Mega creativity. Big personalities. Lots o’ talent. All in A Little Photo Studio. Our cozy house of creatives goes way beyond your average photography studio. Each of us brings an expertise and an eye to ensure the best process and most artful products. We know that you come to us because you want a guide through this experience and some help wrangling the littles. We don’t just shoot and send you files. We laugh with you all the way and work with you to get artwork up on your walls and books on your coffee table. We've got this.
Melissa Salvatore - Owner/Head Photographer
Melissa has spent her whole grown up life pursuing her love of children’s photography. After finishing her BFA, Melissa traveled the world making pictures. From Peru to Italy to Indonesia, she then spent a year in Ireland under a Fulbright Scholarship where, aside from learning to love coffee, Melissa taught photography as a therapeutic form of communication to deaf children. She returned to the states, landing in New York where she ran a portraiture studio, Classic Kids Manhattan, on the Upper East Side. With opportunities to work with athletes, celebrities, and magazines, it’s’ photographing families and children that makes her heart happiest. She landed in Chicago in 2011 for good and opened A Little Photo Studio to build on a decade and a half of following her passion.
Melissa and her husband, Mike—along with their boys Bennett and Owen (and first "child" Koozie the dog) —are happy fixtures in the world of Chicago community-centered entrepreneurship. Their three businesses, Heritage Bicycles, Heritage Littles, and A Little Photo Studio are blocks apart and take work-life integration to hyperlocal levels. Melissa is tickled to be developing her style, creativity, family, and career all at the same time. After all, life is art.
Betsy Carrera - Studio Manager
Betsy is a balance of business and creativity making her our Studio Manager extraordinaire. Prior to joining the A Little Photo Studio team, she stayed grounded in her sweet home, Chicago, and graduated from Columbia College with a BA in Art & Design. She then spent over a decade supporting and managing her family's CPA practice. Throughout that time she kept her creative juices flowing by taking acoustic guitar at Old Town School of Folk Music, Photography at LillStreet, and maintaining her Coffee Shop Blog, Brewed Weekly, which she created with her husband.
Millie Critcher - Event Coordinator
You will find Millie, in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee in hand, coordinating details for upcoming events in our space before heading off to work one on one with a family as her day-time profession. She is a Speech Language Pathologist Assistant and has dedicated 10+ years of her life to the development of healthy communication and expression in children. She is happily married to a very talented illustrator, enjoys throwing a good party, and has a crush on big bright balloons and confetti. She is usually found with a backpack full of ribbon, tape, extra balloons, and... you guessed it, a cookie. Millie feels fortunate to host events at the cutest milk and cookie bar in Chicago (and WE feel fortunate to have such a warm-hearted and friendly personality host our events for you)!
Sydney Williams - Photographer/ Photography Assistant
Sydney is our photog phenom from Elkhart, Indiana. She graduated from Columbia College with a BA in commercial photography. While studying, she spent her summers teaching children from the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation how to shoot and expose film photography, and how to use it as a form of communication. Sydney is our resident dog and baby whisperer, a Mary Poppins-esque nanny and a soon-to-be newlywed.
Sydney Jo Walters - Photographer
Sydney "aka Syd Jo" embodies that master act of balancing kids and creative work. A proud mama, Lincoln and his little brother Julius share space in her heart with the family French Bulldog, Prince. Her formal artistic training includes a BFA in photography Columbia College and Masters in art education from SCAD. Her informal training includes growing up in south Florida where, in between sailing and exploring adventures, she worked on crafty DIY projects like screen printing. Sydney's blog Hello Grey Boy is a peek into creative parenting life in Chicago. She’s also the proprietess of Grey Boy, a cute and clever clothing company for littles.
Garrett Baumer - Production Manager/Editor
Nothing gets past Garrett, our production manager and editor, when it comes to digital perfection. A decade of experience in photography post-production makes him the wizard behind the curtain (well, it’s a barn door but you know what we mean). His efforts elevate our work, refining even the teensy weensiest details for our archive prints, canvases and books. When he isn't editing others work, he spends time behind the lens, showcasing his work at gallery exhibitions, and teaching at Lillstreet Art Center. With a MFA in photography from Columbia College in Chicago, we love that his skills blend artistry and technical expertise.
Alex Donnelly - Short Films (Vignettes)
With a firm belief that every experience & every story has something worth telling, Alex focuses on opportunities to capture those unique moments of sincerity and truthfulness that may pass us by without a camera in hand. His education at Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Cinema Arts & Sciences has allowed him to hone skills used to make feature films into short films for families & events so that everyone can have access to cinema quality memories.