Melinda DiMauro was just thirteen years old when her parents gifted her with a high-end camera. They had recognized something in her that she hadn’t yet seen in herself – an eye for beauty and an innate talent for photography. While taking photography classes in high school and college, she briefly considered the path of an advertising art director before realizing it was conceptualizing photographs that she was drawn to the most. Now an internationally published photographer with over 18 years‘ experience shooting for clients in fields ranging from music and fashion to the more buttoned-up corporate world, Melinda is known for her technical precision, attention to detail, and stylized work. Some of her clients include Bluefly, Alyson Renee NYC, Rue Sinclair Media, Raven + Lily, Harper Collins, and Time Out New York. Now based in New York City with her husband and children after years living and working on the West coast, she is part of the Drift Studio collaborative team and is happily enjoying the beautiful daylight in their amazing space.
What are three words that best describe your company? Fashion and advertising photography.
The key to balancing it all is… Getting up early! I’m up around 5AM most days. It’s nice having a quiet house to organize my day.
I funded my dream by… Credit, one piece of equipment at a time.
What makes you different from your competition? My unique vision. When I am concepting a shoot, it has to feel like me, my perspective, even if it has specific parameters.
What piece of invaluable advice did you receive that you would like to pass on to women pursuing their dream?
“Be true to yourself! You are venturing out on your own to make a life custom fit to you, not someone else.”
My biggest challenge is… Juggling work and family and wanting it to fit in a neat little scheduled package. I need to remind myself not to feel bad about not working when I’m with the kids, or about working when I’m not with them.
I knew I wanted to ___ when ____: Do photography when I was thirteen. I got that first camera as a Christmas gift and I don’t remember ever not knowing how to use it. It was so natural to me.
If I had to do it all over I would… Always trust my gut and make quicker decisions. I think I wasted a lot of time worrying about every step and whether I was going in the right direction. It’s scary stepping into the unknown.
I always outsource… Accounting!
The best people to work with always… Are positive and have a great attitude. I love working with friends when I can. Shoots can sometimes be intense and I need my crew to be able to think on their feet and keep it moving. I try to choose people that inspire me and push me to be better than I am.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
My favorite TV show… Project Runway!
My favorite singer/album is… My husband. His voice is dreamy…
My favorite movies are… Ones that inspire. I hate feeling stressed or traumatized by a movie. I love the ones that make you want to be a better person.
My favorite food is… Korean. I’m an avid Korean chef! I grow perilla leaves in my garden and I was featured on KBS once. I felt like I had my own cooking show. SO fun!
I am most proud of… My kids and my marriage. Both take a lot of work, but make my heart soar.
A woman who inspires me is… Grace Coddington. I’d love to work with her someday.
My favorite scent is… I’m super picky about scents. My favorite lately is Bond No. 9, The Scent of Peace. Who doesn’t need the smell of peace?!
One thing I hope to pass along to my children is… Confidence and humility. The people I feel are most successful in life seem to have a balance of both.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be… I’d have a Korean cooking show!
WHAT’S ON YOUR DESK?
A moleskine journal and pen from my hubby. I journal every day to help me work out my vision.
I always have a running notebook of to-do lists and ideas. I pick up a few of these at the beginning of every school year to keep myself organized.
A Bible. The Proverbs have amazing wisdom for business!
A cute Anthropologie tape dispenser from my stylish sister-in-law.
A candle from Dr. Federenko’s organic line of bug repellent products. I did a shoot for them and fell in love with the scent. It’s a combination of lemongrass, lavender and cedarwood. We live in a wooded area and the repellant really works!
Tell us what LIVING THE DREAM means to you: Living the dream has many layers for me. It’s about a feeling more than a status. It’s about finding the balance of time and money. “It’s fulfilling a life-long dream that has God-given purpose.” It’s dreaming ideas and watching them come to life. It’s knowing there was a reason I was put on this planet to do what I am uniquely supposed to do.” It’s photographing people and seeing them shine. It’s riding the train to work with my husband and dreaming big dreams, and it’s the privilege of working hard all morning and then being there to pick my kids up from school and take them to get ice cream on a sunny day.