Melissa Tuck Photography Blog bio picture
  • WELCOME TO MY BLOG!

    Hi there! I'm Melissa, and I am a visual storyteller who specializes in documentary wedding photography and fresh, stylized portraiture. I'm based in the Washington, DC area, but I love to travel!

    I am passionate about telling people's stories fully and authentically from a unique perspective. I love what I do, and I'm excited to share my life and work.

    If you use social media, please consider liking my Facebook page to stay updated on new content.

    So happy you stopped by for a visit. Look forward to hearing from you!

Featured: WeddingWire Winterbook 2015 – Janelle + Tim’s Wedding

WeddingWire recently picked up a photo from Janelle & Tim’s wedding, which was filled with so many unique ideas, for their 2015 Winterbook. The couple’s “fun fact” cocktail napkin photo was #5 in the “50 Fresh Ideas for 2015″ section on page 10! Go Janelle & Tim! And while I’m bragging on their wedding, I need to brag on Janelle — she’s got a great lifestyle blog! Go check it out HERE!

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KAT + MATT EXPECTING!

Well, I should say that Kat & Matt’s little one is actually already here! I took these maternity photos in Washington, DC a little over a week ago, and THREE DAYS LATER Kat gave birth early to Margot (what an adorable name!). Everyone is happy and healthy, and I’m so glad we got these photos done when we did! I love having these two (three!) in front of my lens. I photographed Kat & Matt’s wedding two summers ago, and it was an absolute pleasure to do their maternity session. Kat is a rockstar model and Matt is seriously the nicest, most sincere guy ever. When I would take solo shots of Kat, he’d be off to my side saying things of encouragement like, “Oh Kat, you are so beautiful.” Made me tear up!

I loved the places the couple picked out for their session: a quaint little street near where they live and the sculpture garden outside the National Gallery of Art. The rink was so beautiful with the twinkle lights — made for awesome winter photos! And we finished with a few shots inside their apartment. Congrats to the happy parents. Newborn photos to come in a couple weeks…! : )

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So, so beautiful!

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January 20, 2015 - 9:51 pm

RT - Beautiful!!! Reminds me of ours… Such special moments!

2014: A Personal Reflection

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There she is — all seven pounds, 13 ounces of her. On her first day of life. Let’s be completely transparent for a minute: this post will pretty much be ENTIRELY about the life of our sweet daughter, Brooklyn, who was born last May. In my opinion, pregnancy, birth & raising a child is the most rewarding and most difficult/time-consuming thing there is. All mamas probably would agree. So the hubs and I didn’t “do” as much as we normally would in any other given year, but we “did” something pretty important. ; ) Life with Brooklyn has been a beautifully chaotic, imperfect journey. Before she was born, I received so much thoughtful advice from all the moms in my life (and I’m so thankful for it and them), but no one can ever really prepare you for motherhood. It is messy at times and leaves you in awe most of the time. There is no instruction manual and you’re really just forced to embrace it all at once. And it’s a lot easier if you do so with humility and grace (hindsight is a beautiful thing, am I right?). I read a quote this morning by Kristin Armstrong about transitions. Modifying it a little bit, I think it portrays the transition into motherhood pretty perfectly: “Times of transitions are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity … to rethink priorities and be intentional … We can make our new normal any way we want.” I’m so happy and thankful that our darling girl makes our new normal. Now, before I launch into the multitude of photos of our firecracker that I’ve yet to share, I do want to point out some of our other pre-Brooklyn highlights of 2014…

Three amazing groups of people threw baby showers for us in North Carolina and Maryland and their generosity and love will NEVER be forgotten:

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(My friend Anne-Laure snapped this of me at my baby shower in my hometown and I think my face is hysterical. Thanks AL!)

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WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOME!!! (excuse the quality – iPhone pic!)

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I got to see some of my most favorite people all in one place in early January (let’s keep those reunions going, ladies!):

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We saw our favorite band, The Avett Brothers, in concert, I learned how to knit and did a couple DIY projects for baby girl and we got snowed in a few times (all iPhone – I got lazy during my last months of pregnancy!):

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Ryan got sworn in to the D.C. Bar (again with the iPhone, haha); SO PROUD OF HIM!

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We went on our babymoon to NYC (where we fell in love) and had our maternity photos taken at 28 weeks by my talented friend, Kate Lord:

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And leading up to Brooklyn’s due date, the hubs and I took LOTS of walks and he snapped a few photos of me at 37 weeks

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…and 39 weeks:

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And then two weeks later, our lives changed forever!

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My parents surprised me IN THE HOSPITAL by driving up for B’s birth. I was so touched!

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I took some newborn photos of B at seven days old:

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This one is my absolute favorite:

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She spent a lot of the first couple months sleeping like this:

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Grandpa and Nanny (Ryan’s parents) live nearby and we’re so glad for that!

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We celebrated our third wedding anniversary by going out to lunch. This photo was taken right before we left her for the first time!

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We’re fortunate to have really good friends nearby. This is Eleanor!

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And more good friends — this is John!

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Happy 30th Birthday, DaDa!

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We went on a mini-vacation with my parents, uncles and brother’s family to Virginia Beach in mid-July when B got to meet her cousins for the first time!

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More play dates with Eleanor! : )

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And more! :)))

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Aunt Karson visiting before heading back to Florida. *tear*

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Starting to get good at rolling over…

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Apple pickin’!

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First baseball game (Braves vs. Nationals)!

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FAVORITE.

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Meeting Noah for the first time when Anne-Laure and Dallas were in the US for a visit. Brooklyn LOVED Noah.

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These photos at the Old Well make my heart melt.

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Meeting Uncle Alden for the first time…!

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Meeting Mary for the first time!

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Catching up with her good pal Harrison. : )

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Hanging with her bestie, Ava.

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We went to Sunset Beach and Wilmington, North Carolina in mid-October. Such a special first vacation.

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Halloween! Shepherd and little lamb. : )

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We started the high chair and she loves being a big girl.

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Thanksgiving!

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Mimi and Pappy’s house!

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Our little lady turned eight months old yesterday. These photos bring her up to about 6.5 months. “The days are long but the months are short” — TRUTH. My heart is so full.

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January 13, 2015 - 3:38 pm

Ryan - The best thing I can say about you and our fam is: 2014, and all of that …, felt like a lifetime’s worth of cool stuff, but it also felt like a dream from which you awake too abruptly–one that is way too short. Can’t wait to keep on dreaming with my eyes open and see where we go (and Brooklyn’s and my hair grows …) next.

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Cheyenne Schultz - awww…just love this..you guys are just precious. :)

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Beth - Such a special post!! I love it. Need to meet this sweet pea soon and introduce her to her second cousin (once removed? I’ve never understood how that works) Max!!

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Sarah - Keep those pics coming. Absolutely love them all!

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Kelly Gardner - Beautiful pics, and so fun to see how Brooklyn has grown up! She’s beautiful and so happy!

Can’t wait for you to capture our new little one on the way, thanks to Nikki and my mom’s generosity! Yay!!

January 14, 2015 - 12:13 pm

Katie Kilch - Makes me happy to see the amazing year you had. She is absolutely precious!

TOASTING 2014 + LOOKING AHEAD!

Melissa Tuck Photography had another wonderful year thanks to the best clients one could imagine! My camera had less clicks than ever before due to my pregnancy and maternity leave in the spring (but what I lacked professionally, I made up for personally). I only shot nine weddings (in comparison to 22 in 2013 and 28 in 2012), BUT I realized last year’s weddings did put me at a certain milestone: I’ve now shot more than 100 weddings since starting my business in 2009! *Insert happy dance and proud face here.* Last year, I also shot three engagement sessions, one bridal session, 16 baby/family/maternity sessions and one baby shower. It is so incredible to me that within a year’s time, I can be shooting a baby shower turned newborn session, a newborn session turned one-year-old session, a maternity session turned three-week-old session … you get the picture. ; ) I’m so thankful that my clients (who are friends now, really) keep contacting me beyond their wedding day so that I can see their families grow!

Even though the main reason for shooting less last year was my pregnancy and giving birth, I also intentionally booked less on average to better balance my work + life flow. I felt less stressed and it also enabled me to give more time + attention to every client I did serve. Since having Brooklyn and becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have had to learn how to work again in a completely different way. I’ve learned to prioritize my time better (hellooooo nap time!), work more efficiently, ask for help when I need it (my mother-in-law has been a lifesaver during busy editing season) and set strict office hours to spend time with my little family in the evenings. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s worked, and I’m happy and encouraged to move forward with my new set of skills juggling work and the babe. : )

In 2014, I was featured in several wedding blogs that I admire: Borrowed & Blue blog, Every Last Detail blog, Daily Dog Tag blog, Glamour & Grace blog, Heart Love Always blog & Charm City Wed blog. Thank you to all the editors for your willingness to share my work! I’m excited to submit my weddings and shoots from 2014 to more publications over the next several months!

Now, a note about reflection and goals. It’s the beginning of a new year and the best time to think about what did and didn’t work in the past and how I can improve moving ahead. I know a lot of other photographers blog in depth about their yearly (sometimes monthly) goals; I never have and maybe I’ll start doing it if I need to hold myself more accountable. But for now, I’ll just share a few important things on my mind for 2015:

1) I intend to focus more on family/baby/newborn/maternity sessions. As the seasons in my own life change, I’ve found that my professional interests have shifted. This DOESN’T mean that I won’t be shooting weddings and that I don’t enjoy them anymore. I still love documenting weddings, but I’ll just be targeting a limited number of weddings and very few of them will be out of town. After having a baby and caring for her on a daily basis, it’s just way too difficult to travel as much as I have in the past and I want to focus on more local weddings to the DC/Maryland/northern Virginia area. I’ve already hit more than half my goal for this year’s weddings so please contact me soon if you’re recently engaged and interested!

2) I want to give my presence on the web a little makeover and streamline my sites. I’ve seen a gradual shift to consolidate portfolio and blog sites to all one URL (for example, have www.melissatuckphoto.com & www.melissatuckblog.com linked together) and I like it. On top of that, I need to make my web presence strictly mobile-friendly (my Flash-based portfolio site – melissatuckphoto – is not viewable on phones or tablets), and I need to get on that seeing as how everyone is so mobile these days! I’m also going to switch my gallery/reprint site to a more photo-driven/friendly company that will offer immediate high-res downloads for clients. More to come on that later!

3) I want to photograph a live birth. If you know someone who may be willing local to me, please send them my way in the comments!

4) Do at least one session pro bono. I used to make this a priority and I fell slack last year. Back in 2011, I photographed babies in the NICU for families who weren’t able to take home their babies right away and I may do it again. Any other great ideas? Leave a comment for me!

5) Because I moved from Georgia to the Maryland/DC/Virginia area last year, I’m looking to spread the word more locally about my business. To do so, I will be running a contest that offers a free session soon on the blog. Be on the lookout!

Lastly, I can’t thank my hubby, family, friends, clients and MTP Insta and Facebook fans enough for all of your support and love. You continue to inspire me and my work. Please enjoy photo highlights (two from each shoot, in order!)  from my year. Next week, I plan to blog about the personal side of 2014. Spoiler (or not-so-spoiler) -alert: It will surely be Brooklyn-centric. ; )

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January 8, 2015 - 9:19 pm

Photo fan - Definitely my favorite of the MTP years, professionally and personally. I’ve been so proud of all you’ve done, and how you continue to do as much as you do!!, and I am so excited about where you’re planning to go next. You inspire me to be better at whatever I do. Here’s to so many more fun moments in 2015!

January 9, 2015 - 1:58 pm

TRISH - I’m proud to be your mother! Love you!

January 10, 2015 - 9:57 pm

Jenny Tenney Goss - Go Melissa!! I’m amazed you transitioned so well into mom life. I have yet to find the right balance. It was so much fun shooting with you this year! Can’t wait to see what’s next for you and your biz. : )

MEREDITH + RYAN – The Stockroom Wedding

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My sweet friend Meredith married her love on 12-13-14 (such a memorable wedding date!) in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a day FULL of anticipation & excitement, love & tender moments and SO MUCH FUN! You may remember these two from their engagement shoot last year at the North Carolina Museum of Art (I mention it because it’s one of my favorite engagement sessions that I’ve shot!).

Bride’s dress: Oleg Cassini
Bride’s shoes: Betsey Johnson
Bridesmaids’ dresses: David’s Bridal
Groom’s attire: Dress blues, U.S. Army
Groomsmen attire: Men’s Warehouse
Hair: Courtney Powers of Parvati’s Mirror
Florals and catering: Catering Works
Ceremony & reception music: Joseph Giampino aka DJ SPCLGST
Cake: Kelly Bellmore
Rings: custom made from Bailey’s (bride); David Yurman (groom)
Table decor: Curry Darlington, bride’s mother

I met Meredith post-college while we worked for the Special Olympics documenting the World Summer Games in Shanghai, China. We became fast friends through our mutual love of great food (preparing and eating it!) and Ryan Adams songs. After that stint in our lives, we also both lived in New York and Georgia at the same time and were able to stay in touch and meet for coffee & a good chat every now and then. Sadly, we haven’t lived in the same place in a few years, but the wedding has give us a great excuse to keep in better touch! I really enjoyed being there for this couple on their wedding day. I’ve gotten to hang out with Ryan on a couple of occasions now, and he’s so kind and polite and his green eyes twinkle when he looks at Meredith. : )

One more thing before we get to the photos. : ) When Meredith was in the thick of planning her wedding, I remember one thing she asked my opinion about was the ceremony start time. She was trying to decide between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., and she said she ultimately decided on 5:30 because her grandmother (I think I’m remembering the relative correctly?!) said it was good luck to have the minute-hand facing (going) up. I love that sentiment and I’d never heard it before! So, so sweet… just like Meredith. : ) Congrats on a beautiful wedding day, you two!

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So, so gorgeous! That dress was MADE for Meredith.

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Lighting test. Love couples that like to have fun!

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I LOVE this shot of Mer and her brother!

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So sweet.

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