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Newborn & Wedding Photographer

Classic, Romantic & Joyful

Whether it’s day 1 of your marriage or day 1,550 when you became parents for the first time, I’m here to document every chapter.


Reviews (26)

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Michael Longwell

23 July 2019

Your wedding is the most important day of your life, and it's already going to go by faster than you ever thought possible. You're going to want to cherish the memories of that important day, and that means hiring a photographer who can not only take great photos, but knows how to get them, when to get them, and who can take charge if needed.Melissa Arlena is the best photographer in the region. Her photographs are excellent, capturing tender and unexpected moments, true photographic treasures. But not only that, she was able to bring certainty, confidence, and stability to our wedding day by making sure we got all the photographs we wanted, and the ones we didn't know we wanted but were later glad we got. Her experience meant that we didn't have to direct her, unlike so many other wedding day vendors. She took charge, got to work, and knocked it out the park. There's one photograph in particular (that I'm sure she remembers!) that came out unexpectedly great, that perfectly captures the love and tenderness my wife and I feel for each other, and we will treasure that photo for the rest of our lives.Of course we had her come back to do a newborn photo session at our house with our baby. And there, too, she did an excellent job. Despite us having almost no sleep, her photos remind us that exhaustion fades but love remains. Our baby will never be two weeks old again, and her skills mean that we'll be forever able to relive the joy we felt in those first weeks of parenthood.Don't take the chance going with someone who might not take good photos. Don't risk going with someone who might not take the photos you don't know you want. Go with Melissa Arlena. You'll be glad you did. More...


Erica Holley

16 July 2019

Melissa took beautiful photos of my family. She was so patient with our 2.5 year old and 3 week old and got all the tiny details I was wanting. I will cherish the photos forever!


Anna Bieneck Shaw

23 July 2018

I would highly recommend Melissa! I had searched all over the area for a photographer that would take the kind of family lifestyle photos I was looking for and when I found her site I knew I had found the right person. I booked her for our newborn photos without even talking to her based on her work and her reviews and was thrilled with the entire process.

Melissa was professional and proactive throughout the entire process. She came to our house to do our newborn session and immediately got to work finding the best spots for pictures and snapping candid shots. The results were beautiful and exactly what I was looking for.



23 June 2018

Melissa did my daughter's wedding at St. Isisdore the Farmer and wedding reception at the Inn at Willow Grove this past weekend. I have not seen all the photos yet but will post a few sneak peek preview wedding photos and a review on those and the engagement photos. I will update this review when I've seen all of the photos, but felt I needed to say the Melissa and her team are a pleasure to work with! She is very responsive and the quality of her work is outstanding. She also seems to have a real bond with the bride and is able to capture all the important moments of the big day! I can't wait to see all the photos based on the sneak peek and engagement photos!! Thank you Melissa! More...



21 October 2017

Melissa is a true professional. It was so wonderful to have a photographer who was incredibly proactive and stayed so incredibly organized and prepared for everything. Worth every penny and amazingly special artist!! Thanks Melissa! More...



1 June 2017

Melissa was wonderful, each of her second shooters were equally as talented as she is! I love my wedding photos and I could recommend any bride at least review her work! Melissa was such a trooper during my wedding, despite being very pregnant she remained her bright cheery self! She worked around rain, different ceremony spots, drunken groomsmen and groom, and all with a smile on her face! She is wonderful about capturing those special moments that so often get missed in the blur of a wedding! Best and easiest choice of any vendor I made was this! And I made sure to book her before I knew where my wedding was even going to be! More...



1 June 2017

Melissa was a joy to work with, and we absolutely love the pictures from our wedding. I would highly recommend her to anybody looking for a wedding photographer, and here are a few of the reasons why:

Her pictures are gorgeous. The colors always pop, the pictures are set up well, and she does a great job of capturing the details. We have gotten a lot of compliments on our wedding pictures.
She is very accommodating. The day of my wedding, we wanted pictures at four different locations around town, and Melissa made sure that we got all the pictures we wanted at all these different locations, even though it involved racing all over Charlottesville.
She is very friendly and put us at ease. I was nervous about being photographed, and being in front of everybody. Doing an engagement session with Melissa was a huge help, she made it so easy, and I knew just what to expect the day of the wedding--nothing to worry about.
She is very helpful. She was happy to help me make a timeline for the day of the wedding, and was a great resource as I was planning, since she has been involved in so many weddings.
She is very familiar with computers. Her blog is easy to navigate and beautifully set up. She put pictures from our wedding up very quickly, and it was so easy to share them with our family and friends.



6 September 2015

Choosing Melissa as our photographer was hands down the best decision we made for our wedding! My fiancé and I interviewed several other photographers and we knew right away after speaking with her that she was the one! Melissa was absolutely fantastic every step of the way and the service was unforgettable from our engagement photo session in NYC to our wedding in Virginia. Her work is so beautiful and I really feel like she captured the magic of our special day. I can’t imagine trusting anyone other than her to perform such an important job! The experience she provides is priceless, but she is worth every penny because she genuinely cares about her brides (and grooms!) If you book her, you will be surprised and delighted throughout your entire engagement. I consider Melissa to be a great friend and I will undoubtedly use her for any and all of my photography needs in the future. 6 stars! Thank you, Melissa! More...



28 May 2015

Wedding 5.16.15 - The Tides Inn Irvington, VA

Worth every penny! Get your stunning photos quick!

If you are getting married in Virginia or close by, there is a good chance she has shot a wedding at your venue, that is how I found her and it was a no-brainer once I saw her website. melissaarlenaphotography.com

Melissa did our engagement photos, shot our rehearsal dinner, our wedding day, and did a trash the dress photo session for us 2 days after the wedding.

She is pretty much available 24/7, she is knowledgable, kind, punctual, professional, and fun!

What sets her apart is her streamlined, modern process - she has a fabulous website that makes viewing your photos and making selections SO FUN AND EASY! She is a one-stop shop for all things wedding photo-related and I'm so glad I found her. She really over delivers when it comes to service. I won't spoil anything, but expect lots of sweet surprises from Melissa as you work with her.

We will use Melissa for years to come! Her newborn, family, and pet photos are phenomenal as well.



26 February 2015

Melissa is AMAZING! She's done both my maternity, and newborn sessions for my precious baby girl. I will be using her again whenever we decide to add on to our family or want any familly portraits done. Not only is she wonderfully warm and funny, but she made us feel so comfortable during our sessions. The best part of my maternity session was that, even though she was 8.5 months pregnant, she wasn't afraid to jump on the ottoman to get some different angles. She was also ready to brave the freezing cold, to get some outside shots that I wanted to do. The best part of the newborn session was how patient she was with all of us. Having a 5 day old baby is scary enough, and she made us feel so comfortable and let me have time to take a feeding break. She takes the time to make sure everyone is comfortable, and then gets incredible shots. We've had such a great time getting to know her, and I would recommend her to anyone, whether they're looking for family portraits, newborn session, or maternity session. I can't wait to book her again. More...



4 October 2014

We used Melissa Arlena photography for our wedding and are so happy we did! Leading up to the wedding we had several conversations where I felt she really got to know us and what we were looking for in our photographer. We did engagement, family, and wedding photography with her and she was so easy to work with, very flexible, and the communication was awesome. She sent us cool little reminders and gifts leading up to the gift that we really special to us. The day of the wedding went absolutely perfect, we did the first look she recommended and we were so glad we did. The most important part--the photos!!! They turned out amazing. Really amazing and honestly worth every penny we spent. She is so professional and friendly that we knew we were in good hands from the start. Everyone commented about how amazing the photos were and asked who did our photography. I realize photography takes up a large amount of your budget, but after the day is over you will have your memories, your photos, and your video. I suggest you spend your money on an amazing photographer like Melissa Arlena, you wont regret it. So many of my friends regret using a photographer they picked based on spending as little money as possible, and I am so glad I don't have the same regret! Melissa is amazing and her photography will reflect who you are as a couple. She was awesome from start to finish! More...



30 August 2014

Melissa is a fabulous photographer who did my oldest daughter's wedding in 2013 and my youngest on 8/30/14. She is so easy to work with and both of my daughters and sons in law were thrilled with their pictures.



7 June 2014

Melissa is absolutely wonderful!! There are truly no words to express what a pleasure it was to work with her on our wedding day. She is such a genuine person and made our wedding day so much more comfortable and stress free. From the first moment I interacted with her, I knew she was the perfect choice for our wedding day photography! She is incredibly professional, but also very personable and kind. She helped me to understand what type of coverage I needed for my wedding, as well as develop a timeline for the overall day in order to make sure the day was exactly what we wanted. Of course, her photography is incredible and you are guaranteed beautiful images, but it was very important to me to have an equally wonderful person there for the entire day. I truly cannot recommend Melissa enough!! More...



30 May 2014

Melissa and her team were absolutely amazing!! Melissa is laid back, easy to work with but also extremely professional and does her job well. As a professional photographer myself, choosing a wedding photographer was no easy task. There are so many things about so many photographers that I like but on your wedding day, you want to work with people you like and get along with and can trust to make your day for better, not for worse. If you work with Melissa, you won't be disappointed. Thank you so much for everything!!!! More...



28 September 2013

Melissa was wonderful to work with. She captured every moment of my daughters wedding day and we could not have been happier with our selection to have her be our photographer! She is so personable and talented......you will love her work!!!!!! More...



29 December 2012

Melissa was my photographer for our wedding. We were only having a small ceremony and reception dinner. She worked with me on the price based on our needs. She sent out a couple of pre-wedding surveys to get to know us before hand. She was so friendly and remembered everything we had told her that we wanted. She has posted one pic on her blog so far and it is AMAZING! The others will be up in a couple of days (only about 3 weeks after the wedding). She is great! More...



30 June 2012

I absolutely cannot give enough praise to Melissa Arlena Photography. From our first Skype meeting to receiving the USB drive of our wedding photos, Melissa was polished, professional and personal from start to finish. Every one of her pictures is a work of art, and most importantly, she puts people at ease so that they feel comfortable in front of the camera. Highly, highly recommended to anyone in central Virginia! More...



23 June 2012

I am SO glad I chose to use Melissa Arlena Photography to capture my special day! Melissa is absolutely wonderful and very talented at what she does. Not only does she do good work, but she also has a great way of making you feel extremely comfortable which makes your pictures amazing! I loved working with her so much and I can’t wait to use her for my family portraits one day! Her passion for what she does comes out in her work and in her personality. I would highly recommend using her as your photographer. You will feel at ease knowing that the best day of your life will be captured beautifully. More...


Mary R.

10 May 2012

I met Melissa at the Fredericksburg Bridal show, and after seeing her work, I knew that she was going to be the one to capture my special day.  Me and my husband are usually incredibly camera shy, so Melissa recommended that we get a package that included an Engagement session; and we are SO incredibly glad we did!  Doing the engagement session allowed us to get to know Melissa in a more casual environment and helped us be more relaxed on our day when excitement was running high!Melissa's work is clean, fun, and classic.  Every photo that she took turned out amazing, and I know that my wedding photo book is going to be one of my most treasured possessions.  She responds quickly to your calls and e-mails, and really tries to get a feel for you and your personality and custom tailors the pictures to suit your individual style (although she does throw in the traditional 'mom' photos, but hey!  My mom loved those pictures; so job well done!)  She arrived on time and was extremely flexible for all the spur of the moment photo shoots that happened during the event.  I can't imagine any one adding the spirit or joy to my wedding photography like she did.  If you don't want to worry about your wedding photography on your special day; you need to book Melissa.  Period. More...



5 May 2012

I met Melissa at the Fredericksburg Bridal show, and after seeing her work, I knew that she was going to be the one to capture my special day. Me and my husband are usually incredibly camera shy, so Melissa recommended that we get a package that included an Engagement session; and we are SO incredibly glad we did! Doing the engagement session allowed us to get to know Melissa in a more casual environment and helped us be more relaxed on our day when excitement was running high!

Melissa's work is clean, fun, and classic. Every photo that she took turned out amazing, and I know that my wedding photo book is going to be one of my most treasured possessions. She responds quickly to your calls and e-mails, and really tries to get a feel for you and your personality and custom tailors the pictures to suit your individual style (although she does throw in the traditional 'mom' photos, but hey! My mom loved those pictures; so job well done!) She arrived on time and was extremely flexible for all the spur of the moment photo shoots that happened during the event.

I can't imagine any one adding the spirit or joy to my wedding photography like she did. If you don't want to worry about your wedding photography on your special day; you need to book Melissa. Period.



24 March 2012

Melissa was an amazing photographer for our wedding. She truly captured all the special moments and the day beautifully. I loved that she posted a slideshow at the reception on her laptop of "getting ready" and "ceremony" pictures for our guests see. She was great to work with, so easy going, and fun! More...



25 October 2011

I will try to make this short and sweet, as I could easily write a lengthy glowing review about Melissa Arlena Photography!

I met Melissa as a fellow vendor in the wedding industry in my area [and we just so happen to be neighbors!]. I always loved her photography work for weddings and engagements. She has a very distinct soft and elegant style to her photography, yet can fit my slightly edgy style with her beautiful choice of background landscape compositions with a beautifully designed balance of color, line, contrast, and all the other design elements that are so clearly evident in her photographs. I also appreciate the attention to the details of what makes every wedding so unique: the shoes, the rings, the flowers, the table decor. So, when it came time to book my own wedding photographer, Melissa was an obvious first pick! I had a very strange request of a destination wedding all the way in Disney World, Orlando, Florida and she didn’t hesitate at the venture!

Personality: She has a great sense of humor and is very easy to get along with and definitely will make you feel comfortable in front of the camera! She even got my groom, who is sometimes ‘too cool’ to pose for pictures, to strike some very model-like poses for some gorgeous wedding photos!

Flexibility: Melissa was very flexible for the day-of, making sure to be wherever we needed her to be [running all across Disney property to get the many shots of all of our wedding party! Of course, flexible in being able to travel to my destination wedding!

Quality/Hard work: From the packaging of our wedding disk, the detailed descriptions of our blog post, the quick turn around time of our photos, to the hard work of capturing every detail on our wedding day, Melissa is the best! On the day of our wedding, she somehow seemed to be everywhere we needed her to be, getting all the important shots -- while working efficiently. The wedding info sheet you provide her before your wedding is followed to a ‘T’. She was even able to help me to understand the wedding day itinerary, including helping me to understand when I needed to be ready in my gown and when to have my bridesmaids and groomsmen ready for photos. She even worked very diligently to get my dress up into a very tall tree to get ‘the shot’. During our bride/groom post-ceremony shots, she always kept her eyes open for any awesome backdrops, cool lighting opportunities and fun props to take photos with -- which made for some very unique wedding photos! She was very organized and efficient with our family photos, ready with a list of all the required shots and was quickly able to get our large group to get together for all photos.

We had our photos available for viewing on her Facebook page it seemed almost immediately by the time we were back from our destination wedding. I follow her on her Facebook page and blog and know that she is very organized in the times she posts her weddings in order and have seen her dedication to a timely turn-around with posting the weddings.

I absolutely, very highly recommend Melissa Arlena Photography to any brides that feel her style compliments their wedding vision. Her image quality is timeless and elegant, yet still modern and fun. Her hard work and dedication to her clients as a photographer, attention-to-detail and personality make her an all around amazing photographer.



1 October 2011

Melissa is a wonderful photographer. She was truely a blessing for me and my husband to photograph our wedding. All of her work is beautiful. She was very flexiable for meeting and discussing certian pictures that we wanted taken. I come from a split family so she was great with doing alot of different family shots. I would truley recommend her to any bride and groom out there looking for a personable and great photographer. More...



4 September 2011

Melissa has been GREAT! She is just a joy to work with, and was really aware of what we wanted (even if we weren't!)

At the ceremony, she set up a slideshow of some of the photos taken at the ceremony and before. What was really great was seeing the little details/events that I missed.

We were married on Sunday, and by Thursday, she had photos up on her blog. It's great to have something to see while we're waiting for all of the photos to be ready.

EVERYONE (including the hubby's mom, who is NOT easy to please-she didn't say this for her other son's wedding) said that the photographs are just amazing. I would absolutely recommend her!



20 August 2011

When I met Melissa at a bridal show, she was super friendly and I thought her pictures were stunning. Her style of photography was exactly what I was looking for. She captures amazing candid moments and the pictures look so natural. I wasn't sure that my fiance and I could look that good, but she assured me that we could. Melissa photographed our engagement session and our wedding day. She is very nice, professional, and great at what she does. She adds all kinds of personal touches to her work and it made me feel very special. All of our pictures turned out amazing! Thank you so much for everything Melissa! More...



4 June 2010

Melissa is an absolute joy to work with! She is very personable and flexible, always keeping her clients first. Melissa did our engagement pictures and we are blown away with the quality. The photo session was so much fun and the end results were more than we could have ever asked for. Her work is creative and she spent time to get the style we were looking for. She is the best of the best--great service AND great quality! We can't wait to work with her on our wedding day! More...

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Connecting with my clients! Getting to know them before their session helps me connect with them during the session. They feel taken care of and know that I'm looking out for them so they get the best photos possible. Add in some magical light and guided posing so they feel comfortable and you have my secret to great photographs!

How did they hear about me? Have they looked at my website and portfolio? How do they want to look at these photos 5 or 10 years down the road?

I want to make sure style-wise we are the right fit so I always make sure my potential clients have viewed my portfolio and then I like to ask what session or images grabbed their attention. Knowing how they plan to enjoy their photos in the future helps me plan products with them before the session. If I know my client wants a beautiful family photo to go over the fireplace I can make sure to get several options that will look amazing when printed large!

Being able to work from home in jeans every day, lol! After that it's creating gorgeous photos that my clients will treasure forever. Hearing from past clients 5+ years later that they still love their wedding or family photos is why I love my job!

Freedom to set my own schedule, again being able to wear jeans every day and having creative freedom.

I offer my clients an Experience they remember! It starts by getting to know them before the session and learning what photos they really want. Then I help them with what to wear and how to prepare their home and family members. The day of the session I work to make them all feel comfortable and excited about the photos. I walk them through easy posing while still allowing them to be themselves. After our session, I deliver images consistent with my portfolio and their past sessions so they can create seamless galleries of their lives.