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.

meet LAURA

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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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Jessica + Stephen – New Smyrna Beach Engagement Portraits | Central Florida Wedding Photography

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

After a chance meeting out one night with friends, Stephen said he couldn’t get Jessica out of his mind. So he did what any guy would do, circa 2005: He found her on MySpace. And he loved what he learned about her as they connected online. Then, after repeated requests, he got Jessica to agree to a date with him. What Stephen found out about her on that date convinced him that she was the real deal. She was sweet and fun and she hadn’t created some fake persona online, Stephen said. Well, except the part about surfing, he teased.

“I owned a surfboard, and I had a picture of myself with my surfboard. I didn’t say I surfed,” Jessica countered, just as teasingly.

That date led to a relationship — which, eight years later, has brought them a two-year-old daughter and is leading to a wedding this September. It also led to the most beautiful evening in New Smyrna last week for their engagement portraits. Jessica and Stephen spend a good bit of their spare time at the beach, and Stephen spends his work hours at the beach too, as both a lifeguard and a member of the Coast Guard. So it only made sense to shoot at Smyrna Dunes Park, where we started with a few family pictures (see their slideshow to catch those!) and then ventured off along the boardwalks, just the two of them.These two looked completely in their element. And like perhaps they could fall back on careers in modeling, you know, just in case the Coast Guard and education don’t pan out.You two! Jessica’s ring — it’s gorgeous, right? Well guess what. Stephen designed it himself. Nicely done!As the sun dipped low on the western horizon, we headed back to the beach to take in the sunset. It was the most incredible sunset I’ve seen in months. Oh, and in addition to the sunset, the beach, and the lighthouse, there was a sailboat and dolphins. In other words, it was truly the perfect evening.Stephen said this is his favorite time of day — and I couldn’t agree more.Even the dolphins had to come out to enjoy the spectacular evening.If you’d like to see even more, check out Jessica and Stephen’s slideshow.

Jessica and Stephen — we not only had a great time with you two, but we are so happy to have met the two of you, and we’re so excited to be a part of your wedding at Maison Jardin in September. We can’t wait!

~ Laura + Danny

  1. Roxanne Morrow

    August 6th, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Absolutely beautiful photos! What an awesome couple!

  2. Tonnie Nordmeyer

    August 6th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    wow congrads and love all your pictures amazing! you both look amazing together and so much in love!

  3. Connie DeWall

    August 6th, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    So beautiful, Love the video also, what an amazing job Laura and Danny.
    Did you see the Dolphin?

  4. Maite Porter

    August 7th, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Beautiful pictures Jess!

  5. Jean Heidrich Canfield

    August 10th, 2013 at 10:57 am

    They are so beautiful!

  6. Joie Floyd Shell

    September 2nd, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Absolutely breath taking! Love & miss you all!

  7. Orlando Wedding Photographer | Natural Light Wedding Photography - Jessica + Stephen | ORLANDO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER | JACKSONVILLE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER | WASHINGTON DC WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

    October 25th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    […] their fabulous New Smyrna Beach engagement session, we knew we were in for a treat when we got to be a part of their wedding day — and we […]

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