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Dallas / Ft. Worth Senior Photographer bio picture

Welcome to my Blog!

My name is Melinda Leal, and I am a Highschool Senior Photographer. It has been a blessing and HUGE opportunity for me to have photographed seniors for the past 5 years and counting. I LOVE highschool seniors because they are generally a great group of teens with so much creativity and ambition!  I have done photography since I was in high school using a dark room and 35 mm camera! Now I can't have my eyes opened without finding the beauty in something....and how it would look in front of my camera! I have been married for 12+ years with my main squeeze, Jonathan, and we have 4 kids together!!! CRAZY....I KNOW! I am always asked how in the world I can work full time, be a mom AND have a hobby....but the truth is that Jonathan supports me 110% so I am blessed to do what I love.

Before I decided to do photography, I went to cosmetology school at Ogle. Shortly after that I enlisted in the U.S. Army (wanted to be a Drill Sargent! haha) which was one of the BEST decisions I have ever made. It helped shape me, my work ethics and boosted my integrity. Some of the things I love: fajitas, Don Pablos chocolate volcanos, my kids cheeks, their laugh, my husbands eyes, softball, ANY military movie, chick flicks and most of all MY LIFE! Please feel free to contact me with any questions....I hope you enjoy my work!

Chad and Heather: In Love

I have been SO BLESSED by having Mrs. Heather in my life. She started out as one of my brides, and we quickly became friends. Since her wedding, Heather and I have become quite the “pair”. She is one of the most sincere and genuine people I have ever met, with a heart bigger than TEXAS! Which leads me to her husband, Chad.  I didn’t know someone could be a person nicer than Santa…..but Chad managed to beat him (seriously, so nice)! He even laughs at MY jokes; making me feel like a comedian during our photography sessions 🙂  He is such a gentleman and adores Heather like no other.

Needless to say, I am honored to be able to photograph this beautiful couple again. I hope that our friends continues to grow and we remain great friends!

Last but not least…….My FAVORITE picture of all……

Richard & Tara Engagement Session

I can’t imagine a better way than to come back from my small “break” than to post about Tara and Richard. I met Tara while stationed at Sheppard AFB when we both worked at a bank on base. We were instant friends and continued our friendship while moving back to Dallas (me) and her getting a teaching job in Lancaster!

Needless to say, having the opportunity to photograph her wedding is such a blessing. She is one of the most loyal and giving people I have met and couldn’t be more deserving for an awesome man like Richard! Here are a few photos from their session. They both handled the Texas heat like champs!!

To finish off this post, I couldn’t think of a better picture than this. Tara is an Art teacher and insisted that we take one by this wall. I’m glad we did!

Abby and Jonathan Maternity Session Sneak Peek

I was SO honored to get a message from Abby, requesting photography for her maternity pictures. Not only did I do Abby and Jonathan’s engagement session and wedding, now I had the honor of photographing, yet again, another mile stone in their lives. One of the most satisfying and humbling experiences for me, is having the opportunity to form a friendship with the people I photograph and being allowed into their lives during different journeys. From the time I met Abby and Jonathan, I was drawn to their love for each other and genuine personalities. So it’s without a doubt, that I can say, their little honey bun is going to be the luckiest little boy with awesome parents!

I can’t wait to blog more photos, but for now, here are a few from their session.

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First Session for 2014: Joseph & Dikxi Maternity

So I have been on a small break for the past few months, catching up on a few projects and enjoying some “me” time! Now that I am officially in the full swing of the season, I started off my sessions with a Maternity session.

Joseph and Dikxi (uummm I LOVE her name!) met with me in Ft. Worth to capture their maternity photos. They were just AMAZING and Dikxi was the most beautiful mommy! They were such great sports for their photo session, with the only issue being the 100 mph wind!! haha Needless to say, Dikxi ROCKED her pictures and I can’t WAIT to post the rest from their Maternity Session.

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Meg Senior Session: Sneak Peek

I had such a GREAT time photographing Meg this past weekend!! Meg, not to be confused for Megan! 🙂 She was such a great model and a trooper the entire session!!! I loved her attitude and personality she let shine through the images. I can’t WAIT to post the rest of this session. Until then, here are a few images.

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Wichita Falls Mini Sessions

A few years back, we were stationed at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX. While stationed there, I met a great person named Jennifer. We started working together and soon became the BEST of friends. I got to know her family and they became mine. Recently, Jennifer’s father passed away and it tore her apart, as he was the light in her life. (well one of them)  I had mini sessions for her co-workers and friends to help with funeral costs. I wanted to share just a few of the sessions that helped contribute to Jennifer and showed their support for her. I cant wait to get the rest posted and sent to everyone!!! They were all SOOOO GREAT!

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And now my beautiful, awesome, honest, reliable and REAL friend……Jennifer and her beautiful family.

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Auntie Mel loves you girls!!! 🙂

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More Senior Sneak Peeks!

I have been so busy with Senior sessions this month that I can barely keep up with my blogging! Well, I won’t lie, I am VERY bad about keeping up with blogging in general…..now I just have a good, valid excuse! I wanted to post some more sneak peeks of some seniors I had the privilege of shooting. I can’t express how much I LOVE THIS JOB. 🙂

First is little miss Lexy…..

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Now, time for Bianca’s pictures!

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Last but not least…..Lizbeth

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Spartan Race: Semper Fi Fund – Running for a Cause

This Sunday I had the honor and privilege of attending one of many races ran by my husband, Sgt. Jonathan Leal.  He runs for many causes, however one cause hits close to home for him “Semper Fi Fund”.  My husband was deployed for 15 months with the 1/158 Infantry Unit out of Arizona(he’s Air Force though J ) and made unbreakable bonds with the men and women he served with. One of the men Jonathan came to know and respect happens to be one of the men Jonathan runs in honor of….. Spc. Mykel Miller, KIA. During his deployment in Afghanistan I could see his point of views changing, his passion for what he did changed (became more intense) and what he was fighting for became more evident. No matter how hard I tried, I could never understand what the men and women went through overseas. I can only imagine through documentaries or firsthand stories. When Jonathan returned home we went through our share of adjustments. This is when we discovered how different things were for those returning home to their families. Even though our struggles weren’t physical; they were still there.

As Jonathan and I approach our 11 years married and all of them have been in the military, we see how both “commitments” are connected. Crazy as it sounds, it’s the truth. We both have a love, passion and respect for our country and those who serve. The bound shared between a brother in arms is so powerful to us.

When people see how Jonathan runs the first thing they say is “HES CRAZY!” lol. We laugh because generally those are ones who just can’t see the love behind it. Others will come up and shake his hand, or walk out of their way to acknowledge what he’s doing. Jonathan doesn’t do it for the accolades; he does it to raise awareness for Soldiers returning home from combat. He wears the weighted vest and gas mask as a symbol of the struggles one faces upon returning home. So with that being said, I am so proud to post a blog about my husband, my best friend and a man I admire, Sgt. Leal, USAF.

At this point Jonathan was exhausted! The humidity, heat, gear AND w/ bricks in his vest….he needed the encouragement. The support and motivation from these two men had me a little emotional.

HEY!!! Who’s that hottie?! OH, that’s just me *wink* I will say, sadly, after this picture was taken I nearly passed out from the heat….seriously! Jonathan had to carry his vest, mask, my shoot sac AND ME! LOL

For more info about his cause visit www.runningforacause.net

Now….. as promised to the few groups that I took pictures of…..here you go! You guys ROCKED and gave me some motivation to train and HOPEFULLY run with Jonathan in the next race. You can contact me for the original pictures! 🙂

Senior Session Sneak Peeks!

I decided that I would post all my sneak peeks under one umbrella! It’s been a while since I updated my blog so I thought “why not today?!” I have had the opportunity of photographing several seniors within the past couple of weeks. I am excited to get everyone’s session finished and blogged.

The first session is Pauline from Keene, TX. She decided to make her way to Grapevine for her Senior Session. Pauline was FULL of personality and just as sweet as can be!

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This next senior session came in from Wichita Falls, TX!!! I have known Alyssa since she was a little sweet girl in Elementary School. Her mother and I are VERY good friends and I am so proud to be a part of her life 🙂 For Alyssa’s Senior session we decided to head down to Ft. Worth! She loved the country look so taking her Senior Pictures at the Stock Yards was a no brainer!

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Anthony’s Senior Session was SUPER fun for me! He picked his own spots (which I loved) and one spot I actually had in a dream! SO CRAZY! He loves to fish, go out on the lake and just relax with his friends, so taking pictures on the lake described him best 🙂 Anthony’s Senior session took place at the Harbor in Rockwall.

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For Nate’s Senior Session we decided to head downtown Dallas and use the graffiti for a background. For this session, Nate’s family tagged along and provided great conversation along with making faces so he would smile. I must say, Nate has a GREAT smile!!!!

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Jordan Lynne was one of my favorite Seniors to work with because she was FEARLESS! 🙂 She loved to take chances with her locations and didn’t mind that it was FREEZING. She knocked out her Senior session like a champ. I also loved her fun shoes…..I am a shoe maniac!

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Last, but not least, is Isela! Now, Isela isn’t a Senior this year, in fact we were photographing pictures for her Quinceañera!!! I can’t wait to join her family for her celebration 🙂 Isela is just the sweetest thing and did a GREAT job with her photoshoot.

Be sure you come back to see the full blog of each Senior!!!! I can’t wait to get them up for everyone to see 🙂

Brian & Candice Maternity Sneak Peek: Double Trouble!

Candice approached me a few months back asking about maternity pictures. When picking out a date that we could shoot for she informed me that she was pregnant with TWINS!!!!!!!!! So we had no idea what timeline we were looking at. However, I am sooooo excited to announce that she is almost 8 months and looks GREAT!!!!!!!  We couldn’t have picked a better weekend to do her maternity picture either!! The weather was PERFECT, minus the dirt in everyones eyes…lol.

We choose to take the pictures in Down Town Ft. Worth, and I can’t wait to post the rest from our shoot. Candice, hopefully I am able to take the baby boys pictures when they arrive. I am SO EXCITED to meet them. I hope you love your pictures, you are truly a beautiful mommy to be 🙂

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