We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Bandli and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
After I finish a session I’m super pumped up about showing my clients their amazing photos while everything is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
I love riding the photography high, so one thing I like to do after every session (assuming time allows for it) is to get started working on their images right away. Culling through all of them, picking out a few favorite sneaks to send or post online and then surprising them with a full gallery immediately. I always find that if I wait longer than a day to go through the images, I get anxious and then it feels more like work to edit them. In the end- my clients are always so incredibly grateful – happy to recommend me and it’s one less thing on my plate, allowing me to be mentally fresh for my next client.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I got my bachelors in art/Photography I actually didn’t do anything with it for a few years. Ive always been a creative soul but the idea of “The Starving Artist” occasionally loomed in the back of my head, so I worked a ton of meaningless but well paying jobs after I graduated that helped pay the bills. Getting where I am today wasn’t easy only in the sense that after making decent consistent money, it was scary to let them go and have photography be my only source of income. But at one point my photography work became so sought after, that it made more sense to pursue my passion and let go of the rest- the fact I got to make a career out of it was and has always felt like such a blessing to me (but it took me a while to jump in).
I relish in the fact that I’m able to go places I never would have been able to see or meet amazing people because of this wonderful craft. When I first started off I took random gigs that lead to more random gigs (for example: headshots, which opened the door to my first wedding, then I got asked to do food photography). Each time I went in to it scared, not knowing how I would do and each time I finished, I felt more proud of myself-not only in the amazing images I produced but in the mental ability it took to overcome my fears and jump right in with a “can do” attitude. Obviously over the years I have perfected my crafts in areas such as weddings, bachelorette parties and family portraits but every now and then I’ll get asked to photograph food or other things and I have all the confidence in the world that I’ll blow it out of the park and that is such a wonderful/powerful feeling- (to know no matter what gets thrown at me creatively, I’ll excel).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
You know, I’m am just about one of the biggest foodies out here- So I would definitely take my best friend to all of my favorite restaurants. For breakfast I suggest: Chulas, Cheeky’s and Pinocchio’s. For Lunch: El Patron or Tac/Quila and for dinner: Birba, Workshop, Eddie V’s, Bar Cecil, and Wally’s of the Desert. And we can’t forget about my favorite libation places: Boozhounds, PS Air Bar and Libation Room.
Fun Instagram worthy places to go check out: The Pink Cabana at the Sands Hotel, The Parker Hotel, Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Spring Tramway, Palm Springs Windmills, The Rowan Hotel (nnly hotel that has a rooftop pool with views of the entire valley), just to name a few.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Growing up my mom was always taking photos of our family/friends and my dad always encouraged the creative aspect of still photography. I think the combination of the two definitely molded me in my style of shooting- one being more fun and out going/fearless to ask others if they wanted to be in a photo and the other having an artistic eye and technicality to getting the shot. I find that the two should go hand in hand (assuming you want to photograph individuals or groups). If you’re great with people but don’t know how to shoot portraits of them well- you won’t succeed. Equally- if you know how to get an amazing artistic shot but are too afraid to go out there and approach them- you won’t have anything productive to show new clients in your portfolio. It was never really something pushed on me- but I feel being around photography so much in one way or another as a little kid definitely inspired me to become the photographer I am today.