Wednesday, May 16, 2012

We've Moved! | central florida portrait photographer

Yes, it was time for change.  You can browse through all the old posts here and see what we talked about way back when ... OR you can check out what's current with Jessica Swatts Photography by visiting us at our new blog address:

Enjoy your reading!



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contest Winners-The K Family | portrait photography

I bet you all already forgot about the contest I held back in December, didn't you?  Well, I can't blame you. It's only been six months or so since I announced the winner.  Things slowed down for me, and for them and we were finally able to get together and create some really great family photos for them last month.

If you remember back in December, this family was on the brink of losing a dear loved one to cancer.  By the time January rolled around, he was gone.  Kena and Kody's grandfather, Kim's father, Ken's father-in-law.  It's never an easy thing to lose someone to cancer.  I have witnessed with my own eyes how much pain and suffering they go through.  I know how it feels to watch them wither away, hurting, just wanting peace.

And that is why I chose this family as the winner for my contest.  The letter that Kena wrote, nominating her mother, Kim, really touched me on a personal level.  I am honored to have had the opportunity to capture a bit of sunshine and smiles for this family who has just gone through so much.  From what Kena has said, this is something that her mother has wanted for a very long time.  I'm so glad that I could help make this happen for her.  After all that Kim has been through this last year, she deserves something extra special and nice that will last forever.

I just love these two of Kim and Ken.  They were such willing participants when I asked them to take a couple by themselves.  I'm so glad they did because they turned out so great!



Kena just graduated from UCF so she brought along her cap and gown and we took a few to celebrate the glorious occasion!

Kena, congratulations on your graduation!  It is quite an achievement!
Thank you, Ken and Kody for being such great guys!  I know you made wife/mom happy!

Kim, thank you so very much for letting me into your lives for a brief moment and allowing me to capture all your smiles that, I know, are sometimes hard for you to make these days.  Thank you for raising such a giving daughter who wrote such a nice letter to me on behalf of you.  And, thank you for the time we spent getting to know each other a little better.  If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to call me!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Andrea & Brandon - Engaged! | portrait photography

My dear friend, Andrea, called me up last year to tell me that her boyfriend, Brandon, asked her to marry him!  To say I was excited for her would be an understatement.  I was jumping-for-joy-super-duper-thrilled for the two of them!  You see, Andrea, and I have been friends since we were twelve.  When we moved to Orlando, we moved in right across the street from her and the two of us, despite our completely different families and styles, instantly became friends.  

Andrea has always been more of a rock-and-roll girl while I have always been more of a country girl.   But we remain great friends to this day.  In fact, we call each other sisters just because we have always been that close, for that many years.  

It makes me so happy for Andrea to know where she has come from to where she is today.  You see, she never really knew her dad because he passed when she was just a baby - the baby sister of four much older than her siblings - and she was raised by just her mom, a woman who was the hardest working and loving mother I have ever met.  And her mom, we lost her a few years back too.  But, just like her mom, Andrea is a strong and loving woman, and she is now on her way to making her own family, with Brandon.

Yes, I am so very happy for her.  For them.

And even happier that she asked me to, not only be in her wedding, but also to take their engagement session photos!  We had such a fun day at a secret location of their choice.  - It's a secret because the management didn't want any free advertising whatsoever.  Oh well, their loss. -

Andrea, you are gorgeous, on the inside and out!

Brandon is such the perfect guy for my dear friend.  He is the perfect mix of responsibility and silly fun.  Plus he loves all the same music and sports as Andrea, and trust me, that is a very important thing if you are going to be married to my third sis!

And it doesn't hurt that he's a handsome guy, don't you think?

I love the serious photos of Andrea and Brandon, but these ones where they are just being goofy with each other are a much better reflection of the two of them.

Andrea, thank you so much for asking me to be a part of your wedding.  Thank you for asking me to take your engagement photos.  Thank you for being such a wonderful person, friend and sister.

Brandon, thank you for loving my Andrea so completely.  Welcome to the family!

I can't wait until October, you two!!!


P.S.  Happy, happy birthday dear sis!!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TWINS! | personal

This is just a short photo recap of the baby shower thrown for my older sis (Brian's sister) and her husband.

Our family is so very blessed this year.  We'll be adding not only our little girl to the family at the end of August, but TWIN BOYS sometime in July as well!

It's funny how life works out sometimes.  Kim and I didn't necessarily plan on being pregnant at the same time.  When I was pregnant with Gracey, me and Brian's other sister, Amy, didn't plan on being pregnant the same time either, yet the girls were born only three days apart!  Having come from a family where our cousins are spread all over the country, I can see how really great it is for our kids to be so close to each other.  And I know thats only possible because we are all so close.

So many wonderful and crafty gifts!!!

I just love this photo of Kim's belly as she stands with her girlfriends chatting.  So cute!

The food was delicious!

Me and Kimmie. =)  *Please excuse the fact that the whole point of the photo was to have our bellies in it, and my poor husband who just had teeth removed the day before took it.  (Think he might have still been on his medicine)   =)

Mommy and Daddy of twin boys!  Colton and Reagan, you have two AWESOME parents!

Love you guys!


Monday, May 16, 2011

8 Years | personal

This year marked 8 years that we have been married.  In some ways, it's been a loooong 8 years.  But most ways, it's gone by way too fast.  There have been quite a few speed bumps we've had to travel over, but we've managed to do it together.  And, last year we got to celebrate our victory over those bumps (completely unplanned, and a surprise to us both, I must say) by renewing our wedding vows at church the night of our 7th anniversary.  It was so powerful for the two of us, and so appropriate.

I can truly say that we are better than we ever were before.  After 8 married years, we've still got the goosebumps -  holding hands - sitting close - silly giggles and laughter that new couples have,  but we've also got the best friends - stand by each other no matter what - respect - and love that only a couple who has been married for so many years can ever have.  I feel truly blessed to have found such a relationship.

Truly blessed.

There was so much going on the weekend before and the weekend after our anniversary that we decided to put off our little celebration until the last weekend of April.  I'm so glad we did, because it turned out to be a beautiful and perfect weekend out on the water.

Usually, when we go camping, we try to book a camp site ahead of time, or at least know where we are going before we get there.  This time, since our little trip was somewhat last minute, we decided to just wing it and find a spot that you are allowed to camp but isn't part of the State campgrounds.  We ended up driving about 30 minutes from where we loaded the boat and finding this peak of an island where nobody else was staying.  And it was perfect!  We had our own little space and the sunset and sunrise in plain view with water surrounding us on three sides.  So beautiful!

As we were unloading our stuff from the boat and setting up camp, I was snapping a few pictures of our little island scene.  I walked back over to where Brian was unloading the firewood from the boat and snapped a photo of it.  When I looked back at my camera screen I laughed so hard!  It looks like he was about to get clobbered with his own wood!  Who threw that at him???  It wasn't me!  I swear!

Isn't it so pretty?  The weather was just perfect too.  Just enough sun to keep us warm, and just enough breeze to keep the bugs away.

As night was falling, Brian cooked us dinner on his portable grill that Stephanie got him for Christmas.  That thing can really cook too!

We decided to go to bed early and wake up around 1am to go shrimping.  When the time came, I really did not want to wake back up and get on the boat for another 30 minute ride away from camp, but I'm so glad that I did!  I had never been shrimping before and it's quite neat to be out on the water that time of night.  Plus, it made Brian so happy that I went without complaining.  He just loves doing these kinds of things and it makes him feel good when he gets to share it with me.

When we got back to camp and ready to head back to sleep, we kept hearing this noise and realized the raccoons were getting into our cooler!  So, Brian got back up, shoed them away and set his boat battery on top of the cooler so they couldn't get into it.  Unfortunately, they had already gotten to our brand new loaf of bread that was meant for our lunches the next day.  As he was getting that straightened out, one of those raccoons was rather aggressive and TRIED TO GET IN THE TENT WITH ME!  I yelled at him and he ran away, but my goodness, what would I have done if he got in there?  Yuck!

After all that excitement, back to bed it was.  And man, did we sleep good!  It was so nice.  Quiet, other than the sounds of the wind blowing the trees and an occasional boat on the water.  When we woke up the next morning, it was so beautiful.  I actually should have taken video, because my photo of what I saw when I woke up just does not do it justice.

After getting up and dressed into our bathing suits, it was back on the water for some fishing.  Brian put a nice Trout in the cooler!

We decided since I wasn't about to eat the rest of the bread that the raccoons left for us that we would drive over to Ponce Inlet and have some lunch at one of the restaurants on the water.

There were dolphin everywhere.  Most of the time they were pretty close to our boat and Brian would slow down so I could take a picture, but the little buggers just didn't want a close up.

Brian being silly.

Our only disagreement for the weekend was weather or not we should leave the rest of the bread for the raccoons when we were leaving.  My thought was that they didn't deserve it because they didn't ask in the first place, why give in to them?  But Brian loves animals much more than I do, I guess.  So here's the bread, all spread out for them to eat.  I do love him for his kind heart. 

Guess I was taking too long getting that photo of the bread.  Brian started to leave me! =)

Brian, thank you so much for this little trip.  I had such a good time and have missed doing this kind of stuff with you. 

Funny, that I was pregnant with Gracey the first time we ever camped together and pregnant again this time when we haven't been camping together in a few years. 

Perfect, our little weekend together.

Wonderful, that we are still loving each other like we did in the beginning.

Marvelous, that we are loving each other even better than we did in the beginning. 

Thank you for all the little things that you do.  Thank you for always holding my hand.  Thank you for all the kisses goodbye in the morning, and kisses hello in the afternoon.  Thank you for all the support when I start getting crazy pregnancy brain.  Thank you for always thinking that I am beautiful.

Thank you for being such a wonderful husband to me.  

I love you so very much.