Award-winning Manistee photographer focused on lifestyle, maternity pictures

MANISTEE — If a picture is worth a thousand words, then one Manistee-based photography studio might be comparable to a library.

Alissa Saylor launched her studio, located at 457 River St. in December, where the award-winning photographer focuses on lifestyle, family, maternity and newborn photography.

“I’m constantly looking for inspiration in the most mundane of life’s moments and drawn to capturing the natural beauty that I see within real relationships; turning it into art that you can feel,” reads part of her website,

Much of her work showcases maternal beauty, and Saylor says she draws inspiration from motherhood.

“I really gear toward mothers,” Saylor said. “… I think becoming a mom … there were things I wish I could hold on to for myself.”

Capturing those moments is important to Saylor, but so is the experience of getting photographs taken. 

“I really want to capture all those things, but I also want moms to feel really special and pampered when they come in here, because I know that motherhood – especially early motherhood – can be really rough,” she said.

Saylor says some of her approach to photography came from a similar special experience, which got her interested in becoming a professional photographer.

“When I was in high school, and I had my senior pictures done, we had picked someone from west Michigan and he offered a whole experience (with) little pampering things set up,” she said. “I remember how special it was that he went above and beyond.”

Speaking with the photographer helped Saylor get started with photography.

“He really invested in me … telling me that I could shadow him and gave me all these tips on how to get started and I just really loved it.”

After pursuing a different career in cosmetology, Saylor says it was another, much different experience, which got her back interested in photography. 

“I graduated, I got married, I actually went to cosmetology school and after we got married, my experience with our wedding photographer was actually just a little bit disappointing,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘I really want to do this and I want to offer people what I had wanted.’”

From there, Saylor says she sought out photographers to shadow, took classes and had “a lot of trial and error.” 

“I did a lot of wedding photography, a little bit of family and then as I got older and as I started having my family, my interests started changing and I started figuring out what my passion was and where I really clicked in photography.”

That, she says, was working one on one with growing families.

In 2013, Saylor won first place in the birth photography category at Lemonade and Lenses, an international image competition. 

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