melissa brandman | southern california documentary fine art film photographer

In 2009 I made the choice to walk away from the life I’d always planned on, only to discover a life I never dreamed of. I thought all I wanted was a career that was practical, profitable, and predictable.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I was looking for was the road less traveled – in my case, a career as a documentary film photographer (with a side of stage/soccer mom).  I traded my briefcase and heels for a camera bag and flats, all for the chance to photograph your stories of love, life, and laughter.

Click below to find out more about me and why I shoot film, a little about you, or scroll down to learn more on my blog:



instant film | at the beach

instant_seal beach_006instant_seal beach_002instant_seal beach_005instant_seal beach_004instant_seal beach_003instant_seal beach_001Instant film + warm afternoon sunshine = match made in heaven. These are some of the best results I’ve had from Impossible Project film, minus the emulsion smearing when the photo came through the rollers. Even so, I like the imperfections.

personal | ordinary beauty


Sick Day

(Contax 645, Kodak Portra 400)

Lately I have been overwhelmed with a bittersweet notion: my girls are growing up. I am so excited to see their personalities develop and to see them learn and grow into lovely young girls. But I am so sad this time is passing so quickly. I worry that while the big moments, the dance recitals and awards ceremonies and softball games will be remembered, the everyday things will fade from memory. I’ve decided to photograph my everyday life with my girls, because I am afraid I won’t remember these sweet, simple moments. Moments like Josie’s growing love of reading (while home from school sick).

As much as I love and appreciate my own family photos where we dress somewhat alike and I actually do my hair and makeup and we take photos in a pretty place, I believe these ordinary photos will be the most treasured down the road. My hope is this develops into a full personal project I can be very proud of.