Professional Photographers Take First Images of Newborns at RiverView Health


Children grow up right before our eyes. That’s why it’s so important to document special moments before time marches on and memories fade. And what moments can be more special than those of a newborn baby? That’s why RiverView Health recently began offering complementary, professional photography sessions to families with babies born at the hospital.

“RiverView’s OB Department is always looking for ways to make our labor and delivery experience the best it can be,’’ shared Nicole Johnson, OB Unit coordinator. “This new program allows professional photographs for every baby, no matter what day they are born. It’s a great start to a lifetime of memories.’’

A recent new mother shared that in addition to a “sweet, attentive’’ OB nurse, she also appreciated the time her family spent with their photographer.

“The photographer was amazing.  She was so loving with our newborn. You could tell she loved every minute of her time with us.  She came to our room when it was convenient for us and was very professional. She had amazing ideas for poses and was so gentle with the baby.  I loved that we could view and choose our photos immediately afterwards as well!  This is a wonderful gift that is provided by a wonderful hospital.’’

Much like RiverView’s OB physicians, professional photographers Ashley Melsa of Ashley Melsa Photography and Nicole Wandrie of Joyful Heart Photography take turns being on call for all new deliveries taking place on RiverView’s OB Unit. Once a baby enters the world at RiverView and is ready for his or her close-up, the photographer on call visits the Unit to document the new life right in his or her hospital room.

Ashley Melsa Photography

Ashley Melsa is a self-taught photographer from Crookston. She has been working in photography for nine years. She is no stranger to RiverView Health, either, as she works as an on-call LPN at RiverView Clinics and the RiverView Care Center. Her love for both nursing and photography meld well on RiverView’s OB Unit where she captures some of the first images of sleepy newborns.

Photography schedules well into Melsa’s busy family life with husband Ryan and sons Blake and Bladen, as it allows her the ability to be at all of her family’s sporting events. In-between softball, baseball, basketball and hockey, Melsa photographs important milestones in the lives of other families.

“I am proud to be able to offer my photography services to families in our community,’’ she shared. “It’s an honor to be there to take photos of a newborn in mom or dad’s arms or to capture a sibling’s reaction to the newest family member.’’

Joyful Heart Photography

Nicole Wandrie started doing photography as a child when she’d spend time helping her father develop film and print black and white pictures in the darkroom, as he was in charge of the yearbook. She remembers that she was also always the one in the group who had a camera in hand.

Wandrie, who describes her style as “more traditional’’, graduated with an Associates of Applied Science in Photography in 1999. She worked for two photography studios before opening Joyful Heart Photography in the spring of 2007. She achieved the title of Certified Professional Photographer in the fall of 2010, a certification only about 8 percent of photographers in America accomplish.

“Photography has always been something I’ve loved,’’ Wandrie shared. “My favorite is when I can catch people at moments that show their personality…that little glimmer of mischief in a child’s eye, a moment of tenderness in a mother’s smile. That is what I try to capture so that when families are looking at their photos in the future, they can remember their loved ones.’’

For pictures of RiverView’s newest patients and Melsa and Wandrie’s smallest subjects, go to RiverView’s website at and check out the Little Stars page.

Ashley Melsa Photography

Joyful Heart Photography

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