Melissa Arlena is a Virginia Wedding Photographer focusing on wedding photography and engagement photos. Recently expanded into newborn, maternity portraits
I’m Melissa Arlena
I'm a Pinterest addict who lives in JCrew anything but especially anything navy and is fueled by CocaCola, chocolate and rotisserie chicken. I'm a wife to a handsome Marine and a mom to two devilish little boys. I love sailing the Bay on our very own sailboat and chasing that perfect nap. I love DIY home design projects and can usually be found sporting dried paint somewhere on my body. More about me...
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"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!"
Ashley & Ryan
"Melissa was my first choice as a wedding photographer because she is simply the best. I looked at TONS of other websites, and hers stood out by a long shot. She not only captures the beauty of your day, but also delivers an amazing experience to help you feel relaxed and natural. She was also our maternity photographer and took such great shots that I had to purchase every single one! You will absolutely love the art she produces!"
"We are so blessed to be sharing work by the incredible Melissa Arlena Photography."
"Melissa Arlena Photography's photos of the day are truly breathtaking, and a treat to look through."
Borrowed & Blue
"I adore all of the beautiful images from Melissa Arlena Photography!"
Elizabeth Anne Designs
"Melissa was fantastic! We love our photos!"
Melissa has photographed our family milestones - engagement, destination wedding, pregnancy announcement, and now Bane's newborn photos! She did such a beautiful job with his portraits that Minted actually chose his images for their website! Honestly, I had planned to have his nursery staged, tidy and perfect for the day she was to come over. The reality is, in the craziness of life with a newborn, that didn't happen! I was also self conscious about all the leftover swelling and baby weight, since I had gained 50 pounds during pregnancy, and Bane was fussy the entire session. But, you wouldn't know it in the images, because Melissa was not only patient and waited for me to either nurse or rock him back to sleep, but she also gave me some valuable tips of soothing a newborn -- that I've used since then! She also managed to work around, or even help to move furniture and clutter to get all the nursery shots! She brought her own props and blankets, so I didn't have to worry about having the perfect items.
“Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures!! We have been without internet all week from our resort, and finally got it back today just in time to look at our wedding pictures and we love them!”
Erin & Dylan
“Melissa was such a pleasure to work with right from the beginning. It was immediately clear that she has such a talent with her photography, but it was her continual thoughtfulness and attention to details that made such an impression on us. Planning a wedding as the bride and groom was somewhat stressful and Melissa had a way of keeping things calm and cool! Melissa is well connected in the Fredericksburg area and was able to recommend two other wedding vendors which we also booked and we were very happy with the advice! She has a great balance of a friendly, easy-going personality mixed with professionalism, organization and communication skills. Melissa uses Facebook and her blog to make connecting and displaying photographs so convenient. I think our favorite thing that Melissa did was her blog post about our wedding less than a week after we were married! She hand picked the best photos to create a visual ”snapshot” of our wedding day. This was so meaningful because we could send this out to friends and family who were unable to attend and through the blog they could get a taste of the entire event. We realized how lucky we were when other recently married friends commented it was weeks to months after their weddings before they saw ANY photos from their photographers! On top of it all, we really connected with Melissa on a personal level and feel our relationship was so much more than just a “wedding gig”.”
Rachel & Edwin
“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!”
Corin & Elc
“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!”
Jolie & Greg
“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!”
Heather & Steve
“I have used Melissa several times to take family portraits and photos of our son when he was a newborn. I am consistently blown away by her work. She makes us look amazing! The pieces I’ve purchased are timeless and well worth the investment. She has a real sense for lighting and photographing in natural light. She is easygoing and super nice to work with. she also has been great with choosing the best locations to take the shots, which took stress off of us but is also open-minded to any ideas we might have.”
“My fiance and I do not live in the same state, as he is currently stationed in Virginia and I still live in Indiana. We knew that we wanted to have engagement pictures taken, but were not sure if we could find someone to take them and do a quality job. Lucky for us, I stumbled across Melissa’s webpage and immediately got into contact with her. She was so helpful in finding a location for our pictures and providing tips for clothes. On the day of our shoot Melissa was just as wonderful as I hoped. She knew John and I for less than five minutes before she began snapping pictures and yet she managed to capture our personalities perfectly. I could not be happier with the way our pictures turned out and I wish it could have been worked out to have her come to Indiana for our wedding and photograph that special moment as well. I highly recommend Melissa to anyone looking for a photographer, especially engagement pictures!”
Allison & John
“Melissa is a wonderful photographer. She was truly a blessing for me and my husband to photograph our wedding. All of her work is beautiful. She was very flexible for meeting and discussing certain pictures that we wanted taken. I come from a split family so she was great with doing a lot of different family shots. I would truly recommend her to any bride and groom out there looking for a personable and great photographer.”
Tiffany & Tommy
“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.”
Mike & Mary
“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!”
Melissa & Jon
“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.”
Katina & Greg
“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.”
Katie & Jimmy
“It says so much about a photographer who can take amazing photos of your wedding all while being 9 months pregnant! Melissa was so easy to work with, quick to reply honestly to emails and very reasonably priced for the fantastic work she does. My husband does not like getting his picture taken at all, but Melissa warmed him right up and our wedding pictures turned out great. It was an easy decision to trust Melissa to capture our special day and we’re so happy wit the final product. Thank you Melissa!”
Tyler & Brian
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.
Cathie Mother of the Bride x2
March 2013 & August 2014
Thank you, thank you! I was a little nervous about hiring a photographer again after my previous experiences but you've exceeded my expectations--like I knew you would! Love them!
Love her!!! She does a great job and is a sweet person.
"I love Melissa's work and our family photos she took for us."
"I'm in love with them!"
Working with Melissa was such a blast! We had never met her before and within minutes we were giggling and I felt like I was hanging out with an old friend. I left it up to Melissa to find a good place for our engagement shoot (just told her we like country-like stuff) and boy did she deliver! The photos in the field were just what we were hoping for! We had so much fun and didn’t even realize how much time was passing! The whole ride home my fiance and I were talking about how much fun we had and how we wish we could do it again!
Melissa had the preview picture up sooo fast and also had such a fast delivery on all the photos. When they came out we were WOWed by how amazing they looked! Not only did we have a great experience (never a bad thing to be forced into each other’s arms for a few hours) but now we have beautiful photos to display in a guest book and decorate our house with! When my friends and family looked online, the only thing they could talk about when they saw me was how much they loved our photos! We even decided (after the session) to book Melissa for our wedding and we couldn’t be more excited! I know she is going to take even more beautiful photos and be an integral part of completing our wedding day!
Diane & Andy
Melissa is the definition of over-delivering when it comes to her service. I wish more people ran their business's in the same manner. She truly understands how important these photos are to you as a bride. With all the time and effort you put in to planning, it is nice to know that your photographer is putting in the extra effort to make sure you are overly satisfied with your finished product.
Paige & Matt
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.
Let me start out by saying that Melissa is an absolute joy to work with and she clearly goes above and beyond for her clients. We hired her for a maternity session with some fairly specific images in mind that greatly depended on the location and weather. After viewing her portfolio, I knew that even if we couldn't get those exact shots, her work would still be beautiful. Not only did she research locations and take time to scout them out, she produced images more amazing than I ever dreamed (and worlds better than my example photos)! The best part was how she guided us through the whole session to create seemingly candid photos and still made sure my big belly and I were comfortable the whole time. We loved her and how she captured that special time in our lives so much that we hired her as a newborn photographer too! Melissa came to our house for the session when our son was 6 days old (so amazing because there is no way we could get it together enough to go anywhere). She was so patient with our little guy and soothed him back to sleep a few times to get those perfect sleepy baby shots. She even worked with our crazy puppies to get a few family pictures in the mix! Needless to say, we ended up ordering all 100+ photos because we were too in love with every single shot! Melissa is such a talented photographer and made each session so comfortable and fun. I want another life event to happen just so she can photograph it! :)
“We are absolutely thrilled with these photos, so much so that we are having a hard time picking our favorites. Thank you for capturing our special day. We couldn’t have asked for anything better!”
Anna & John
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!
Gina & Ronnie
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. 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. 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!
Amanda & Robby
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!
Greg & Jolie
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!!
Ally & Vitaly
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!!!!
Shannon & Coleman
Worth every penny! Get your stunning photos quick! 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.
Paige & Matt
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!
Krisina & Jason
My wedding photographer! I look at my pictures weekly (ok maybe more) and our wedding was two years ago! I am so in love with them and our engagement pictures! Melissa is so talented!
Lauren & Craig
Charming, creative, relaxed and unobtrusive. Melissa delivers top-notch talent and impeccable service, and she’s a lovely person to boot.
Trish & Will
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