"Melissa is an incredible photographer who knows exactly how to capture a mood and has a wonderful eye for detail. She has gone above and beyond in providing photos of our annual conference (the Women's Travel Fest) that stun, and we've used them online to great success. I would highly recommend working with her to capture beautiful, creative photos for your next project or idea. She has a way of making women feel relaxed and confident in photos, with a friendly energy that adds to the camaraderie of any event."
- Kelly Lewis, Founder of Women's Travel Fest Conference
"I am so pleased to recommend Melissa, an incredible photographer. Mel and I worked closely to shoot editorial work, and I was also able to hire her to work on projects for adidas Women, Samsung, and VICE. Mel has a unique eye for capturing women's performance in the urban setting and she was also someone that the women in our collective trusted to portray them in the highest manner of respect. Because of this trust, women were able to be truly vulnerable around her, making the process feel authentic. I love Mel's work and I love Mel!"
- Jessie Zapo, Adidas Global Ambassador and Adidas NYC Coach
“Melissa is amazing at her craft! I’ve been waiting YEARS for pictures this amazing (even thought I’ve had handfuls of shoots with others photographers). These are HANDS DOWN my favorite shots and I can finally feel good about the image I put forward to represent my business.”
- Kristen Boyer, Wellness Entrepreneur
"Melissa Holtz is one of those rare finds, a photographer of extraordinary talent who infuses each image with a quality of light that allows for unprecedented beauty. Because she has worked for such high end brands, she knows how to both stage and position the coveted shots you have always wanted that can move your business and your brand to the next level. She is a true miracle, who showed up during a time of big growth for our organization and gave us the imagistic wings we needed to fly to the zenith we had been hoping for.
For anyone looking for someone to do photography for your retreat she completely up levels The Retreat and shows it to be high-end and gorgeous. She brings out the beauty and light in every single situation! And every person!"
- Suzanne Kingsbury, founder of Gateless Writing, Inc.
“Melissa has this magical way of putting you at ease and energizing you in one seamless swoop. I’m usually shy in front of the camera (reinforced by 15 years as a journalist—always gazing in, not out), but Melissa made me feel like I could breathe, and breathe beautifully. She helped guide me when I wasn’t sure what to do with my hands, or myself; cheered me on when I was nailing it; and pretty much made me feel like I could do anything.
Of course, the real proof of her talent is in her photos. She gave me photos that actually look the way I imagined them: bright, beautiful, strong, and timeless. I’m proud to use them as the face of my business, and so grateful to Melissa for her energy, vision, and skill. (P.S. A quick shoutout to how QUICKLY she turned edits around too! I’m seriously impressed.)”
—Christie Chisholm, Owner of Christie Chisholm Creative
“Mel, you really capture the essence of a person. I love your photos.
I keep hearing your laugh and smiling. You have a healing, joyful way that shows up in your beautiful photos.”
- Kim Johnson Griffin, Writer
"The photoshoot with Mel was the best and most amazing process I went through when it comes to photos.
With her natural and softly guiding attitude, I did not even notice that I was in a shoot. Mel made me feel super comfortable and secure – I was dancing, jumping, walking without any shyness. It was really fun – and when I then saw the pictures, me without any big make-up, I nearly had to cry: they looked so pure and of an inner power that I did not see in myself even without a camera. I am very, very grateful that Mel had the patience and the clarity to do this with me. Thanks, Mel – you are the best!"
- Claudia Wuttke, HarperCollins Publishing Director
"I loved my photo shoot with Mel. She made the whole process so simple. Mel really held my hand and helped every step of the way - from the style and content of the photos to scouting locations, selecting outfits, and even posing. Her guidance and expertise were so valuable. And the results speak for themselves! I couldn't be happier!"
- Courtney Rolls, Therapist and Coach
"When we met for the shoot, I didn’t really know how to pose, to smile, to look … But as soon as Melissa told me that I could move just naturally, within seconds I felt so safe and relaxed, that I totally forgot about the camera and actually had … fun!
I thought there might be three or four pictures I would like and could use for professional purposes, but oh, was I wrong. Within 10 minutes she managed to take 200 pictures of me that I liked. That is more than all the photos I like of me of my whole life combined.
This experience wasn’t just a photo shoot. It was a transformation, as it helped me to see my inner and outer beauty, to feel wonderful within my body and with my face. It gave me a lot of confidence, that still hasn’t left me weeks later. And since then, every time I feel a bit insecure, I hear Melissa’s quiet sing-song “One, two, three – one, two three”, and immediately I am back with her at the beach and see myself through the lens of her camera."
- Ivonne Senn, Money Coach
"I was feeling squeamish about how I’d look on camera. I wasn’t feeling pretty or put together. It’s been a long time since the days where I felt head shot ready.
But at sunset one day, Mel said, “You have the perfect dress, the light is perfect, and I think we’d have a great time.” She’s so good at what she does, I stopped worrying about it and just let myself be a five year old, twirling on the beach.
She made me get out of my own way, and now those ten minutes spinning on the sand are a little reminder I get to carry always that waiting to be ready might mean missing an awful lot of fun. She’s always looking for what has power, what has magic, and letting the rest fall away. She’s a genius and a mermaid and you should book her."
- Sarah Montana, Screenwriter
"Working with Melissa is such an incredible experience, she does an amazing job creating community, making you feel comfortable and creating the right environment for a shoot. I love being able to be included in the collection of work that Melissa creates, highlighting women in the outdoors and specifically creating images that reflect the world I know and live in, but often don't see represented in mainstream media. She has a great eye and is able to assure personalities come through in the work, hope to collaborate again in the future!"
- Faith Briggs, Columbia Sportswear Ambassador and Content Strategist Focusing on Diversity and Representation in the Outdoors
"I had the privilege of working with Mel while on a retreat. From Mel’s first email which included her “Portrait Photoshoot Advice” that instantly put my having-my-photo-taken anxiety at ease to receiving her many brilliant photos, I was awed by Mel’s energy, passion, eye for detail, compassion, and vision for her work and how her work might uplift her clients.
Mel brought a vibrancy to every interaction at retreat, from 1:1 conversations and portrait sessions, to large group photo shoots. Her mind and heart seemed to be perpetually invested in celebrating every individual and discerning how her photo sessions might draw out each person’s inner brilliance.
Mel scrambled rocky ledges and waded into ocean waters, while giving uplifting, specific verbal cues, in order to create images that brought retreat goers' visions to life, conveying the whole beautiful person in images reflective of a transcendent photo session experience.
Whether taking photos at the shore, on the second floor porch, in the garden, or simply around the dinner table, capturing conversations and coaching sessions at retreat, Mel used her lens to record authentic, iconic moments.
If you’re waiting for the perfect day, the idyllic moment, a new outfit, a different hairstyle, or maybe even a shift in body size, to contact Mel for a session, don’t wait! She’ll create a dream photo right here, right now.
All you have to do is show up and be open to her creative magic."
- Caroline Webster, Writer
"Melissa is simply a phenomenal photographer. She puts her heart and soul into her work to truly capture the powerful essence of her clients. Rather than shooting a bunch of images, Melissa takes the time to learn about her clients, who they are and how they want to use the art that Melissa creates."
- Suzie Gruber, Personal Development Practitioner
"Mel is a force of nature. She’s like ocean waves sculpting a shoreline, making incredible sculptures out of light and life.
So so grateful to have had a chance to work with her on a portrait shoot. She worked tirelessly before, during, and after the shoot to make sure the photos brought joy and honesty to what I hoped to convey.
For my shoot, we went to a gorgeous oceanside location, played some music, and she took some wonderful photos while I danced and goofed around. She’s a consummate professional, but it also felt calm and casual, like hanging out and taking pictures with a good friend. Getting to incorporate movement took so much of the pressure off, and made the shoot so much fun.
My photos are wonderful, and it’s been joy to use them on my website, in my marketing materials, and even *gasp* on a dating profile.
When a photographer can help create images with that much sincerity and versatility, in a remarkably short session, they’re truly someone special. She also worked hard after the shoot to provide the photos in easy-to-use formats and sizes, with beautiful editing. Can’t recommend her highly enough! Just book the session, or choose her for your event! You won’t regret it."
- Alexandra Muck, Writer
"Melissa is a blast to work with as a photographer, and is unabashedly dedicated to capturing that perfect shot, whether it means tottering one-handed on her bike down 5th Ave, or lying down on the West River Bike Path to frame the shot just perfectly. She clearly enjoys her work and likes to get creative!"
- Holly Gaskill, Event Producer and Experiential Marketing
"Melissa is a delight to be around and has a talent for seeking out the right people to drive any project forward. She brings a patience and focus that allows for both creativity and resolve. I am always eager to be a part of any project that Melissa is pursuing."
- Erica Cottrell, Design & Product Lead at Topo Designs
Mel has helped me create portrait shoots all over the world -- from remote islands like the Maldives to the Dubai desert to New York City's streets and photo studios.
Mel is an expert in art direction and production. From creative vision, to scouting locations, and understanding lighting, Mel knows exactly how to orchestrate amazing photoshoots.
She thrives in photographic challenges, exceeding her clients expectations no matter what the environment -- whether it’s the depths of the ocean, or high in the sky with her drone, and everywhere in between. Mel is a rare type of photographer who is equally skilled in remote adventure locations and luxury resorts. I can always count on her to creatively capture experiences, and dream up images that are timeless, vibrant, unique and inspiring.
- Adam Deif, Google Inc.