DetailsThe
Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Fresh fun family Photography For The modern mom

There are so many choices for family photographers in Northern Va it can be overwhelming. You want Relaxed, Natural & Joyful photos of your family. But you also need someone who will guide you through what to wear and how to act in front of the camera. I've got you covered!

 

We'll be a perfect fit if ....

  • You want more than just looking at the camera photos, you want the moments in between captured
  • You want the experience to be fun for everyone and create great memories
  • You want a photographer who will be there to capture your family photos year after year

Read more DC newborn photography reviews

Client Love

Melissa was amazing and
our pictures are beautiful.

I was nervous because the baby had a rough night but Melissa worked incredibly fast while the baby slept. She even posed our dog to get some great pics of him and the baby. We got our pictures so quickly and they were absolutely beautiful. I'd highly recommend Melissa to anyone and look forward for another opportunity for her to photograph our family.

- Kristin in Alexandria

Great experience and great outcome, we highly recommend her.

We had a great experience doing a newborn shoot with Melissa. She was relaxed and easy on the day - she shot a really wide variety, caught some hilarious and oh-so-sweet photos of my toddler, and captured our family as we are. (She wore a mask the entire time, was careful about hand hygiene, kept appropriate distance, etc). She interacted beautifully with my toddler and he had the best time - you can tell she's a mom herself, she just gets it. The photos came out light and bright and airy, exactly what we wanted.

- Rachel in Reston

Our experience with Melissa was nothing short of amazing!!!

In the current Covid pandemic, she made us feel super safe, took every precaution, and still delivered beautiful images we will always cherish! 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 in Fredericksburg

She brought cautious normalcy to us during a chaotic time and we are beyond appreciative of her work.

I messaged Melissa and inquired about her policies during the Covid outbreak. She eased my mind immediately and took all safety precautions while visiting our home. The entire session went smoothly. Melissa has a great personality and was very patient as we moved our little guy around for pics. She asked about must have shots we wanted, in addition to using her own expertise. The images she captured are family pictures and baby pictures we will treasure forever. We love them all and have enjoyed sharing them with our friends and family across the country who haven’t been able to visit during the quarantine.

- Autumn in Alexandria

I am so happy that I found Melissa for our newborn photographs.

I did a lot of research before choosing a photographer and found that many in the area were very expensive or not responsive. When I found Melissa’s website I loved the light and airy feel of her photos (which is not easy to capture in a townhouse in Old Town). I reached out and not only was she responsive but it was very clear that she has a passion for newborn photography. I was not disappointed! The photos she took are absolutely perfect and so beautiful. I cannot recommend Melissa’s services enough and I am already looking forward to using her again for future family photos.

- Victoria in Alexandria

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What to Expect

01.

View Photo Galleries

It all starts by checking out my Family galleries. Make sure that the images you see are what you are looking for in your own photo session! I don't use props or pose babies in baskets. My style can be described as Lifestyle which is fun and relaxed, natural photos of your family.

02.

Review Pricing

Learn more about The Family Experience below. If that sounds like what you are looking for Contact Me today for full collection pricing. Please be sure all decision-makers are involved so everyone is comfortable with booking me!

03.

Save the Date

Pop the Capri Sun & cue the confetti!! We are a match made in heaven! Now it's time to secure your date on my calendar. I typically book family sessions 1-2 months out. I only take on 6-8 sessions per month so book early to get your spot!

04.

Book Now

You've submitted the Contact Form, reviewed the pricing and are ready to move forward! Next I will send over a quote, contract and Getting to Know You questionnaire. You can pay your retainer online and we can start planning!

05.

Review Tips

Once booked I'll be sending you my Tips & Advice email to review to prepare for the perfect photo session. It includes ideas on what to wear for everyone so you look stylish and coordinated.

06.

Let's Decorate

Before your family session I like to ask my clients to walk around their home and think about where they want to see their photos. Is it a beautiful album on a coffee table, a print box on the bookcase or a wall gallery over the stairs? When we plan it out ahead of time we can be sure to get exactly the photos we need!

07.

Your Family Photos

All family photo sessions are done on location typically 1-2 hours before sunset during the week in the Fredericksburg/Stafford area. We can go to a favorite spot of yours or I can recommend some options based on your style! Sessions typically last about 45 minutes.

09.

Online Gallery

Your images will be ready 2 weeks after your photo session and will be presented in an online slideshow. You can view your photos and decide on your collection purchase from the comfort of your couch!

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The Collections

Family Photo Pricing

On-location family photo sessions full of laughter and fun capturing your family just as they are.

Collections BEGIN AT $650

  • Digital Files are available for purchase in each collection plus a print credit to get started displaying your favorite photos
  • Advice, tips, and examples of what to wear for you and everyone in the family
  • Guidance during your session so you feel confident and look beautiful & natural
  • Editing to carefully enhance only the best images from your session so they are just as perfect as you imagined
  • Add on a gorgeous Heirloom Print Box, Keepsake Baby Albums, and Custom Wall Art to enjoy for years to come
Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Sessions are typically scheduled 4-6 weeks in advance. In order to create a more personalized experience for my client, I only accept 6-8 portrait bookings per month. Complimentary design services are available to create the perfect products that fit your life & style to display your beautiful portraits. Think of me as a trusted friend by your side to help you make any decisions along the way

award winning photographer as seen on

The Experience

northern virginia family photographer

We often think about professional photography for the big moments in our lives, getting married, or having a baby. But I believe we need to think about it every year to document how quickly our kids are growing up. I've never had a client tell me they regretted updating their family photos but I've had tons tell me they wish they had done it more often. As a Northern Va family photographer, it's my job to encourage you to make family portraits a priority this year!

Experience

When you hire me as your family photographer you get someone who has 3 kiddos of her own and knows exactly what moments you want captured. The ones that truly show off your family's personality!

 

Over the last 12 years I've photographed hundreds of families. In that time I've learned to work quickly and keep things fun. Dads love that I come in with a plan and get things done while Moms loves the variety of final images and the in-between moments captured!

 

 

Preparation

From the moment you hire me, we will start prepping for your session. This includes tips and advice on what to wear from me plus my Pinterest boards full of ideas to help you coordinate the entire family.

 

I'll be sending you my Family Session Tips so you know exactly what to expect on the day of your session. Once that day comes I'll walk you through our session and give you plenty of direction on what to do, it's easy I promise!

Reveal

After your session, I'll get to work editing your gorgeous photos and getting your gallery ready as soon as possible. I know how excited you will be to see your photos!

 

I know traveling and schedules can be tough so you get to see your photos from the comfort of your own couch. I'll send over the gallery link and you can view the slideshow and make your collection purchase. I love when parents make a date night of it and enjoy a glass of wine as they look through their photos!

Ordering

You can decide on your favorites together and order prints, wall art, and even a family album right from your gallery. I love designing gallery walls for my clients that include photos from their session plus personal photos they might have. I can take all of the guesswork out of what size to order and how to arrange them!

 

As your Fredericksburg Va family photographer, I want you to have beautiful images to display in your home along with digital files to share with family and friends.

Northern Virginia Family Photographer
Maternity, Newborn & Familyinquiries

Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Frequently Asked Questions

I like to schedule our newborn session when your baby is around 10 days old.

 

Ideally anywhere from 7-14 is preferred. I definitely understand that some parents can’t schedule for that time frame especially if they have dealt with a NICU stay.

 

So please don’t worry and know no matter how old your baby is we can create some beautiful photos for you!

My newborn pictures are natural and organic images of your baby.

 

I like to keep things very simple and clean so I don’t provide any sets or props.

 

I’m thrilled to include things like family heirlooms such as a baby blanket or special stuffed animal in the photos though.

 

Plus if you have a little girl I’m a total sucker for a beautiful headband!

I’m a mom of three myself and I totally understand that babies need breaks.

 

I’m happy to take breaks as needed for top-offs to make baby happy.

 

A warm full belly is usually all we need to get those adorable sleepy photos!

Yes! I’m based out of the Stafford/Fredericksburg area but I travel anywhere from DC to Richmond locally. I’m frequently in Alexandria, VA for newborn photo sessions. I’m also happy to fly to other locations in the US. Travel fees do apply.

Of course! My goal is to capture your new family not just your baby.

We will work together to get adorable sibling photos and know that yes it may take bribes but that is ok!

 

We stuffed Vanilla Wafers around my youngest to get my oldest to interact with him during our newborn session. You gotta do what you gotta do!

With maternity or family sessions, we typically shoot weekdays in the late afternoon/early evening so we get that beautiful glowy sunset light!

 

For newborn sessions, I find babies are better in the morning when everyone is fresh so those are scheduled around 10 am on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. (Please note that weekends are not available as I’m spending time with my family on our sailboat.)

Your full gallery will be ready within 2 weeks!

All of my collections include digital files and a print release.

 

This means that you can post them on Facebook or Instagram, share them through email to family and print them wherever you please in whatever size you please.

 

Keep in mind though that when ordering prints through me you will be getting quality prints that match your files exactly.

 

If you print elsewhere on your own I cannot guarantee they will be correct.

I like to schedule our newborn session when your baby is around 10 days old.

 

Ideally anywhere from 7-14 is preferred. I definitely understand that some parents can’t schedule for that time frame especially if they have dealt with a NICU stay.

 

So please don’t worry and know no matter how old your baby is we can create some beautiful photos for you!

My newborn pictures are natural and organic images of your baby.

 

I like to keep things very simple and clean so I don’t provide any sets or props.

 

I’m thrilled to include things like family heirlooms such as a baby blanket or special stuffed animal in the photos though.

 

Plus if you have a little girl I’m a total sucker for a beautiful headband!

I’m a mom of three myself and I totally understand that babies need breaks.

 

I’m happy to take breaks as needed for top-offs to make baby happy.

 

A warm full belly is usually all we need to get those adorable sleepy photos!

Of course! My goal is to capture your new family not just your baby.

We will work together to get adorable sibling photos and know that yes it may take bribes but that is ok!

 

We stuffed Vanilla Wafers around my youngest to get my oldest to interact with him during our newborn session. You gotta do what you gotta do!

With maternity or family sessions, we typically shoot weekdays in the late afternoon/early evening so we get that beautiful glowy sunset light!

 

For newborn sessions, I find babies are better in the morning when everyone is fresh so those are scheduled around 10 am on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. (Please note that weekends are not available as I’m spending time with my family on our sailboat.)

Your full gallery will be ready within 2 weeks!

Yes! I’m based out of the Stafford/Fredericksburg area but I travel anywhere from DC to Richmond locally. I’m frequently in Alexandria, VA for newborn photo sessions. I’m also happy to fly to other locations in the US. Travel fees do apply.

All of my collections include digital files and a print release.

 

This means that you can post them on Facebook or Instagram, share them through email to family and print them wherever you please in whatever size you please.

 

Keep in mind though that when ordering prints through me you will be getting quality prints that match your files exactly.

 

If you print elsewhere on your own I cannot guarantee they will be correct.

Definitely! I only take on 6-8 sessions per month so I can give proper attention and care to my clients.

 

Due to this, I tend to book up 1-2 months in advance.

 

So be sure to book as soon as you know you are ready!

Yes! While most of my clients start off as wedding or newborn clients I love to see their families continue to grow.

 

I do offer family sessions and those collections start at $650. Just inquire above!

Yes! I offer headshot and personal branding photography Tues-Friday mornings, typically in Downtown Fredericksburg or your office space.

 

Just inquire above and let me know what you are looking for!

Yes! I love guiding new photographers in their journey to start their business.

 

We will focus on website design that converts, attracting your dream clients, streamlining your back office systems and creating a solid marketing plan to fill your calendar.

 

If you are interested in learning more about using your camera I highly recommend checking out Katelyn James photography courses.

Personal Branding portraits are scheduled Monday-Fridays, timeframes differ depending on the length of the collection you choose.

Yes, I am available for travel for personal branding sessions!

Of course! When your brand includes your kids then it’s a MUST to have photos with them! We can mix in more family style photos along with lifestyle images of you.

Yes, I will be taking on 10 clients to work with 4x a year to keep their branding photos fresh. We can work around product or course launches, holiday blog posts, and even your family vacation!

Thanks to the magic of the internet you can be anywhere in the world and I can design your gallery wall for you! You just need to send me photos of your wall and the photos you want to include in the gallery and I can get to work.

That is easy, big empty ones! I do encourage clients to think about rooms they spend a lot of time in like a family/living room, bedrooms and of course staircases and entryways.

Yes! Just send me some photos of what you have and let me know the measurements. I can mock them up in your design so you can see how they will fit with your photos.

No worries, I can custom frame your photos for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Once you approve your design you can choose a frame style and color that fits your home and I can have the framed photos delivered to your door ready to hang.

I get it, you have a crazy busy life and just don’t have the time to print, frame and hang your gallery wall. No worries I can totally do it for you! Full-service starts at $300 for a site visit and initial designs for clients, travel charges may apply.

The $75 design fee is for up to 3 walls so if you only have one wall it will still be $75. I’m happy to give you three different design options for that single wall instead of just two.

Yay, I’m so excited to design for you! Just click the blue button above that says Order My Design and pay the $75 fee for design only service. Then follow the How To steps to take photos of your walls and email them over to me along with the photos you want to include on the gallery wall up to 25. I’ll send over a brief questionnaire to get to know your style and get started on your gallery wall designs.

So this will depend on what story you want to tell on your wall. I’m happy to give you some examples from my personal home.

Our staircase gallery wall is meant to tell the story of our family over the years, so it includes wedding photos, newborn photos of my boys and I plan to update it with family photos we had done recently. These are all from professional photography sessions.

Our living room gallery is meant to showcase our sailing adventures, it is mostly made up of iphone photos that have been edited and we swap it out every year so it is fresh.

A past client wanted to showcase their travel photos, so their wall is full of photos of them in other countries so they can remember their adventures.

My Fresh 48 sessions are short photo shoots in the hospital within 48 hours of your baby being born. These sessions are very relaxed and natural, capturing those first moments of your baby’s life and the excitement of mom & dad.

Since these sessions are documentary in nature I do not pose the baby but I will give mom & dad guidance on what to do so they feel comfortable. As far as props I recommend a cute swaddle blanket with a matching hat or bow and maybe a fun letter board with baby’s birth details. That is all you will need as we are really just capturing the excitement of the new baby.

Right now I’m booking sessions at Stafford Hospital, Mary Washington Hospital and Spotsylvania Regional Hospitals only. In the future I may travel further north but not currently.

Don’t worry this is not a time to get super dressed up! For mom I recommend a cute robe if you want to feel fancy. For dads I recommend jeans and a plain tshirt or sweater, no logos please as they distract from the cute baby.

Fresh 48 sessions include a 30 min session in your hospital room and 20-30 digital files with print release. You will get a link to an online gallery to download your images and print where ever you like or you may order prints through my lab. Feel free to share the gallery with friends and family!

I do not offer birth photography but would be happy to send over a recommendation of someone who does.

Family sessions take place in the Fredericksburg or Stafford area. I have a few locations I can recommend if you don’t have a particular spot in mind. Currently, I’m not able to offer family sessions outside these areas due to traffic and my schedule.

I schedule all outdoor portrait sessions for 1-3 hours before sunset. The exact time will depend on the session location and the lighting at that location.

Once you are booked I will send over a What to Wear Guide to walk you through selecting outfits for your family. Feel free to email me photos of what you are looking at to get my opinion on what will photograph well!

You can expect to receive your final images within 2 weeks of your session date. If you would like to receive your images sooner than three weeks, a rush can be applied for $200 which will ensure your images are complete three business days after your session is complete.

Yes! Extended family sessions are like several mini sessions in a row. I like to focus on the big family photo and then make sure each smaller family unit gets time in front of the camera. Extended family session pricing is based on how many people/families there are. Contact me for a custom quote today!

I like to schedule our newborn session when your baby is around 10 days old.

 

Ideally anywhere from 7-14 is preferred. I definitely understand that some parents can’t schedule for that time frame especially if they have dealt with a NICU stay.

 

So please don’t worry and know no matter how old your baby is we can create some beautiful photos for you!

My newborn pictures are natural and organic images of your baby.

 

I like to keep things very simple and clean so I don’t provide any sets or props.

 

I’m thrilled to include things like family heirlooms such as a baby blanket or special stuffed animal in the photos though.

 

Plus if you have a little girl I’m a total sucker for a beautiful headband!

I’m a mom of three myself and I totally understand that babies need breaks.

 

I’m happy to take breaks as needed for top-offs to make baby happy.

 

A warm full belly is usually all we need to get those adorable sleepy photos!

Of course! My goal is to capture your new family not just your baby.

We will work together to get adorable sibling photos and know that yes it may take bribes but that is ok!

 

We stuffed Vanilla Wafers around my youngest to get my oldest to interact with him during our newborn session. You gotta do what you gotta do!

With maternity or family sessions, we typically shoot weekdays in the late afternoon/early evening so we get that beautiful glowy sunset light!

 

For newborn sessions, I find babies are better in the morning when everyone is fresh so those are scheduled around 10 am on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. (Please note that weekends are not available as I’m spending time with my family on our sailboat.)

Your full gallery will be ready within 2 weeks!

Yes! I’m based out of the Stafford/Fredericksburg area but I travel anywhere from DC to Richmond locally. I’m frequently in Alexandria, VA for newborn photo sessions. I’m also happy to fly to other locations in the US. Travel fees do apply.

All of my collections include digital files and a print release.

 

This means that you can post them on Facebook or Instagram, share them through email to family and print them wherever you please in whatever size you please.

 

Keep in mind though that when ordering prints through me you will be getting quality prints that match your files exactly.

 

If you print elsewhere on your own I cannot guarantee they will be correct.

Definitely! I only take on 6-8 sessions per month so I can give proper attention and care to my clients.

 

Due to this, I tend to book up 1-2 months in advance.

 

So be sure to book as soon as you know you are ready!

Yes! While most of my clients start off as wedding or newborn clients I love to see their families continue to grow.

 

I do offer family sessions and those collections start at $650. Just inquire above!

Yes! I offer headshot and personal branding photography Tues-Friday mornings, typically in Downtown Fredericksburg or your office space.

 

Just inquire above and let me know what you are looking for!

Yes! I love guiding new photographers in their journey to start their business.

 

We will focus on website design that converts, attracting your dream clients, streamlining your back office systems and creating a solid marketing plan to fill your calendar.

 

If you are interested in learning more about using your camera I highly recommend checking out Katelyn James photography courses.

Personal Branding portraits are scheduled Monday-Fridays, timeframes differ depending on the length of the collection you choose.

Yes, I am available for travel for personal branding sessions!

Of course! When your brand includes your kids then it’s a MUST to have photos with them! We can mix in more family style photos along with lifestyle images of you.

Yes, I will be taking on 10 clients to work with 4x a year to keep their branding photos fresh. We can work around product or course launches, holiday blog posts, and even your family vacation!

Thanks to the magic of the internet you can be anywhere in the world and I can design your gallery wall for you! You just need to send me photos of your wall and the photos you want to include in the gallery and I can get to work.

That is easy, big empty ones! I do encourage clients to think about rooms they spend a lot of time in like a family/living room, bedrooms and of course staircases and entryways.

Yes! Just send me some photos of what you have and let me know the measurements. I can mock them up in your design so you can see how they will fit with your photos.

No worries, I can custom frame your photos for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Once you approve your design you can choose a frame style and color that fits your home and I can have the framed photos delivered to your door ready to hang.

I get it, you have a crazy busy life and just don’t have the time to print, frame and hang your gallery wall. No worries I can totally do it for you! Full-service starts at $300 for a site visit and initial designs for clients, travel charges may apply.

The $75 design fee is for up to 3 walls so if you only have one wall it will still be $75. I’m happy to give you three different design options for that single wall instead of just two.

Yay, I’m so excited to design for you! Just click the blue button above that says Order My Design and pay the $75 fee for design only service. Then follow the How To steps to take photos of your walls and email them over to me along with the photos you want to include on the gallery wall up to 25. I’ll send over a brief questionnaire to get to know your style and get started on your gallery wall designs.

So this will depend on what story you want to tell on your wall. I’m happy to give you some examples from my personal home.

Our staircase gallery wall is meant to tell the story of our family over the years, so it includes wedding photos, newborn photos of my boys and I plan to update it with family photos we had done recently. These are all from professional photography sessions.

Our living room gallery is meant to showcase our sailing adventures, it is mostly made up of iphone photos that have been edited and we swap it out every year so it is fresh.

A past client wanted to showcase their travel photos, so their wall is full of photos of them in other countries so they can remember their adventures.

My Fresh 48 sessions are short photo shoots in the hospital within 48 hours of your baby being born. These sessions are very relaxed and natural, capturing those first moments of your baby’s life and the excitement of mom & dad.

Since these sessions are documentary in nature I do not pose the baby but I will give mom & dad guidance on what to do so they feel comfortable. As far as props I recommend a cute swaddle blanket with a matching hat or bow and maybe a fun letter board with baby’s birth details. That is all you will need as we are really just capturing the excitement of the new baby.

Right now I’m booking sessions at Stafford Hospital, Mary Washington Hospital and Spotsylvania Regional Hospitals only. In the future I may travel further north but not currently.

Don’t worry this is not a time to get super dressed up! For mom I recommend a cute robe if you want to feel fancy. For dads I recommend jeans and a plain tshirt or sweater, no logos please as they distract from the cute baby.

Fresh 48 sessions include a 30 min session in your hospital room and 20-30 digital files with print release. You will get a link to an online gallery to download your images and print where ever you like or you may order prints through my lab. Feel free to share the gallery with friends and family!

I do not offer birth photography but would be happy to send over a recommendation of someone who does.

Family sessions take place in the Fredericksburg or Stafford area. I have a few locations I can recommend if you don’t have a particular spot in mind. Currently, I’m not able to offer family sessions outside these areas due to traffic and my schedule.

I schedule all outdoor portrait sessions for 1-3 hours before sunset. The exact time will depend on the session location and the lighting at that location.

Once you are booked I will send over a What to Wear Guide to walk you through selecting outfits for your family. Feel free to email me photos of what you are looking at to get my opinion on what will photograph well!

You can expect to receive your final images within 2 weeks of your session date. If you would like to receive your images sooner than three weeks, a rush can be applied for $200 which will ensure your images are complete three business days after your session is complete.

Yes! Extended family sessions are like several mini sessions in a row. I like to focus on the big family photo and then make sure each smaller family unit gets time in front of the camera. Extended family session pricing is based on how many people/families there are. Contact me for a custom quote today!

Melissa Arlena Photography is based in Fredericksburg, Va but serves all of Washington, DC and Northern Virginia including Alexandria, Arlington, Burke, Centreville, Fairfax, Herndon, Lorton, Manassas, McLean, Quantico, Reston, Springfield, Stafford, Tysons Corner, Vienna, and Woodbridge. She offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.

VIEW MY LATEST WORK AS A NORTHERN VA NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER ON INSTAGRAM

Baby Photographers in Northern Virginia

diyer, sailor, mother, dog lover, military wife

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based out of Fredericksburg, Virginia