Get to know her here.
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.
A daydream that turns into a real-life lookbook? Sold. That’s exactly the scenario that played out once we laid eyes on Paige’s recent shoot for Planet Blue. The California-cool brand created a scene that’s everything our dream day at the beach include: think killer shades, chunky, bold accessories and breezy rompers. Oh, and did we mention there are also some retro roller skates involved? Keep on scrolling.
Shop more Planet Blue here.
If you seem to notice more fashionistas wearing denim than usual today, it’s not by coincidence: April 29th marks the 16th annual Denim Day, a campaign created by the feminist activist organization, Peace Over Violence (aka, the original girlbosses), headquartered right here in Los Angeles.
The inspiration behind the campaign came from a group of women wearing jeans to the steps of the Supreme Court following the appeal of a rape conviction in 1990. For those unfamiliar to the case, an 18-year old was picked up by her 45-year old driving instructor for her very first lesson. But instead of learning the ins and outs of parallel parking and left hand turns, a beautiful young girl suddenly became the victim of sexual assault when her driving instructor took advantage of her. The story became even more appalling after the judge assigned to her case ultimately ruled against her, stating that since she was wearing tight jeans, she had to have been involved in removing them–thus leading to consensual sex. Denim Day was thus created in response to the outrage over this verdict and to draw much-needed attention to the fact that wearing tight jeans is not an invitation to sexual violence against women.
After bringing awareness to this particular case and uniting people in support of survivors everywhere, Denim Day LA soon caught wave and quickly expanded into a national movement: Denim Day USA. Its reach turned global last year after its exclusive partnership with GUESS, the iconic lifestyle brand famous for its trendsetting denim and noteworthy ad campaigns. As Denim Day’s Official Fashion Sponsor, GUESS spreads the message behind the campaign with storefront windows, social media posts and even in-store pledge books that invite shoppers to join the movement by signing their name and committing to wearing jeans on Denim Day.
Today, GUESS Headquarters in LA and NYC also hosted official press events at the company’s corporate headquarters to unite everyone from politicians like LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, fashion news outlets like Nylon Magazine and GUESS models like Charlotte McKinney together to raise awareness around violence issues. To show our support, we’re bringing you this stunning editorial from Tereza looking quite gorgeous in some Guess Jeans of her own. Girls rule.
Hair – Crosby Carter Management
Manicure – Pilar Lafargue
With rainbow colored rooms situated against postcard-worthy desert views, its easy to see why the The Saguaro Hotel Palm Springs is a mecca for dreamers and music fans alike. And for those of you unbeknownst to its multi-colored frenzy, this ultra-rad photoshoot will provide you with a glimpse into the dreamworld that Diane and Lyzy got to experience in their Coachella Spread for Palm Springs Style Magazine.
Decked out in some of the most coveted threads (re: killer MinkPink shorts, and stunner Dior sunglasses), the girls re-defined the definition of Coachella style with each photo. Read on to see what else we can’t stop California dreamin’ about. And if afterwards you’ve suddenly come down with a severe case of FOMO about missing out on this infamous weekend away in the desert, allow us to be the bearers of good news: you can watch killer performances by FKA Twigs, Azealia Banks and more all from the comfort of your parent’s couch through CoachellaLive.com. Rock on.
Read more Palm Springs Style here.