Creative Calling: Melissa, Lissa Ryan Photography

It’s a new month so it’s def time for a new series! Since I’ve moved to Portland, I’ve had more time to think about this space and the direction I want it to go. I’ve got many changes coming {yay!} and this one is very exciting!

Since I am consistently inspired by women who are doing “big things,” I wanted a way to share their stories with you all. As a photographer of yogis, brides, mothers and all the rest of the things, I meet a lot of really amazing women. These women are business owners, risk-takers, mothers, friends and all around talents in many ways. Inspiration comes in many forms and when I see it, I have to share it. Thus, this series which I have named “Creative Calling” was born.

Each month {typically the first Monday – life happened this month!}, I’ll share a new inspiring woman who has taken a leap and pursued her creative calling in some way. There are no limits on the professions or callings that these women can have, just that they are awesome and doing things that inspire and empower the rest of rest of us.

Since this is my first month and I just left a city full of incredibly talented women, it is natural that I share one of my fav creatives in DC, Melissa from Lissa Ryan Photography. Melissa is a fab DC-based Lifestyle and Wedding photog and I had the pleasure of working with her as my second shooter a few times this year! :)

Yes, I am sharing another photog’s work. We’re all one big community and need to support each other more!

Melissa and I met on the internet. ha…really! We connected through a Facebook photographer’s group where I was looking for a second shooter. I checked out her work and it was beautiful so we shot a few weddings together. Not only is her photography gorgeous, but she’s a super funny and nice gal who inspires me since she took a huge leap and quit her fancy lawyer job to be a full-time photog. Yay for following your dreams!

So…let’s meet Melissa and see some of her beautiful work!


Tell us about you. What made you start your own photo biz?

Do you want the long story or the short one?  :)  In short, I’ve loved taking photos most of my life – I still have, use, and love the very first film camera my parents bought meI was always too shy to ask people to let me take their pictures, though, until just a few years ago.  I finally grew out of that (for the most part) and once I did, I realized that portrait photography is something I really love and wanted to pursue as more than just a hobby.

lissaryanphoto8 What inspires you?

The in-between moments inspire me the most.  The snuggle a new mom gives her baby when she thinks I’m done taking a photo, the sweet giggle between an engaged couple in one of the still moments during a session, the sheer joy on the faces of a newly married couple right after they’ve been pronounced married – these are the things I love to capture.


How would you describe your style?

I’m still working on defining my style, but right now, I’m really drawn to light airy images.  For my portrait work, I like to keep things as natural and just document things as they unfold.  For weddings, I’ve found that a little more direction is typically necessary to keep things moving and flowing, but I still try to maintain the sense of documenting the event organically in my images.



Tell us about a typical day in the life of Lissa Ryan?

If I’m lucky, a typical day includes a fair amount of both shooting images and editing them.  I try to keep myself engaged and learning by interspersing my client work with a lot of personal projects as well.  I’m particularly drawn to lifestyle home and food images right now and have been trying to document my own cooking efforts occasionally with some attempts at prop and food styling – they’re HARD!

How do you stay centered?

Spending time with my better half and our pup!

lissaryanphoto10{This is Melissa and her hubs at their anniversary session earlier this year – photo by the fab Laura Gordon.}

Nikon or Canon {I know the answer!} and fav lens on a wedding day:

NIKON!  :)  I love my 85 mm, and if I could, I’d shoot an entire wedding on it, but I usually can’t due to space restrictions.  My 50 mm is my workhorse.

If you could shoot a wedding anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Wow, that’s a tough question!  There are so many places that I’ve already been that I’d love to shoot, and so many places I haven’t yet been where I might like to shoot!!  Limiting myself to only places I’ve actually already been, I’d love to shoot a wedding in Ireland – the green, rolling hills, the mist, the RAINBOWS!  All of it speaks to me, and it’s still one of my favorites places I’ve visited. {Andrea: yes! that would be fab!!}


I wish I could tell my 24-year-old self to:

Travel more.  As much as possible.  And worry less about the future.

What’s your advice to women wanting to quit their full-time job and work for themselves?

Courage and planning.  I jumped in without really know what I was doing  (still don’t a lot of the time!), but some planning would have helped!


Backstreet Boys or N’Sync? :)

Oh, N’Sync for sure.  I am not ashamed to admit that their concert was, to this day, the best (and most entertaining) show I’ve ever seen.  :)


Thanks, Melissa for sharing about your life and biz and being my first creative caller! {that’s a thing!}! DC-ers – if you need a wedding or lifestyle photog, def contact Melissa. She gets my seal of approval! :)

Here’s where you can connect with Melissa:

Happy Tuesday! :)