Kara & Landon | Engagement Session

Kara & Landon | Engagement Session

This engagement session is so special and near to my heart, my two good friends Kara and Landon are engaged!!!  They have been together for 7 years (although to many it feels like 70) and I think the entire East Coast felt the shake of excitement when Landon proposed. I knew about his proposal a few weeks before it happened and thank goodness I left Virginia Beach the day after he told me because it was SO HARD not to tear up when Kara walked over. It was finally happening! 

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Erin & Christian | A Virginia Beach Engagement

When I moved to Virginia Beach, I was praying to be able to shoot on the beach as much as possible. The beach is seriously where I feel 'in my element' the most and I was more than stoked when Erin told me they wanted to incorporate it into their engagement session! Erin is a born and raised beach bum so I knew we would get together just fine and that couldn't have been more true!  I met Erin & Christian down at the pier this past Sunday and the sun was shining, we had nice 70 degree temperatures and it just couldn't have been a more perfect evening for an engagement session! 

These two are absolutely perfect together.. that type of relationship where one compliments the opposite and they bring out the best in each other. Not only was it an honor to photograph them but it's an honor to witness them interact and love each other. You don't come across many couples that just exude love and happiness but Erin & Christian are just that. I wasn't in a terrible mood before but I was tired from the long week and after their session, I went home on a sort of cloud nine because being around these two just instantly lifted me up! I'm sure any of their friends and family will agree :) I cannot wait to shoot their wedding in October!!

Below are just a few sneak peeks from their beachy engagement session! 

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Laura & Tyler | A Downtown Norfolk Engagement Session

The weather forecast was not looking good, calling for rain ALL day and I was praying for a break in the rain because Laura and Tyler only drove in for the weekend! The only chance we had was sunrise on Saturday morning and as much as I hate waking up that early, I knew it would be worth it. We fought rain clouds all morning but despite the lack of sun, there was no lack of stunning.

I've known Laura for a very long time and while I knew she was also a photographer, it's been amazing to watch her work grow. There are many types of photographers (landscape, portrait, wedding, lifestyle, fashion, journalist, etc.) and Laura somehow encompasses all of them. She's insanely gifted when it comes to telling a whole story with one photo. That's not something that a lot of photograpehrs can say. I would like to believe that my own photos will evoke a memory or happy thought, but Laura's can tell a whole life story. You can see right through her subjects even if they aren't even of their faces. See, while I'm off shooting brides to be, Laura is spending time at the rescue mission with her latest project called "Project Hands" -- (http://www.storieswehold.com/) If you have just 10 minutes in your day, take a minute and visit her site, look at her work, and read the stories. She's truly the next great photojournalist and I am so proud of how far she has come. The Rescue Mission is hosting a photography exhibit just for her work on May 15th. If you're in the Roanoke area, you should definitely go. Here's more information

It's always so nerve wracking to photograph a photographer, especially for an engagement session. We walked all around downtown Norfolk, walked through a parade route, left blood on every street, and spent time in the chinese gardens. It was such a fun morning and I'm so glad I got to spend it with these two!! 

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Stephanie & Drew | DC Cherry Blossom Engagement

Stephanie emailed me back in January with the idea of having their engagement session with the Cherry Blossoms of DC. I remember saying "hell no" in my head while reading her message because all I could think about was traffic, people, and traffic. However, I do that thing where I say "yes" when I should really say "no" but saying yes ended up being the best decision I've made this year. Stephanie and Drew fell in love in DC and it just made so much sense to incorporate it into their session and I took a leap of faith, a few xanax, and headed up to Washington DC. 

A few weeks before the date, we were reading that the blossoms would be at their peak the weekend we had planned to do the session. I was so excited! What perfect timing, right?! Well, I should have seen that as a warning. I met up with these two at 6am and thankfully Drew offered (well, Stephanie offered Drew) to drive. As we got deeper and deeper into the city, I was counting all of the moments where I would have most definitely ran into someone or crashed my car. Thankfully we arrived safely after battling for about 20 minutes to find a parking spot.

If you've never been to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival.. just imagine the single most crowded event you've ever been to and double (or triple) it, add a camera into everyone's hands, and sprinkle in a language barrier, and there you have it! The trees were so beautiful so I knew I was going to get some epic shots, I just had to be creative. Stephanie and Drew also didn't mind any of the people because when you go to DC, that's what you get, tourists. We started shooting at sunrise and kept going until we walked completely around the tidal basin. I got some touristy-sights in as well which made the morning even more awesome. 

After the session was over, I couldn't help but repeat how thankful I was that they talked me into coming up there. It was so much fun to shoot somewhere completely new for me and the challenges really helped bring out some creativity! Yes the traffic was awful but I don't think anything worth having comes easy and this was no exception

Stephanie & Drew: 
You guys are so sweet and I can't thank you enough for driving me around all morning! I had so much fun walking around with you and I cannot wait until your wedding in September!

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Kristen & Zack

When I moved to Virginia Beach, I began to explore all of the places within a bike-able distance and I instantly fell in love with the tourist-y things on the boardwalk. It's full of color, tacky decorations, and of course, tourists. It's the one place that most locals HATE but I can't seem to stay away from. When I first got here, I had visions of a perfect summer engagement shoot walking along this stretch of the boardwalk and when Kristen messaged me saying she was coming to Virginia Beach, I knew it was finally a good excuse to do it! 

Kristen and Zack are newly engaged (and new parents!!!) and I was so bummed when I left Roanoke before we could make plans. Luckily, they had a mini-vacation here at the beach and it was meant to be! The weather was so humid that I was sweating in embarrassing places but I am so excited with the overall "summer" vibe from this shoot! These two are tying the knot next June and I couldn't be happier for them!

Here are a few from our summer boardwalk engagement shoot!

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Brianna & Chris

We met on what was easily the most humid day of the summer thus far. It was sweltering outside as most summer evenings but we definitely didn't let that get in the way of this session! I met Brianna and Chris through mutual friends (Shoutout to the Sigmons!) and I headed to Raleigh last weekend to meet them and finally get their engagement pictures taken! I absolutely love Raleigh because of the mass amounts of places to take photos! 

Brianna and Chris are getting married in September and I honestly couldn't be more excited for their wedding! I have this saying that "couples who giggle together, stay together" and these two are no exception. They are so happy that it radiates through every smile. 

Here are a few from our Raleigh engagement shoot! :)

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Blaine & Taylor

I have had the incredible honor of photographing several friends from high school. Blaine & Taylor are no exception. Blaine and I were best friends in high school and he's half the reason I made it out of there sane-ish. He was always there for me and I remember the second that he told me about Taylor, that I would be there for him. I watched this relationship start and I am so so so excited to watch them write the next chapter of their love story. Blaine & Taylor started dating in high school and they both went to Longwood University where they will be tying the knot next year! These two are the epitome of a 'happy couple' because they are always smiling and laughing. Anyone who knows Blaine knows why Taylor can't stop laughing! 

We met at Longwood on Monday and the forecast was calling for overcast skies but a small chance of rain. Apparently that small chance was all we needed because it rained for the second half of the shoot. Hopefully you can't tell, because we made the best of it! :) 


Here are just a FEW from our Longwood engagement session! 

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Kati & Bobby

It started in middle school where Kati and I met... we were two peas in a pod and spent every waking moment together. We talked all the time about boys and back then, weddings were something we look forward to like birthdays and other milestones, not to be taken seriously....yet. Fast forward to 2014 and Kati is ENGAGED! I can't believe the day is finally here and I could not be more happy for her. Bobby is a graduate of VMI and now an officer in the Army, what a catch Kati! These two are so perfect together and not only are the a great couple but they are surrounded by such a strong group of friends. Don't even try to mess with anyone in their friend circle or you'll have a huge fight on your hands. 

We met in Roanoke, were Kati and I both grew up and we drove to Lexington on the warmest and most gorgeous day of the week. I've never been to Lexington except for what I've seen off the interstate and driving through this town made me 100000x more excited for the wedding in October! I am beyond excited for Kati and Bobby and glad that her big day is coming up in the fall.  Love you Kater-Tot! 

Here are a few from our gorgeous day in Lexington! 

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Amanda & Casey

A lot of people get really caught up in choosing a location for engagement portraits. A lof of people will choose a location that is generally pretty but mayyyyyy not be so pretty looking through a lens. When I am suggesting locations, I am always suggesting them based on the light. You could have the most gorgeous location, perfect outfits, and great hair... but if the light is terrible, your pictures will be too. I am chasing light like it's going out of style. Thankfully, this park had light that was AMAZING! 

We met this past weekend after our first session was rescheduled due to food poisoning! We walked around this park for miles, battled gnats and bugs, and a wardrobe malfunction, but all in all the sun came out towards the in for a SPECTACULAR golden hour! Amanda & Casey are getting married in October and I cannot wait for their wedding because these two are so lively, fun, and utterly in love! 


Here are just a FEW from our engagement session in the park!

Posted by Ashley Lester.

Alex & Connie

It's so evident in the first three photos how in love and happy these two are. I meet a ton of couples... a ton and I don't think I have ever met a couple that has this much chemistry. Alex and Connie are the type of people whose personalities make you feel as if you've known them your entire life. We met on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach and I instantly felt so comfortable with these two because they are so full of life!! I couldn't stop laughing the entire time we were shooting and clearly neither could they ;) Alex drove all the way from Harrisonburg and Connie drove from northern VIrginia in just two days notice! I'm so thankful they were able to make the session because it's GORGEOUS! 

I met Alex through his sister's wedding (The Smith Wedding), and I originally had their wedding date taken. However, a previous bride backed out and their wedding day came open and I knew it was fate. I had so much fun with this family at his sister's wedding that I was so thrilled when they asked me to come back! (They didn't get sick of my awkward rambling!!!) Anyway, I am so excited for August 23rd because if their wedding is half as fun as just these two, it'll be the time of my life! 

Posted by Ashley Lester.