Melissa Perella was born and raised in West Virginia and spent several years as a young adult traveling the country, spending extended amounts of time in New York City, central California, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Working as a fashion photographer, she developed a keen eye for style and composition as well as an appreciation for a wide variety of people and cultures – no two days were ever alike and the desire for an interesting work life was permanently cemented during those days. Wedding photography snuck up on Melissa when a fashion model friend asked her to shoot his nuptials – he did not want overly staged and stuffy images of his outdoor celebration and trusted that she could capture the true essence of he and his bride. After that wedding, Melissa felt drawn to documenting weddings and enjoyed shooting on the west coast for nearly two years before returning to West Virginia.
Currently based in her hometown of Huntington, Melissa treks around the state and well beyond its borders, documenting some of the most important moments of her clients’ lives. Her style of wedding shooting is very intuitive and organic, focusing not only on key wedding moments, but the scenery and architecture enveloping them, the details that are easily missed, and the candid moments of guests. Melissa is well know for her custom album design work: Her heirloom creations are displayed in residences throughout the United States and beyond and no two books are ever identical.
Melissa’s husband and work partner, Joel, is an expert in image post production – he individually crafts every image included in Melissa’s wedding collections, with specific attention given to color balance, tones, and black & white imagery. While Melissa’s work is known for being natural with a quality reminiscent to film, Joel’s post production subtly brings it to the highest level of quality possible.
In their personal lives, Melissa and Joel enjoy time with children Anna and Leo, as well as a menangerie of pets ranging from doves to dogs to hermit crabs. The family enjoys traveling, good food, crafting, and the outdoors. Melissa and Anna routinely spend time in western Wyoming for paleontology adventures and landscape photography. The family is greatly appreciative of the opportunities and support given to them by residents and visitors of West Virginia – truly, there is no place like home!