melissa schmidt | founder + lead photographer



Originally from Seattle, Melissa moved to the Bay Area in 2012 to attend a bilingual teaching credential program at SF State, eventually settling in Berkeley in 2013 after graduating and, shortly thereafter, having her twin daughters, Ruby and Vera. She now takes lots of photos and writes run-on sentences.

Melissa began her photography journey in 1999, after the sudden loss of her mother. Rummaging through her boxes, she cherished the images that were once ubiquitous yet overlooked relics of her childhood. In that moment, Melissa realized that not only were the special occasions and events worth documenting, but also (in fact, more so) the everyday moments with friends and family are the ones worth remembering, and cherishing.

In 2015, Melissa launched Icarian Photography. She is obsessed with honest, authentic connection and she strives to portray that with each individual she have the privilege of serving. Melissa specializes in the family, newborn, maternity, and editorial sessions for Icarian. 

five fun facts

1. The twin thing: Okay so this is my "go-to" fun fact (so forgive me if you've heard it already). I am a twin (no biggie, I know). BUT, I also have twin brothers, AND I have twin daughters. Now those are some crazy twin genes.

2. I met my now-husband, Joe, while getting a teaching credential in Barcelona, (all because he slept in missed his flight back home to Jersey).

3. I'm a CA credentialed bilingual educator and love (love love) that I have the opportunity to help aspiring photographers along their photography journeys - something I never thought I'd apply my teaching experience to!

4. Growing up in a rough situation, all my life I've felt a little different from the rest. My "Icarus Complex" is a term I use to describe my square-peg-round-whole idiosyncrasies. 

5. I don't have a sweet tooth (except during pregnancy, then I had an everything tooth), so much so that my husband refers to me as his "savor tooth." Pretty dorky, I know.


arlene easterwood | lead associate photographer



Born and raised in the East Bay (woot!), Arlene now resides in Vallejo with her husband, Paul, and their little babe, Penny.

Arlene's interest in photography began many years ago. The moment she picked her (film) camera for the first time, she knew she was in love with the medium. Her introverted nature and lack of creative confidence kept her from pursuing a career in photography.

In 2016, Arlene attended Melissa's Capturing Childhood workshop and that passion re-ignited. It wasn't long after that Arlene stepped out of her shell and began doing shoots for friends and family. Her love for the medium has only grown and she is well on her way to becoming a premiere Bay Area family documentary photographer! Here at Icarian, Arlene specializes in event photography. Say hi next time you see her!

five fun facts

1. A lot of people who first meet me think I’m super serious, but really I’m a complete goofball!

2. I’m a sucker for tear jerkers and also a sucker for trash tv.

3. I sing in the car like I’m performing at a concert in front of millions.

4. For a long time, I was very sure I did not want marriage or kids. I have both and I’m loving every single second of it!

5. Before every photo session I have, I get really nervous, like sweaty palms and butterflies nervous, but as soon as I see my client it all goes away :)