behind the lens

I will dream with you, laugh with you, and cry with you. Your momma will giggle at me for it, too, but your day means the world to me.

You're engaged!!! If the excitement hasn't sunk in yet, take a second to reflect on it and glow, my friend! You're on the hunt for YOUR perfect photographer, right? Years from now, you want to look back on the photographs of this incredibly joyful, memorable time in your life and go, "I remember it like it was yesterday." You want that captured romantic glance to give you the butterflies like it did that day. You want that soft, golden light and warm breeze to feel as though it's dancing through your veil again. You want to feel that overwhelming gratitude and connection when you see your best friends huddled around you during one final toast before you say yes to forever. 

Known for: her crazy voices, her #wildwomanhair, giving compliments, being the world's biggest sap, and dancing in the kitchen.

 MELISSa durham

working with

you want to relive every single moment

That's where I come in! My style of photography is authentic. It's timeless and it's luminous. I edit in a way that truly represents your wedding day. Sometimes it's lighter, sometimes it's a tiny bit darker. I create images that reflect your style, your emotion, intimacy, the season, and the natural elements surrounding you. I live for those candid moments of adoring glances, tears wiped away, and laughter that makes your sides ache. I believe in leaving you confident enough to be present in every single moment, knowing I'm there, inconspicuously working to make sure your memories are perfectly preserved. (Ninja status!!) If you fear feeling awkward in front of the camera, worry not, my friend. My mission is to guide you during portrait time in such a way that authentic, genuine emotion evolves on its own. My goal is for the two of you to feel comfortable with me, to keep it simple, and to keep it about you.

I believe in big love.

It might sound cheesy, but the reason I love being a wedding photographer has a lot to do with my own marriage! When I married my husband, Herrick, in 2006, I had no idea I'd be laughing my way through such an incredible adventure. My passion for capturing your story quite literally starts at home for me. It's in every hand held, in every moment of forgiveness and "I'm sorry" we aren't afraid to say, in every slow dance in the kitchen, and in every happy tear shed when we've stopped to soak it all in. I truly believe in two people madly in love living an amazing adventure and shamelessly telling the world all about it. 

Where it all began...

are you an adventurer?click here...

on working
with melissa

I'm a boho soul who loves a flowy sundress and a big, comfy sweater, bare feet and a great pair of riding boots, wildflowers and palm trees, and crisp mountain air and salty sea spray. Oh yes! And a great adventure.

I’m a Florida-born, transplanted city girl who found her way back to what really makes her heart explode. I love my deeply rooted mountain life in Virginia, but I just can let go of my island beginning. I've been married since 2006, and we have two incredibly bright, beautiful little girls. I'm a military brat with ocean water in my blood and the mountain air in my soul. I’m a UCONN Husky! I balance my inner foodie with my love for running and yoga. 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. (See below for more on that!) I’m a hopelessly romantic sap who cries over every little joy in life…including yours. So heads up - we'll be crying together! 

Embracing our coasts and our mountains. Land and sea.



let me tell you about

6. I have my Masters in Nutrition with a concentration in Nutrition Education.

7. While I was studying in grad school...I found photography! (Funny how these things happen.) I shot my first wedding in 2014, and the rest is history.

8. I plan to write a cookbook. And a nutrition/healthy living blog. Again.

9. I authored a running/healthy living blog titled Live, Love, & Run for about 5 years. I had a pretty good "following", too! But I gave it up to hit the refresh button after suffering two very difficult losses.

10. I used to laugh about how I'd never had stitches, surgery, or any broken bones. Until 2016...when I got all three at once! I shattered my shoulder on a camping trip, in the middle of nowhere, and I now have a rockstar scar, some very expensive hardware in there, and goofy story to tell.

1. I was born in the Florida Keys! (See what I did with that title?) I also spent my childhood roaming the east coast as a military brat. 13 different schools, y'all. 13.

2. I am HORRIBLE when it comes to learning song lyrics. Honestly, I just make up words. Go with it.

3. On the topic of music, I played clarinet for years. I love marching bands still to this day, and I can mimic the instrumental sounds in songs better than I can handle lyrics. See. I make up for it.

4. I went to UCONN for undergrad and got my B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. I'm hoping this takes me to the Galapagos Islands one day. Bucket list location!! 

5. I've been a zookeeper (I miss my big kitty babies!!!), done autopsies in a hospital setting, and have done cancer research/bioinformatics for a biotech company near Virginia Tech. 

the "key" facts

the next big adventure...

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

 If I'm being completely honest, my favorite moments of a wedding day are spent with my couple. (Well, then there's the quiet moments with family. Sigh.) It's about capturing those moments that make you weak in the knees. Those crazy intimate, fleeing seconds. Getting lost in each other.
You know...those moments that make your photographer squeal.
(Yes. Ask my married couples. They'll confirm this.)
Just two people completely enamored with each other.

Because no matter what season in life you find yourselves, what it all comes down to is the two of you. Marriage is an adventure. No matter where you were then, now, or in the end, life will be experienced together.

So, if you plan to begin your forever with an adventure, contact me. Let's dream together. Let's make some plans.

Let's make it happen. 

Cries over: personally written vows, her sleeping girls, country love songs, and the breathtaking beauty of the ocean and the mountains.


let's adventure

1. Ireland
2. Colorado
3. The Alps
4. The Himalayas
5. The Galapagos Islands
6. Scotland
7. Banff, Alberta, Canada
8. Hawaii
9. Patagonia
10. Australia + New Zealand
11. Greece
12. Italy
13. The Florida Keys & St. Augustine
14. The California Coast
15. The Pacific Northwest

the bucket list

If you've got plans to be here, I've got surprises for you!

being outdoors & new adventures


my Favorite Things

I believe in shameless, cheesy, unabashed love and in adventurous marriages. Show me who you are together! Play in the ocean, let me follow you on a hike, steal a kiss near a waterfall. I'm all ears!

In unabashed love and romantic adventures

I Believe

As your photographer, I believe in allowing you to be present in your memories on your wedding day. I believe in the sanctity of marriage and the importance of faith. It's my goal to be unintrusive and respectful.

being present means everything

i Believe

Whether it's your grandma's necklace, your sister's veil, or your momma's wedding day heels she wore while dancing with your father thirty years ago, I believe your details are important to telling your story.

The details can bring you back

I Believe

big love. nerding out. life & work in tiny squares. 

on the daily

@melissadurhamphoto #oceanandridge

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