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Kids summer photography camp – Cole Collective

Kids summer photography camp 

This summer I will be teaching a photography camp just for kids at the Khabele elementary school. 

austin kids photography camp

I am extremely excited to be teaching young children photography again this summer. This will be my 3rd year to be teaching at the Khabele Brodie campus. Each summer the children and I have such a wonderful time together. Here is just a little info about the camp.

The photography camp will be led by Mel Cole, a local family and lifestyle photographer.

Location: 9607 Brodie Lane (portable building)

Hours: 9am-3pm

Campers will learn the basic photography elements: Light, Composition, Color, Texture. We will explore how to define oneself through pictures that tell a story. This will be a hands-on immersive learning class. Each child will be provided with a disposable camera, but are encouraged to bring their own point and shoot digital and will be asked to get pictures printed at the local store to have print images for camp projects. 

To sign up, just pay below and then shoot me an email at

I can’t wait to spend a fun week being creative with your little ones! 

Cheers! -Mel

Meet Lilee Ann: Newborn documentary series

Today on the blog is a very special newborn documentary session. Lilee -76

This little love bug belongs to my wonderful friend and recent book author Amanda Brown of Spruce Upholstery.  Last May when Amanda and Keith shared the news that they would be expecting in January, I was thrilled to have another good friend having a baby. I look back on that time and I’m still in total awe of the things Amanda accomplished while growing this beautiful child in her womb. She is a special kind of lady and I’m blessed to have this amazing mama in my life.

Lilee Ann Brown made her big entrance into our world on January 11th in the comfort of their own home. What a beautiful and precious life she is. I’m absolutely in love with their first family documentary photo shoot.

Film + Digital

Mamiya 645

Portra 400

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My dear friends on film – Cole Collective

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A Winter Engagement Shoot:

I wanted to post this session on my Cole Collective blog since these two are very special people to me! Jim  and Layla are dear friends of ours, and Jim is Jude’s godfather too. We did such a natural and very sweet winter engagement session downtown Austin a couple of weeks ago on film. We can’t wait to celebrate with the two of you this fall! xo

Film: Kodak Portra 400 & Acros 100

Camera: Mamiya 645

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February 12, 2014 - 11:09 pm

Layla Lewis - Film really shows wonders…you did an amazing job. Thank you so much!

February 13, 2014 - 4:57 am

Jenn Ely - These are GORGEOUS Mel!!! So lovely!

February 14, 2014 - 9:46 pm

Mel Cole - Thank you so much Jenn!

A New Year for Cole Collective

Untitled-3Photo by: Jonathan Canlas

Happy New Year!

I always love a new year. A fresh start, new energy and goals always makes me happy. It was so nice to take a two- week break at home with Chase and Jude. We were due for the much needed quality time as a family. This year kicked our ass. I say that gratefully and with a full heart. I did a lot of self reflecting back on 2013 and we accomplished a ton. As always, we had some of our favorite moments, sweet milestones, as well as heartache and sadness. I’m thankful for every day.

Cole Collective and RollinsCole launched last February and, with much success, both have been wonderful. Finding my love for film again has been so inspiring and keeps my heart bright. I met many new clients who I call my friends. I also attended a wonderful workshop called Film Is Not Dead with Jonathan Canlas. It was life changing and I met some of the sweetest photographers who are now my friends.

RollinsCole has been one of the best life experiences I have ever had. Having a business partner was so new to both Mackenzie and me. I truly believe there is only one person in this world I was meant to partner with, and that is Kenz. We joke that we’re married because, like any successful and happy relationship, you have to be honest, have trust, communicate and love no matter what. We are constantly learning from each other. After launching in February, I traveled to NYC (four times!), New Orleans, Seattle, Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas. It was an adventure; an amazing yet hard one. Jude was sick every three weeks until just this September. He was hospitalized at Dell Children’s Medical Center again in April and diagnosed with asthma. He currently sees a great specialist in Austin and the steroid he takes has kept his asthma in check for several months. We are feeling super thankful.

My heart continues to ache for my sweet friend and former photography student Danielle. Dani had been my student since 2010 and she lit up my world in ways I’ll never be able to explain. I believed in her and she believed in me. As I taught Dani, I realized how much I loved teaching children the art of photography. God called her home this September, and I now carry her in my heart forever. She was a true gift to me.

Chase, Jude and I took our first family vacation together this past November. We went to New Orleans and had an fun time. That city has so many entertaining things to do with kids, and Chase and I enjoyed eating our way through Nola and spending quality time together. We were subject models for the FIND NOLA workshop and had some family portraits taken by Jonathan Canlas. As a family photographer with a busy family life, I can see how hard it is to plan a time very year to have family portraits taken, but it is so important and so worth it. I will cherish these portraits for years to come, and I know Jude will to one day.

We started the year off with Jude turning two. I was a little emotional about this birthday; maybe because I realized how independent he’s become. I know this age and year will be nothing but fun, loving and, if you know Jude, challenging. He is my sunshine in every way. He teaches Chase and me patience, love and admiration. Jude is so unique and I love it so much. He is obsessed with leaves and textures. At his two-year appointment this week he didn’t shed a tear getting his blood drawn or receiving shots, but screamed bloody murder when the nurse put a band aid on him. He loves the word “no” and shaking his head. His recent obsession is the alphabet and numbers. It may take an entire hour for him to eat any meal because it’s always on his terms when it comes to food. He makes us laugh every single day. My sweet and beautiful friend Brittany Dawson took these gorgeous photos of Jude and I on his actual birthday. They make me so happy to look at. It’s such a treat seeing portraits of my son taken by another photographer.

As this year begins anew, I am feeling happy and inspired. I love to set new goals. This year I’m focusing on happiness, loving (always), my body and soul, forgiveness and balance.  For the last five years I’ve had these huge career goals set and I’ve always met them. This year I feel content and happy in my career. I’m taking a slight step back and focusing on myself. I truly feel that you have to love yourself and be a happy person in order to love others as much as you can. Life is so short and so fragile.

I’m leaving for Guatemala on January 25th for a personal project. I’m looking forward to this experience. I’m forever grateful for my village and family that always takes such good care of Jude while I’m gone. It’s so difficult to leave him, but I feel a calling for this, and I look forward to sharing pictures of the experience soon.

I want to wish you all love and joy this year. I always hear my mother say, “Remember to smile at others.” You never know who may need it.

xo – Mel

img_7271webBrittany Dawson Photography
Untitled-2Jonathan Canlas img_7335webimg_7417webBrittany Dawson PhotographyUntitled-4Jonathan Canlasimg_7716webimg_7516webUntitled-5Brittany Dawson PhotographyUntitled-1Jonathan Canlas

January 11, 2014 - 2:56 am

Silvia Casey - Hi Mel, I don’t get on facebook much but I did today and I read your posting. I am so glad that Dani had someone like you in her life, learned from you and more than anything she admired and.looked up to you. Dani is such a hippie chick. I can totally see you in her when she was taking pictures. I was in LA for the holidays to visit Dan. She is buried next to Aunti Pat, another free spirit, and she faces Disney studios and she gets the sun shining on her. How cool is that. I took her camera with me with in the hope that as I looked through the lense to take a picture of her resting place, I would see her and feel that she really hasn’t left me and she’s okay. God willing I am visiting her on her birthday Feb. 28, along with her fav cousins and Jas, have chocolate cake and her jams playing in the background. Did you get to see Dani’s Christmas tree on the 620? It had nothing but shiny red ornaments, and big cardboard letters spelling her name. We just took it down. I know you are crazy busy but maybe we can get together before you leave or when you get back. Love ya Mel. Dani thought the world of you!!!!

January 12, 2014 - 12:46 am

Laura Hoot - Jude is so beautiful. And this was so beautifully written! Thanks for sharing.

The Howeth’s on film

Howeth1webThere are people in your life that make an entrance just at the right moment. Little Harry goes to school with Jude at St. Louis Catholic Church. For the first month of school, Jude and I both had major separation anxiety. I knew not a single person at his new school, and for 4 weeks straight Jude and I were both pretty miserable. The day I finally called a meeting with his teachers to get to know them better was the same day that I was picking up Jude and Harry’s mother Monica introduced herself to me. That 10 minute conversation with her was a lifesaver!

I played with some Ektar film, which Ektar is known for it’s vibrant colors and contrast. I love these sweet moments before they welcome their baby girl in the next couple of weeks!

Mamiya 645

Ektar 100

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