travel photography, travel photographer, travel, lifestyle, photography, photographer, documentary, photojournalistic, photojournalism, document, california, los angeles, la, hollywood, beverly hills, rodeo drive, wanderlust, sunshine, palm trees, fine art, alfred, coffee, voodoo doughnuts, venice beach, runyon canyon park, engagement, proposal, melissa ferrara, business headshots


Melissa is Greek for “honey bee,” and my last name, Ferrara, is a Latin derivative of “Ferrum” or “iron.” Boom. Now you know why I call my business Iron+Honey.

I’m not one of those people who has that super interesting story about how I found a camera and wanted to be the next Ansel Adams; I sort of stumbled into it in college while working on a degree in advertising. That stumble has proven to be one of the best things in my life.

I’m a Midwestern girl with a huge love for travel. While I love Chicago and everything this big city offers, my need to explore this world is huge. I know that travel deeply influences my work and how I see the world.

I love to tell stories with my camera. Whether it’s a quiet elopement or a rowdy Sox game, I love that feeling of sharing a moment with others through a powerful photo. It’s the stuff that makes the world go round for me.


Did I mention travel? Yeah, I’m pretty obsessed with it. Favorite places include Venice, Italy, Charleston, SC, and Cannon Beach, OR. Ask me about them, and I’ll talk your ear off. I try to make a point to travel somewhere each year. Want to see my bucket list?

When I’m not working, you’ll find me hanging out with my husband and our crazy pups, Rooney and Sasha, looking for the best donuts in the city (I have my favorites, but you have to ask me in person because it changes depending on if I’m in a jelly mood or a glazed mood).

I’m obsessed with the White Sox and karaoke, but rarely at the same time.

Most days, you can find me watching The Office for the millionth time. Because even though I’m not superstitious, I’m a little stitious.

chicago wedding photographer, best chicago wedding photographer, elopement photographer, elope to chicago, oregon, pnw, west coast, chicago, best elopement photographer, intimate wedding, small wedding


When Andrew proposed to me, I knew right away who I'd ask to be our photographer; Melissa of course! We had traveled to Chicago from California in December 2017 and I thought it would be fun to have photos of us taken while we were there. She did a couples session for us and we had a blast at the windiest spot in the city that day! We really loved the photos she took too. So naturally she was the first one I thought of to photograph our elopement. We invited her to stay with us in our super cute Airbnb [in Cannon Beach, Oregon]! It was a lot of fun just hangin' out chatting with her outside of the ceremony and photo work that she was there to do, and I think that was a special thing for us to share with her. Not all couples have the luxury of their photographer getting to know them on a more intimate level like that over the course of a few days and I'd like to think that helped her really capture not just our ceremony, but also who we are as a couple. I'm so incredibly grateful to have the beautiful and emotive images she took for us. I really appreciate the details she captured and the story she told of our day through the photos. I'm pretty sure it goes without saying that Melissa has my highest recommendation! Working with her was effortless and it felt like we were hanging out with a friend the whole time! We still wanna karaoke with her too!

chicago, wedding, elopement, couple, engagement, anniversary, illinois, austin, best wedding photographer, best engagement photographer, iron and honey, wedding photo ideas, wedding inspiration, engagement photo inspiration, photographer, photography,


Beautiful, natural, just-right moments captured with a quiet, fierce grace... Melissa has an art and zen that is so refreshing and rare. Her all-star personality and talent together made I+H the beyond-perfect fit for us. My husband and I (and all our guests!) recommend Melissa with the utmost confidence and highest of praise. So much time and energy go into planning what amounts to an 8 hour (+/-) event. Make the most of those memories, photos are forever - hire our girl, Melissa...we are so happy we did.



I was immediately impressed by Melissa's ability to capture genuine emotion instead of posed portraits. Her attitude is a perfect mix of go-with-the-flow and get sh*t done. Every photo was AMAZING. When I look at the gorgeous photos she took of our super special day they bring me back to the exact emotion I was feeling at that particular moment. She understands how to capture raw human feelings, and she does it with such effortless skill. I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have these breathtaking photos to look at for the rest of my life. Working with Melissa is like working with an old friend; she somehow completely understands you and your significant other's relationship after just meeting you and is able to capture the uniqueness of your relationship.



Melissa is incredible at making the subjects + city shine. I knew she would be the perfect person to capture the essence of our online shop! Pictures are my storefront and Melissa truly understands what my company is all about. She's helped transform my website through her images. She not only captures the product features well, but she also truly knows how to showcase our products in an authentic way. I'm continually impressed at how she can make any scenery pop, how she approaches each photo from a different angle, and the quality of the photos I get back. During our shoots, she's equal parts photographer, set designer, stylist, and even official hair-fixer if the job calls for it. She does it all! Melissa always produces quality work and uses her creativity to ensure every shot is what the client is looking for. Melissa's creativity behind the lens truly sets her apart. She's such a joy to work with!

details, detail, wedding, elopement, intimate wedding, small wedding, chicago, photographer, photography, photo, picture, pic, pics, image, close-up,


My favorite part about working with Melissa was her ability to make things fun and comfortable! We had never had professional photographs done before, and I was honestly pretty nervous about it. She totally made us forget that there was even a camera around and captured us being "us" so well. It was easy to be myself around her and just have fun! I never worried that something was going to be missed. She covered everything we thought of and wanted, but also even things we didn't know we'd want captured! From the moment you arrived, we felt at ease and knew things would be so amazing. You're such a fun person to be around! I didn't want you to leave at the end of the night!


behind the scenes

kat, katsrodden, katherine smith-rodden, chicago photographer, chicago model, moody, fairfield flat, apartment, pilsen, chicago, photoshoot, photography, lifestyle, fashion,  iron and honey, intimate, hairless cat, sphynx cat, sphynx

watch me be a goof and Kat rock this


error: This material is copyrighted by Iron + Honey Photography. You are not allowed to copy or use this in any way.