Photographer Mel Cole

Hope everyone is off to a great start in this new school year! It seems that we have been just as busy here at Spruce gearing up for our fall season of bookish work. Lots of things to plan and study for, which includes an upcoming new website for Spruce, as well as our exciting book due in October. I can’t hype it enough!

This leads me to sing the praises of one of our favorite photographers in town, Mel Cole. You may visit her solo website, Cole Collective, or her recent partnership’s site RollinsCole, for a load of her and her photography partner’s excellent work. Austin and beyond – take note! You’re gonna want to have Mel and Mackenzie document your family and its most momentous events.


We’ve recently had the pleasure to hang out with Mel for a few projects. As mentioned, we have a new website pending, and new photos of our staff were needed to outfit it. Enter Mel – the consummate photographer. Check out a sneak peek of our photoshoot at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin.

From left to right, Meredith, Katherine, Captain Amanda, Master Frank, and little old me.


The staff at the Blanton Museum of Art were kind enough to allow us to take photos in front of their glorious and famous blue wall. Thank you, Blanton!

In tandem, we have completed a number of upholstered pieces for Mel’s new conference and photo office. Eat your heart out! Photos ensue…

mel cole office 2mel cole office 4

Mel’s vibrant and bright office redo, with a little help from Spruce upholstery.


We first met the ever-mellow Mel in one of our BYOC classes back in 2010. I discovered during class that Mel and I had crossed paths living in Arkansas, and later attended the same school at UNT in Denton, TX. Through the most organic friendship and partnering with Spruce, we have worked with Mel on several projects since 2010. A quick Q & A below:


Spruce: Where are you from, and where did you go to school?

Mel: I am from a small town in the Ozarks – Mountain Home, Arkansas. I got my degree in photojournalism and photographic art from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas.

Spruce: How did you become a shutterbug?

Mel: My parents moved to Cedar Park, Texas outside of Austin in my early high school years. It was a new school with a photography class that only had ten students enrolled. I thought, “Why not? That would be cool!” Developing my first picture in the developer and fixer had me hooked. My first picture was so underexposed, but I loved it and hung it in my locker. I took three years of photography and knew then that I wanted to be a photographer.

Spruce: What is your specialty?

Mel: Cole Collective focuses on children and family lifestyle and documentary, with an emphasis on design and food. My clients are geared towards both, which are my passions in life as well. RollinsCole is a partnership with Mackenzie Rollins. It’s a NYC + Austin-based boutique wedding photography company. Together we document weddings everywhere.

Spruce: You have a moving-and-shaking husband and a beautiful baby! Tell us more about them! (That’s Mel’s son, Jude, below!)

Mel: Life is pure craziness in our household. Chase and I have been married for five years. Chase works for Dai Due, a craft butcher shop in Austin. They just announced the opening of their restaurant and storefront in Spring of 2014 off Manor Road in Austin. Jude, our son, will be two years old in January. Jude and I spend lots of time traveling and enjoying friends and babies in Austin. We love Springdale Farm and have been visiting the farm stand together almost every Wednesday since his birth. Zilker Park is a favorite too, as well as picnicking with friends. Austin is a great place to raise a family. We love it!

Spruce: What’s on the horizon for you this fall? Any new projects?

Mel: I leave this weekend for New York to begin the Fall wedding season for RollinsCole, which will be busy. I’m starting a lifestyle project for the LIVESTRONG Foundation this month, too. The next four months will be the busiest of my career! Today I just announced my trip to Guatemala in January with the Hirsche Smiles Foundation. I will be documenting their good works, surgeries, children and more.

Mel, I am so tired just having typed your fall itinerary! Thank you for all you do for us, always. Best to you and hubby and your lovely boy too (pictured below)!


Readers, please follow Mel’s projects and adventures and seek her for your most cherished documentary needs. She’s the best!

All photos compliments of Mel Cole.