We love the finest things – family, friends, togetherness, home…and the occasional exemplary cupcake.  We’re thrilled you made it here…cozy up to see the latest sessions, our favorite things and a dose of inspiration for living a life committed and connected to what matters most.  Hope we remind you of your finest things so you can treasure, savor and celebrate them!

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i cringe just a little at the word ‘perfect’.  do you? it seems like an impossible standard for everyone but about 3 people i know.  but strangely enough, i’ve had it used to describe my work multiple times (and i realize it’s always given as a kind compliment so it’s received that way).

i’m on a mission to explain/dispel/debunk it however.

i only need 1/60th of a second to look a certain way…and yes, i have to time my shutter *to* that particular moment but the above image illustrates how quickly things change…and honestly, i love them both.

it’s not about perfect.  it’s about all the love & goodness pulsing around in our lives & relationships.
so i position myself at the intersections of life where i see lots of it – weddings and families.  thank you for making me the happiest photographer around.

see the beautiful things.

plan a little fall adventure.

find calm and keep it.

be with who makes your heart fullest.  

xoxo, -melanie-

fall on the farm [ limited edition mini session ]

fall on the farm lexington portrait photographer

fall is here!

and if you’d like a lovely image for a holiday card, we can help!


limited edition [ fall on the farm ] mini session

when: saturday, oct 17th

where: a family farm outside lexington with barns and a lovely ky view!

kindly pick your preferred time


details: a 15-20 minute mini session, $175 session fee

1-2 children (or you and a child), for additional siblings/family members please add $25/person. since these will be outside, please plan for the possibility of cooler weather. prints, digital files, etc are purchased a la carte after you’ve had a chance to see the images.

on nov 17th, we’ll present 5 too cute images! email katrina (info@melaniemauer.com) for a spot as soon as you can – they fill quickly!! can’t wait to see you!


the image above is a set of letters audrey made me for a recent trip – yes, i feel like i live with a real life angel.

it’s been a tradition of mine for a while to leave a letter for her for each day we’re apart and it was sweet to see her return love in the same way.

there’s a mutual exchange of learning how to love better from children if our hearts are open to it.  and the vehicle – letters, hugs, cuddling in the morning…it’s always so simple.  and she certainly teaches me a lot more than i teach her.

grateful i have the view of life i do where i see how well you love your family, too.


we have some really beautiful plans in store that i’ll be sharing on our newsletter so be sure to sign up on our homepage!  and if it’s best for these notes to come straight to our inbox there’s a way to do that as well with the ‘subscribe’ spot to the left.

fall slips away so quickly so if you’re thinking of a shoot with those you love, jot us a note soon (like today!): info@melaniemauer.com – the days get so short that it’s nice to do it sooner rather than later!


loveliness from around the web

childrens’ books about paris – i’m all about traveling with children.  one way we make it more special is reading beautiful books beforehand…i remember how much more art meant to me post-art history classes so we try to learn so we can enjoy more.

if there’s music, culture, architecture we can explore ahead of time, we try to.

this collection of books on paris feels special because when i was pregnant with audrey, jason and i climbed the steps of the eiffel tower and at the bottom i bought a reproduction of the poster used when the eiffel tower was unveiled (can you believe it was meant to be temporary??) – it informed the color selection for her nursery and she gazed at it for years and has always been fascinated.  her one wish is to sit on the expansive lawn and sketch it :)  so when we head to switzerland in a few years, we’ll be making a stop (shhhh! it’s a secret).  glad that life can be filled with some dreamy things like paris!






xoxo, -melanie-


sentimental: resulting from feeling rather than reason or thought
example: a sentimental attachment, a sentimental favorite

usually, i err on preferring a clean surface over sentimentality for things.
i actually like winnowing down my stuff.
some people have a 1 in/1 out rule…mine is probably 1 in/2 out.
a flip has been switched and it’s just how i prefer life.
less stuff feels great.

but there’s one exception.
great photos.

i’ll take a cluster on the fridge, a scattering of them in tiny frames on a bedside table, a few on the bookshelf, please.

they’re the perfect little touch.

and i’m just now seeing how amazing they are and the sentiment attached to them. largely because the baby photo has stood still while the subject has turned into a real life almost 10 yr old.

they’re a treasure.

i understand why they’re the #1 thing people grab them if they have to run out of their home due to fire.
and i feel honored to make them with you of the people you love.

i just got out of the car from a quick trip with a friend and she said “i don’t know the people in your photos but after seeing them, i *want* to.”

and i thought to myself, maybe it’s because i adore the people i work with and it’s hard for a photo i make to not have that bias.

if there’s a tiny spot in your home that could use an image of a happy and loving moment on it, let me know…it’s what i do :)

lovelies from around the web:

i heartily recommend donnia krebs for piano lessons if you have need of a piano teacher for your young child – i’ve known her family for years and if my sweeter-than-pie sister in law wasn’t so adept, i’d go this direction. (this is for you wendy!)

on a recent travel assignment a few hours away, i was shown a hallway that was lovingly referred to as “the wall of melanie” – family photos from the last couple of years…and i beheld my new favorite frame! the 25×25 in white is a thing of beauty!

better than english – a collection of words in other languages that describe something perfectly!


xoxo, -melanie-

8 tips for more wonderful travel

this summer we clocked 6700 driving miles in one trip.*
and we loooooved it.

best.family.trip ever.

i’m not even joking :)
but given the scope of the trip, there were a few moments before we left where i questioned our sanity.

mostly because jason worried.
but also because everyone around me seemed to be headed off to a super laid back sort of trip and all of a sudden, our cross country trip seemed….well, like too much.

gratefully, it wasn’t…we had an amazing time and it was even better than we’d anticipated.

so, in the spirit of wonderful travel, i wanted to share part of what helps us make trips great.
travel is one of my favorite things…maybe somewhere right after god, family, simplicity…yup, it’s #4 :)

it’s a line item on the budget :)

when you’ve got a major trip….

1. plan…the longer in advance the better.
anticipation is one of my favorite feelings.
the best stuff related to your travel will cross your path and you can tuck it away in a google doc/ evernote/ iphone note.
i love planning on google maps and sharing it with jason – i plot out all the spots and it’s easy to see what’s close to where we’re at.  i made a super casual screen video in one take to show the process.

we like going into a new city with a good dose of options but we’re flexible on what happens each day.
yummy food (with options for each meal – not just dinner).
fun things to do.

i look for city guides online mentioning the city i’m headed to, type the city name into lexpublib.org to see if they have any interesting guide books (we blow through these in one sitting so i don’t want to buy them) and also children’s books – there were so many great ones we read about yosemite, poll friends on facebook, search the hashtag on instagram, etc.

pretty often i’ll cross-check any mentions that look like they’re up our alley on yelp.com so that if it’s a restaurant, you’ll see reviews on what’s really great to order there. jason does a bit of searching too but on entirely different sources than me which helps us cover more ground.

2. get clear about *how* you prefer travel. and that’s something we learn more about with each trip – like how jason prefers not to spend a full week in just one spot.

or how for me, a trip is elevated with a wonderful meal.
so imagine the perfect trip and what it looks like….how did you arrive? what fills the day?

with a longer vacation, we like variety so we sprinkle in short stops with longer multi-day visits…it gives the trip some movement/variety when we’re rationing out dear husband’s vacation days.

i’m also willing to trade luxury for a longer amount of travel. but it’s nice to sprinkle in at least one
really great stay and wonderful food when we’re exploring a city.

trust yourself on what your family will enjoy.

3. divide and conquer. jason works on the route and how far we’ll travel in a day and i work on options for each place we’re going to visit.  thank you to the ever brilliant megan winfield for helping me crystallize that during a late night conversation…before it was just a mess of us each trying to work on the same things.

4. pack well and light.
for us, on a roadtrip, packing well means bringing some food.  travel takes so much longer if you’re searching for food…and roadway food can leave you feeling awful. i pack our cooler with my favorite veggie sandwich fixings (cucumbers, tomatoes, hummus or guacamole in separate containers) and do the same for jason and audrey. then a simple side. a batch of homemade cookies, carrots, grapes, cheese sticks or greek yogurts, granola (the last two make a simple breakfast) and 3-4 days worth of green smoothies. we also have some things that don’t need to be cool that we can throw in a bag – raisins, granola bars, etc and refillable water bottles for each of us.
i get a bag of ice most days when we have a gas stop.

other than food, i’m a super super light packer…audrey and i in a carry-on for 2+ weeks is totally
doable. that’s a whole other post! (if you want details, just say the word in the comments below)

5. we don’t limit ipad/movies during travel after the age of 3 (kiddo specific tip #1)
since we don’t watch tv everyday and we watch even less before a trip, i feel zero guilt about letting audrey pass the cartime with as many movies as she wants. and because the ipad isn’t available *except* when we travel, it’s a huge hit. we have a range of other options gathered (travel journal, coloring books, rubberneckers game, etc).

6. carbucks (kiddo specific tip #2)
i know not all of you are traveling with kids yet but on the chance you have even an extended trip to the zoo with a niece or nephew, here’s how you make travel awesome: carbucks

i’ll say it one more time because it’s *that* indispensable. c-a-r-b-u-c-k-s :)

for every 45 minutes to an hour of awesome behavior in the car, you hand over a carbuck. we’ve been doing this for at least 5 years and it gold. i have a few items that she can earn…they aren’t even revealed (which might be half the allure) and i’ll say i have something she can earn for 1, 2, 3 or 5 carbucks, she saves up and picks the mystery prize. these might be things i’ve noticed her checking out in the month preceding travel, something i’ve ordered from amazon, or more than likely part of my ‘week of’ prep.

have lots of little things if you can…maybe even ones that build into a little collection. but make them small in size so you aren’t overwhelmed with stuff and have a little pouch ready for them to go in.  carbucks can also earn special treats along the trip!
when you hand your child a carbuck, be sure to acknowledge their great behavior. oh, and just set a timer to make it easy to remember :)  plus, find situations where you can offer genuine praise about what great travelers your children are.

7. be clear on the reason for your trip & be flexible…let the why lead: we had a couple changes while we were on our summer vacation due to tremendous crowds (carmel) and wild fires (sedona) which were both cities i was really looking forward to spending time in, but that wasn’t the purpose of the trip…it was much more important to look on the bright side, engage in rerouting and be grateful for all the fun we’d already had.

8. finally, take time to reflect on what worked well and what you could tweak to make better – we do this every time and it makes us such a better traveling team.

make sure you add something to your home from your trip…like a little photo from an anniversary trip for your bedroom dresser. it’s a chance have feelings of gratitude wash over you every time you take a moment to remember it.

i could go on and on – if you want to hear more, just say the word!

* if you’re on instagram, you may have seen part of the trip mentioned (#mauersummerroadtrip2015)

it’s so great to be back – grateful for a life intertwined with yours in telling your beautiful story!


lovelies from around the web:
audrey loves avocado toast so i was grateful for this!
a sweet cheery cottage
garance dore takes the words right out of my mouth. and a double yes to getting rid of the wallet the size of kanye’s hummer ;)
#100happydays – this makes me smile – there’s always time to be happy!


what are your favorite travel tips??

xoxo, -melanie-
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