I can remember her email like it was yesterday. It was our first point of contact. I can recall her mentioning how she met her fiancé, their pup, Finn, and how my images resonated with her.  I felt like I already knew Samantha, and I loved everything about her.

She told me that she was planning a Carlouel Yacht Club Wedding in November of 2017 and wanted to know more about me and my wedding photography. We set up a time to meet and the rest is history. Samantha and Andrew are just that couple. They are sweet, adorable together, goofy with their fur baby, and just love genuine moments. They wanted to do their engagement session with their pup, Finn, so I suggested Ft Desoto state park.

It was absolutely magical. Couldn’t have asked for better weather or prettier light. I had so much fun with Samantha, Andrew, and Finn. Their wedding this fall at Carlouel is going to be amazing. Here are a few of my favorites from their shoot.

Cute couple doing their engagement session at Ft Desoto state parkCream colored sun dress is a great idea for a Florida engagement sessionWays to include your pup in your wedding daySuper cute candid moment during engagement session at Ft DesotoDog friendly beach on st pete beach at Ft Desoto state parkThe dog beach at Ft Desoto state park is a beautiful location for an engagement sessionCouple plays in the gulf of mexico during their engagement sessionNewly engaged couple kissing in a field of tall grass in Ft Desoto state parkSuper cute pose for a beach engagement sessionUnderwater engagement session on St Pete Beach

You may recognize this couple from the previous post . Or perhaps it was a few posts before that when I went up to Boston to photograph their fall engagement session. Or perhaps you recognize their faces from my instagram account @stephanieasmithphotography. But regardless, let me bring you the piece de resistance, their wedding day. I don’t think I can put into words how grateful I am for this couple, their families, and their friends. It was truly one of the most heart felt weekends I have been a part of. The love was everywhere. Genuine, robust, love towards everyone in attendance. And yes, Shea and Pete had a Boca Grande wedding at the Gasparilla inn and club so the setting couldn’t be beat, but it truly was the people who made the day. I hope that when you look through these images you not only see the beauty and style in their day but also feel the love displayed throughout their wedding. Shea and Pete, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for picking me. I feel so grateful to have been a part of your weekend. I heart you both so much! Here are some of my favorites from their day along with the list of vendors who made it all possible.

Wedding Ceremony :: Boca Grande United Methodist Church Wedding Reception :: The Lawn at Gasparilla Inn and Club Tent Rental :: Sperry Tents Wedding Dress Store :: Calvet Couture Bridal Dress Designer :: Lian Carlos Wedding Shoes :: Jimmy Choo Hair and Makeup :: Michele Renee Hair and Makeup Videographer :: Randall Productions Invitations :: Sweetly Said Press DJ :: Wiley Entertainment/ Jim Gable Linens :: Over the Top Linens Chairs & Chargers :: A Chair Affair Floral Designer :: Botanica Groom’s Attire :: Custom Groomsmen Attire :: Suit Supply Jewelry :: Swarovski Bridesmaids Dresses :: Blush by Hailey Paige Second Shooter :: Jordan Weiland Photography 

  • Cathy - So many beautiful shots.. Love the one with the Harp!
    Great Job , as usual Stephanie A Smith.

I love Gasparilla Island. And do you want to know what I love more then the island itself? Gasparilla Island Weddings of course. This barrier island off the coast of Port Charlotte takes you back a few decades in time. The preserved history of the island is ever apparent. The quaint beauty of the area forces you to slow down, take deep breaths, and just be present. It is one of my most favorite settings for a wedding, or in this blog post, a rehearsal dinner. Shea and Pete held their destination wedding in Boca Grande at the Gasparilla Inn and Club. Friday evening was set aside for all the guests to enjoy an outdoor setting at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club. Dinner and speeches were held prior to the cocktail hour where all the guests were invited to mingle and enjoy the bride and groom. I absolutely adore photographing the rehearsal dinner as it gives me a really great understanding of who the friends and family members are. Not only that, it allows the guests to become familiar and comfortable with me, so that come wedding day, they love having me take their picture 🙂 Here are a few of my favorites from Shea and Pete’s rehearsal dinner at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club.

Rehearsal Dinner Decor at Gasparilla Inn Beach ClubFlamingo Wedding Decorations in Boca Grande FloridaRehearsal Dinner Feasting Table Set Up at the Gasparilla Inn Beach ClubBeach front view of the Gasparilla Inn Beach ClubBride and Groom kissing at sunset at the Gasparilla Beach ClubPastries Made From Gasparilla Inn and Club pastry chefOutdoor Fire pit with market lights over the pool sets the mood for this rehearsal dinner at Gasparilla Inn Beach Club Bride and Groom in Boca Grande laughing during speechesRehearsal Venue :: Gasparilla Inn Beach Club Food and Beverage :: Gasparilla Inn Beach Club Decor & Lighting :: Lightworks Stage Productions Cute Straws :: Krazy Straws Bride’s Outfit :: Lauren James Co Groom’s Outfit :: Bonobos Guitarist :: Matt Bellina

September 24th, 2016 I had the privilege of traveling to Nicaragua with a couple of like minded human beings.  Estero Padre Ramos, Nicaragua was our exact destination. I had never met any of my colleagues prior to the flight down there, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t have much of an idea as to what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that it involved the conservation of the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles, that it was part of the SWIM program through the Loggerhead Marinelife center in Juno, Florida and that I would be turning 35 during this trip abroad.

Perhaps I should start with a more thorough briefing of each of the organizations represented. The Loggerhead Marine Center is a non-profit education and ocean conservation facility located on the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach County, Florida. The facility houses a variety of exhibits, live sea turtles and other coastal creatures. Their mission is to promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles, as well as be recognized locally and internationally as the leading authority in sea turtle education, research, and rehabilitation. With over tens of thousands of nesting sea turtles on their 9 mile stretch of coastline I’d say they have some great opportunities to learn and teach about sea turtles. I’ve enjoyed following them on Facebook for sometime and I found out about this trip through their monthly newsletter.

Now the SWIM program was created by the programs coordinator at Loggerhead Marine Center. SWIM stands for Serving the World’s Imperiled Marinelife. Basically think of it as a combination of eco-tourism with local humanitarian outreach. For the Nicaragua trip, our main objective was to work with the local non profit group, ICAPO with in water sea turtle monitoring, mangrove restoration, nesting surveys, and marine debris removal.

One of my favorite memories from the trip involved the release of over 200 baby hawksbill turtles around dusk, two nights in a row. I have seen turtles hatch in Florida, but never had the opportunity to watch them so close once they make it to the water. Did you know that once they hit the water the babies swing their flippers against their body and remain motionless for a few moments, thus imitating a floating leaf in the water to avoid being dinner for a larger predator? Brilliant!

Another amazing experience was when we worked with local fisherman and marine biologists to capture, tag, weigh, measure and release juvenile hawksbills that swim in the mangrove estuaries.

We also spent some time in the local communities doing a beach clean up and mangrove restoration where we planted over 100 new mangroves.

And then there was the last day of the trip, my 35th birthday. I had completed an 11 mile hike through the Nicaraguan jungle the day before so I decided to opt out of anything physically demanding. Instead I spent the afternoon on the beach, looking for shells and swimming in the Pacific Ocean. I remember walking miles on a beach without seeing a soul. It was heaven, and then  about 200 yards ahead of me I saw a massive seashell pile. Specimens that I had only seen in books, never in person. Happy birthday to me!!! {P.S. ONLY keep the empty ones- NO live shelling no matter how rare the find }

It was the experience of a lifetime, one that I will always treasure and carry with me. Everyday brought a new adventure. I hope to be traveling to Nicaragua again for more hawksbill projects. The beauty was within the nature surrounding us, but it was also within the people who are fighting so hard to keep it that way. I’d like to say thank you Loggerhead Marine Center and ICAPO for giving individuals like me a chance to observe the local area and participate in bettering our earth and oceans. And to my fellow travelers, thank you for restoring my faith in humanity. It was nice meeting similar souls that actually give a damn about our environment.

With that, I would like to leave you with a quote from herpetologist, ecologist, and well known Florida conservationist,  Dr. Archie Carr , “For most of the wild things on earth, the future must depend on the conscience of man”.

Eco tourism in Nicaragua helping save Hawksbill turtlesImage of boat in estuary in Estero Padre Ramos nicaraguaFlame Auger lays on the shores of Padre Ramos NicaraguaBunk Bed Accommodations in Eco tourism camp in nicaraguaStreet dog in NicaraguaSunset View of the Pacific Ocean in Padre Ramos NicaraguaThe half mile walk to the beach in NicaraguaLow Tide in the estuaries of Padre Ramos NicaraguaOne of the beaches where Hawksbill and Kemps Olive Ridley Turtles will lay their eggs in NicaraguaThe Reserve Estero Padre Ramos Turtle Camp Over 200 baby hawksbill sea turtles await release into the bay of Padre Ramos Baby Hawksbill Turtle Crawling to the waterBaby Hawksbill Sea Turtle Pop its head out of the water Baby Sea Turtle Mimicking a leaf when entering the waterThis is what a baby hawksbill shell looks likeBaby Hawksbill Sea Turtle Racing to the water after hatchingFresh Fried Snapper Caught for LunchLive Shell Off Of NicaraguaThere is plenty of seashells to find when traveling to Nicaragua Juvenile Hawksbill Turtle With Barnacles on Shell Eco Tourism Trip to Nicaragua for in water turtle monitoring Stephanie A Smith Photography recently traveled to Nicaragua to help hawksbill sea turtlesWhen traveling to Nicaragua stop by Padre Ramos to see the sea turtle projectStephanie A Smith participated in the catch and release of juvenile hawksbill turtles while staying in Estero Padre Ramos NicaraguaWhen Traveling to Nicaragua one will see many stray chickensBaby Mangroves Getting Ready to be planted in the estuaries of Padre Ramos National Reserve ParkMeasuring Baby Hawksbill Sea Turtles During Eco Tourism SWIM program trip to NicaraguaOne of the tasks before releasing hawksbill turtles is to weigh themBeginning of a lightning storm off the coast of NicaraguaICAPO and SWIM released baby hawksbill turtles this summer into the estuaries of Padre Ramos Big Summer Thunder Storm Coming in off the Mountains off NicaraguaTypes of Seashells you can find in NicaraguaStephanie A Smith celebrates her 35th birthday in Nicaragua

As the northeast prepares for possibly the largest winter storm of 2017, Niko, I’m reminiscing about my last trip up to Boston. My favorite new england city is Boston….Wait, let me preface. There is no greater city, then the city of Boston, in summer and Fall. Winter and spring, forget about it, you can find me in Florida. I was beyond excited when Shea and Pete asked me if I would travel up to do their Boston engagement session. While Shea and Pete were planning their destination wedding down in Boca Grande, Florida at the Gasparilla Inn, they also wanted a chance to incorporate their city, where their life together began.  Without hesitation I was online booking my flight. “Have camera, will travel” is my motto.

 As I boarded the plane to Boston I could feel the crisp air on my face, smell the changing of the season, taste the apple cider, and I could visualize the different color leaves swaying in the light cool breeze. But as fate would have it, I brought the Florida weather with me and we experienced a high of about 80 degrees on the day of their shoot. I was really happy that Shea and Pete still rocked their “fall” attire. We traveled all over the city, from the fells park to the Boston waterfront and seaport area. From there we headed over to the Public Gardens and finished the session at the Esplanade.

I really enjoyed as Shea and Pete tour guided me through their city and gave me a little history on how their journey together began. Honestly, I could go on and on about this shoot and how amazing Shea and Pete are but I can’t wait to share some of these photos 🙂 Without further ado, I give you Shea and Pete’s boston engagement session.

Fall engagement session in Boston at the Seaport waterfront areaCouple taking fall engagement photos in Fells Reserve ParkCouple gets dressed up for Boston engagement session in the Public GardensWearing white dress with nude pumps at engagement session always looks niceFall leaves changing color in Fells Park BostonBoston Engagement Session right outside of city in Fells PreserveOne of the best locations for a boston engagement session is the public gardensFall leaves falling on clients as they laid in the red maple leaves during their boston engagement session in the public gardensThe seaport area in Boston is a beautiful backdrop with brick walkways and expansive skyline views of Bostoncouple poses together on an adirondack chair on the charles river waterfront in Bostoncouple snuggles close under the willow trees at the public gardens area in Bostonthe esplanade in boston is a beautiful trail along the Charles River