Melissa Ann Photography bio picture
  • Hello!

    I believe that photos tell a story and hold on to special meaning that would otherwise be forgotten. Honestly, who knows where I'd be without my camera seeing as how I have a terrible memory anyway!

    This blog will house not only sneak peeks from my sessions, but I will also post personal things. I think it's important to share some personal moments so that my current clients can get to know me better, and my future clients will feel like they already know me.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and be sure to spread the word!


    National Association of Professional Child Photographers


    Professional Photographers of America

    Paul + Courtney | Wedding

    Planning a wedding is no simple task or any large event for that matter. It’s even more challenging when you live many states away! Paul and Courtney did just that all the way from Philadelphia, PA. They decided to marry at her father’s home in DeRidder; a lovely place settled on a beautiful piece of land. With the location decided upon, they depended on many of the details to be organized by Ashlee of Magnolia Life Events and it all came together fabulously. I met Paul and Courtney in person the Monday before their wedding. Instantly I felt completely comfortable with not only them, but the many family members and friends that were already present. We spent a bit of time discussing the schedule for their wedding day and also some of the special touches that they were adding to make the day more meaningful. Special things stood out throughout the whole wedding from the wine ceremony in place of the traditional unity candle or sand mixing to the memory table that held photographs of loved ones that will always be cherished, but sadly could not be present. The personalized touches continued with the wine bottles containing images of the bride and groom, their travels, and their friends that could be viewed during the cocktail hour beside the pool. Another fun aspect was the mason jars with chalkboard labels upon which guests could write their names and hold on to for the evening. One of the neatest things, however, was that the ceremony was officiated by Courtney’s mother. The big day was full of all the fabulous rituals of getting ready and sharing these moments with incredible friends and faithful family. Here is a small peek into Paul and Courtney’s wedding day.DeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-Photo

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    The incredible flowers were arranged compliments of America’s Finest Flowers.

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    DeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoDeRidder-Outdoor-Wedding-PhotoI’m so very honored to have been a part of your day and the start of your lives together. I wish y’all all the happiness complete with tons of laughter. Hugs, ~Melissa

    7 Tips for Photo Sessions with Kids

    So, you’ve booked your first…or fifteenth family session. You have exactly 1 child under the age of 5, or you have 3 under the age of 5! Whatever your numbers and ages, the point is you’ve booked a photo session with high hopes of those magazine style images…

    Yep, let that sink in for a moment…did you just consider canceling your session? Well, now settle down, that’s just about as extreme as expecting those posh magazine images where everything is, well, staged. You know, like the pottery barn images where the playroom is larger than half of your house and the kids are not only fully dressed, but they also match and have their hair fixed. Just today one of my twins was running around in the backyard in undies and his collared shirt on backwards. Try as I might to convince him that it was  backwards and that he should consider pants, I was told that his shirt was not backwards and basically that pants are just not necessary (in his own words, of course). I digress, the point is the magazines are not reality, the kids may completely surprise you during your session with angelic behavior and perfect pose-able moments, hey, they may even wear pants, but it’s best to plan your session around the littles.

    It sounds a bit taxing and you may say, well, what does that involve, really?  Here’s the deal, I believe it’s similar to taking the kiddos out to eat at a nice restaurant. You do it sporadically, and you plan ahead. Below are some tips on making your session with young kiddos run smoothly:)

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    No matter how much planning you put into your session, expect the unexpected. Things are bound to go differently than anticipated. Embrace the crazy, embrace this special time of life with your children, and take a moment to step back and smile, savor the moments, play with them in that open field, let them feel how much you love them. After all, these little beings are only little for so long. They have a way of stealing our hearts every single day, let that shine through your family portraits! Let the crazy, most amazing moments live on!

    ~Melissa

    The Tinker Family

    This sweet family of four has increased by one since the last time I photographed them. Jacob certainly joined a family that is full of love and fun. He will no doubt have an endless supply of squeezers from his ever so awesome older brother and sister. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to photograph these guys again. I’ve said it before, there’s something so incredible about watching people you went to school with begin and continue to grow their families. I love that we can still be a part of their world:)

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    Enjoy, friends!

    With love,

    ~Melissa

    To The North Pole Of Course | Polar Express Party

    Shortly before Christmas I was perusing Pinterest and came across a few Polar Express activities and party ideas. It sounded like so much fun and I wanted to create a version for ourselves. I love things like this to help make holidays more festive.

    It began with the idea of having kiddos over in their pj’s, of course and offering hot cocoa as we read the book, then watched the movie. I wanted to also create tickets and a way for the kids to turn them in, however, I ended up running out of time and had to let that one go, at least for this year. My neighbors brought down the hot cocoa to serve with marshmallows:)We also enjoyed some cookies and popcorn.

    A few moments before the party began, I went to get something out of my closet and a bag of fake snow fell by my feet. Yes, I keep fake snow on hand for emergencies. Just kidding, I intended to use it for Christmas photo sessions, but never ended up pulling it out for them. Instead, I opened up two bags and started pouring it on my floor. Crazy, right?! Here’s the deal, it’s made of little bits of plastic and since my house is mostly tile it was so easy to clean up and ever so much fun!

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    A couple days before the party we were making paper snowflakes just for fun and I suddenly had the idea to hang them throughout the house. I sent messages to my neighbors inviting their kiddos to make snowflakes that we’d hang up, too. The result was fabulous! I think I will have to do this every year. After my husband returned home the night before the party, he joined in the snowflake making festivities with Drew and they hung the rest of them up for me. I came home to snowflakes everywhere!DeRidder-Polar Express-Party-PhotoDeRidder-Polar Express-Party-Photo

    We also had our snowballs for our indoor snowball fight. I bought the white pom poms at Hobby Lobby last year and on Christmas Eve we had a snowball fight. It was so fun and this was a perfect opportunity to do it again. I told each participant to grab a hand full and I set the timer for a few minutes. The fight continued until the timer went off and then everyone had to freeze. I gave them all a bonus minute and all the kids helped to clean it up before starting our story. DeRidder-Polar Express-Party-Photo

    We slowed down by reading our book and then went on to snacks and the movie. It was so fun, truly. I think I’ll have to do this party annually.

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    After a while the kids began to get antsy just sitting for the movie and they slowly started playing with the snow again. At first I tried to stop it, but then just let it go. They were having such fun and how often do you get to play with snow inside?

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    Overall, it was great. I think next year I’ll work on those tickets to pass out, too. The kiddos all left with a bell on a red ribbon as the first gift of Christmas and to hold on to the spirit of Christmas. The Polar Express is one of my favorite stories and they did a great job with the movie, too. Thanks to everyone who came and helped out. So, whose up for making more snowflakes for next year?:)

    ~Melissa

    The Pekala Family

    I met this fantastic family for their mini session and was so excited the moment they hopped out of the truck. These guys certainly were styling! Mom is just beautiful and her boots were fabulous, the boys looked like mini GQ models, and that little lady though not your typical girly-girl could have fooled me! It was a quick session, but yet another one that I kept saying, “Just one more shot, one more and you’re done” followed by me convincing them that I needed another. Joelle, you have a beautiful family. I’m looking forward to our next session with all the members:)

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    ~Melissa

     

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