First + Last Name: Melissa DeMers
What made you decide to become a Photographer?
I have been a creative my entire life. I started drawing + writing poetry at a very early age in life (around 8 years old or so) + have always had an eye for things that are bright + vibrant. I love FEELING an emotion when I see art. When my daughter was born all I wanted to do was stare at her (mamas, you know that feeling I am sure). I started taking photos of her + my dear husband bought my first DSLR Canon camera + the rest is pretty much history. Now I am so excited to capture LIFE for other families…new life in newborns, growing baby bumps in maternity photos, families laughing together, I want people to FEEL something when they see my photography.
How do you balance capturing beautiful memories for families + being an amazing mom of 2?
Ahhh, balance. Well honestly? I still struggle at times. When you own a business it seems like you feel the need to work 24/7 to make your clients happy. But I’ve discovered over the years when you run a business that way you make the most important people in your life, as well as yourself, unhappy. Therefore, to keep the peace + try to stay balanced I first of all take a little time for MYSELF every morning. I exercise or go on a hike or drink my coffee in silence or spend a little time reading every single morning for a few hours (after the kids are at school of course). Then I try to only work at my home office while my husband is at work + while the kids are at school. When we are all home at night I try to stay off of my phone (otherwise I’m working or feel the need to check emails + texts). We have homework time together + dinner together + go on car rides to relax as a family. We also try to take 1-2 small (or one big) vacation together every year to rejuvenate. Balance is a work in progress for me as it is for many other work-at-home-mamas, but it is the key to a happier us.
Children + Ages? I have a 16 year old daughter, Haylee + an 8 year old son, AJ. They are the light of my life (most days, ha ha ha!). Most of the time people question the age gap, which to me is very funny, but yes…the gap was planned. After we had our daughter, I thought I only wanted one child. Then she started begging for a sibling + at that stage in our lives we thought maybe we should try for a second child. Then along came our son + now I feel like our family is complete. The age gap is amazing, she is like a second mother to him + he bosses her around like none other. I get to experience different stages in both of their lives + they couldn’t be any more opposite if they tried. It’s the perfect gap in my opinion.
What made you decide to raise your family in South Orange County?
Growing up in the Midwest (born + for the most part raised in St Louis, MO), I met my husband in the Air Force. We are both veterans + he is from Orange County. When we were stationed in Texas + Utah, we would always come out to Orange County to visit + I fell in LOVE. I love the opportunity here, the weather can’t be beat, the beach. There is so much to love about California, especially South Orange County. The schools are amazing, the community is wonderful + for the most part we all come together if there’s ever a need to do so. I feel safe here. Growing up, I didn’t have much, I knew I wanted more opportunity for my kids as a mom + I feel like they have that here.
What is your favorite family activity to do in South Orange County?
I love that there is SO much to do here in South Orange County. Some of my favorite things to do are: obviously going to the beach…for convenience I love either Aliso Creek Beach or Salt Creek when we go as a family, or even Strands in Dana Point. Sometimes it’s fun to go to Newport Beach + do the more “touristy” beach stuff, especially when we have family from out of state visiting. The shake shack in Newport is our fave! We also love going to the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach during the Summer. Disneyland is always a favorite as well, we always seem to spring for the annual passes so we can go for a few hours + ride a couple of rides then have lunch or dinner + leave if it gets too crazy crowded. I also love just walking around the Dana Point Harbor.
What is your favorite date night spot with your Husband?
We are HUGE movie buffs. We have date night every Thursday night (that’s where the awesome age gap between my kids comes in handy because Haylee watches AJ while we go out, she gets paid of course). Typically we do a movie + we are a little bit spoiled since Cinepolis opened up…we will only see movies there. We probably see 2-3 movies there a month, not kidding, our server there knows us by name. We also love going to the Ritz Carlton + sitting outside on the patio for some apps + wine + listening to live music. Another favorite is sushi, we LOVE sushi. We just discovered Sushi Roku in Newport Beach at Fashion Island…SO yummy + fresh + reasonably priced. On Thursdays they have ½ off bottles of sake too. I totally recommend it.
Best piece of advice you got from another mom?
This is kind of funny, but VERY true + now I find myself telling other (new) moms this piece of info (advice, maybe?) as well: do not say “my child will NEVER do that (fill in the blank with what you think your kid will never do)” because guess what? YOUR CHILD WILL ABSOLUTELY do that ONE thing you say he/she will “never” do. It’s funny because it’s true + my kids have proved me wrong time + time again. Ha ha! The best piece of advice I can give: just go with the flow. Every child is different, they will SURPRISE you, make you proud + disappoint you as well, they will GROW you while you think you are growing them. Most of the time kids teach us more than we teach them, it’s true.
Where can other South Orange County Moms get in contact with you for photo sessions?
You can email me at [email protected] or call/text me at (949) 355-3060. I also have a website: www.lissariephotography.com + my most recent work as well as well as my day-to-day life via Instagram stories: www.instagram.com/lissariephotography/
Family photo credit: Amy Clemons Photography