Steeves is the owner and photographer of her own company Toppline Design Photography which specializes in photography and digital imaging services. These include a full service studio available for family, infant, engagement, maternity, fashion, commercial products and passports/hunting licenses.
“Basically if you want it photographed in studio, I can provide that service,” says Steeves. “On location photographic sessions are available for all types of photography as well.”
Steeves takes great pride in the adventures she has been able to document for others.
“I have become skilled in the shooting of on location automotive photography specializing in classic and antique vehicles including cars, trucks, bikes, tractors and airplanes. One of the more unique ventures I have taken on is photographing Classic Car and Truck Shows where I photograph all the vehicles as they enter the show.”
Being able to print photos and merchandise on site has helped Toppline grow.
“I have a full service mobile office onsite at all shows where I am equipped to print onsite for immediate delivery to my customers,” she said.
Products she can print on include t-shirts, sweatshirts, mouse pads, key chains, fridge whiteboards, hats, mugs, water bottles, magnets, grocery tote bags, beer koozies, aprons, coasters and bookmarks.
“I am also blessed to do quite a bit of travel photography in conjunction with Topplane Travel,” she said. “I help to escort their group motorcoach tours and every trip with them I photograph the group throughout the trip and provide them each with a packet of photos that includes a group photo and individual photo, and a DVD slideshow of the trip.”
“I grew up on a dairy farm in Canfield where I learned early on the importance of hard work and determination in business,” she said.
Seeing her parents run a successful farm, and her mom running a custom screen printing company on the side, started the idea of running a business in her mind.
Photography was always something she wanted to get in to. But she found conventional jobs in the industry didn’t stimulate her the way she’d hoped.
“When I graduated from Fanshaw College in 1998 with my Diploma of Photography I took a few jobs working in photo labs and tried to get into assistant positions with experienced photographers to learn the photography business,” she said. “But I found that the methods they were using were not the direction I wanted to go. So it became clear early on that I needed to go my own way, and open my own photography business I have been told many times over and over by my peers in the photography world that I don’t do things in the proper or traditional way. But I think that being different and outside the norm is part of what has contributed to my success.”
Her love of photography has been lifelong.
She took two photography classes in high school. But even before that, she would see her mom with a camera in hand for all the special family moments of her life.
“I probably subconsciously took that in and when I took that Grade 10 photography class I learned that I loved it. I always love the arts classes but had no skill for drawing, painting or sculpting, so photography is my way of expressing my art.”
Running her own business has allowed Steeves more control in her life than a typical job provides.
“As anyone who owns their own business knows we usually work longer hours than a lot of other jobs out there. But to be able to schedule my days the way I want to and work around family obligations is priceless. I have been able to do so many things that others have not, simply because I am able to set my own schedule.
“It is hard for me to even fathom what I would do if not this business. I honestly don’t know what I would do instead of this. I can’t even imagine it. I do know I would find another activity that fulfills me. I can’t see myself taking on a typical job working for somebody else.”
Connect with Melanie on Facebook.
Latest posts by James Thom (see all)
- Heather Johnson: The Parenting Patch (Blog) – Spotlight Mom - March 8, 2013
- Melanie Steeves Toppline Design Advertorial - February 22, 2013
- Freelancing – Does It Hurt Your Business? - January 29, 2013