When the kids come home for the holidays

When the kids are home for the holidays, you seize the moment and make memories. The Schneider family had the brilliant idea to capture the memories through photos. 

One of their big requests was to try to get their dog Fiona in on the action. And why not…she’s a super cute pup?!

Look at this one – she’s looking right at the camera! What a stunning little specimen. 

We staged the photo session at the family’s Pittsboro home, which was naturally gorgeous and full of fall color. The family specifically loved this transplanted Japanese maple. 

Following the group portraits, we took a few individual shots, including these fine wine/bourbon drinkers. They warmed up to the camera in a wonderful way – with their favorite beverages!

And Fiona’s favorite family member wanted a personal photo with his dog.

The mother-daughter photos always steal my heart. 

And a mom-and-dad photo for good measure. 

All in all, this family totally rocked their photo shoot. I can’t thank the Schneiders enough for making this gig so enjoyable!

Johnson family brings on the charm

The Johnson family has captured my heart once again! I got to walk the fine campus of UNC-Chapel Hill with these gorgeous people for their session. Mark is currently finishing an advanced degree in education at UNC, so the campus holds a big place in their hearts.

Plus, it’s gorgeous!  We kicked off our session in McCorkle Place, which was painted in beautiful fall color.

Also, people walking dogs. Check out how I quickly removed this dog-walking photo bomber, below.

We wanted to recreate this photo on the steps of South Building from two years ago, but currently South Building is blanketed with Campaign banners (possibly for the next 10 years :( …yikes).


We had to frame this year’s photo further to the left of the columns of South.

And then there was my attempt to get smiles out of big brother Jacob. He was fighting an ear infection (and we didn’t know it), so truly he was a trooper. And he cracked a few adorable smiles. 

Baby Julia will be turning one in January and she was displaying her best crawling and balancing talents. She is very sweet and on the move!

Here’s one of my favorites from the session. They look absolutely snuggly and cozy and warm. Those kiddo’s sweaters are too cute.

Thank you, Johnson family, for trusting me with your precious memories!

B is for bubbles

I attempted to make this session with baby Max and his family all about the bubbles. I thought I could distract from the camera with those enticing bubbles (and a new bubble machine, too). But not all plans are destined for success.

Folks, I was outsmarted.

Max knew better. He knew what I was up to. Don’t get me wrong, he liked the bubbles, but he is also as smart as an engineer. He wanted to dig into the bubble machine and figure out the mechanics. How does this contraption work?

Most babies leave it at, oooooohhh shiny bubbles.

Anyway, so Max made me work for it. I had to beg and plead for smiles. But oh, they were worth the wait. He’s perfection – eyes, nose, lips, brain. Everything. I love this kid and his laid back family.


Just add a bow

Guys, I have great news! Shopping for Melanie Busbee Photo gift cards just got easier. Just visit my gift giving page and purchase an e-card in any amount ranging from $5 to $500. Gift cards can be sent instantly or scheduled for a future date. 

Keep this in mind when considering summer and fall photo sessions.

Happy shopping (and who doesn’t love shopping?),


Ready for take off

For years I’ve been told that the RDU Observation Park is a must-visit gem of the Triangle, particularly with young children. Today, I finally brought my children to check it out, and it did not disappoint. 

It has an observation deck to watch planes of all sizes take off and land, a climbing area built over a sandpit, a “runway,” sprawling grassy areas and restrooms. The air is filled with the soundtrack of jet planes. It is only a short walking distance from the General Aviation Terminal, which is air conditioned and features big glass windows for private flight viewing.

This is one of those magnificent locations that is fun for families, unique and works quite well for some interesting photos. I’m so glad I packed a camera to test out the space on my favorite subjects, my Busbee babies.

A different day, a different toddler

Meeting a new family is always exhilarating and always keeps me on my toes. As a photographer, I go into each session confident with expectations on lighting, posing and the technicalities of my camera. But meeting new families creates an ever-changing environment in which to work.

I get excited to learn – if the family has children – the kids’ names and ages. Before shooting the King family’s session, I discovered their daughter, Dolan, was almost exactly the same age as my daughter.

Oh, this should be a piece of cake, I thought. Relating to Dolan will be exactly the same as relating to my daughter. Dolan will offer smiles galore at the mention of puppies and chocolate, just like my daughter.

But, in the world of photography and families it doesn’t quite work that way. Each child is so very different, and each child performs differently in front of the camera. Some choose not to perform at all.

Lucky for me, that wasn’t the case with sweet Dolan. She and I made friends quickly, though of course it was a different friendship than the one I have with my daughter.

Dolan led us all through the park, as if she knew the way, as if she had been there many times. Dolan’s favorite game was throwing sticks and rocks in the river to watch them make a big splash. Dolan loved finding structures to climb – rocks and steps and bridges. We held hands on the walk back to our cars.

I treasured my time with this sweet two-year-old gal!

Soothing techniques

Every newborn photo session is unique just like every baby is unique. Thus, my job meeting and photographing these little ones never gets boring. I have a new experience every time. I get to know families personally, as I am invited into their lives at such a precious, intimate time.

Being a newborn photographer means not only making sure a great photo comes to life. It means engaging in private moments with a family – sometimes brand new parents. Some of the finest compliments I have received during these moments are words like, “You are so good with my baby. You are so patient with my baby. Ohhh, so that’s how you soothe a baby.  I’m learning new techniques from you.”

This means so much to me. Knowing that I’ve comforted both baby and parent is a really critical part of the process. I thank every parent that trusts me with their sweet bundle and with capturing these priceless moments. It is a true honor.

Baby Kate was one of my latest sessions with brand new parents. At nine days old, she was alert enough to know what was going on, but still young enough to need many baby zzzz’s. The parents and I spent some time together calming her, rocking her and patting her to sleep.  She was such an angel and I loved that her parents got to be a part of the session in that way. I always try to capture some of the behind the scenes, candid moments. Those are the ones parents think they will remember forever (because those early days seem soooooo long); eventually it all becomes a faint memory.



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The moment before the photo

A significant portion of the photographer’s time during a photo session is spent watching and waiting for the photo to happen.  We get in place, we get our exposure perfect, we spend time getting to know the subject and family members.  Many times I find myself with my lens focused on the space that the subject is about to occupy – where the swing is about to enter the frame or where the baby is about to crawl. This photo is a perfect example of what I mean.

I am squatting in front of a tree, my camera focused on a 2-year-old girl’s shoe, waiting for her to muster the confidence to step up into the tree where she’ll enter my frame. It is a funny part of photography how we really inspect the photo from outside and in.



Just married

I left Chelcey and Brian’s wedding reception blissful, hopeful, and happy. That’s just the effect that these two have. I truly wasn’t ready to leave them even after having spent the entire afternoon and evening with this delightfully in-love couple.
Chelcey is a dream bride. She is genuine in voicing her opinions yet somehow oddly focused on pleasing those around her, even on her wedding day.  It was amazing to see her selflessness.  Her husband Brian is the same way.  Together, they make you feel welcome.
This was a photo idea that Chelcey came up with, and is one of my favorites from the day.  Isn’t she gorgeous?

Chelcey Veil