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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? lol Some of my favorite places include the Carolinas, the PNW, Sedona, and France to name a few. Ask me about them, and I’ll talk your ear off. But my absolute favorite place in the world (so far) is Italy. My husband and I actually eloped in Venice!

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 at my desk editing while The Office is on in the background. Because even though I’m not superstitious, I am a little stitious.


We couldn't have asked for a better photographer than Melissa! She had a great vision and eye for what we wanted for our wedding photos. She was professional, fun and made us so comfortable. She had great communication throughout the whole process. You would have never known that she had a million wedding this summer because she had such a great devotion to our big day and vision. Make sure to follow her on instagram because she does a great job at posting her editing queue. We met a few times and I gave her shot inspiration I liked and was looking for. She was just a dream to work with honestly. We couldn't be happier.



I chose Iron and Honey after seeing Melissa's work, and then having her shoot our engagement - I had never seen pictures of myself that I loved before, and after I saw our engagement photos I was in love, and knew we needed her for our wedding. I am so glad we did! I cannot be happier with the amazing gallery she delivered. I would recommend her without any reservations. She took time to get shots I could have never dreamed of - our wedding day was magic and the pictures show every moment of it.



Melissa was fantastic at capturing our wedding day! Her communication leading up to the day went into detail and she had a great understanding of how we wanted the day to go and the types of shots we were looking for. She did a great job at making us feel comfortable and relaxed with portraits and shots with our whole group. Her direction allowed us to get the perfect ceremony set up when the rain caused us to shift our plans. We couldn't recommend her enough!



Melissa is awesome! We genuinely had fun working with her. We weren't sure if the pictures would feel overly staged, but Melissa's calm demeanor and smart ideas made the experience feel so fun and natural. Her pictures capture the beauty and the emotions of the day. We loved that Melissa listened so closely to what we wanted.

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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.

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When Andrew proposed to me, Melissa was the first one I thought of to photograph our elopement. We invited her to stay with us 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. 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!

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We found Melissa through The Everygirl, and loved her style immediately. We loved that she emphasized a focus on candid shots and capturing the feeling of the day, instead of posed/stuffy wedding pictures. My favorite part about working with Melissa was her ability to direct and wrangle our large wedding party and family with efficiency with a fun and positive attitude. It was also FREEZING on our wedding day and we only had outdoor locations for the pictures. Melissa was so professional and was conscious of the freezing bridesmaids, so she moved along quickly without compromising the quality of the shots. Working with Melissa was a dream--she was efficient yet took enough time to capture incredible candid details.

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Melissa was so amazing on our wedding day and on every day leading up to it - from our first phone call to our engagement shoot and up until the big day, we knew that Melissa would be the perfect match for what we were looking for. Melissa's organic/in-the-moment/documentary-style of shooting truly captured all of the meaningful and emotional aspects of our wedding day, just like we had hoped. She was hands-on and hands-off at all of the right moments, eliminating a lot of the stress and pressure that photo-taking can sometimes bring and instead allowing myself, my husband, and all of our wedding party to feel relaxed and truly \\\"in the moment\\\" throughout the whole day. It was exactly how we wanted to remember our wedding day and our photos were plentiful and turned out absolutely amazing. You can really *feel* the photos and put yourself back in that moment in time, which is something that we appreciate so deeply.

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I have been told over and over that my wedding photos are some of the best my friends and family have ever seen! Melissa flies under the radar on the wedding day (adding no stress to your day -- she actually reduces it!) and follows up with the most beautiful photos imaginable. If you're having any reservations, don't! Her style of shooting and editing is so unique - and she is so personable too. I would recommend her x a million!


behind the scenes

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