It's taking the time to go dancing in the sun, embracing the wind and the moment, and adventuring together. Even if it means jumping out of the car to catch the last minute of that brilliant sunset. Or even if it means cuddling on the couch on a rainy day. It's about taking the time to just be - together. To give each other the gift of time and to nourish the connection you have with each other. The one that endures the busyness of life. My couples are ready to jump on the bed, cuddle up by a fire, dance in the kitchen, and run down the halls. Or they're ready to lead each other through warm meadows, get windswept together on a mountainside cliff, or dance on the beach. 

And if you're looking for a photographer who...

...will make a fool of herself for laughter...
...will celebrate with the two of you...
...who blends right in with the family and cries with your mommas...
...wants to guide you through the planning and remind you to live in the moment...
...is a sappy, cheesy soul who just wants to tell your story and bring true love to light in a world that needs more of it...
... and makes her work about you and not about herself...

...then you're in the right place.

You live your days amongst millions of other lovers. Millions of other love stories and moments. But this one? This story is yours. And I'm here to capture it in the truest, most beautiful way I can.

I want my work as a couples photographer to do for you what finding old, handwritten love letters does for the soul. Nostalgia. Butterflies. Discovery - or rediscovery. You want to document your memories as they happen, allowing you to be completely and utterly wrapped up in the moment, and as your photographer, I can only hope that when you look back on the photographs of these moments, you see the moment as it really looked. True, luminous color and emotion. Warmth you can almost feel, captivating movement, and your undeniable chemistry. As an intimate wedding and elopement photographer, my goal is to document your story so well and so beautifully true to life, that you'll never know which moment to show off first.

My couples value photography beyond a price and prefer to have a connection with their photographer. OAR couples are looking for an experience and someone they can trust and not just a service. It's more than getting yearly portraits done. 

Centered on creating and capturing moments and memories that evoke nostalgia and passion.
Welcome to Ocean + Ridge by Melissa Durham.

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I am an 80s baby, born in the Florida Keys, who lived on the coast until 2004, when I found my way back to the mountains I camped in as a child. What I didn't realize is that I found my way back to what really makes my heart explode. I love my deeply rooted mountain life in Virginia, but I just can't let go of my island beginning.

I married my mountain-born sweetheart in 2006 after I moved back to Virginia, and we have two incredibly bright, beautiful little girls. Essentially, I'm a military brat with ocean water in my blood and the mountain air in my soul. I’m a UCONN and Northeastern Husky! I have a Masters of Science in Nutrition, and I try to balance my inner foodie with a love for fitness, the outdoors, and quiet meditation. 

I love a great pair of shoes (give me all the boots!), freshly painted toenails, a gorgeous eyeshadow palette, and being cozied up in a giant sweater. But man do I love my bare feet in the sand, being face-to-face with a coral reef full of life, and a good, breezy day on a boat. I obsess over calligraphy and anything that keeps my creative heart aflutter. My heart truly beats for the arts and for the sciences, so I'm always driven to nurture the artist and the scientist. I’m a hopelessly romantic sap who cries over every little joy in life…including yours. (Heads up - we'll be crying together!)

But most importantly, I'm a sister in Christ. My faith is strong, my love is true, and all I could ever ask for is to have left footprints of kindness and love on this earth.

photographer. storyteller. biggest cheerleader. 

adventure
being married to my best friend
the little details
food & nutrition
the ocean
being a mom to two girls
A Few Of My Favorites

Fun
Facts

jeans

dresses

burgers

Tacos

ocean

ridges

Coffee

Tea

Winter

Summer

Dog

Cat

In my lifetime, I've been a zookeeper, did cancer research, and performed autopsies in a hospital setting.

three.

I get the itch to change things up in my house every couple of years. I blame the military and all those moves.

two.

We have a Great Dane named Pickles and a big ol' mutt named Marla. Both rescued! And they're a riot.

one.

There's more!

But wait, 

See more of William + Liz

I would highly recommend Melissa! She was our elopement photographer. But she ended up being way more than a photographer! She helped me with everything. We were new to the area so I needed recommendations for lodging, locations, flowers, etc. We talked regularly for a couple months in preparation for our elopement. She used what she knew about us and her extensive knowledge of the Shenandoah Mountains to create the perfect elopement ceremony and photographs. She also helped wrangle the drama that comes with “the big day”. Due to the new time constraints, the elopement ceremony location was changed to a nearby location Melissa knew of which resulted in AMAZING PHOTOS of our ceremony. Melissa literally saved our day. Not only did she give us what we asked for but she delivered a product that I couldn’t even put in words. She truly loves her craft. You’ll see for yourself when you get your wedding album.

See more of Chris + Kathryn

Melissa is so amazing to work with! My husband and I are not picture people, or so we thought. I always dreamed of having those beautiful wedding pictures, but didn't ever think it would really happen, until I met Melissa. She made us feel so comfortable through the whole process. Taking the pictures did not feel like a chore, or like we were forcing poses. It was so fun and felt so natural. The pictures turned out AMAZING (despite the fact we shot on a VERY foggy and wet day.) We looked so good, the scenery was beautiful, her editing is so dreamy. Everyone is obsessed with our pictures and I can't stop raving about Melissa. She went above and beyond and I'm so happy she was the one to photograph our elopement. I thought I had unrealistic expectations, and she far exceeded them!

See more of Tyler + Michelle

Melissa Durham was definitely the easiest wedding planning decision I ever made!! She came highly recommended and as soon as I met her, I immediately just felt so comfortable around her. She took our engagement pictures last fall and I absolutely loved the whole process. She made my husband and I feel so comfortable in front of the camera and we had the best time goofing off and exploring! Melissa is SO talented and professional. She doesn't just provide a service, she provides a friendship. She deeply cared for Tyler and I and helped us out the entire duration of the wedding planning process. My entire family and wedding party loved her on the day of the wedding and I am still getting compliments about how great our pictures are! I will work with/recommend Melissa until she gets tired of me lol- she is one in a million!

See more of Nick + Kaitlyn

When you hire Melissa, you can expect the absolute best. Her incredibly warm heart creates a space for immediate friendship, and she will always have our business! We met Melissa in 2017 when she photographed my sister in law’s wedding, and after Nick and I got engaged, she was the first vendor we turned to after securing our date! Melissa took away the jitters we had of being photographed and captured Nick and I in a way that we will look back on for years to come so fondly. The way she captured our most intimate moments with grace and kindness is a trait she holds so naturally. Melissa makes you feel like more than a client, because you are instantly a friend. We are so thankful she is in our life and we will continue to ask her to work her magic on all our future big moments life brings us!

See more of Chris + ALlie

Melissa is an absolute DREAM to work with. So down to earth, professional, and all around an amazing photographer. She knows no challenge - freezing weather? Surrounded by a swarm of lady bugs? This woman's talent is out of this world! We are MDP clients for life and couldn't be more grateful for how beautifully she captured our day. She is worth ever. single. penny.

praises from my people