always been

But I never set out to be a photographer. I was (and still am!) going to be a writer. And then as I worked toward that writing goal, someone put a camera in my hand and asked me to try telling stories with something besides words. So with an English nerd's love for character and tone, a romantic's love for poignant beauty, and a realist's love for imperfection, I dove in.

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always been a

That was back in 2010.

Since that time, photography has changed much of my life. It's brought me some of my dearest friends. It's reshaped the way my husband Danny and I view serving others. It has even literally taken me around the world. One thing that hasn't changed: my soul-stirring desire to tell stories that feel so real you're sure you knew them before you heard them. Or saw them. It's my privilege to tell those stories for my clients, and for the generations of their families still to come.

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Denise + Sammy – Engagement Portraits in Ormond Beach | Central Florida Wedding Photography

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Their first meeting, according to Denise, included a question from Sammy’s friend: “Do you want me to get her number for you?” To which Sammy replied: “No. I can get it myself.” But he didn’t.

However, they still became a couple shortly afterward. Inseparable. Even though they’ve actually spent the majority of their relationship apart — Denise in Florida, completing her graduate work, Sammy in their native New York City. There have been a lot of Skype dates and flights to visit each other — but that will all be over in just a couple more months, after these two tie the knot at the lovely Highland Manor in April.

People this happy together definitely belong together. Here’s to always being together, when you get the chance to fuss at each other over which end of the toothpaste tube you should squeeze from. Because that means, at least, you’re together.Since Sammy spends all his time in a big city, he wanted their engagement session to take place in a slice of real Florida, the kind of Florida tourists don’t usually see. So we went exploring along The Loop on one of those absolutely beautiful winter days that make me fully understand why snowbirds flock here. I asked Denise and Sammy to keep an eye out for alligators, but they were all in hiding that afternoon. Which was strange — the weather was incredible. So was the glowy sunlight, and so was the couldn’t-stop-giggling couple.As gorgeous as things were already, we all knew we were waiting for the main show — the sunset over the marsh, which was what drew Denise and Sammy to this location in the first place. It did not disappoint!All this smiling, all this laughing — I loved it, but Denise said she’s worried they’ll both laugh right through their wedding ceremony! Well, it’s not going to be a problem if you two look this good then. Laughing clearly looks good on you!Stunning ring, right?! I absolutely loved Denise’s engagement ring — the first cushion cut engagement ring we’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing.After a quick outfit change — to Sammy’s preferred uniform of choice — Denise and Sammy came back. To, you know, just another incredible Florida sunset.It probably goes without saying . . . but . . . Denise and Sammy, you two looked amazing!
If you want to see even more, check out Denise and Sammy’s slideshow!
Denise and Sammy, thank you so much for meeting up with us in Ormond Beach for this great engagement session! I hope you had as much fun as Danny and I did! And I think if your wedding is even half as awesome, we’re all in for a real treat in a couple months!

~ Laura

Hairstyling and makeup: Jacquin Figueroa Morton

  1. […] was an amazing wedding — and it had to be; they had set the bar high with their sunset engagement session. For Denise, the day began at her home, with her bridesmaids and her parents — and a bedroom […]

  2. Damaris Castro says:

    The pictures are absolutely amazing, just like the couple. Love you both cuz and cuz in law.

  3. James N Zaida Ortiz says:

    Loved the photos. You both looked amazing. I can’t wait to see you both tie the knot.

  4. Jacquin Figueroa Morton says:

    Wow absolutely beautiful! I’m happy I could be apart of it 🙂

  5. Nellie Santiago says:


  6. Diane Pinero says:

    oh these brought tears to my eyes! I’m such a happy big sister for Denise and I love my bro in law to be!
    Cant wait for the big day!

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