You’re known pretty exclusively as Melis+Dainon; so you guys are some kind of a duo? What does that mean and how does that work?
Yes! We are partners in life and in business, and are often referred to as a “photography duo.” We share similar talents, and the other skills we have developed really complement each other, so we are a good team. We conceptualize shoots, work with clients, and select models and creative teams together. I (Melis) am the lead on photography, while Dainon is the lighting master. In post, Dainon is the primary retoucher, and I come in for the finishing touches. It’s a great balance!
What makes you different from your peers and competition?
Our photographic style is all about the search for authenticity. We take photos that are true to life and capture the best and most unique attributes of the model, design, and environment. Rather than adding stylistic signatures to the photos that identify them as ours, we preserve the integrity of the content through straightforward execution that is unfiltered and impactful.
We also took a very different path to photography than most. I earned my Master’s in Business Administration and worked as a Marketing Director, and Dainon earned his law degree and worked as an Executive Director prior to opening Melis+Dainon. Our non-traditional journey provides us with a unique understanding of the challenges that business owners face in developing their brands, as well as the ability to resolve these challenges through an integrated brand marketing and photography approach.
Do you have a specialty or area of focus?
We specialize in photography and branding for the fashion, beauty, and entertainment industries. Business owners and individuals in these industries are especially affected by image-based branding and depend on quality, impactful photography as a vehicle to communicate with their target customers. It’s a natural fit!
What drove you to expand the scope of your services?
The simple answer is that we realized there was a significant need for an integrated approach to branding, and we were uniquely positioned to provide a solution.
After we launched our photography business, we met a lot of designers, entrepreneurs, and individuals (e.g. models, actors, personalities) who would inevitably discuss their experiences – good and bad – with trying to build their brands. We could see how passionate they were and most had a really clear vision for their value, position, and business. However, in many cases, the brand that their target customers experienced did not fit at all with their vision. The customer-facing materials – like website images, POS displays, catalogs, ads, etc. – either were not very engaging, or worse, engaged the wrong audience entirely. It was frustrating to see brands that we really believe in suffer from miscommunication or lack of clarification between business teams and creatives. So, we decided to do something about it.
What kinds of things have you added?
We now offer services that span the entire marketing process – from concept to campaign. We help businesses, owners, and individuals (personal brands) to grow and develop at all stages – from start-ups to established companies who want to launch new product lines or refine existing plans.
An example of our full-service process may look like:
Introductory brand consulting and strategic planning
Website content creation and structure, on-page SEO, and web images
Social media content creation, strategy, and promotional images
Advertising strategy, planning, implementation, creative direction, and campaign images
Brand direction & consulting – oversee the work of brand contributors to make sure the brand integrity is maintained
What’s the advantage to that?
When we are able to support owners and teams through the various stages of the marketing process, they can feel confident that their needs are heard, understood, and translated into quality and effective strategies. There is no gap in communication because we are with them from start to finish and handle both their marketing and photography needs.
#Goals; everybody’s got ’em. What are yours?
We love traveling and experiencing different cultures, so we aim to develop our business into a vehicle that we can use to explore the world. We already have clients in different countries and would like to continue to grow our network so we can work and live without roots. Shooting campaigns in beautiful, exotic locations with amazing talent, and helping to develop global brands would be the ultimate achievement.