How I Discovered My ‘Why’



I did not grow up with a camera in my hand.  I owned a camera.  One of those long slender cameras with the detached flashes.  There were 10 flashes, I think, and then you had to purchase more when you used them all up.  I don’t fully remember.  I don’t even remember the millimeter on that thing.  All I remember was that it was pink. And it had a case that I covered in Lisa Frank stickers.

I used it to take pictures of my friends and me, trips with the family, and just random stuff.  I didn’t have an eye for photography when I was little.  Half of my pictures were blurry, out of focus or over exposed.  My dad owned a 35 mm camera, and I learned real quick to not open the film compartment until the whole roll was taken. I lost a lot of memories because of that!

The auto setting was my best friend when I got my first digital camera.  Never in a million years did I think I would own a photography business by the pictures I took in college.

And So It Began….

I got my first camera in December of 2009.  I was pregnant with my first daughter.  At the time, I was 5 weeks from her due date.  Little did I know she would come 2 weeks later.  People say they get their first real camera around the time their first child is born.  I get it.  I did the same thing.  And I think a lot of us start our business because of our kids.

For the longest time, I would tell people I got into photography because of my 3 girls.  A lot of that is true. I have some really good memories of my first born.  My middle daughter had some time in front of my camera as well.  My third….well…just say she is the hardest to take pictures of.  Why?  Because I was an exhausted, working mom with 3 kids under the age of 4.  Somehow, I’m going to have to explain to her why there are hardly any pictures of her!

At one time, I started photography because of my three children, but as my eye for portraits have changed, so did my ‘why’.

A Big Leap

A lot of you know that my first business was Melissa Chase Photography.  I really didn’t want my name to be behind my brand, but choosing a name was near impossible for me.  I was an aspiring photographer and all I wanted to do was take pictures.  The business side was not important to me.  I was in this business because of my family…to give me time with my girls.

I had some amazing clients, and I loved working with every one of them.  I was so busy that I really needed to turn clients away, but saying no was not how I wanted to run my business. And it ran me into the ground…I was so busy and so tired, I gave it up and went back to teaching.

After 7 years of on again, off again photography, I decided to make a change.  And yes, it was to better my business for my girls so I could spend quality time with them, but now, I’m not doing it for my girls.  I’m no longer teaching, and I’ve made a change for the best for my business.

Exciting Changes

Lemondrop Portraits came to be in early 2017.  My intentions were to be a family, child and newborn photographer.  Although I love working with families, it was taking too much of my weekend time.  I was missing soccer games, birthday parties, and just missing quality time with my family.  So, I made another change in 2018.

I wanted to be a newborn photographer so bad that I could’t sleep at nights. To work with these tiny humans is something that I always wanted to learn from day one.  And I knew I couldn’t just teach myself.  Newborn photography is a skill that can’t be done without some visual training.  So, I spent this last year going to workshops, watching videos, and just researching.

Why newborns? I didn’t have newborn portraits done of my girls and that is the biggest thing I regret.  I don’t remember how tiny they were.  That first 3-4 months of their life were a complete blur to me.  I have iPhone pictures to show for it, but nothing that is presented beautifully on my walls in my home.

This is my ‘why’.  My why is to help Moms remember this precious (and yes, exhausting) time of life.  It’s to hear their birth stories and relate to the hard times they are about to face, and reassure them that it’s a short time of life. My ‘why’ is to see their face light up when they see their baby’s portraits for the first time. It’s being there to help them choose the best way to display their new, sweet baby in a way that represents their style.

And it took me 7 years to figure it out.  And my work and my vision changed for the better!

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