Cancer changed the way I photograph

Cancer literally changed the way I photograph

I am learning to see the world and people through a set of different eyes. I have prayed for a long time, that God allow me to see the pictures he wants me to take, and to take them the way he would see them. I didn’t know it would take me getting Cervical Cancer to have that prayer answered. Cancer literally changed to way I photograph. The Coleman family had no idea going into their photo session that I was seeing a lot more clear.



I began their photography session different then I had ever done before. I went into this session knowing I had a battle ahead of me, and it was time to do the things I know I was called to do. I think before finding out my diagnosis I was so afraid of what others would think. So worried about playing with light to get it perfect, worried about getting likes on my posts, followers, etc.  But what this cancer is teaching me most is to just do what God wants me to do, and do the authentic me.



I love chasing light, and I love photographing love. I love the connections families make with one another, and the smallest details are so important.


I love sun flare and golden warm sunsets, I love standing a client with gorgeous hair in front of the sun, and backlighting their hair to get that angelic glow creating a radiant photograph. The Coleman family did not disappoint. They were so beautiful and so easy to photograph because their love for one another was so real.





I love photographing towards twilight, when the sun goes down and the atmosphere just lights up with reds and blues. When you can see the stars still and the moon in your images. I am no longer afraid bump up my ISO and take grainy photos to capture real. I learned to love grain. There is something poetic and nostalgic about grain and the film photography look.






If I could give anyone in photography a piece of advice, or anyone who lets fear hold them back it would be this. Imagine how many opportunities you have missed out on because of fear. It is sad to think of the many I missed out on, so don’t miss anymore. You should take chances and create beautiful chaos. Mess up, learn from it, or mess up and make it your art. Be brave, be bold, and do everything in love.

God Bless,

Melissa Donaldson


Check out my other family sessions in my portfolio – Family photography. To learn more about cervical cancer visit the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center

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Hi there, I am Melissa. We moved to Arizona when I was five years old, so I consider myself a desert native. I am the mother of three wonderful children, a wife to an amazingly loving and extremely intelligent man, and a lover of animals. (We live on a small farm) I am the proud pet owner of a Chocolate Lab, miniature wiener dog, 26 chickens, 2 goats, a horse, and a miniature horse named Switch. Photography has always been a passion of mine, and 13 years ago I was able to form a successful small business doing what I love. I feel so blessed that God gave me this gift that I can pass along to others and bless them with.