Because your memories are worth investing in
I am a light and airy photographer based in Orange County. I've lived in OC most of my life, studied in Irvine and Los Angeles, did a short residency in the Inland Empire, and now I am back here in Lake Forest (Irvine adjacent) in my forever home.
I specialize in maternity, newborn, and family photography and have spent thousands of hours (and dollars!) on figuring out exactly how to find and edit the best soft and glowy light to make you look amazing. I have scoured Orange County to find locations that fit this ideal lighting profile, locations that I am sure you will fall in love with also.
I love working with kids and families, and being silly. You'll often see me jumping around and pulling funny items out of my pockets like Mary Poppins, anything to make the little ones crack a smile. Maternity and newborn sessions have a special place in my heart ever since I became a mom, and I simply adore making mothers look as beautiful in my camera as they make everyone around them feel.
Let's make some memories together that you can't stop looking at
Have you ever scrolled through your phone and looked at all the photos in it? I bet it is filled with photos of your children, your husband, your food from last week, and maybe even the occasional selfie of you with each of those previously mentioned people/things. Now I don't know about you, but I don't look good in any of my selfies on my phone unless there is some kind of dog nose filter on top of it (why do those always look so good?!). Anyway, I can't imagine filling my home with framed images of me doing selfies with my son and dog filters, and you shouldn't have to either (unless you really want to). This is where I come in. I specialize in creating images worthy of framing on your walls, and I can help you hand pick the type of artwork that you'd love to see in your home.
You believe photoshoots should be fun and natural
YOU'RE INTO THAT LIGHT, BRIGHT, AND GLOWY LOOK IN PHOTOS
YOU LOVE CANDID MOMENTS OF YOUR LOVED ONES IN PHOTOS
YOU LIKE GETTING INTO A PRETTY DRESS ONCE IN A WHILE
YOU LOVE SCROLLING THROUGH YOUR PHONE TO LOOK AT OLD PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF YOUR LOVED ONES
YOU APPRECIATE GOOD HELP AND GUIDANCE FROM YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER, BECAUSE GOODNESS KNOWS YOU ALREADY HAVE SO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE
YOU WOULD LIKE TO adorn YOUR HOME WITH PHOTOS OF YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES
YOUR FAMILY IS WARM, KIND, AND FUN-LOVING
AND WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO has a similar vibe
Your experience all starts with you filling out the contact form down below to get started!
You will get an email from me usually within 48 hrs to get the process started or for me to answer any questions you may have!
I usually will book a quick (totally optional) 15 minute phone call for me to learn more about you and your family to see if we are a good fit for each other and for me to figure out what package would suit your needs best. Or if you'd rather just email or chat or book on the spot, that is ok too! Whatever works with your busy schedule!
1. Say Hello
Once you sign a contract and pay a non-refundable retainer/session fee, you are officially in the books!
I will contact you soon after to help you pick a great location for your photoshoot. Once we have the location chosen, I will recommend a custom start time for your photoshoot.
2. Officially book!
During the weeks leading up to the photoshoot I will help look over any outfit choices you may be considering and giving guidance on what items to bring to your photoshoot. I also will send over a questionnaire to help me better get to know you and your needs.
Let's find out what makes your family members giggle and laugh. Got a not-so-smiley child? Let's tap into his/her instincts to be curious and allow him/her to explore nature instead. Have a part of your body you are self-conscious about ever since you got pregnant? Let me keep an eye out for you. Feel like an awkward turtle in front of the camera? No problem, I'm here to help!
3. Planning it
This is the fun part! I'll meet you at the location sent to your email. There, I will give you a quick run down on what to expect when it comes to posing, and pointers on how we will best get genuine expressions from you and your loved ones.
4. Your photoshoot
About 1-2 months later, your photos will be ready for you to download from a link. If you need some photos or all of them sooner, that's fine, just let me know so we can customize the turnaround time to your needs.
People laugh, some have cried (HAPPY TEARS, not sad ones thank goodness! haha), but most grin ear to ear to see the end result!
It is during this time that you will also have the opportunity to create artwork for your home in the form of prints, canvases, or heirloom albums. We will discuss those options in greater detail once you have seen all the beautiful images we have created together!
5. Your Photographs
You've got questions, I've got answers!
An artwork credit is a COMPLIMENTARY amount that you can use as credit towards your artwork purchases with ordering prints, canvases, and albums with me. I love the process of printing and creating custom archival prints for your home, and this print credit is my gift to you! However, it does not hold any monetary value and CANNOT be used as a discount towards your session or portrait fee. It is purely meant for ordering artwork. If you do not use it within the ordering period, the credit will be void. Credits cannot be combined from other clients or used from separate photoshoots.
A session fee is basically the same things as a non-refundable retainer.
It is what is paid in advance in order to officially book a session with me and reserves your shooting time & date. It includes all of the help you get with choosing outfits, a beautiful location, and tips and correspondence before your photoshoot even begins. So make sure you take advantage of all the help and guidance I have to give leading up to your photoshoot!
Before the photoshoot even begins, part of my objective is figuring out what it is exactly that you are envisioning for your final product. I want to know whether you are taking these photos to just post on social media, if you have an empty wall that you are trying to fill with memories in your home, or if you want some photos to print out for cards to send to family and friends (or all of the above!) Whatever the case may be, before the photoshoot even begins, I should already have an idea or a list in mind of what images we will be creating that day. From that list, I will curate top photos for your gallery for you to view. It usually consists of about 50+ images, and from those, you are free to choose which you would like to keep according to your package.
Unfortunately, this is not going to be possible. Raw/unedited images are not a proper representation of my work and are not available for purchase. I take A LOT of photos each session, and there is not enough time for you to go through the entire reel of photos taken the day of, so please trust my expertise! If you are looking for an image in particular or hoping that I captured a moment that was not available in your final gallery, please contact me so I can help figure out why it did not make the final gallery.
The turnaround time for a gallery is listed as 1-2 months. Often my families will get them much sooner than that, but especially during times of holidays, it can take the actual 1-2 months to receive your photos. As listed above under the Investment Guide (page 3 | ADD ONS), You can pay a rush fee to make ALL the images available to you within 7 days, or you can get some sneak peek images of my choosing within a week for free (however, those sneak peeks will become part of your final gallery).
In my past 5+ years of photographing families this has never happened before, but if you are very particular about how you look in photos, have a very fussy family member, or aren't sure if my esthetic fits your needs, please let me know in advance!
I do ask all my families if they are self-conscious about any body parts, so I can keep an eye out for them during the photoshoot, If you have less cooperative members in your family, we can try to lengthen the session to your needs (longer or shorter) and/or recalibrate your expectations of what may be realistic in terms of final results. As for esthetics, please look through my website for an accurate representation of my work to make sure that bright and candid images are what you are looking for.
I loved her work, so when we found out we were pregnant, I knew Melanie would be our maternity and newborn photographer. The booking process was a breeze; Melanie worked with us to nail down the location, outfits, and sent us her recommendations to prepare us for the photoshoot. She is very sweet and personable and it was so much fun to work with her! The photos turned out amazing and we're so glad we chose Melanie to capture our new journey. I cannot wait to work with Melanie again for our newborn photoshoot and future family photoshoots. We love love love our photos and can't recommend melliemadephotography enough!
Vanseka & Alan
Melanie was very professional and personable as well. She always responded to any of my questions when I needed help and tips. I worried my kids would not cooperate, but she know how to create a fun atmosphere for them and the photoshoot turned out to be so much fun for them. They started out shy and ended up getting a little bit too excited. The photos turned out beautifully. Thank you Melanie!
We saw what a beautiful job Melanie did for our cousin’s newborn photos that we decided to reach out to her when our son was born. She was quick to respond and has a great attention to detail. During these unprecedented times with Covid-19, she provided professional and flexible terms for the photo shoot that worked with our schedule. We are grateful for her patience and unique eye to capture our newest addition to the family. Don’t hesitate to contact her, you won’t be disappointed!
I worked with Mel last year for our first annual family photoshoot. Melanie was so easy to work with from start to finish (booking appt to getting our photos back in record time). She was very responsive when I had any questions about our outfits and needed suggestion for a makeup artist when mine wasn’t available. She was very patient with the kids which made it easier on me. I already booked an appt for our shoot this year and can’t wait to see the new location and photos.
My husband and I just got our photos back from a maternity shoot with Melanie and we couldn't be happier! She was very professional (wore a mask the entire time) and she was able to give me and hubby instructions during the shoot like where he should put his hand and where we should look. The photos turned out beautifully and very representative of the airy esthetic I saw on her Instagram. Highly recommend her!
I highly recommend booking with Melanie! I had such a great experience working with her. I was very impressed with how professional but personable she was from beginning to end.
Our session might have been a disaster if she didn’t come to the rescue. Both my 2 year old and 4 year old had meltdowns (at the same time!) but that didn’t bother her. Somehow she got them to cooperate, made it work and captured some amazing moments! We love our photos and I look forward to working with her again in the future!
By far one of my favorite photographers!
Melanie was so sweet, thorough and professional. It was such a pleasure working with her to take my newborn’s photos during a chaotic time. I loved so many of the photos that she took!! I would recommend her to anyone!
We had such a great experience with Melanie from start to finish. She was patient, kind, and sooo sweet with my kiddos. I had no idea how the photos would turn out but the outcome was better than expected! The hardest part was choosing our favorite photos.
Thank you, Melanie! Looking forward to doing our annual photos with your next year!
I highly recommend Melliemade Photography! My wife and I met her at a cute quaint place in Irvine for our maternity photo shoot. Melanie was very professional, prompt and well mannered. She instructed us on how to pose because we clearly did not know how to pose for photos. The park looked nice but our photos came out even nicer! Can’t believe how great they were! Would definitely do another photo shoot with Melliemade Photography!
Melanie is such a lovely person to work with! Her photos speak for themselves (just perfectly light and airy) but the BTS experience makes it 10/10. She is super prepared and gave us great info on how we could prepare ourselves. We did a mini session with our dog and it was better than we expected! We never met prior to our shoot but she’s so warm and friendly, it felt like we were friends. 100% recommend working with her!!
My first photoshoot with someone else was a total disaster. After that experience, I was so horrified that I never wanted to do a baby photo shoot ever again! However, when I started to talk to Melanie, she listened to my concerns and worries, explained how she plans and manages the photoshoot, and encouraged me to try again. After talking to her, I decided to try and I am so grateful that I did. Melanie was very professional, personable, and had strong portrait skills. My baby loved Melanie, and she knew exactly how to handle unforeseen situations and manage babies. She also made me feel very comfortable so we got plenty of nice photos with natural laughs (both baby and me!). Thank you Melanie for such a precious and fun experience and memory!!!
Melanie was great. The pictures came out perfect. She had such great energy and made things easy with our little girl. Parents know how difficult it can be with the little ones but she is really great with how she guided her. I would definitely recommend Melanie.
Melanie was wonderful to work with and made great recommendations to ensure our photos turned out exactly as we had hoped. She sent us a photography guide with suggested locations and poses. She also took the time to understand our vision prior to the shoot. Overall, she was very efficient and knowledgeable and we love the final product.
I found Mellie in my local mom Facebook group. I looked at her portfolio and loved what I saw. She was offering mini sessions which was exactly what I was looking for since my son was around 1 at the time and had no patience with standing still and posing for pictures. She made it fun for him and the pictures came out beautiful! I have one of them framed on top of the mantle and I highly doubt I’ll ever take it down.
We had a terrific experience working with Melanie!!! Our newborn pics and family portraits turned out amazing! It was a miracle how she was able to put my two year old toddler at ease in front of the camera. Highly recommend!!!
We’ve had the pleasure of working with Melanie twice for our maternity photo shoots. She’s super friendly and extremely easy to work with! We love her light and airy photography style for maternity photos. Melanie definitely tries to make it easy on you throughout the process and helps prepare you well in advance for the photo shoot. We would definitely recommend her if you’re looking for a photographer with a light and airy style!
It’s been years since my son and I had professional photos taken. He’s 26 now, and the challenge has been to have photos that won’t come out mushy, or that would come out couplish looking. One of my sisters has had her family photos and professional photos taken by Melanie, and I liked them. So I decided to contact her for a photo session.
First of all, I loved working with her on the day of our photo shoot! So easy to work with! And more importantly, I loved how our photos turned out! I have a few marked for printing and framing already! Surely a great investment, one that will last for years to come!
Mel came to the rescue and delivered! Our original photographer canceled last minute two hours before our appointment and we were desperately thinking of other options. As Mel was leaving another shoot in Temecula a friend contacted her and she agreed to do our shoot! Thank goodness for great people like Mellie! She saved the day and I was able to do our family holiday photos. I am 100% pleased with the turn out. She was great with my crazy 2 year old and has a great eye! Thank you Mellie for making this happen. Don’t think twice. Book with her!
It was a pleasure working with Melanie for our maternity photoshoot!! I have been following Melliemade Photography for awhile now and have been waiting to work with her. In all of her pictures, she shows great attention to detail and has a very keen eye for anything esthetic. Melanie prepared us very well with her "photoshoot preparations and general advices" to get the most out of the photoshoot. She was very accommodating with my sunrise shoot desire even though it would mean she would have to wake up super early. Working with Melanie is a breeze because she is very professional, sweet and personable which makes everything fun and easy--perfect for husbands and children. Her work is amazing and the pictures turned out absolutely beautiful!! I cannot wait to work with her again for my future family photoshoots. I am already showing off my photos and recommending her to everyone!!
Thank you Melanie for the pretty pictures! We had to reschedule our family photos to a later date and Mel was so accommodating despite her packed schedule. My one year old was sick on the day of the photo shoot. I was worried the picture wouldn't turn out well, but was so pleasantly surprised by how many smiling photos she got of our daughter. My husband is usually very camera shy, but he commented on how nice they were and comfortable he was around them. They were both so patient and took the time to get good photos of us! I highly recommend Melliemade Photography l to anyone looking for a photographer