Business + Marketing


Brazen Portrait and Storytelling Sessions 

August 24, 2023

By Abbey Pleviak

Melissa Stone runs Brazen House Studios in Tacoma, Washington with a unique take on telling her clients’ stories. Not only does Stone offer headshots, but she also offers portrait and storytelling sessions, where people can share their life stories on video, including all the trials and tribulations that have made them who they are. Stone recently caught up with host Nikki Closser on The Portrait System Podcast to talk about how she left wedding photography to develop this truly one-of-a-kind style that encourages people to show up brazenly –unapologetically, just as they are. 

Stone began her career as a wedding photographer in 2009. She had visions of traveling the globe to exciting destinations and capturing beautiful, glamourous photographs for her clients. As someone who loves meeting new people and making connections, it was a great field for her to be in, but after a while, Stone began to burn out on the fourteen-hour days. Somehow, it no longer brought her the satisfaction that it used to. In 2018, she went through a divorce, and in 2019 she was in a major car accident. She had to stop everything, and it gave her the opportunity to evaluate what she wanted to do and what would bring her real career satisfaction. 

During the pandemic, Stone went to fashion school, and it helped her realize that she had been chasing glamour. She decided to make a big pivot and create a new kind of photography business that could help people by leaving the idea of glamour behind to become truly authentic. After an initial consultation, if clients choose to, they can come in for a storytelling session with video and audio, where they can share whatever is in their heart about their life and the journey they are on. Stone says having these storytelling sessions before portraits completely changes the session. 

She says, “You look at somebody through your lens differently when you see their life and who they are. They become so much more of a complex human. . . It’s about seeing them. It’s transformative.” 

In her new photo career path, Stone finds that not only does she get to relax into creating more authentic connections with her clients but also, they get to come away with an experience and a memento of truly being seen and appreciated just as they are. 

© The Portrait System

To learn more about Melissa’s Stone’s portrait and storytelling sessions visit Brazen Studios.  

The Portrait System Podcast helps portrait photographers navigate the world of photography, business, money, and much more. Hosted by Nikki Closser, the podcast is powered by The Portrait System, a comprehensive, online educational platform that teaches all aspects of running a successful portrait photography studio. If you’d like to be a guest on The Portrait System Podcast, send them a voice message.