fresh and fun charlottesville family photographer


• richmond & charlottesville va •

My favorite thing about being a Charlottesville family photographer is seeing my clients over and over again! I love seeing their kids grow up. I find that being able to photograph them every year makes them excited to have their photos taken since they get to see Miss Melissa again!


At your family session we are going to of course get the traditional looking at the camera photos but I want you to have more than just a pretty portrait. I want you to play with your kids and make memories during your photo session. I want to capture how you interact as a family in photos and on video! Check out my latest Session Film below and add one on to your next photo session.

Looking for more charlottesville family photography images?

Check the galleries below for full sessions

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

"Our experience with Melissa was nothing short of amazing!!! She is so easy to work with and goes above and beyond to make sure you get exactly what you want. We love her and highly recommend her!!"

taylor B

details & investment


digital files + gorgeous artwork = happy clients

charlottesville family photographer


Capturing all the details


Digital Files

Complimentary Gift Credit to spend on artwork

Beautiful memories remembered forever

How it Works


when you inquire about a session here is what will happen...

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If you've taken a look around and love my photos then let's work together! Just fill out the contact form to get all the information about my collection options and see recent full galleries of my work.


You can choose to book just one session or join my membership and have everything documented from pregnancy to baby's 1st birthday. Most of my clients join the membership to take advantage of the savings. Keep scrolling to learn more!


Planning your session


Once you are booked you'll receive a Getting to Know You questionnaire so I can learn more about you and your little family. This will help us plan the perfect session and get all the photos you've dreamed of!


You'll also receive access to my exclusive Client Dashboard with guides for preparing for your Charlottesville Maternity, Family or Newborn photography session. These include tips on what to wear and suggestions on places to shop!


Day of your session


It's time to relax and have fun! Whether it's on location at the beach, a garden or park or at your own home. This is where you get to be happy and joyful while loving on that baby bump.


Outdoor Charlottesville maternity photography sessions start 1-2 hours before sunset and last about 45 min. At home indoor lifestyle sessions start around 10:00 am to get the best lighting indoors.


Choose your collection

Two weeks after our session you'll receive your online slideshow to see all your photos from the comfort of home and then pick your collection. Every collection includes a set amount of digital files plus complimentary gift credit to get started displaying your favorite photos.


After choosing your collection you'll have access to the gallery to download your favorites and spend your gift credit on gorgeous artwork. You can also share the gallery with friends and family!



creative fee is $300

collections including digital files start at $900

Contact me for extended family pricing


what is included:

  • Location planning and styling assistance so you look amazing against the perfect backdrop
  • Access to my Client Dashboard with guides on how to prepare and what to wear
  • Your choice of on location or at home session to fit your style and comfort
  • A 45 minute session; enough time to capture what we need, but not too much that dad gets bored
  • Gallery viewing from the comfort of your home with an online store to make your purchases, no high pressure sales
  • Complimentary design services to display your beautiful photos in gorgeous artwork in your home

In order to create a more personalized experience for my clients, I only accept 4-6 portrait bookings per month. Contact me today to get all the pricing info before you book!

Q & A

Q: Have you been vaccinated?

A: Yes I have been vaccinated against COVID19 since March 2021 and boosted in January 2022. I also have my TDAP vaccine.


Q: When Should I book my family session?

A: My schedule books up quickly. I suggest reserving your session date as soon as possible. If you are looking for peak fall season photos you'll want to book 6-8 weeks in advance.


Q: Can you recommend a location for our session?

A: Yes! I have several locations that work beautifully for family sessions or we can explore a favorite place of your own.


Q: How far do you travel?

A: I am based out of Charlottesville and travel up to 30 min is included. Beyond that travel fees will apply.

Q: Do you offer payment plans?

A: Yes you can start a payment plan as soon as you book so everything is paid for when your session occurs and you earn bonus products! I do not offer post-session payment plans.


Q: what should we wear?

A: Don't stress about what to wear I have a complete guide you'll receive plus links to tons of outfit inspiration. If you aren't sure about something feel free to email me a photo and I'll let you know if it will work!


Q: what if we aren't comfortable in front of the camera?

A: I've lost count of how many clients have told me they aren't models and can't look like the people on my website and yet they totally rock their sessions. I will guide you through easy posing and tell you exactly what to do so you look and feel amazing. Leave that up to me!

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Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


Melissa serves Charlottesville, Richmond, Staunton, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Gordonsville and beyond.



Melissa Arlena Photography captures newborns, maternity, and families.

Charlottesville and richmond, va

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