My first week[s] in New York

Well I have been in New York a week now. Well- okay, I'm lying, I have been in New York two weeks. But that sounds completely batshit crazy, plus my mom was here for the first four days, so I am going to go with one week...

And what a time it has been so far. It's weird moving to a place where you don't have something already setup, either work or school. Every time I have done something weird and suddenly decided to move away- whether that be when I moved to Texas for a hot second or becoming a nanny in Sweden, I always had something to do. Texas- college, Sweden- work, London- school, Boston- school... you get the picture. New York is the first move I've ever had where I can do anything, or nothing at all. It all depends on the opportunities I take and whether or not I make the most of my days. 

I can't say my New York life has been all that glamorous, even if I have posted some cool photos on Instagram. In truth, it's been full of growing pains, as I expected. On more than one occasion I questioned why I moved here. Why I didn't run away to a faraway place and teach English. Because for me, running is what I do best. I pride myself on Irish Exits, not so much in the sense that I escape from parties early without saying goodbye, because I honestly love an excuse to get drunk and say everything I usually feel too awkward to say to people, but more in the sense that I leave colleges to study abroad for a year and then transfer schools upon returning. 

So yeah, decorating an apartment and starting a "life" is a bit weird for me. But I am going to wrap this up because this post has turned into a ramble but the point is, I moved to New York, I have no idea what is going to happen, and I am learning to be okay with that. 



Congrats to these beauties who are soon to be graduating from the University of Central Florida with their BSN's in nursing. It was a pleasure to spend the day with them as we shot around the beautiful UCF campus.


Camera: Canon 6D

Lens: 50mm

Edit: Lightroom- SMAL preset 08 with edits

If you're interested in booking a graduate session, contact me at 


Miranda + Dane are MARRIED!

On December 27th, I shot my first wedding for an old friend from high school. It was a wonderful day and a great experience for my first time. As I had never shot a wedding before, I had to explore many Instagrams and photography in search of my wedding "style." The result is a bit of a blend. My first passion is documentary + lifestyle images. I like the beauty in the everyday and in capturing life as it happens. That simply means, I'm just not super keen on overly posed shoots. 

For a wedding you need to find that medium- capturing the moments of the day as they happen but also making sure to get the shots that will be framed over the fireplace. It was a challenge for me, as directing and posing does not come naturally to me. But I am really happy with the results and how everything came together. Below are some of my favorites from the day. If you are interesting in booking a session or wedding with me and would like to see the entire gallery, please contact me and I can send you the private link. 

If you are getting married and would be interested in having me shoot your wedding, let's chat! I am currently booking for 2018. Prices range from $500-$1500 depending on the kind of coverage you are looking for. We can discuss your wedding day plans and determine what package would be best for you!


Wedding location: Club Lake Plantation, Apopka, FL

Camera: Canon 6D with 35mm L lens, 50mm, and 24-105mm L

Edit: Lightroom, SMAL presets with tweaks

Hello 2018!

And just like that, 2017 is finished. 2017 was quite an interesting year for me. I started the year by waking up one morning (I'm pretty quick with my decisions) and deciding that I was going to accept a job offer to be an au pair (live in nanny) in Stockholm. I packed two suitcases and got on a plane bound for Stockholm, where I spent the next six months soaking up the Scandinavian sun (when it felt like showing up) and becoming apart of a new family. I traveled to the north and south of Sweden, to Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands, and France. I tried oysters for the first time in a French seaside town and snowmobiled up a snowy fjäll. I learned Swedish in a class alongside people from as far as Syria and the Philippines and shared $10 beers with friends for life. The midnight sun arrived in Sweden and just like that, it was time for tearful goodbyes and one-way plane tickets. 

The next six months of the year were devoted to family. Grandma's fought cancer, a wedding took place, and a family road trip through Iceland occurred. A freelance career started and a couple thousand photos were taken, dreams were created, and job applications were filled out. Just like that the year was over and it was time to look back at the last twelve months.

Despite what the anti-resolution makers may say, I love a new year to clean up and start anew. I get the same satisfaction from it that I used to get from closing twenty tabs on my computer after turning in a research paper. In a world that doesn't seem to ever slow down long enough to allow us to evaluate life, a new year gives us a rare opportunity to reflect... even if we are doomed to fail at our resolutions. 


1. Continue growing my freelance business. Try to have double the clients I had this year.

2. Book at least one "passion project" that allows you to travel overseas + shoot something new.

3. Move to a new city.

4. Find a full-time job in film or photography.

5. Continue a diet/exercise plan that keeps me happy with my body.

6. Explore at least one new country.

Cheers to a new year!!

xoxo, L

Cheers to the graduate!

My best friend graduated from college (again!) Yay, she's a Master! Today I had the opportunity to shoot her graduation session, spending time at her university, the University of Central Florida. Always a pleasure to shoot my friends and she paid me in brunch, so, I mean, what else can you really ask for in an afternoon? 

Taken on the first day of winter that Florida has seen this year (and likely the last).


camera: canon 6D

lens: 50mm f/1.4

edit: lightroom, smal 01 preset with tweaks

Headshot sessions

It seems that perhaps the tides are changing. Not to say that anything particular horrible has been happening to me, I have been spending time with family, saving money, and preparing for my brother's upcoming wedding. But as far as my career has been going, I guess you could say I have had better days. But finally, it seems as the new year approaches, so are the new opportunities (sorry for the cliché). I have gotten two emails this week regarding interviews in NYC (!!!) and did three photo sessions in the last seven days. So yeah, making money taking pictures and the prospect of making a whole salary doing creative stuff is putting me in quite a pleasant mood.

I did two headshot sessions this week and wanted to share some of the highlights. I am not sure if anyone reading this blog is a potential client- but if you are- contact me for all of your headshot needs. Prices range from $50-100 for sessions.


DANA + SHAWN // My first engagement shoot!

Since launching my freelance business "officially" my biggest fear is doing shoots for the first time. Since expanding my work from only filmmaking to photography as well I have been plagued by anxiety about whether or not I can be successful as both. What is scary is that the only way to know for sure if you can do something is to do it. That is why, for a long time, I only did travel photography and shoots with friends. It was easy because I didn't need anyone to be in the pictures or the people featured were friends and could just tell me I sucked. I didn't have the risk of ruining strangers photos. But I had to grow up. This meant getting real, live human beings to put their trust in me to capture an important time in their life which may only happen once. This is a lot of pressure and makes it scary for a newcomer to take the plunge. But this past weekend, after much research, practice, and location scouting, I did my first shoot with actual clients!

Minus a Florida rainstorm (or two) the shoot went extremely well I think. I was, for the most part, happy with the results and the clients loved them, what else can you ask for? Now I can't say I was bubbling with confidence the entire shoot and a lot of my ideas were inspired by my photography education and not totally my personal creative genius at work. But, I did it. And that is all you can do. You cannot improve by sitting on the computer researching how you can improve at something (though I try). You have to do it. You have to endure the anxiety. You have to be awkward and self conscious and afraid to fail. It's the only way to really, truly improve at something. 

I am thankful for my awesome clients for taking a chance with me and going along for the ride. I will be better in the future because of this experience and am happy that my "first time" was a good time. I cannot wait to look back at this shoot one day and think about how inexperienced I was and how much cooler I am in that future moment. But I hope that I do not completely cringe when I stumble upon this. I hope that the shoot remains positive in my mind for years to come and that it shows where I've been but also the direction I'm heading. To the journey ahead.

A Florida fall session

This past weekend I got to shoot an adorable family that agreed to dress in fall apparel and shoot outside with me for an hour even though it was 80 degrees in Florida. Now that is some dedication. Smiles from the little one were hard to come by... it's okay dude, we wish it was cold and fall-ish outside too. 

Shot in Winter Park, FL. 


Camera: Canon 6D

Lenses: Canon 50mm 1.4

Edit: Lightroom edit, VSCO film preset with tweaks

colorado dreaming

Last weekend I traveled to Denver for my future sister in law's bachelorette party. There was much celebration and one trip on a pedal-powered bar. We went on a short hike at St. Mary's Glacier, a pretty easy 3/4 mile hike to a beautiful mountain lake. It started out sunny and ended with a snowfall, the first for some of the Florida- raised girls on the trip. Along the way I took some photos and contemplated why I still haven't moved to the mountains. Where else is it so easy to feel pure bliss?


+ Camera: Canon 6D

+ Lens: Canon 24-105mm L 

+ Edit: Lightroom, VSCO film preset with tweaks

Simplifying life into symbols ☼ ☾ △ ↟

I fought my first post grad slump by moving to Sweden for six months. For my second, faced with a more empty bank account, I had to get a bit more creative. When I thought about what was really stressing me out it was the fact that I had all of these thoughts running around my head without any organization... career goals, charity work I wanted to do, adventures I want to train for, family, friends... and I couldn't simplify any of them. 

Early this week I made a trip to New York City for a couple days of visiting with friends and plotting my move to the city. While walking on the High Line one day, feeling pretty inspired about my relocation, I decided it was time to finally simplify those many goals in a way that could help me at this transitional time in my personal and professional life. Could I put them into categories? I honestly don't know if I made up the idea or I subconsciously saw it somewhere but I decided to choose symbols for important things in my life and see if it could help me to plot my goals better. Here they are!

☼ Sun:

The sun is my career symbol. As a filmmaker and photographer, it's all about chasing the light. But I can never forget that one of the best places to watch the sun rise and set from is an airplane. I must always remember that traveling is not a break from my career but an integral part of it.

☾ Moon:

The moon is my charity symbol. It's all about knowing my privilege and making sure that I always make time to give back. I have a lot of ideas about how I can teach my skills to others to empower and inspire people to create their own art. I am far from having a solid idea of how exactly to work on these plans but hopefully I can develop it in the near future. 

△ Mountain:

The mountain is my adventure symbol. I grew up hiking and skiing on vacations with my family. But since becoming an adult I haven't done a very good job of incorporating adventure into my life. This symbol is to inspire me to get in shape and start planning which mountains I want to summit.

↟ Tree:

The tree is my family symbol. Trees are essential for creating oxygen and are an essential asset to our planet. Family is the glue that holds everything together. While I work to build my life I cannot forget that I would be nowhere near where I am today without my family. I must constantly work to spend time and support them. 

So there you have it. May this bring me direction and inspiration moving forward!!!!!


Finding my El Capitan

Well this isn't news anymore because I have been lamenting this blog post for a couple of weeks but recently someone climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes. His name is Alex Honnold and despite the fact that he made history, he seems pretty chill and humble. National Geographic interviewed him after his historic ascent and I had a lot of feelings about it. 

So to summarize, this guy just made history and risked his life after climbing a huge 3,000 foot high rock wall without any type of safety support. When interviewed right after his ascent, Honnold informed the reporter he would probably hang board (rock climber exercise) later in the day. When the reporter asked him why he wasn't taking the afternoon off after making history he told them he had been hang boarding every other day and it was the other day

Here's the thing, if I do something important like finishing editing a film or take an exam my first reaction is to reward myself with a big break. After all, I deserve it, right? I never really saw a problem with treating yo' self a little bit after putting all of your energy into something great. That is how it works, or so I thought until Alex Honnold climbed up a giant rock and shattered my dreams. Faced with the biggest achievement of his career, he moved along like it was any other day and continued his daily business without a moment to congratulate himself or allow himself a breather. It's a lesson in dedication and humility. 

I'm in that stage in my career where I am kind of floundering around and sometimes I feel really great about myself and my skills and sometimes feel like literally the least talented person in the world. My flip-flopping emotions affect my work- sometimes I am taking and posting photos and working on films everyday and sometimes I go days thinking that nothing I make is good enough to show people. I want to consider myself a professional freelancer but sometimes I think that goal is completely unattainable. 

But then I read Alex's interview and understood something basic but profound- he just does the work. He sets goals and he does the work necessary to achieve them. He didn't care that a film crew was following him around during his historic descent, he didn't care that he achieved his goal, it was an other day. It was hang boarding day. He was putting in the work, as usual. The circumstances of the day and the fanfare meant next to nothing to him. I don't know for sure, but I suspect he reacts the same way when he has a particularly shitty day, just picks himself up, has lunch, and goes about his usual afternoon routine. If achieving a life-long goal doesn't make him break his training, I doubt some self-loathing does.

I think I just need to find my El Capitan. I need to set goals for myself and put in the work to achieve those goals everyday. Doesn't matter if I have a great day or a terrible one- I just have to continue my daily work as usual. There is nothing easy about trying to create a life for yourself in your twenties, but it's a lot harder when you let every triumph and setback shake you and throw you off of your flow. It doesn't matter how many likes the photo gets or if you lose followers. It just matters that you are creating the work. You just have to stand in front of the looming rock wall and make the first move.


Tunnelbana art in Stockholm

One of the most interesting parts of Stockholm is the metro system. The "tunnelbana" provides not only pretty great transport to many parts of the city but also really cool. A ton of the stations have lots of amazing paintings and installations. I have been meaning to just spend a day seeking out the best ones and finally got the chance to visit a few on my list. 

It's hard to force yourself ride public transit for hours at a time and on the day I went the weather was beautiful and I really just wanted to stay above ground. But unfortunately... doing this had been on my "Stockholm bucket list" pretty much since I arrived and now since I am officially under a month left, I had to do it. Even if it was 25 degrees celsius. 

The result is a pretty short trip through the subway art. It's a great path if you have only a short time to spend exploring but want to see what it is all about. The path I took centers around T-Centralen, the main station of Stockholm. From there you can see three stations via the red line and three on the blue line, plus T-Centralen. I've seen blogs with some other stations mentioned but these stations are definite highlights. 

Red line: T-Centralen -> Östermalmstorg -> Tekniska Högskolan -> Stadion

Blue line: Kungsträdgården -> T-Centralen -> Rådhuset -> Solna Centrum

*** I confess I actually didn't get the chance to visit Kungsträdgården and Solna Centrum on this trip but I've added them to this list because they work well with this itinerary. For pictures of these stations, this provides a good overview!










 Tekniska Högskolan

Tekniska Högskolan



Finding hygge and learning to slow travel in København

To best understand how I travel it is best to go back to the beginning. In my childhood I learned to love travel through a series of adventures called "Kesler family vacations." Growing up, I thought it was all normal... 15 hour road trips without sleep, sleeping in the car when we couldn't find a hotel, skiing 8 hours a day for 5 days straight, hiking to a different waterfall everyday, the list goes on. It wasn't until my siblings and I started getting older and inviting friends on our vacations with us that the "Kesler family vacation" became a description in itself. "Oh, how was your trip?" "Oh you know, it was a Kesler family vacation."

You see, the Kesler's don't take breaks on our vacations. The Kesler's have never spent a vacation on a beach, ever. The Kesler's hike and camp and have twelve hour days. My brother's friend, the first outsider (that I remember at least) to join us on a ski trip often recalls the trip by saying that when we went to the lodge for lunch he was relived that the day was over and he could relax... Only to find that we were only eating for thirty minutes before skiing for another four hours. My dad, the doctor, got limited vacation time and so we were determined to make every moment count. 

And so here I am, an adult, venturing into the world, mixing the Kesler family vacation with my own adult personality and those of my friends. In some ways my travel style is my own but the cornerstone of the Kesler family vacation remains--- see everything, miss nothing, never rest (for too long). 

Whenever I travel, I want to see everything. Often with limited time, I overbook my schedule making sure that I get the chance to see every attraction and museum that heard about in a place. The problem I'm now finding is how this type of travel wears you down and doesn't really help you to understand a place outside of its tourism hotspots.

Which is why I am aiming to slow travel more, only go to one city per long weekend trip, etc. This past weekend I went to visit a friend in Copenhagen. I set aside four days for this trip and we spent the entire time in Copenhagen. For many people, this might seem perfectly reasonable. But in the Kesler family vacation bible it states, "One may not spend more than 24 hours in an urban center." So, I was committing a cardinal sin. But you know what, it was great. We sat at cafes and slept in (another no-no on a KFV) and walked around a bunch and I truly enjoyed myself. I feel like I really got the chance to see Copenhagen unlike other European cities I have flown through in less than 48 hours. 

So that's my new goal. To take it slow. To practice hygge, a Danish word which involves enjoying life through little things like candles and cuddling, to not try to "tick countries off the list" and to take the time to explore each and every place I visit. I don't want to stop the Kesler family vacation style completely, there are many aspects that I love and I would not have traded a single road trip for a weekend on the beach (even though when I was 13 and a brat I would ask "when can we go on a NORMAL vacation??). I still want to hike and camp and see everything but I want to do it with more purpose.

What do I really want to do and what am I doing just because the guide book told me? 

Am I going here for a reason or because I want to add the country or city to the "list"?

Am I taking time to breath, reflect, and just enjoy the journey?

If you are familiar with slow traveling, please send advice this way. I need it. XOXO. And here are some ~~not seen on Instagram~~ pictures from Denmark!

Vappu in Suomi [Finland]

Last weekend I had a friend come to visit me from France. Deciding that I needed a weekend away after being in Sweden three months, we decided to go to the nearest, coldest place we could find (in hindsight I don't know why I didn't suggest Spain), HELSINKI. While I have a small baseline knowledge of quite a few countries in the world I have to say I knew less than nothing about Finland before visiting. So with that vast understanding of the culture and customs, I boarded the plane for one of the shortest flights of my life and away we went to Helsinki. 

One of the first things I noticed upon arriving in Helskini was the airport (an obvious first thing to notice) and how totally futuristic the train was. The second thing was when we stepped out of the station into the center of the city, TRAMS. You may not know this about me but I LOVE public transport and these trams were super cute.... I digress. 

I have decided to keep my blogs short (at least until I have more than five readers) so I will just talk about one of my favorite parts of the trips. Throughout our weekend we had seen balloons everywhere. We thought maybe we were going crazy but instead realized we had arrived in Finland in time for Vappu. The annual holiday the day before May Day (1st of May) when a group of students are lifted by a crane above a statue in the middle of town. They clean the statue and then place a university cap on its head. It is traditional for the students to wear their university hats and even old people participate by wearing their hats from years ago. A very poetic waitress said to us that we'd "see ninety year old men wearing hats stained with wines from parties of the past." I never saw this, but the sentiment remains. 

 The pants seen on the students above are actually some type of overalls/suit that all students have. The patches come from parties and social gatherings. A new Finnish acquaintance has informed me, "you can tell a lot about what kind of person someone is based on how many patches they have."

The pants seen on the students above are actually some type of overalls/suit that all students have. The patches come from parties and social gatherings. A new Finnish acquaintance has informed me, "you can tell a lot about what kind of person someone is based on how many patches they have."



Vår i Sverige

Well, it would appear as though spring has arrived in Sweden. Although it still occasionally snows/rains at the same time, somehow it seems an improvement to proper winter. And so Stockholm wakes up from its winter slumber and the outdoor cafe seating recommences. 

It is now time to look ahead to the coming months. I have two friends visiting Stockholm and will be going to Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam in the next two months. Summer plans are swirling through my mind... it's actually crazy how you can travel to a completely different country for the price of a flight within your own state in the US. One of the many reasons Europe continues to hold me hostage. 

But as the seasons change, I am cliché reminded of the passing of time and how my experience as an au pair is beyond the halfway point now. I am beginning to start that job hunt once again, searching for the next adventure, there is still so much to do! Whether the rest of 2017 holds another great abroad adventure or time at home to refill the bank and spend time with family, I hope to continue to capture it and post it here on my new blog, again. - L