'The Wanderlust'





a strong desire to travel

“consumed by wanderlust”

As a young child, I would look at photographs in my parent’s magazines and dream of all the places and spaces those images represented. In my mind, even if they were images of something close by and familiar, there was a lingering and mysterious story inside that I so desperately wanted to discover.

My parents used to say I had a case of ‘The Wanderlust.’ Yes, they used the term like it was a disease of some sort, preferencing ‘The’ as if it was too complicated to keep to a single word phrase. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized they weren’t calling me ‘The Wanderlust’ because they feared I would wander off in a crowd of people or adventure into the forest in search of wildflowers while vacationing in Northern Michigan, but because of my undeniable desire to travel. I didn’t see it then but as young as six years old I was planning my journey away from the Midwest much to the shagreen of my very grounded and rooted parents.

Traveling is a desire for many people, however it can take on several different meanings. For some it’s the idea of a specific place, like revisiting the same beautiful lodge cabin your family vacationed at for years or revisiting the tropical island where you spent your honeymoon. It’s simply a place that’s differs from our day to day lives and lifestyles. You spend a couple nights or perhaps a week and then return with memories that last a lifetime.

For others including myself, it’s an unknown and untapped destination just waiting to be discovered.  To me, the definition of travel is to not be in the same place for very long. It’s the desire to move freely about the earth. In his book, Travels with a Donkey, author Robert Louis Stevenson says it best; ‘Travels not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for the travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.’ Those of us with true Wanderlust are not necessarily in need of going to any certain place but just simply not staying in the same place too long.

‘The Wanderlust’ title my parents gave me has proven true throughout the years. I have lived several different places from growing up in the suburbs of Chicago to moving into the city for school and work at 18 years old.  Of course, that did not last long and soon I was living in Taos, New Mexico. My journey continued with a move to Seattle then onto New Orleans where my desire to travel was put on hold in exchange for a new desire to grow my family. After eight our family settled on the beautiful beaches of Northwest Florida where we have been now for 14 years.

‘The Wanderlust’ within me is still very present especially when I’m working with clients from all over the world that come to vacation on the beautiful gulf coast beaches I call home. However, now that my children have grown into young adults themselves I feel that itch for travel begin to grow.

This desire to wander holds a deeper and more soulful meaning for me as I see it all through the lens of my camera.  It feeds me and enriches my art, as I hope I enrich those people and families that I am fortunate enough to document along the way.

Much Love,

Lesley ~ ‘The Wanderlust’


Show it off...

Let your love {and personality} shine! Don’t hide it under an awkward ‘couple’ pose or a dreaded ‘prom pose!’ Explore the possibilities of different engagement photo shoot ideas. First, think of things that make your relationship unique. Did you bond over rock climbing or meet while tailgating at your favorite football team’s game one fall? Do y’all enjoy going to the beach or biking through the coastal neighborhoods along 30A? These types of things can help you set your theme.

Here’s a few things to consider when brainstorming your engagement photo shoot ideas:

  • Be unique. Don’t decide a theme just because it looked good on because your older sister and her husband did.
  • Be you. Are you adventurous and daring, or are you simple and reserved?
  • Location, Location, Location! Your location can enhance your engagement session theme. Pick a spot special to you and your fiancé.
  • What props are needed to enhance the theme? If your theme is just simple and delicate, maybe you are barefoot at a picnic beneath a willow tree with a flower crown and lemonade. Or, if your theme is based on sports, you might use jerseys, shakers and incorporate an action shot or two with in your session. Hey… there’s no limit here. Of course your engagement ring is the best prop there is and I like to make every effort to naturally highlight that new sparkler on your left finger within every engagement session.
  • Clothing. Colors can enhance the theme and the photos in a major way. Consider your theme when deciding what outfits the two of you will be wearing and coordinate accordingly.

The possibilities are endless so let your imagination run wild. Having trouble or need ideas? No problem, most photographers can help you brainstorm throughout this planning process to ensure your personality and uniquenesss shine through your engagement photos.



Tell Your Story...


It's all about creating your story book of pictures...

In previous blogs we've talked about the proposal and all the reasons why you should plan an engagement photography session. Our hopes with this blog is to encourage couples to show their personalities and have fun with their engagement sessions. The hard part is over...you've chosen the person you wish to spend the rest of your life with, you've chosen your wedding date and hopefully your photographer, so now it's time to pick a setting and theme for your engagement session!  

Reed and Kaleigh (cute couple pictured above) illustrate this idea perfectly. Living in Northwest Florida, there is a heavy military community, we get so much pride when photographing military couples in uniform. Incorporating props is always fun and adds your own flavor to your photos. Stay tuned for more on engagement photoshoot inspiration and props in our upcoming blogs. 

Pick Your Setting

Most photographers have a few favorite locations based on lighting, background, colors, amounts (or lack thereof) of crowds, and ambiance however this doesn’t mean that you can’t suggest an engagement photo session location. If there’s a place special to you and your story, discuss it with us. We might suggest a good time of day to take photos in that location or ideas on other facets of the photoshoot. But, don’t feel like you have to have a setting or location in mind. As we get to know newly-engaged couples, we can suggest the perfect setting for your photoshoot that captures and enhances your personality and story.

Choose Your Theme

This is so fun. When a couple adds a theme to their engagement photoshoot, it brings their personality to light. It adds character to the photoshoot and reinforces their love and what it’s based on and centered around. Engagement photoshoot themes can range from simple, with light colors and simple props, to nostalgic with offbeat ideas, adventure-based settings, sports-themed, or patriotic props. Here’s a fun article with some creative themes to help you brainstorm and step out of your box. BUT, don’t just choose a theme because someone else did it and you think it’s cute. Ensure your theme matches your personalities and enhances your love story. 

Get Comfy

Camera shy. It’s a ‘thing.’ But, we don’t want it to be the ‘thing’ that keeps your engagement photos from telling your story and sharing your love and strong bond with the world. It’s important to get comfortable before and during the session.

Here’s a few tips:

  • Focus on your love - not the camera.
  • Think about the future - let your excitement shine.
  • Pretend the photographer isn’t there - try and be natural and act normal with each other.

Let us tell your love story. With over 13 years of experience in wedding and fine art photography, we can capture it all. The Proposal, Engagement Session, Wedding Day Photography, Family Portraits and everything else in between. Documenting these significant moments in life has been a personal mission of ours that has evolved into a unique style of storytelling. Contact us at info@isacksphoto.com to plan your engagement photo session.


You've Made It Official...


…Now it’s time to pick a photographer and plan your engagement session!

I love spending time getting to know couples before an engagement photography session. It allows me to learn more about them to ensure their photo sessions are exactly what they want and to capture them and their personalities in the best light and expose the love that’s rooted so deep between them. Just a few moments of talking with the couple before a shoot allows me to put their nerves to ease and gives us a chance to get to know each other without the cameras because let’s be honest most of us are not models or really love being in front of the camera anyways (myself included).

An engagement photo session can be an important part of telling your love story along the path from engagement to marriage, and even further down the road. Here’s a couple really important reasons you should plan an engagement session.

Capture the Moment

What an exciting moment it was… your spouse dropped to one knee and you said yes to your best friend and lifelong partner. While it’s a moment you’ll never forget, it’s the love, your personalities and the excitement that a photographer wants to capture in an engagement session. Obviously, it’s not the engagement itself, but that love and excitement is what you can catch in that moment to cherish forever.

Share the Love

Don’t hide your love… share it! Engagement photos are the perfect way to tell your story, announce to the world you’re tying the knot, or use as a wedding save-the-date announcement before you send out your official wedding invitations. They can be printed as photos and given to family members or you can get creative with your announcements or save-the-dates and print the engagement photos on magnets or other creative items that will stand out from the regular mail someone receives daily.

Hopefully this helps if you’re contemplating whether you should or shouldn’t plan an engagement session. It’s just a great way to feel more confident in front of the camera with your wedding photographer. Not only will you get your jitters out and become more confident but you’ll learn how your photographer operates and even better your photographer will get a better idea of your comfort level and your best angles which will result in amazing pictures on your wedding day. Stayed tuned for our next blog for more tips on planning your engagement session!



The Proposal

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year… to Propose!

Every year when the Holidays roll around, you’re almost guaranteed to hear, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” And we couldn’t agree more, especially here in beautiful Northwest Florida! Everything that happens this time of year echoes and reinforces this saying. The delectable food, festive decorations, happening holiday parties, over-abundance of sweets and treats, cool (but not cold) weather, jolly people and that happy feeling we get when we're surrounded by the ones we love, truly makes this the most wonderful time of the year...To Propose!

Christmas and New Year’s tend to be a very popular time to pop the question, especially with the natural beauty that surrounds us on the gulf coast. And hey, when you are in as unique of a place as Northwest Florida, there are so many options to use as your backdrop for the perfect proposal and engagement session. Of course, the beautiful white sand and Emerald Green waters never disappoint for the perfect beach engagement photo session. Catch the sunset at Grayton Beach with your love enjoying some champagne and a warm blanket, then drop to one knee right as the sun starts to set behind the horizon.

Not a fan of the sand? No problem, take a trip to Eden State Gardens where the willow trees blow and the breeze is sweet. There is such a tranquil spirit at this location, that will enhance the special moment and memories from your South Walton proposal in a more intimate location.

Looking for a fun atmosphere with good food, flowing wine and friends? Take your pick from a long list of amazing restaurants that will delight with their succulent culinary offerings and gorgeous views of the Emerald Coast in the Destin, 30A and the surrounding South Walton areas. Catch a beach view in a fun atmosphere at The Beach House restaurant at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, or a soothing sunset at The Bay in South Walton overlooking the calm Choctawhatchee Bay waters. For an entertaining atmosphere, The Red Bar in Grayton Beach is always lively and full of fun, while being just a short walk from the beach. For a Destin proposal location, check out some of the amazing locations along the Destin Harbor with great food, fun atmospheres (as well as intimate atmospheres) and amazing views.

All of these places are even more special during the Holidays, as many have fun events and beautiful decorations that can add to the backdrop and enhance the environment of your proposal location.

We love nothing more than capturing all your special moments. With over 13 years experience in wedding and fine art photography we can capturing it all. The Proposal, Engagement Session, The Big Day, Family Portraits and everything else in between. Documenting these significant moments in life has been a personal mission of ours that has evolved into a unique style of storytelling. Contact us at info@isacksphoto.com to plan your holiday proposal and engagement session.

Last Stop, The Big Easy!


I am wrapping up my Fall Portraits tour with one last stop in The Big Easy, November 2 – 4. I have a soft spot for New Orleans as I lived there for eight years, starting my professional photography business and surrounding myself with the art, music and southern vibe prevalent throughout the city. New Orleans is full of culture and style, bringing exceptional visual elements to any family photo. 

Fall fills the City of New Orleans with lush scenery and warm colors in Audubon Park and City Park, two of my favorite locations for Fall Family Portraits. I just love the look of old live oaks and sweet southern maple trees. Not to mention the famous gardens and statues located throughout the city and its many historical parks. Another great spot for family photos is strolling through the Garden District amongst the shotgun homes, raised villas, gallery homes and large southern mansions. Historic homes, large oak trees, and famous landmarks allow New Orleans to set the perfect scene for your family holiday cards.

November brings cooler weather, becoming the most desirable month to prepare your family Holiday Cards. Not only am I a traveling photographer, but I also design custom holiday and greeting cards. Stationary is an appreciated art in New Orleans with exceptional invitations, calling cards, announcements, personalized stationary and of course, Holiday Cards.

I have just a few spots left for my New Orleans Fall Portrait Sessions for November 2 – 4. Contact me at info@isacksphoto.com to book today!


Fall Portraits


School is back in session, football season started this past weekend, but the heat is still blistering! I don't know about you, but I cannot wait until Fall is truly here. This summer has been full of beautiful beach weddings, family beach portrait sessions, and surprising summer engagement images. I have fallen in love with my clients over this Wedding Season, and I cannot wait to see what they have been up to during our Fall Portrait Sessions. 

I love photographing my clients in the Fall. The cooler weather, natural lighting, and bright fall colors are perfect for outdoor sessions. I consider October to be the pre-Christmas month, as it allows the perfect amount of time to get your family Christmas card checked off your list so you can enjoy the rest of the holiday season. My Fall Portrait Sessions are the perfect opportunity to get a fresh look for the holiday season with mid-year family photos. 

Many photographers offer “mini sessions”, but to me, that just means less time spent with my amazing clients. Photography tells a story, so instead of reducing the time spent to capture that story, I will reduce my rate for my Fall Portrait Sessions, allowing for a mid-year update to those cherished family images. A lot of my clients are visitors to the Destin, Florida area, so I love the opportunity to visit my clients in their hometowns. Atlanta, Georgia is just one of the many destinations I travel to in order to freshen up my client’s family photographs. I will be scheduling Fall Portrait Sessions in Atlanta for the dates of October 12 – 14, so be sure to call me and book a session! 

Fall Portrait Session Schedule:
Gulf Coast Area (FWB to PCB): starting September 15
Atlanta, GA: October 12 – 14
New Orleans, LA: November 2 – 4



The First Look

From the moment you met her you knew she was the one. All those years of heartache and wonder were finally making sense. As you straighten your tie and pin on your boutonniere, you wonder what you did so right to win her over. Soon, she will be walking towards you in a blur of familiar faces and eloquent sounds, but all you will see is her.

One of my favorite moments to capture is the first look between a bride and groom. Many times I suggest to shoot a private session with the couple prior to the ceremony. Seeing each other in an intimate setting like this is a great way to release the nerves and capture those more natural emotions. Choosing a scenic yet secluded location like Arnett’s Gulfside Trails, for your first look creates breathtaking moments, while diversifying your images with another location beyond the ceremony. You can also choose to take your more formal photos prior to the ceremony, allowing you more time to enjoy your reception.

As much as I love to capture this special moment, I still appreciate the tradition of seclusion before the ceremony. It is exhilarating to witness the emotions of a groom as he sees his bride walk to meet him. There is a flood of excitement and emotions pouring out of them as they see each other for the first time. It is love in its purest form.

I would love to work with you, and capture these unforgettable moments for you.