Getting out of the box.

Four years ago I was working at a photography studio. I was photographing events on the weekends and people in the studio during the week. I was in management and doubling as a sales associate, a photographer, an editor, and a receptionist. Small, family owned businesses require a lot of hats to be worn, so our team of 7 became jacks of all trades. One day, my boss came to me and gave me a stern, much needed photography critique. Then she asked me if I wanted to be a photographer or a manager because I couldn’t do both, and my photography was lacking what I made up for in management skills. In her defense, the company was growing larger and positions were becoming more specialized. She needed a manager. I wanted to be both. I went home feeling like I sucked as a photographer, and there was no hope for me to be a creative individual. I felt defeated. I felt stuck. I parked my car at my apartment, went upstairs, and cried.

The next day I walked out to my car with a heavy heart. It was then that I noticed a small postcard under my windshield wiper. The postcard advertised a company looking to hire photographers to take candid photos of the night life downtown. All that was required was a camera, and the willingness to work from 10pm-1am. I made a decision that day. You see, despite my hurt ego, I didn’t give up on my dreams. I knew I needed to be creative, and that I needed something for my left-brain as well. I made a choice to take responsibility for any lack of skill that was mentioned in the critique and to work towards improvement. This was an opportunity to further my photography skills, to learn how to better use flash lighting in dark environments, and a way to make some extra cash and save up for a new camera.

After one year of photographing drunk people in bars all over town, I had had some pretty wild adventures, and some pretty exhausting nights. I had been given free access to Fashion Week, Local festivals, and even concerts with front row VIP passes. I had met celebrities. I had made new connections and gained new clients from people I met while working. The guy who owned the business even passed along a few weddings to me. I had also been puked on, spit on, dumped alcohol on, and kicked out of bars. I sacrificed my Friday and Saturday nights to make 25 cents per photo with a cap of 40 photos per bar, per night. That’s $10. If you work fast, you can hit about 10 bars a night and make $100….IF it was busy. It wasn’t all glamorous let me tell you, but there were perks, and all the while I stayed focused on my goal…the reason why I took the job. Improvement, growth, and my love of photography. I ended each night around 3am sweaty, or freezing. Sometimes soaking wet from rain. I would edit and upload all the images at Waffle House while eating free leftover blueberry waffles from my friend, the waitress, Shariffa. In one year I had saved up enough money to buy a Canon 5D MarkII. At the time, it was the ‘best of the best’ camera.

Fast forward 3 more years and here I am. I realized that if I started my own photography business, I wouldn’t have to choose between management and photography. I didn’t choose. I started a business. This morning I photographed a health coach who reinvented herself after a divorce left her idenity-less. This evening I get to photograph a woman who started a 50+ women’s group. Right now I sit here writing on my blog in a coffee shop. Exercising my creative juices in a way that is fairly new to me: writing. You don’t have to stop growing and learning and trying new things- EVER. You don’t have to fit into a mold and be something someone else tells you that you should. You don’t have to be something just because you’re good at it, and you don’t have to miss out on something else just because you aren’t good at it. You are never too old, or too young, or too inexperienced, or too ANYTHING to do what you want to do and be who you want to be. Not if you make a decision to commit. Not if you are willing to get your hands a little dirty and work hard. Not if you are ok with making some sacrifices and getting over your ego. Not if you have faith.

Two weeks ago the guy who owned the night life business referred me to another guy who works for a high-end liquor distributor. He asked me to photograph Rock Fest. Imagine this, I am back stage with Breaking Benjamin and Halestorm getting ready to go on stage with Potter from 98ROCK (the radio station) and I run past this lady standing in line to get Ben’s autograph. She stops me and says “How in the world did you get this gig?! I am a photographer and love this band and would kill for this opportunity!!” I didn’t have the time to share this story….but in the off-chance that she maybe looked me up, here you go. There’s the story. 🙂

001 CROP0191 CROP0349 CROP0398 CROP0425 CROP0631 CROP0640 CROP0696 CROP0784 CROP1008

Previous Story
Next Story

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Elizabeth Hutson
    May 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Beautiful testimony! Kudos to your determination and drive! Rock On Melissa!

  • Reply
    nike huarahce
    April 9, 2017 at 4:29 am

    I precisely wanted to thank you so much all over again. I am not sure the things I might have accomplished without these secrets revealed by you directly on that subject matter. It was before an absolute terrifying condition in my position, nevertheless observing the very specialized form you handled it forced me to jump with happiness. I’m just thankful for the assistance and in addition pray you find out what a powerful job you happen to be providing instructing the mediocre ones with the aid of your web site. I am certain you haven’t encountered any of us.

  • Reply
    yeezy boost 350
    April 9, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    I want to get across my love for your generosity in support of folks who require assistance with the area. Your very own dedication to getting the message along appeared to be exceptionally productive and has empowered men and women much like me to attain their aims. Your invaluable useful information indicates a lot a person like me and still more to my colleagues. With thanks; from each one of us.

  • Reply
    pandora jewelry
    April 10, 2017 at 2:00 am

    I needed to compose you a little observation so as to say thanks as before for these unique techniques you have provided on this site. It was quite incredibly generous of people like you to offer without restraint just what a number of us could have sold for an ebook to generate some bucks for their own end, most importantly considering the fact that you might have tried it in the event you desired. Those tactics likewise served to be the good way to realize that other people online have the same zeal similar to my very own to grasp lots more when considering this issue. I am certain there are numerous more enjoyable periods ahead for individuals who examine your blog post.

  • Reply
    chrome hearts
    April 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I am just writing to make you know of the magnificent encounter my friend’s child obtained reading through your web site. She picked up numerous issues, including how it is like to possess an excellent teaching heart to let most people completely thoroughly grasp selected tricky issues. You truly surpassed people’s expected results. I appreciate you for supplying those powerful, trusted, educational and also unique guidance on that topic to Tanya.

  • Reply
    yeezy boost 350
    April 10, 2017 at 7:29 pm

    I’m writing to make you understand what a awesome experience our child enjoyed studying yuor web blog. She mastered a wide variety of things, which include what it is like to have a very effective coaching mindset to let others with no trouble have an understanding of selected hard to do subject areas. You actually exceeded visitors’ desires. Thanks for giving such productive, trusted, informative and fun tips on your topic to Gloria.

  • Reply
    Adidas NMD Runner PK Black Grey
    April 10, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I am typically to running a blog and i really admire your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I’m going to bookmark your web site and preserve checking for new information.

  • Reply
    true religion
    April 11, 2017 at 12:04 am

    I needed to compose you the little bit of word in order to thank you as before over the pretty suggestions you’ve shown on this website. This is really particularly generous with people like you to present unhampered all numerous people could have offered for an ebook to earn some bucks on their own, mostly given that you might have done it in the event you desired. Those good ideas also acted as the easy way to fully grasp some people have a similar zeal much like my very own to understand whole lot more concerning this condition. I’m certain there are several more fun situations up front for folks who start reading your blog post.

  • Reply
    timberland shoes
    April 11, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I simply wanted to type a simple note to express gratitude to you for those precious tricks you are writing at this site. My extended internet investigation has finally been honored with reputable content to go over with my family. I ‘d assert that most of us site visitors are unequivocally lucky to exist in a useful community with so many special professionals with good advice. I feel really happy to have encountered your entire webpages and look forward to some more brilliant moments reading here. Thanks a lot again for everything.

  • Reply
    yeezy boost
    April 12, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I precisely desired to say thanks yet again. I am not sure the things I could possibly have carried out without these concepts revealed by you relating to that area of interest. It was before a frustrating issue for me, but encountering a new specialised form you handled that forced me to weep with gladness. Now i’m grateful for the service and then hope that you recognize what an amazing job you happen to be accomplishing teaching some other people through the use of your web blog. Most probably you’ve never encountered all of us.

  • Reply
    adidas nmd
    April 12, 2017 at 8:20 am

    I simply wanted to write a simple comment so as to say thanks to you for all of the fabulous tips and tricks you are placing at this site. My particularly long internet lookup has at the end been rewarded with awesome knowledge to talk about with my classmates and friends. I ‘d assert that many of us readers actually are unequivocally blessed to dwell in a good website with so many brilliant individuals with valuable plans. I feel very privileged to have encountered your website and look forward to many more fun moments reading here. Thanks a lot once again for all the details.

  • Reply
    atlanta falcons jersey
    April 13, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an extremely spectacular chance to discover important secrets from this blog. It’s usually very ideal and jam-packed with a lot of fun for me and my office fellow workers to visit your website particularly 3 times per week to read the fresh tips you have. And lastly, I am also always contented concerning the great suggestions served by you. Selected two areas in this posting are basically the finest we have ever had.

  • Reply
    reebok outlet
    April 13, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    My wife and i have been thankful Edward could do his investigation by way of the ideas he discovered out of the blog. It’s not at all simplistic just to choose to be releasing key points that many others might have been making money from. And we fully grasp we now have you to be grateful to for this. All of the illustrations you made, the simple site navigation, the friendships your site help create – it’s many astonishing, and it is facilitating our son in addition to us believe that that article is amusing, and that is pretty important. Thank you for all!

  • Reply
    adidas nmd r1
    April 14, 2017 at 6:12 am

    I must express my respect for your generosity giving support to those individuals that require help with this important subject matter. Your real commitment to passing the solution along appeared to be remarkably helpful and have surely encouraged workers like me to achieve their objectives. Your own warm and helpful tutorial means a great deal a person like me and even more to my office colleagues. Warm regards; from everyone of us.

  • Reply
    michael kors factory
    April 15, 2017 at 2:19 am

    Thanks a lot for providing individuals with such a nice opportunity to read critical reviews from this blog. It’s usually so beneficial plus full of fun for me and my office peers to visit your website at the very least thrice in 7 days to find out the fresh stuff you will have. Not to mention, I’m also always contented for the magnificent thoughts you serve. Selected two ideas in this post are undoubtedly the very best we have had.

  • Reply
    longchamp handbags
    April 15, 2017 at 10:16 am

    I not to mention my pals were viewing the good tactics found on the website and then then I got a terrible suspicion I never thanked the web blog owner for them. My boys are already certainly joyful to study them and now have extremely been making the most of these things. Thanks for getting considerably considerate and for making a choice on varieties of extraordinary subject areas most people are really eager to be informed on. Our own honest regret for not expressing gratitude to earlier.

  • Reply
    yeezy boost 350
    April 15, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I’m commenting to let you understand of the excellent discovery our princess encountered checking yuor web blog. She realized many things, which included what it is like to have a wonderful coaching nature to let most people just learn about various complex topics. You really surpassed my expectations. Thank you for coming up with those warm and friendly, dependable, edifying and fun tips on that topic to Jane.

  • Reply
    pandora outlet
    April 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

    My spouse and i felt really happy Emmanuel managed to finish up his homework because of the precious recommendations he gained out of your web site. It’s not at all simplistic just to continually be giving away methods a number of people might have been making money from. Therefore we fully grasp we now have you to appreciate because of that. The main illustrations you’ve made, the straightforward site navigation, the friendships you help to promote – it’s got all spectacular, and it’s really helping our son in addition to us imagine that that issue is exciting, which is certainly seriously vital. Thank you for all!

  • Reply
    April 16, 2017 at 10:34 am

    I have to show appreciation to the writer just for rescuing me from this challenge. Just after looking out throughout the world wide web and meeting opinions that were not powerful, I figured my entire life was gone. Living minus the solutions to the problems you’ve sorted out by way of your good review is a serious case, and the ones which may have in a negative way damaged my career if I had not come across the website. Your own knowledge and kindness in maneuvering the whole thing was invaluable. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t discovered such a stuff like this. I can also at this time relish my future. Thank you very much for this reliable and result oriented help. I will not be reluctant to endorse your blog to any individual who would like direction on this matter.

  • Reply
    adidas neo
    April 16, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I wish to show my love for your kind-heartedness supporting men who have the need for help with this particular content. Your personal commitment to passing the message all-around had become incredibly advantageous and has in most cases enabled associates much like me to achieve their aims. Your amazing helpful facts implies so much a person like me and even further to my peers. With thanks; from everyone of us.

  • Reply
    fitflops clearance
    April 17, 2017 at 12:39 am

    I must express my thanks to this writer for bailing me out of such a issue. Right after checking through the the net and seeing concepts which are not beneficial, I believed my entire life was done. Living without the presence of approaches to the issues you’ve solved by way of your good post is a crucial case, as well as those which may have adversely damaged my career if I had not encountered the blog. Your good training and kindness in playing with everything was very helpful. I am not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come upon such a stuff like this. I can now look ahead to my future. Thanks for your time very much for the professional and results-oriented guide. I will not be reluctant to propose your site to any person who should have guide on this issue.

  • Reply
    adidas stan smith uk
    April 17, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I’m just commenting to let you know of the awesome experience my cousin’s girl had reading your site. She figured out numerous pieces, which included how it is like to possess a wonderful coaching heart to get the others effortlessly gain knowledge of various tricky things. You undoubtedly did more than our desires. Many thanks for coming up with the important, trustworthy, informative and cool thoughts on that topic to Jane.

  • Reply
    Elisa Brown
    April 30, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I came to your Getting out of the box. – MELISSA MILEY PHOTOGRAPHY page and noticed you could have a lot more traffic. I have found that the key to running a website is making sure the visitors you are getting are interested in your subject matter. We can send you targeted traffic and we let you try it for free. Get over 1,000 targeted visitors per day to your website. Start your free trial: – Unsubscribe here:

  • Reply
    adidas yeezy
    May 17, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    you’re in reality a excellent webmaster. The website loading velocity is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have done a magnificent job on this subject!
    adidas yeezy

  • Reply
    washington redskins jerseys
    May 21, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, appreciate it for all the great posts.

  • Reply
    cheap nike shoes
    May 21, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    You are my breathing in, I possess few blogs and often run out from to brand.

  • Reply
    fitflops sale clearance
    May 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Great ?I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your web site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related info ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it in the least. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or anything, site theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task.

  • Reply
    nike blazer pas cher
    May 25, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I’ll immediately take hold of your rss as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me realize in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  • Reply
    carolina jerseys
    May 25, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I got what you intend, appreciate it for posting .Woh I am delighted to find this website through google. “Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public.” by Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.