All booked up for 2012!!!  Contact me for a session in 2013!

Oh how we love summer

We had our last summer getaway to Tyler, TX. Enjoying the last few days of sleeping in, being barefoot and wearing swimsuits all day. We spent the days kayaking, jet skiing, fishing, swimming etc. It is so beautiful in that part of Texas. The morning time is peaceful and lovely. Still water, cool temperature, no noise. Pure peace.

Chern Family

This is the second time I've had the honor of photographing the Chern family. Peggy and Matt have one beautiful little girl. She didn't remember me from the last photo session (being that she was only a few months old) so at first she was playing shy with me. But only after a few minutes she was giving me a tour around the house and showing me her dance moves!
Was super pumped when Matt pulled out his guitar and started playing some of his daughter's favorite tunes. She joined in w/ her flute.


Just finished my newsletter with new specials as well as some changes at Amy Melsa Photography. Comment, message, email or text me if you would like me to send you one!


This is Cody and Tasha.  She looks like she's born to be pregnant.  Like it hasn't affected her body in anyway except for a ball in her belly.  Her walk, her sitting, her energy - all just like no bun in the oven.  Me on the other hand - I looked like a huge HUGE hippopotamus about to birth an elephant.  I walked like a was riding on a horse and needed a few assistants to help me get out of a car.  Im exaggerating a little bit, but that's at least how I felt.  no fair.  

Eating Clean

While surfing pinterest (LOVE pinterest) I came across the website He & She Eat Clean, http://www.heandsheeatclean.com/2012/01/our-story.html and was inspired.  So, Luke and I decided we were going to encourage each other to cut out processed foods and basically eat clean, natural, whole foods that haven't been modified or altered.  We aren't going to be anal freaks about it, just try our hardest to eat God given foods.  Today was day #1 - I ate watermelon, eggs, corn, chicken, and nuts.  I think the hardest part was not having butter on my corn and creamer in my coffee. But, I love feeling good and healthy more.  I'm journaling through the process to document how I'm going to feel 4 months from now (end of summer).  Hoping to get back in those clothes I fit into when we first moved back to Austin 3 years ago.  20 lbs ago.

Mommaerts Maternity

I love this pic.  Holly had been on bed rest for months, but being that this was her first baby she really wanted some maternity pics.  I wanted to grab some shots capturing what she does all day.  She said she reads, gets on her laptop, sleeps and then does it all over again.   I would go insane.  I was on bed-rest with my 4th for 1 week.  1 VERY LONG week.  And, let me tell you - I laid on the couch and stared at all the dirt in the carpet.  After 45 long minutes of bed rest I was up vacuuming.
Back to pic - they cracked open the book and the title was "Why does your boy have an erection?".  HA! Baby Mommaerts is a girl, so no worries.


I'm reading a book that a friend recommended, Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow.  So far so good.  It's all about learning to be content.  No matter what your circumstances.  
Here are a few quotes I've come across that I want to share with you...

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking." by George MacDonald (who C.S. Lewis called his mentor)

"They took away that should have been my eyes,
(But I remembered Milton's Paradise)
They took away what should have been my ears,
(Beethoven came and wiped away my tears)
They took away what should have been my tongue,
(But I had talked with God when I was young)
He would not let them take away my soul,
Possessing that, I still possess the whole" by Helen Keller

"Two women looked through prison bars
One saw mud, the other stars" - Unknown

Choose to give your anxieties to God
Choose to pray specifically
Choose to be thankful
Choose to dwell on the positive.

First born

This is Carley and her first baby, Holland.  I had the opportunity to take their pictures this week.  
This picture makes me think back to when my first baby was born.   I held him like 23 hours out of the day.  He would sleep on my chest.  I just couldn't believe how something so perfect and beautiful could come out of me.  I had such high expectations for him.  And for me.  I wanted to be the perfect mother.  At the young age of 22, being a mother was quite overwhelming.  The responsibility of a real, living, breathing human was VERY overwhelming.  The love I had for him was crazy.  
Yet, as he grew - I had to learn that part of loving a child is teaching them to stand on their own.  Literally and figuratively.  I always wanted to protect him from being hurt, but sometimes you need to let them hurt a little to learn that they have the strength and the power to choose the path out of harm's way.  What hurts even more is watching your child choose to stay on the path of harm's way. If any of you have a rebellious teenager, you know what I'm saying.  Parenting is so beautiful and SO scarey.  You just want that damn manual telling you how to do it!  I know the correct christian-ese thing to say is that the Bible is our manual. True, but aren't you thankful for other parents who have "been there" that can share their trials.  We aren't alone in our trials.  In parenting.  There aren't any perfect children out there.  Please don't try and make yours.  The more I share about my struggles with parenting, the more I find I am not alone.  Thankfully God has placed some wonderful moms in my life to laugh and cry with.  The more transparent you become, the more normal you will feel.  Just remember, you are not alone.  Reach out, because chances are - there's another mom out there that needs you just like you need her.  

Taryn Senior Sneak Peek

Morgan Senior Sneak Peek

Fournier Family


Baby Clothes Drive

I'm collecting baby girl clothes for the Gross family.  Rachel and I grew up together here in Austin. A year ago they gave away everything and moved to Ethiopia to love on orphans.  Now they're opening up an orphanage.  amazing.  Well, not only are they doing that - but now they are adopting a baby girl and they need clothes.  Check out their journey - here.  Please support them, with prayer more than anything, but if you are able to offer financial support it would be so appreciated!
If you have any girl clothes starting at newborn please let me know.  Whatever the Gross' don't use I will be donating to the Austin Children's Shelter for the teen moms.
Oh, and as for weather if you are wondering about seasons - Ethiopia is mid 70's year round, cooler in the evening. nice!

Want to learn how to take AWESOME pics and support a great cause???

Mollie Burpo of Bloom Photography and I are teaching a basic photography class next month.  100% of the suggested donation will go to building a home in Haiti.  The class is limited to 10 people, so hurry up and sign up.  CLICK HERE for details.

Valentine's Day

I use to love holidays.  Would put out my 5 boxes of Hobby Lobby decorations, cook everything drenched with food coloring that coordinates with the holiday, spend hours on crafts/gifts that helped me look like Martha's kin.
Things have changed.  Big time.  Not sure what happened, but I do know that my hubby's relieved to not have to worry about flowers and chocolates.
I LOVE the collage wall that Jenny Pruet and Shonna Shelton did in my home. They are awesome at what they do. If you want a great designer that is super creative and affordable you need to contact them. (jenny@jennypruet.com)

My favorite lens

I get asked a lot what my favorite lens is - well, it's the 70-200 2.8. I shoot with a Canon 5d Mark II and all my lenses are Canon. I have heard mixed things about off brand lenses. I figure if I'm going to spend that much on a lens I might as well make sure I'm getting the best.
I love the versatility of this lens as well as how sharp the images look. I can easily shoot an entire session with just this lens. My 2nd favorite lens is the 50 1.4. Some day I will get the 1.2. IF I ever come across an extra $1k.
Photography is one expensive art!

Organizing fanatic

I love to organize. It's therapeutic to me. Although, I've had to really let go over the years, due to kids, kids and more kids.
Thought I'd share a tip that has helped me.
I have a bucket (see pic) that I will fill up with snacks in ziploc baggies (or containers since I'm trying to be green). That way when it's time to make lunch, all I have to do is grab some containers and throw them in the lunch box. Or if the kids need a snack on the go they can just grab something from the bucket. It's great to do after the trip to the grocery. Open the container of nuts, pretzels, whatever and pour in baggies. Same thing can be done with refrigerated items, use one of the drawers as your bucket.
Works good for me. What's your favorite pantry organizing trick?

Day Two

I survived day 1.  But, I had to go to bed at around 9:00 b/c I was so hungry and wasn't allowed to eat anything else.  Plus I barely had the energy to get out of bed.  I've heard there will be about 2 more days of this.  Well, 1 1/2 now.
I just ate lunch.  Salad and asparagus.  Yuck.  Love salad and asparagus, but not without lots of butter, salt and ranch.
I took the 3 boys to the grocery yesterday.  On a normal day this tests my patience, but yesterday it was tested 5k times.  They get $25 each every week to buy lunch food.  Well, for some reason they think they are entitled to get whatever crap-food they want.  Lane was trying to buy Mountain Dew, fruit roll ups and bubble gum.  Seriously?!  Not ever, and definitely not while I'm starving myself.  I would never do that to his underpaid, overworked teachers.
Lord help me.

Day one

I'm taking sugar out of my diet starting today.  And a lot of other crap-food.  Today is day one and so far, I haven't turned into a monster.  A little fatigued and quite hungry, but bearable.  I have heard that the first 3 days are the hardest by far.  So I'm thinking that day two and three are going to get a lot worst.  
I have 15 lbs to lose.  Not sure what happened, but I've never weighed this much besides being pregnant.  I'm guessing it's that I'm getting older and I sit at my computer more than I have ever done.  I've always had to work at my weight.  If I'm not watching what I'm eating and not exercising I will gain a lot fast.  Never have I been one that could maintain no matter what I eat.  Those girls piss me off. 
Hopefully by month 3 I will be fitting back into my clothes.  Mainly my jeans are all I care about.  Love my jeans.

Oh and I found this quote from a book I'm reading that I thought was pretty good:

‎"The trouble with opportunity is that it often

 comes disguised as hard work" 

Dog love

I never really loved dogs until my youngest was about 2.  I've always liked dogs somewhat, but never loved.  I think if I lived in the country I'd have lots of dogs.  You'd probably see me on a dog hoarding show.   I shouldn't say that,  I'm not a psycho dog lover, I just love dogs, BUT I could easily live without any. 
This is one of the dogs I really want.  Yes, it's so ugly it's cute.  I love how it snorts and walks like a hippo.  
Maybe someday.  And, isn't this girl about as cute as they get?!

Where I am in life right now

I feel like I have come out of a thick, dark photo session fog.  The past 3-4 months are like a blur to me.  It was by far the busiest fall season I have ever experienced in my business.
Now that I'm out of the fog I can reflect back on what I did right and what I need to improve on, both professionally and personally.  I do know that I don't ever want to experience another season like the last.   Not at home and not at work.

I spent the last few days at a Professional Photographers Association conference in New Orleans learning new techniques, photoshop skills,  and connecting with others in the industry. OH, and eating TONS of delish New Orleans cuisine.  PLEASE let my jeans fit again someday soon!

I focused on nothing but photography while there and it made me remember why I do what I do - which I feel like I forgot.  I never took pictures for praise, awards, or even for money.  I have always loved being able to capture life, simply...life. I want every image I capture to be a piece of art, a memory captured, and a historical print.  An image (print) is NOT just a piece of paper.  In order to create these images it takes time.  I REALLY wish I had more time.
In order to get back to being the photographer that I have always wanted to be, I have to make some big changes in my business.

Here is what you will see different:
--- I won't schedule more than 3 sessions per week.  In order to devote the 8-10 hours I spend on each session I can't take on any more.  Most clients don't realize that after the 2 hour session I spend approximately 8 more hours on the post processing part of it.  When I schedule 10 sessions a week, like I did this fall (I can't say no) I either end up working 20 hour days / 7 days a week or doing half ass work.  Both are unacceptable.
---Your session will now include the gallery disc.  That means that you will get all the edited, digital images that were taken at your session.  95% of my clients purchased the gallery disc anyways, so this will simplify the process and my life.  You won't have to stress over whichever images to print at whatever sizes to display on wherever walls.  You will have all the images forever. 
The fee for the session and gallery disc will be $675.  In 2011 it was $650, but because I will be investing more time in each image there will be a slight increase in cost.  You will still have the option to purchase a la carte items like prints, canvases, print boxes, cards, etc. through my lab, which is the best professional lab out there.
--- I will continue to do what I love, and that is give back to the community and raise awareness of needs.   Only accepting 3 clients a week allows me to have time to donate sessions, which brings me joy.  I don't ever want to be too busy to turn away these opportunities.
--- My first priority is my family.  I have 4 children.  I don't ever want to put them on the back burner like I have done.  Photography is not worth it.  Don't get me wrong - I LOVE photography and sometimes I use my photo sessions to escape my kids ;-), but with one already in high school, they all will be out of the house soon and I don't want them to remember me always gone to photo sessions.

So, with that said, these changes I feel will allow me to serve you better and keep my creativity fresh and my relationships strong.  

Much love,