behind the camera Melissa Arlena

Oh Hello There!

Welcome, I'm Melissa or Mel for short! Most days you can find me camera in hand chasing my kids and dogs around for that perfect photo! Or I might be tackling my latest design or DIY project, you can bet either way I'm wearing something navy as it's my favorite color!

I’m mostly known for being the photographer with a sailboat hence the sailboat in my logo. I’m a military wife, Marine Corp to be exact and mom to two little boys, Will and Rob! We live in Fredericksburg, Virginia but love traveling to New York City and Charleston, SC. We are on the hunt for some new places to see so send me a note if you know an awesome spot we should check out!

My journey to becoming a photographer, yeah it's not your typical I had my first baby, got a nice camera and fell in love story. Nope, I actually hated having my photo taken so much that I figured out if I was behind the camera I wouldn't have to be in front of it! The teenage years were pretty awkward for me, how about you?

So I learned how to shoot film, develop it and make prints in the darkroom all before I graduated high school. When I was planning my wedding I discovered the magical world of wedding photography and I fell head over heels in love! Then my clients started having babies and I realized what brings me the most joy is documenting all the chapters of my client's lives!

 Keep scrolling to learn more about me......

Our Sailing Life

When I’m not busy capturing beautiful weddings or photographing adorable newborns you can catch me sailing the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay on our 40′ sailboat Apogee with my handsome husband David, and our crazy boys.

They have been sailing all their lives and are getting old enough to start helping out a bit and they love it! Sailing was something we just kind of fell into and here we are 8 years and 3 boats later spending our summer vacations cruising the Bay for weeks on end.

follow along - #mybayberrylane, #sailingapogee, #willandrob, #sammyjGR, #bigearblitz

My Favorite Things

I Believe in Legacy

I photograph couples who desire to have Classic, Romantic & Joyful photographs documenting their life. I’m lucky to capture them as their love story unfolds from engagement session to wedding and then starting a family and beyond. Over the last 10 years of photographing weddings and portraits, I have learned that my favorite part of my job is developing lasting relationships with my couples. This starts with the engagement session and by the wedding day, I’m photographing friends!

"She has a real bond with the bride and is able to capture all the important moments of the big day!" - Susan, Mother of the Bride

After doing this for so long I love when my couples reach back out to tell me they are having their first baby! Seeing them become parents and documenting those first moments together as a family is truly special to me. Even if you weren't a wedding client of mine I want to give you amazing newborn photos too!

"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." - Anna S

As a photographer, I’ve been featured in magazines and many online wedding blogs and I love seeing my client's hard work and amazing photos recognized by industry professionals. You can see a few of the places I’ve been published below!

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Award Winning Photographer As Seen On