2015 was an incredible year for me. I made the decision to enter into the world of newborn photography, which I have fallen love with! I hit a milestone I’d been working towards ~ I had at least one shoot every month of 2015. I met new clients, created new relationships and continued to work with amazing families that I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow over the past few years.
There were some significant changes in my personal life as well, my husband and I made the decision that I would begin staying at home with our youngest two children – our 2.5 year old twin boys as our oldest started Kindergarten (I still have no idea where the time has gone!), and as a result, in September, I left my almost 10 year career in higher education to stay at home full-time with my kiddos.
Within this change, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on what I want to do and where I want to be and how I want to spend my time. And I’ve come to a decision. If I am going to spend time away from my family, I want to feel good about how and with who I am spending that time. So what does that all mean?
I left my job to be able to have more time and to create meaningful memories with my family. I am happiest when I am working with other families, helping to capture their memories; the joining of two people, a tiny, delicate newborn, a graduating senior ready to take on the world or a family in their everyday, normal, beautiful routine.
With that in mind, I have some exciting new things to introduce:
New Session and Package Offerings
I’ll be rolling out a new senior campaign in the next two months as I’m looking for 3-4 seniors to work with to spread the word about my senior portrait sessions. If you know of anyone who has a child that is a junior or senior, I would love to get their names from you so I can reach out to them and give them information about what they’ll get in their session and what they can earn by bringing in referrals!
Grow With Me Packages:
As I’ve been working more with newborns, I’ve been asked on several occasions if I offered any packages for the first year. After some time and thought, I’ve put together 3 packages to capture your child’s first year as well as the journey of pregnancy and birth:
Watch Me Grow Full Package: $775.00
Newborn, 4, 6, 9 and 12 month/cake smash:
- Newborn session will be held between 5 and 10 days after birth (depending on type of delivery and health status of mom and baby/babies) and will last between 2 and 4 hours and will be done in your home.
- All other sessions will be 45 minutes (with the exception of the cake smash if you opt for that – 1 hour) and done either in your home or on location (weather dependent).
- You will receive 5-7 images from each session and will receive a
- 20 page, 10×10 lay flat album with selected images from each session (once all sessions have been completed).
Watch Me Grow Mini Package: $550.00
Newborn, 6 and 12 month/cake smash:
- Session lengths are the same as above and
- 5-7 digital images from each session will be included.
- $100.00 print credit and
- 3 – 5×5 mat board mounted prints (one from each session).
Bump to Baby: $350.00
Maternity and newborn sessions:
- Maternity session will be held on location and it is preferred to do the session between 28 and 30 weeks.
- Newborn session will be the same as above. 5-7 images from each session,
- $100.00 print credit and
- 2 – 5×5 mat board mounted prints (one from each session).
Have I mentioned that I love babies? My newborn clients tell me all the time “you are so patient with the baby” “you’re so gentle with them” “you’re like a baby whisper”. My last client said to me as I was calming her 8 day old daughter down and getting her to sleep, “So, you’re going to just move in here with me, so you can do that when I need you to, right?” Maybe it’s being a mom of 3, maybe its being a part of a large family, I don’t know, but from the moment I received my very first cabbage patch doll at age 7, I have loved babies.
I have a TON of pictures from my first son’s birth. I went into labor naturally, my husband and my mom was there and she took a ton of wonderful pictures for me. I look back on those fondly and seeing them brings me right back to the moment of his birth.
With my second pregnancy (with identical twins), I was induced and was told that I couldn’t have anyone other than my husband in the OR with me when I delivered (even though I wasn’t having a c-section). So my hubby had the camera, but really, he was understandably pre-occupied with his wife and his two children being born, so there’s hardly any pictures of the actual delivery and about two of each child post-birth before we got back to our room. I still kick myself to this day that I didn’t push harder and talk more with my doctor beforehand to allow either my mom or a birth photographer in there with us. Giving birth to twins was something I felt compelled to capture to be able to remember the details of that day and I am sad that I don’t have that in the way I wanted to.
I have been interested in birth photography since my twins were born 3 years ago and I am just starting to dip my toe into the water. With that in mind, I am booking a limited number of births this year, at a discounted rate, to build my portfolio in this area.
Here’s what a birth photography session will include:
Birth Photography Investment: $650
- Being on-call 2 weeks before and after your due date (no vacations, no trips, being available at 3am or 5 pm to come to the hospital, birthing center or your home)
- I try to arrive at the hospital when you are dilated to a 5 or a 6 – knowing that all births progress differently, we’ll discuss more about this in our consultation.
- I’ll capture the birth based on what you want – everything or above the waist only – it’s completely your call and your choice. No pictures will be posted or blogged without your express permission.
- You will receive all the photos from the session on a custom USB drive.
- A 20 page, lay flat, 10×10 album that captures your birth story
Please let me know if you or someone you know is interested in having a photographer present at their birth, I would love to meet up with you (coffee’s on me!) to have a more in-depth conversation about what the experience will be like.
I am SO beyond excited to introduce a new line of products to you all. I am partnering with an amazing vendor, Gabriela Koopsman from the Netherlends to be able to provide you with amazing wooden photo blocks. They are spectacular! Each one is handmade and the photo is adhered to the block precisely and carefully to create an heirloom that you can hang up in your home and can pass down to your children. Gabriela has partnered with a select number of professional photographers, only those whose photography she feels will accurately represent the quality of her work. To say that I am proud and honored to be a part of that group (which holds some of MY photography mentors), is an understatement!
You can see more information about them on my website here: http://www.melissaortendahlphotography.com/photoblocks
As these products are handmade and are of such high quality, they are an investment. I am offering a selection of the products that she offers, and have payment plans available because I truly feel that these are worth the money – I wouldn’t offer them if I didn’t. I will have samples available for you to be able to check out, see, touch before you purchase so you know just how amazing of a product you’ll be receiving. They take about a month to come in (from creating to shipping), but good quality is worth the wait!
As I look forward to 2016, I am excited. I feel energized and happy and eager to continue this work that I love to do. So many of you have worked with me for years and I cannot begin to tell you how much it means to me to have your loyal business. I have loved watching your families grow and your amazing referrals have put me in touch with other members of your families, and friends and I can see this amazing network of my clients and the connections they share and it just warms my soul.
I was working with a client this past fall for her 3rd session in a year, (newborn, mini session and large extended family), and she said to me ,”I think I’ve seen you more than I’ve seen some members of my family this year” and I just felt so honored that she had chosen me to capture her beautiful family again and again.
I don’t take any of it for granted and I am truly excited and happy to see each one of you when we get together. Thank you so much for letting me into your family, if only for a few hours, and I look forward to working with you again this year. Take care and Happy New Year!