipping Frederico’s wedding band on his finger, Karen kissed his hand.

I’ll let the images tell the rest of the story.

Rock City Grandview Lookout Mountain Georgia Chattanooga Wedding
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The Grant Family . Chattanooga Family Photographer

One of my most favorite families… I’ve been photographing Miss Sarah since she was just a baby. It’s hard to believe she’s 7 years old now! I adore these two kids and their mother and am always honored to photograph their yearly family photos.

Chattanooga Family Photographer Photos Photo
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Tami - Very lovely work, Melody. I really love the clouds in the last one.


Kendall & Brian’s Engagement Session . Rome, Georgia Wedding Photographer

Kendall and Brian are one of those couples who literally radiate love. Just by being near them you can see and feel the way they feel about each other. I can’t imagine two people more perfect for each other than they are. Kendall and Brian drove up from Atlanta and I drove down from Chattanooga to the Berry College Campus in Rome, Georgia for their engagement session. It’s a beautiful campus, the old buildings, the wooded trails, a gorgeous old Mill, Frost Chapel … Honestly it was a little piece of photography heaven. Even the way the light cascaded through the trees was perfect. I am so looking forward to their September wedding at Laurelwood Farms on Signal Mountain.

Here are a few of my favorites from their engagement session:

Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia at the Old Mill

Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Maple Lined Road Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Maple Lined Road Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Maple Lined Road Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Field Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Field Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Field Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Field Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Frost Chapel Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Frost Chapel Reflection Pool Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Frost Chapel Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Frost Chapel Berry College Engagement Session Rome, Georgia

Christy - These are beautiful Melody!! I know the couple will treasure them!

Kendall - Melody,
I cannot wait to see all of the pictures from our session! If this is any indication of what all of them have in store, I am one lucky woman! These are photos that Brian and I will be able to treasure for the rest of our marriage. Thank you for being a wonderful part of our adventure.

Gretchen Hove - BEAUTIFUL as always!


Lindy and Michael’s Fairyland Club Wedding . Georgia Wedding Photographer . Chattanooga Wedding Photographer

Getaway Car Chattanooga Wedding Photographer

I’ve made a promise to myself to try to blog more regularly. So, I’m starting with Michael and Lindy’s wedding at the Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain. The Fairyland Club is located just a few miles from Rock City on Lookout Mountain right outside of Chattanooga, TN. I must admit that it is one of my favorite local venues. The staff there is always amazing and easy to work with and the possibilities are endless.

Lindy and Michael chose to have an outdoor ceremony on the front lawn followed by a cocktail hour on the patio then a reception inside the gorgeous Tudor style ballroom. Much thought and detail went in to the planning of their wedding and we were given free rein to choose locations and ideas for photos. Having photographed more than 30 weddings at the Fairyland Club over the years I always enjoy the challenge of finding something new and amazing for each and every client.

I love weddings. I love this wedding. The emotion, the energy, the love, the all out amazing fun that defined this wedding. We also had some serious fun in the Photo Booth!

Here is a sampling of images from their amazing wedding!
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Gretchen Hove - You make me want to get married all over again, just so I can hire you! Beautiful job as always Melody!

Simon - Beautiful work – top quality !

Corey Sewell - Stunning work, Melody! Love them all!

Jenica Lemmons - Absolutely BRILLIANT work!!!!


2012 Creativity Workshop with Melody Hood & Andrea Joki . October 12-14, 2012 . Chattanooga Photography Workshop

We are officially announcing the fourth annual Creativity Workshop for Photographers with Andrea Joki and Melody Hood in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The workshop will be held October 12-14 (Friday through Sunday).

The workshop provides in-depth demonstration and hands-on work in portrait photography, using flash and natural light to master any lighting and location situation, and added emphasis on workflow and effective post processing of your images.

All classes are jointly presented by Melody and Andrea; both presenters are available to all students throughout the three days. Class attendance is strictly limited to ensure full instruction attention. Shooting days are broken up in to groups with enough models that you will have plenty of one on one interaction with them and will be able to get the shots you want. Melody and Andrea are both open books, there are no questions they won’t answer openly and honestly.

A non refundable $849.50 deposit will reserve you a spot at the workshop. The remainder of $849.50 is due before the first day of the workshop.

To reserve your seat for the workshop, email Andrea or Melody at photolearningresource@gmail.com for payment information.

Workshop attendees should have a good basic knowledge of their camera (shooting in manual modes) and a basic understanding of Photoshop. The workshop schedule includes:

Day 1: Portfolio reviews, discussion of effective portrait concepts including lighting, composition, and using the environment. Followed by actual shooting on location – solving difficult shooting problems including using reflectors, scrims, and finding the best light.

Day 2: A shooting day: working with flashes, speedlights, and strobes. Off Camera Flash tools will be covered and we will practice OCF on actual subjects for a variety of problematic light situations. Fill flash, balancing the ambient versus the flashed light, and shooting for drama and impact are covered. Choosing Natural light locations will also be covered.

Day 3: The first half of the day covers hard business topics such as customer products, relations, marketing and pricing. The latter half of the day is dedicated to learning quick and efficient workflow using Lightroom 4, color theory, harnessing the most useful features of Photoshop CS5/6 (liquify, retouch work, safe color pops), and creating clean images with correct color and rich depth. Students are encouraged to post process images at the workshop and then receive feedback on their methods.

The workshop cost is $1699 and covers all three days of instruction, a take home workbook, and catered lunches on all three days. Payment is due before the workshop begins and is non refundable. Attendees need to have their own transportation to and from site. Accommodation recommendations are available. Prior to the workshop a Facebook group will be created for the attendees in order to help you get to know each other, share transportation, and find roommates if desired.

A wide variety of door prizes from our sponsors will be given to participants.

Email photolearningresource@gmail.com for availability, any questions you may have, and payment information.

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Preparing for your Portrait Session . Blog Carousel . Chattanooga Photographer

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Blog Carousel–The Photographer’s Portfolio | Dena Robles | More Than Words | Baby and Child Photographer - […] | Lauri | Allie | Danna | Julie | Melody | Corey | Tara | […]

dena robles - Oh my goodness, your experience speaks VOLUMES here Melody. I think I will be sending this link to all my clients pre-session! A successful portrait session really is a collaborative effort and I think that point gets lost too often.

Julie Tauro - Great advice for prepping for a portrait session. I especially love the advice to relax and enjoy the session! It is sometimes hard to do but it absolutely DOES make a world of difference to the end results!

Corey Sewell - Amazing article, Melody! Love all of the perfectly detailed advice!

chris plamann - wow, stellar advice as always, i’d love to permanently link to this article from my own website!!

Danna - what a wealth of information and knowledge you are! Thank you for sharing all this info. I agree with Dena, I may have to direct all inquiries to read this first.

lauri - These are all such great tips, and so thoroughly explained! Love this!


Sessions available in NYC, Hawaii, Atlanta, and Chattanooga

Jekyll Island Driftwood Beach Photography Photography Wedding Georgia

Spring is here and my calendar is nearly filled with shoots for so many wonderful clients. I do have a few dates still available for sessions (engagement, after-session, bridal, family, individual, senior, whatever you’d like!) and I do have some availability in locations that I’m traveling to for other jobs. Below is a list of my spring availability, please let me know when you’d like to schedule your session!

Thursday-Sunday, April 5-8 – New York City, NY
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, April 17, 18, and 20 – Maui, Hawaii – Wailea Beach Area
Wednesday, May 2, 9, 16, and 23 – Chattanooga, TN Area

That’s all we have available until early June. If you’re interested in booking a session (prices range from $500-1250) please email me at melodyhood@gmail.com for pricing and availability.
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What Weddings Are . What Love Is

Wedding at Lindsay Street Hall Chattanooga TN

I don’t blog enough, there’s no real excuse for it other than that I am busy, constantly busy, with clients and work and kids… so I slack on blogging. I don’t blog specific weddings or sessions anymore . As much as I would like to there just isn’t enough time in the day. I haven’t updated my website in months, some sections it’s even been years since I’ve updated the images. So, tonight, while images from an amazing engagement session were exporting I decided to go through some of my wedding and engagement session galleries and pull out some newer images to update my website with. As I sit here at my desk at nearly 3am going through photos, looking at your most precious memories, I get sentimental and I think about you, things that happened during your wedding, fits of laughter mid-engagement session, the way you looked at each other the first time you laid eyes on each other on your wedding day, things your mother said, tears in your fathers eyes…

Weddings, to me, are so much more than a job, a paycheck, a way to pay the bills… Every single wedding I’ve ever photographed is completely unique. While many of the events and timelines are the same every wedding is vastly different. Every love story is completely unique. I feel blessed that I’ve been there to capture it, to witness it, that I get to see parts of peoples relationships that most people never see or even know exist. I feel fortunate that you trust me to capture the most real moments in your life – your tears, your laughter, your special secret moments, your hidden kisses, your first glances, the look on your face when you realize that it’s really happening, that it’s actually here. It means the world to me to get to know your family, your friends, your passion for each other, the story of how you came together and who you are together.

From you, I have learned so much about relationships, about love, about life. I’ve learned that there are types of love – gentle love, caring love, silly love, amazing love, playful love, deep and serious love… and that no type is any less genuine or incredible than the other. I’ve seen and studied the relationships not just between the two of you – but with your parents, your grandparents, your friends, your siblings… I’ve learned that there are types of relationships and that no two are the same – ever. I’ve been there to capture first moments and, sadly (but thankfully), last moments. I’ve held hands, fixed dresses, solved problems, given hugs, received hugs, and I’ve cried, oh how I’ve cried at some of the most amazing moments I’ve ever been blessed to witness. I’ve laughed, I’ve smiled, I am blessed, blessed beyond belief to be privileged enough to be a part of capturing these moments. I’ve seen even the toughest of men cry, the sweetest and shyest of children get up the courage to walk down the aisle, I’ve seen your mother hold her breath or turn her head – whatever it took not to let the tears flow down her cheeks. I’ve seen fathers more proud than they’ve ever been in their lives. I’ve watched your grandparents squeeze each others hands and look in to each others eyes and I wonder what they’re thinking – if they are remembering their own wedding day, thinking of the struggles you will face, looking back at how far they’ve come, or if they’re just so proud of the legacy they’ve created – but it’s amazing to see that, with the squeeze of a hand and a single look they know exactly what the other is saying – without words. I get to see the first kiss – not the one at the altar – the real one, the one where, after you’re married and have walked back down the aisle you have that first moment alone together and you kiss… you look at each other – very much the way your grandparents did and you share an unspoken thought, and you kiss.

I could write a book of love stories. Each and every one different from the last and all of them forever burned in to my memory. Each one special and dear to me. Someone once asked me if I get bored photographing the same venues over and over again. No, the answer is no, because the wedding itself is never the same, the people are different, the emotion is different. How could I get bored? I’m not there for the scenery, I’m there for you… to capture who you are, to help write a page in your story, to save moments from your life that you, nor I, will ever forget. Because I photograph so many destination weddings all over the world I’m often asked if it’s difficult to photograph a wedding at a venue I’ve never seen – again, the answer is no. Of course I take the time to scope it out, find good light and great locations – but it’s just not all about that. It’s about you. It always has been and always will be about you. While we make sure to capture the little details – your shoes, your rings, your centerpieces, all the thought and hard work that you’ve put in to your wedding day – the details that matter are the looks, the glances, the subtle nuances that define your relationship, the range of emotion, the elation, the relief, the tightness in your embraces, the passion.

You amaze me. All of you. I am blessed and I am thankful to have learned so much, to have seen so much, to have been trusted with your stories and to capture amazing parts of it.

Someone asked me today when I planned to quit photographing weddings. I have a lot of commercial work. I teach photography to others. But the thought of stopping never crossed my mind. I won’t stop until I have to. I won’t quit looking harder, reaching further, capturing your most wonderful and intimate moments until I absolutely am physically unable to do it. Why? Because I love it. I love every love story, every amazing moment, every glance, every touch, every dream… It’s what I was made to do. Thank you, every one of you that has hired me to photograph your wedding, your family, the birth of your child, special boudoir photos “just for him”, thank you. You’ve touched my life and changed the way I see the world. You’ve given me more than I could ever give you in return.

I leave you with a few of my favorite recent love stories… Not just wedding stories – love stories. They’re all pretty amazing – each in their own unique way.

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Hope . Blog Carousel . Dedicated to my dear friend, Jen Burgess Thompson

In an effort to force myself to blog more often and to share the work of some of my wonderful colleagues I invite you to view our blog carousel. It is a network of blogs belonging to some truly incredible photographers where we choose a monthly theme and all post based on that theme, it’s fantastic to see other amazing photographers interpretations. This month’s theme is “Hope”. Once you’ve read my blog post be sure to click on the photographer’s link I’ve posted to read theirs, you’ll be able to do the same on her blog and can keep going until you’ve come full circle. It’ll be an amazing journey, I promise.

Hope is an incredible thing. It lifts you up, and sometimes lets you down. We all do it, each and every one of us has something we hope for, probably every single day. We hope for peace, love, good health, for our children to grow up to be amazing people, for our friends, family, and loved ones to be safe, happy, and healthy. When we fall asleep we hope we’ll wake up the next morning. We hope for lovely weather, to hit as few traffic lights as possible, that we haven’t lost our keys/phones/credit cards. We hope our homes will stay intact, that our dreams will come true, that we’ll be loved each and every day of our lives, that our hearts won’t be broken. We hope, we pray, we try to have faith in something – that’s what gets us through the day.

Right now our dear friend, Jen, is fighting the battle of her life. Recently diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer at the young age of 37, HOPE has become a big thing in her life, in all our lives. We HOPE every day that Jen’s cancer will go away, that she will be cured, that she will be able to be healthy and to raise her two young sons. We HOPE that no other woman ever has to go through what Jen is going through. We HOPE that a cure is found for Cancer, We HOPE that our children don’t get it, we HOPE that WE don’t ever have to deal with it.

Right now I’m in the process of directing a music video and Lance of www.lancesongs.com, one of the guys from the group, offered to write Jen a song, a song about hope. We recorded this just a few minutes ago in my messy living room.

To anyone fighting with disease or illness…. this song is also for you.

I HOPE all my blog readers will take a few minutes to visit Am I Still a Girl, Jen’s blog about her journey with Ovarian Cancer. Make a donation if you can – even if it’s just $5 – skip your morning Starbucks and donate that to her family, who is currently without income as she cannot work while she is recovering and fighting this cancer.

Jen, I love you, and I’m still burning my candle for you. For HOPE, for love, for healing.

Next up in the blog carousel if the fabulous Atlanta Family Photographer, Corey Sewell, be sure to visit her blog to view her take on this month’s theme of “Hope”, you won’t be disappointed.

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Simone Hanckel - Oh wow,Melody. Tears!! This is just so lovely 🙂 xox

Marmalade - This is so beautiful. What a wonderful expression of hope.

Corey - Beautiful! How sweet of him to do that for Jen!

Dena Robles - So touching, music really moves us and this one brought tears to my eyes. Please thank him for all of us!

Anna Mayer - Beautifully done and what a way to represent hope!

Danna - tears!! so beautiful!

Samara - Melody so beautiful and the absolute perfect expression of hope! xo

Julie - Wow…that is a perfect message for hope. Love it!


Love and Passion . Blog Carousel

In an effort to force myself to blog more often and to share the work of some of my wonderful colleagues I invite you to view our blog carousel. It is a network of blogs belonging to some truly incredible photographers where we choose a monthly theme and all post based on that theme, it’s fantastic to see other amazing photographers interpretations. This month’s theme is “Love and Passion”, a topic I could write endlessly about. Once you’ve read my blog post be sure to click on the photographer’s link I’ve posted to read theirs, you’ll be able to do the same on her blog and can keep going until you’ve come full circle. It’ll be an amazing journey, I promise.

My business name, Innamorata, means “One true love” or “A woman in love” (depending on translation) in Italian. On the back of my iPad you’ll find “L’amore è tutto” engraved. In Italian, it simply means, “Love is everything.” It’s my not-so-silent reminder that love truly is everything. It the grand scheme of life it’s all that matters in this world. No matter how many “things” you collect or how much money you have love is the only thing that carries on. When you’re no longer a part of this earth the people who love you won’t remember you as having a great car or a beautiful home, they’ll remember how they loved you and, more importantly, how you loved them.

Being a photographer it’s my job, most of the time, to capture love, to portray emotion, to document your love story. Whether it be the love story of your family, or the love story of the person you are marrying. In order to accurately capture your love story I have to study your relationship, learn it, know what drives it, what makes it special and what makes it work. I’ve discovered over the years that there are types of love, so very many types of love. All relationships are very different, the way you love is unique, the things that draw you together are individual to that very specific relationship. Even the way you love your children is unique to each child. No love is ever the same. I believe that’s why it hurts so deeply to lose someone that you love, because you’ll never have that exact love again with anyone else.

Love is a choice you make. Love is the decision to care deeply for another human being. True love is the decision to invest your heart, your mind, your soul, in to another person, regardless of the outcome. Love is everything, it is joy, it is sadness, it is exhilaration, it is pain, it is life, it is death, it is every emotion and every feeling imaginable.

Passion isn’t love. Love doesn’t require passion and passion doesn’t require love, but they work beautifully together. Passion is an entirely different emotion, a yearning, a longing, a chemical connection that drives you to want someone or some thing, to think about them when they’re not around. It’s the longing to feel their lips on yours, their hands on your skin, their arms around you. Passion is a completely otherworldly force that, I believe, is often mistaken for love. Passion is not a choice, it simply envelops you, drives you, sometimes comes out of nowhere and takes you by surprise. It’s that “I can’t live without you” feeling. I am passionate about my work, I am passionate about my children, I am passionate about my goals, my travels, flying lessons, friendships, life…

I can’t imagine a life without passion, or without making the choice to love the people who are close to me.

I choose to love my children, my family, my friends, many of my clients…And I love them in entirely different ways. For me, saying “I love you” doesn’t mean “I want to own you” or “I’m in love with you” it means “I care deeply about you, you matter to me, you are an important part of my life and I hope that you always will be. I choose to care about you on another level, one that leaves me vulnerable and open.”

Passion and love are both incredible on their own, but finding that special someone that combines the two is what makes life worth living. That’s what dreams are made of, that’s what life is about. I’ve been fortunate enough to capture hundreds, probably even thousands, of love stories through my lens… Here are a few recent ones that truly capture what love is to me…

(After you visit my page be sure to visit the fabulous Atlanta Family Photographer, Corey Sewell. you won’t be disappointed!)

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Calgary Baby Photographer -Bowes Photography -Baby Art™ - […] Next up is my friend Melody Hood. Check her out here. […]

Simone Hanckel - These are just divine Melody!

Anna Mayer - Oh, wonderful! That road image of the two young lovers is to die for! Beautiful.

Anna Mayer - Beautiful! I love them all. But that one on the road, of the two young lovers, is absolutely amazing. Just amazing. Nice work.

Corey Sewell - Stunning, images and beautiful words, Melody! I love the one of you and your kids – so beautiful and they look so much like you!

Danna - ohh Melody! These are just so beautiful! I LOVE your family image, your daughter looks so much like you. You are so lucky to have images like these, I really need more of me and the kids.

lauri - You are so incredibly talented at capturing couples in love! And your family is too cute!

dawn - your artistry just blows me away…not only technically with the beautiful color and lighting, but also in raw emotion! stunning!!!

Marmalade - Beautiful expression of love, Melody. Love them all but was positively awestruck by the 2nd shot of the couple kissing amongst the trees and of course, the last shot of you and your beautiful kids.