POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- Melissa Surprise has lived up to her last name.
In other words, her profession -- being a photographer specializing in children's portraits -- came as a bit of a surprise to her.
The Highlands resident officially started her business in 2007 when her son, Brayden, was just under a year old. "I had the passion of photography but not, ironically, children's portrait photography," she said.
"I grew up as an only child. I had older step-siblings, but never really understood younger children. I really wanted to shoot weddings. It wasn't until after I had my son that I understood children and how they worked. I couldn't take enough photos of him; I just couldn't get enough."
After working for a studio photographer, she realized she needed to focus on her own style. Yet, when she told her husband she wanted to open a photography business, he was like, "I'm sorry, what?"
Surprise had just spent four years getting a degree in Exercise Science and was now going in a completely opposite direction.
Still, she persevered, and hubby, Jesse, relented.
Surprise started with portfolio building clients and through referrals, started to grow her business. After two years she was able to make photography her full time career, opening her Poughkeepsie studio in 2013.
The mom of three who also serves as Founder of the networking group, Unique Ladies/Mid-Hudson Marketplace, said she never thought she'd be where she is today but loves every minute of it. "How great to hang with a new family every day, have fun, be creative and get paid for it," she said.
Another -- dare we say it? -- sweet surprise.
Surprise Photography is at 1 Davis Ave., (845) 616-1733, www.surprisephotography.com/ .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.