a new season…

Oh, this is going to get wordy… Some shifts have been taking place in my thinking, my photography, my family…  These words have been in my heart for some time and it’s time to be honest and share them.

Clients have been my primary focus for over 5 years now.  The journey has lead me to opportunities I didn’t know existed, allowed me to interact with dynamic and beautiful families while learning more about myself than I knew I could.  My business face has gone through changes, my focus has realigned a few times and, heck, my pricing even changed significantly since the summer of 2009.  Lately, I have been feeling a bit stagnant in my client photography journey.  What once set a fire in my heart is now leaving me feeling repetitive. I want my work to feel compelling and unique to each individual family- to tell your story.  I desperately need to do more with my photography, give you a better story through my images.  However, each of my quiet moments is overflowing with ‘to-do’ items and the time to sit, ponder and think about what that “more” is, is less and less as my children grow.  My family images are quite different than my client work and I’m working to find a way to makes the two interchangeable.  To put the heart that my family images contain into your images, as well.  To get to my new place, for the fall of 2014 at least, I will be taking a step back from photographing clients – for me and for you.  I will be focusing on some new areas, educating myself further, and daydreaming.  Predicting what this will lead to in 2015 is impossible, but hopefully I will be refreshed, excited and ready to shoot your family with a new focus.

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While I will be on a short break from new client sessions, I certainly won’t be quiet.  Finding teaching within the photography community has nestled into a loving place in my heart.  My background is in teaching and to combine that with photography makes my heart just about burst.  Showing a mom how to use her camera and watching as a light bulb shines for YOU is enough to make me show you more.  For you to photograph the daily adventures and growth of your babies is just as meaningful to me.  Providing a guide to shoot your children in a meaningful way and preserve your memories in your daily adventures feels so much more important to me, in this season, than one session of my images can provide.

What I will be doing this fall:
ONLINE COURSE: On Monday, November 24th the second run of my online photography class,Photographing Your Family’s Everyday, Extraordinary Day, and Everything in Between begins.  This class is the perfect opportunity to photograph your holiday season.  It couldn’t be planned for a better time of year!   Sign ups begin in October.

IN-PERSON TEACHING: I will be available for small group and/or individual “Learning Your Camera” workshops.  Contact me if you are interested for yourself or for a group of you and a few friends.  They are about 2 hours long – include a workbook and time for shooting – as well as access to ask me questions for a few weeks after the class is over.

PERSONAL PROJECTS: There are a few projects that have been put on hold or unshared throughout the last year.  I will be diving further into these with joy… printing out my final product of my letter project, continuing to shoot my kiddos art projects while creating more spaces to display their artwork throughout my home, returning to blogging more often, and shooting my everyday even more consistently.

VOLUNTEERING: I can be found at the local elementary school helping out;) This doesn’t help you, but I’m making it a priority!

With that said, if you were a newborn client within the last year, I will be taking 6 month and 1 year sessions for your sweet little one – how can I not peek in on their growth?!

Here are some highlights from our summer that I haven’t shared…

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letters to our daughters – may

This is my eighth month writing letters to Abby…
My wonderful friends and I  are writing letters — letters to express our love, talk through our struggles, and create a memory for our daughters.

Check out previous month’s letters

Please visit my friend, Sarah, next, and read her May letter to her sweet daughter


Time is moving at an alarming rate.  April and May have been so incredibly busy and I have found myself going through an entire day without sitting to just spend time with you.  That’s something I’m forcing from this day on – no matter how many projects I have going on, to just simply be with you.  This is your last week of preschool and I’m not quite sure how we are here already.  Your ‘final’ bulletin board went up outside your classroom, announcing your school for next year.  I got teared up and even telling Daddy about it, tears came to my eyes.  You are scared, you’ve told me.  You haven’t said it in those words, but you’ve mentioned that you’d rather not “learn to read” and to stay at school with your teachers and friends… there were a few tears involved.   However, it’s time for the next step.  Just a few short months away and you will begin Kindergarten.  A little fish in a big school.  I’m going to have to pull out my bravest face because I will most certainly be an emotional mama.  You are ready, sweetiepie.  Completely ready.

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May 14, 2014 - 2:45 am

Letters to my Daughter | May » Fresh Modern Photography - […] continue on to Melissa’s letter to her daughter, and all the way through the […]

May 15, 2014 - 9:07 am

Nancy LaCroix - My sweet Melissa, As I read this it brought back all my memories of getting ready to send you off to Kindergarten. As my tears flow I can tell you that it is not easy sending your first child out from under your wings. I know you feel that the world is scary out there and it can be but believe in yourself that you have done everything you can to prepare both of you for this moment. Yes, time goes fast but to watch them grow and become more than you could ever imagine is the best and most rewarding gift of all. I am extremely proud of you and your accomplishments! Abby and Owen couldn’t ask for a better mother. I watch you with them and can only say how proud I am of you. You my dear are a wonderful Mom!!
Love you baby,
Your Momma

May 16, 2014 - 6:52 am

Sue Stottmann - Melissa, I agree wholeheartedly with your mom! One thing I did with the boys (back when we all only took a few;-), was taking a picture of them on the way out the door their first day of kindergarten and the last day of school as a senior in high school! Enjoy every precious moment as you know, it will fly by! So proud of the job you and Ryan are doing raising such sweet kiddos!

May 31, 2014 - 6:00 pm

Sarah Vaughn - Sooo beautiful! I adore these images and your sentiments. My girl is the same age – what a big milestone it is. For your girl and for you.

September 16, 2014 - 7:34 am

Claudette Gross - Really love your letters Melissa… and your photos. It reminds me how fast is a way of living today and what we probably miss with our closest… thanks for sharing this inspiring content.

letters to our daughters – april

This is my seventh month writing letters to Abby…
My wonderful friends and I  are writing letters — letters to express our love, talk through our struggles, and create a memory for our daughters.

Check out previous month’s letters

Please visit my friend, Kellie, next, and read her April letter to her sweet daughter


Every single month you are growing and changing at an enormous rate.  This month, you have decided that you would like to dress yourself.  On Saturday morning you came rushing in, completely dressed, announcing that “TODAY IS A YELLOW DAY!”  The ‘pattern’ day was one of your more interesting ones, for sure.  You claim that you feel like “such a big girl” when you do this.

Slowly, you are becoming a kid instead of a small child.  There are many days that you sit on the couch and draw for hours.  The drawings are so incredibly intricate and every detail is just so.  My pens have been disappearing at an alarming rate and we have come across piles of them in your baskets.  Pen, marker, paint and glue are constantly covering your hands and there is typically some sort of color on your cheek or nose from a marker that got loose.

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April 9, 2014 - 4:53 pm

Kellie - Oh, she is a girl after my own heart! I often spent my days covered in paint/marker/glue/glitter. And, as an art teacher of kindergarteners and first graders, not much has changed…haha! She is so so sweet and I am sure that when she becomes a terrific artist someday she will cherish these images <3

April 10, 2014 - 11:56 am

caroline - Aw!!! She is so adorable! I love this series. I love the way her hair is blowing in the last image–so pretty!!

April 15, 2014 - 5:31 pm

Mickie - Awe such a sweet letter for a sweet girl! This age is so fun! I just adore that last image!

April 28, 2014 - 11:26 pm

Sarah Vaughn - Oh these are so precious. I just love how you capture your sweet girl and daily life. My Sofie loves art so much as well.

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Sleep sweet baby. Sleep.
For tomorrow is filled with adventures to be had.
You will be older and wiser.
For today will be a fine memory.
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Do you have a newborn on the way or given birth very recently?  
I love photographing newborns and everything that makes them unique.  
I’d be honored to capture your newborn, just as they are, in their first few weeks.  
For more information, or to book a session simply fill out the contact form

letters to our daughters march

This is my sixth month of writing letters to Abby…
My wonderful friends and I  are writing letters — letters to express our love, talk through our struggles, and create a memory for our daughters.

Check out previous month’s letters

Please visit my friend, Mickie, next and read her March letter to her sweet daughter

You’ve recently decided that you need ‘break’ and time alone by yourself. I can completely understand these feelings and craving time to yourself, however, I didn’t think this would begin so soon… isn’t this something that teenagers need? Your ability to regulate, name, and pinpoint your feelings and then to modify them and recognize the need to slow down and rationally ‘tak a break’ is amazing to me.  You are only five, but I catch glimpses of the girl you are becoming.

We had to go to the doctor last week and I kept the visit a secret until the final moment.  You were initially so incredibly overtaken with panic.  However, you began to think through everything with only limited guidance from me.  You explained to both me, yourself, and your brother that, though you were scared, you also recognized the reason and need to for the doctor visit and continued to explain how important it is to go to the doctor when healthy to keep you from getting sicker.  Amazing.  Many adults can’t put these concepts together.

I love watching you unfold.

one of your string creations…
made using a shoelace and our barstool on a snowy day
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