Melissa Waller Photography – Fredericksburg VA Senior Photographer » Weddings, High School Seniors & Families

Category Archives: Personal

Bethany | Contemporary Dance Session [Fredericksburg, VA Photographer]

I have been dying to do a dance themed photo shoot for months now, so I put out a model call on Instagram. If you aren’t following me on Instagram – it is the “it” place to see all of my current work. You can find me here. I originally had in my mind a ballerina, but when I got Bethany’s request to the model call and scrolled through her images, I knew she would be perfect. I loved her contemporary style of dance and felt it would be a great combination to the urban location I had selected. Bethany is a true beauty inside and out. She is sweet, talented, smart and an all around beautiful human being. I couldn’t be happier with the images we got and I can’t wait to show her the final edited images. Until then, here are a few of my favorites from my time with Bethany.

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Morgan – Sweet 16 | Fredericksburg Senior Photographer

We have been planning this photoshoot for a couple of months now and I am jumping up and down excited about how these photos turned out. My baby girl will be 16 in just a few days and we wanted to do a themed photoshoot to celebrate this milestone. Our sweet friend Alexa made this beautiful tulle skirt for the shoot and I am in love! Kristen from GOGO Gorgeous did Morgan’s hair and makeup and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Morgan’s friends Maddie & Giselle accompanied us and rocked the reflector for me while tweeting behind the scenes shots. All around, we had a fantastic day and I am super proud to show you the results and my favorites from yesterday.


Its such a blessing to have wonderful friends!

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What to Wear – Fredericksburg VA Senior Photographer

One of the biggest questions I get before a session is “What do I wear?” This is a hard question, and I always start my advice the alternate question “What kind of a look do you want?” You should pick your clothing choices based on your location. So, for instance, if you want your photos in a field with a country vibe, you should consider wearing a cute dress, cowboy boots or a maxi dress and cute floppy hat. However, if you like a more urban grunge look, and you have an edgier personality – you should pick an area with brick walls, graffiti and lots of texture; you should choose jeans, a rockin tee and some combat boots.

There are so many choices and it really depends on your personality and what you want your Senior Portraits to portray. These are just some examples that I tell my Seniors and I always try to put together some looks for them when they decide what kind of look they are going for. I put together some examples for you, so if you have a session with me soon, look at these and hopefully it will give you some inspiration for your senior photos.

For a casual look

Casual Gal

For the Country Girl

Country Gal

Are you a little edgier?

Edgy Gal

My personal fave – the Preppy look

Preppy Girl

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Changing my focus | Fredericksburg VA Photographer

I have been working on this blog post for several weeks, really struggling with my decision to specialize in a certain genre of photography. I know, you are going to read this and say “that took her several weeks?” YES…YES it did! I told you I have been struggling!

As a photographer starting out, I shot for a long time without charging anyone. Now, four years later, I look back on how far I have come and I am proud of what I have accomplished. When I feel down, I go back to the sessions I shot early on and I compare it to my work now. It is world’s apart on so many levels. I don’t do photography to be the next big, hottest, know-it-all photographer out there. I pursue photography and knowledge of photography because I LOVE it! I thirst for it, drink it up like a big tall margarita kidding; how about lemonade; I don’t even drink. Seriously, I don’t!

Anyway, I have struggled with quitting my job to do photography full-time because I am that passionate about it…but then reality hits. I have a great job, I have a BA in Legal Studies and I work for 6 attorneys who keep me plenty busy. I am fortunate to work for a company that allows me the flexibility to do both jobs. I would be stupid to give that up. If I was a 20 something out of college kid, I might have taken the chance, but at 40, I am more worried about my pension, 401K benefits and health insurance. It’s hard juggling both a full-time job and photography; I also have a husband and family that depends on me, so I have to add that into the mix also.

So…here it is. I have changed my focus of photography. While I love capturing all the details of a wedding and seeing two people who fell in love pledge themselves to each other, I have realized it isn’t the path I want for my photography. I fall behind on blogging, albums and editing because I just don’t have the time it takes to devote to this genre of photography. I have always tried really hard to provide the best service and a quick turn around; but other people and responsibilities in my life have suffered.

I have always had a soft spot for teenagers and the hardships they endure going through high school. Bullying has become so prevalent these days, I mean there have always been clicks, but when I was in High School we still hung out with everyone. Those days are long gone and especially with technology taking over, it makes cyber bullying that much easier. This is such a crucial time for kids this age. The need for acceptance and fitting in while you are still trying to find yourself as a young adult makes things even more difficult. Please don’t delude yourself that it can’t or won’t happen to your child. I have witnessed what bullying can do to a child. It will strip them of their self-esteem and bring them to a level of despair that is unimaginable. This is why I have elected to focus on empowering teenage girls through my photographs. I want them to experience a session where they feel beautiful, strong and embrace being a teenager. This can be such a wonderful time in their life and I want to be a part of making it memorable for each and every young adult that comes to me for their senior photos.

This of course doesn’t mean that I won’t take a wedding here and there for friends, family or a previous brides referral, it just means that I am not going to be seeking wedding photography. I won’t be advertising or marketing weddings I have gotten a lot of inquiries in the last year, mostly brides who are price shopping and while those are great for some photographers, it wasn’t right for me. I was spending far more time culling and editing thousands of photographs and not having the time I needed with my family. A senior session yields far fewer photographs that I can really concentrate on and be creative with.

Let me preface this last paragraph with this statement…”I shoot for me, not to impress anyone else”. I see a lot of competition between photographers on social media and honestly, I am not a competitive person. I won’t get caught up in the crap storm I see other photographers go through. I am not trying to steal anyone else’s business or price gouge anyone, I just want to shoot to make other people happy. I shot a family session last year for a family who’s 5 year old daughter is dying of cancer – if that doesn’t put things into perspective for you; I don’t know what will.

On that note, here are a few of the amazing seniors I had the pleasure and privilege of photographing in 2013. I am honored that each and every one of them chose me to capture this time in their lives and I look forward to this year’s new group of seniors.

God Bless…

James 1:3
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

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Fall Give-A-Way [Fredericksburg VA Photographer]

I love FALL! How about you? I get so excited when the leaves start changing and there is a crispness in the air. It reminds me of home and I always get kinda homesick this time of year. I was just in Maine a couple weekends ago and it was so beautiful. I got to spend some time with my Gram and my beautiful sista sista’s and those adorable nieces of mine and I can’t forget my favorite little fella who is growing at the speed of light these days! Aiden – slow down buddy, you have your whole life to grow up. :)

Fall kind of kicks my butt though – it is always my busiest time of year with photo shoots, Christmas mini sessions and the last of my Fall weddings. But…its also bittersweet for me, because that means business is slowing down and that makes me sad, but also happy that I get a couple of months to breathe again. LOL Talk about all over the map today – I hope you can follow along with my randomness!!!

I just finished my Christmas list [I am sure Chris is thrilled] HA! Some of my main items this year are things for the house, I love to cook; so I added a few cookbooks to my list…The pioneer woman has out a new cookbook and I am dying to get my hands on it – and the picky palate is high up there on my list also. I really want these from Anthropologie – because they are adorbs!!!

Anyway, I thought…hmmmm – I haven’t had a give-a-way for a while so in the spirit of giving and the upcoming Holidays – post a comment telling me what your favorite Holiday is and why. You will be entered to win a $25 Anthropologie gift card. Easy Peasy!!!

I will announce the winner on Tuesday, November 5. GOOD LUCK!


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