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Rising Stars: Meet Melena DeFlorimonte

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melena DeFlorimonte.

Hi Melena, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hello all, my name is Melena and I am a DMV based still life and event photographer and the owner of M. Shonell Photography. I developed a passion for documenting moments very early in life, around the age of ten and received my first camera at the age of 12. I enjoyed taking pictures of my family during family events. We are a close-knit family so family gatherings were frequent and I was never without my camera. So much so that my family affectionately called me “paparazzi.” Documenting life’s moments just gave me joy but I never imagined it could be anything other than a hobby.

It wasn’t until 2006, while in nursing school, that I realized that I had a keen eye for photography. I purchased my first DSLR after graduating in 2007 and so the real journey began. It would take five years before I felt confident enough to monetize my craft. I photographed everything from portraits, events, food, products and even a few weddings. I have served the most amazing clients over the years, but it was the pandemic that brought me back to what I love most – food and product photography. The pivot was bittersweet but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Overall, it’s been a beautiful journey thus far, but I would say the biggest challenge is staying motivated and inspired. As creatives, we are expected to be in a constant state of creation, but that’s not always easy or realistic. Being clear about what drives my passion and removing myself from anything that doesn’t is fundamental to remaining inspired. This is why niching down my business was so important to me.

Another struggle is determining the delicate balance between being financially accessible and charging rates that reflects my skill level and worth. The fear is that you will lose clients, but the reality is that the individuals I am meant to work with will find me. That is something I believe wholeheartedly. Lastly, self-doubt. Who doesn’t experience this, right? I’ve certainly struggled with this at times over the years. For me, conquering self-doubt is achieved through investment in my craft, refraining from the comparison game and positive self-talk.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in food and product photography as well as events. My style is bold, vibrant and lively. I’m also know for my highly detailed macro photography. My work brings to life the vision of product based small business owners and local chefs and restaurants. With my event photography, I am know for capturing the authentic moments experienced by guests as well as the awesome detail work that helps to bring the event to life.

What does success mean to you?
Success is maintaining a trajectory of growth and evolution in order to achieve my goals. It doesn’t always have to be monetary. It could be as simple as mastering a new skill.

Pricing:

  • Product Photography starting at $500
  • Food photography starting at $700
  • Event photography $175/hr

Contact Info:

  • Email: mshonell@mshonellphoto.com
  • Website: mshonellphoto.com
  • Instagram: @mshonellphoto; @esculentbymsp


Image Credit:

Melena DeFlorimonte/M. Shonell Photography Portraits: N.Cee Photography

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