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A Lighthouse for Parents

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A Lighthouse for Parents

Like most entrepreneurs, today’s Small Business Saturday owner took a hobby she was passionate about and turned it into a thriving business, but Mary Ellen Pollard is no ordinary photographer.

“After my son was born, I began to pick up my camera more and more and found that the passion for capturing every little milestone in his life was greater than it had ever been. It was that year that my son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and we discovered that other photographers just weren’t willing to work with us to create the same level of images that they did for children who were able bodied. So in 2009 I began to build my professional portfolio and by the end of that year I stopped teaching and started Lighthouse Photography.”

Stopping time for busy families for just a moment so they can relive it for years to come is something Mary Ellen does best. “Our children grow up so very fast, and I like to capture the little things – like how they crinkled their nose when they laugh or what they looked like when those first teeth broke through,” says Pollard. Lighthouse Photography specializes in newborn and children’s photography but can also grow with your family as they transition to different stages of life.

Lighthouse Photography

Something that sets Lighthouse apart from other photographers is Mary Ellen’s volunteer involvement. “I volunteer as one of the Area Coordinators for a non-profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.org. Offering beautiful remembrance photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.” NILMDTS is currently looking for volunteer photographers and photographer assistance. An informational night is scheduled for March and you can contact Mary Ellen by email for more information. She also volunteers for Operation: Love ReUnited, a non-profit, fully volunteer organization that offers professional photography sessions to military families and members who are getting ready to deploy, who are currently deployed, or those who are coming home.

What kinds of entrepreneurial advice can you offer to other small business owners?  


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Educate and protect yourself about how to run your business. Find a mentor and learn from their wisdom. I am a member of several professional photographer associations and hold personal liability insurance for myself through them and I’m constantly pushing myself to learn. I attend workshops and seminars to make sure that I’m growing in my craft and work very hard at not trying to copy someone else but to allow my vision and heart shine through in my work.

Balancing being a full-time mom as well as a full-time photographer is the biggest challenge I find as a small business owner. I tease and tell my friends that I am a hybrid Mommy because I have to be able to do 2 photo sessions and make it to  pre-school carline all in the same day. But when you love both so very much it makes life busy but fun!

What is your favorite thing about owning your own business?

Owning my own business gives me the freedom to spend a little extra time to get to know my clients and what they truly want in their images. I get to do what I love and be my own boss but still be a wife and mother. My schedule is based on my clients needs, nap-times, and due dates – NOT a time sheet.  When a family hires me to be there for the birth of a child or to capture those first few days of life it is an honor that I take seriously.  I get to follow a baby from their first breath into this world all the way to the first time they get a taste of that 1 year-old smash cake and beyond. I also can make time for my clients and never make them feel like a session is rushed or they have to hurry because someone is next in line.

“I cannot say enough good things about Lighthouse Life in Pictures! My shy son had a very pleasant experience. He was comfortable with Mary Ellen from the start, and so remained throughout the entire photo session. She truly captured the essence of his personality and just let him be himself! The pictures were above my expections and a really great value. I recommend her to all my friends.”  – Angie Frizzell


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With Spring right around the corner, now is a good time to call Lighthouse Photography to book pictures in April or May! Mary Ellen is giving away a $50 credit for one lucky RCM reader so check below to register.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

View Comments (15)
  • I only have one picture with my entire family. (Husband,myself and our four daughters) So it’s pretty easy to pick my favorite. 🙂 I love any and all, but the one with all of us is my most cherished.

  • We had our first family picture since the newest addition made last summer. It was also the first time to just go outside with a photographer and try to take a more natural picture together so that was alot of fun. There’s one of us all looking at each other and laughing that I love!
    Thanks so much for doing a giveaway!

  • Beautiful pictures! Looking forward to have Mary Allen take pictures of my family.

  • My favorite family picture with our 10 month old daughter is one that was taken by the photographer at the hospital. She did a beautiful job capturing our love and joy for each other and newborn daughter. My husband is cradling her in his arms while I am looking over his shoulder, and we are both looking down at her while she sleeps so peacefully.

  • Love Mary Ellen! She is a sweetie. We would love some family pictures, or birth pictures. 🙂

  • I didn’t put my favorite family picture in my comment. Sorry! My favorite family pictures were actually done my another Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photography. They blessed me more than I could ever put into words! Having pictures of my baby girl and our family during that time is priceless!

  • We had family photos made on the day our daughter turned six months old — her big brother actually cooperated, and they turned out beautifully!

  • My favorite family picture is the one from this past Christmas from Santa’s Pit Stop. My infant is crying, my 2 year old is trying desperately to get out of my hands, and there my husband and I are just smiling. We get very few family photos because it’s hard to get young children to cooperate, and that picture is just hilarious!

  • I have a favorite “family of three” picture, but since we added a 2nd baby last summer, I guess that can’t be my favorite anymore! So, I guess the only true family photo we have is from our son’s baptism. It is my favorite bc it is in my hometown church, which is GORGEOUS – and it has my favorite people in it to boot!

  • One of my favorite family photos is of me and all 4 of my kiddos, sitting in my hospital bed. My husband is missing, because he was taking the picture, but I just love having a picture of me and my four babes.

  • I take pictures all the time of my son but I’m rarely in them. That’s usually by choice but I guess it’s about time to get a professional family picture. 🙂

  • We love Lighthouse Photography! MaryEllen is so patient and talented!

  • Mary Ellen is not only a talented photographer but an incredible mother who leaves no stone unturned in providing or obtaining the best medical/educational care for her special needs son. She is a powerful force to be reckoned with when it comes to being an advocate for her son. MaryEllen has a way of capturing those impromptu moments with her clients that sets her apart from the cookie cutter photographers.

  • We only have one professinoal family photo of when my son was 6mths old, he’s almost 4 now. One of my favorite home photos is of my family and I dressed up in our Halloween costumes. We were all so happy and having so much fun. I felt like a kid again 🙂

  • We made a picture of our family on Christmas Eve that is my favorite. We were having a fun time, which doesn’t always happen when we make pictures.

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