Katie & Ryan Ocean Maternity Session Fort DeSoto Park Beach St. Petersburg, FL

July 9, 2019

I met Katie and Ryan over two years ago when I had the honor of photographing their wedding.  From the moment Katie and I spoke on the phone, we chatted away like we were old friends.  You know when you just click with someone?  Well, that is exactly how it felt.

Katie is one of the sweetest and most genuine people I know.  She has this easy peaceful nature about her.  Quick to smile with a contagious laugh, Katie will always ask how you are and honestly care about your answer.  (She even has me text to make sure I get home safe)  She is just honest, open, loving and real.

Most will say she is a bombshell.  A tall, leggy blonde with deep, chocolate brown eyes, and a heart stopping smile.  But, it is her heart and soul that define her.   They say “Outer beauty pleases the Eye, but inner beauty captivates the HEART’.  Well, Katie holds everyone spellbound.

Katie is the Owner and Designer of Ocean Born Jewelry specializing in one of a kind natural element pieces.  Her work can be seen in shows across the state of Florida from Miami to the Gulf.

Her husband Ryan is just as dreamy.  Devilishly handsome, with a head of dark curly hair and killer eyes.  He is an athlete, and you will find him out in the Gulf flying across the waves and flipping through the air on his custom made kite board.  If you happen to drive from St. Pete toward the Sunshine Skyway Bridge on a windy day, look out along the water.  Bright colors dominate the horizon as kiteboarder’s and windsurfer’s flip and twist among the wind and waves.  Chances are one of those daredevils will be Ryan.

Ryan is an industrial designer and owner of Maximo Design Group.  His work is phenomenal if you are in the need for branding or a custom design.  He also designs and builds custom kite boards.  Talk about talent?

Both Katie and Ryan are very athletic and love the outdoors, and the ocean is their happy place.  They are the couple who ride their one wheel skateboards to the grocery store instead of taking the car.  (Well, that was before the pregnancy)  This will all change very soon when Jocelyn makes her appearance and they will have to trade their old adventures for new.  One of car seats and baby carriers, diaper bags and strollers.  But their new little angel is the sweetest adventure one can dream of, and they are both over the moon with love for their sweet little girl.

With their love of the Saltlife, when it came time to pick a location for their maternity session nothing would do but strolling the sandy, salt kissed shores of the Gulf.  I had a vision in mind for some images, and told Ryan he would be getting wet.  Thankfully, he was okay with taking a dip in the waves to appease my creativity. ( I think the results are ah-mazing.)

We started out with a few snuggle poses on the beach, and the way Ryan was looking down at Katie with such love in his eyes made me tear up.  I overheard Katie say to him, “Don’t cry, or you’ll make me cry” and that was all it took for me.  Cue lip quiver.

This session was taken in two segments, as the first time we went out a wave literally washed over my camera.  It quit.  Dead.  But not before I got some awesome images.  Whew.  So, we tried again the following weekend.  It poured, and I mean poured my entire ride over from Orlando and I was unsure if the session would happen.  Luckily, the closer I got to Fort DeSoto, the sky cleared.  Right before we were supposed to start, lightning struck and the sky opened up creating a mass exodus for the parking lot.  Katie was positive it would clear up so we waited it out.  And she was right!

We walked back down to a beach we had completely to ourselves.  The clouds were so low, it felt like we were engulfed in their mist and glowed with this ethereal white light.  We could not have staged a more dreamy session.  We even were blessed with dolphins jumping and feeding in the surf behind us.  (Look for a tail in one of the images)  This photo session was a challenge as the light went from bright, to dark and gloomy, to this white heavenly glow.  I felt like a set designer was swapping out backdrops every few moments for us.

I am honored to have these two incredible people in my life, and better yet to call them friends.

(And by the way, everyone keeps saying they look like Meredith and Derek from Grey’s Anatomy.  I guess they kinda do!  I will have to start calling Ryan McDreamy.)

I hope you enjoy a sampling of their images from two very different days and sessions!

XO Sue
























The storm clouds darkened the sky right before the rain started.

Sneak Peek-34

(From Session 1 before my camera was taken out by a wave.  At least we got an image with our typical Florida Sunset)







As you can see we shot till after dark, but the clouds still gave us enough ambient light and provided a very different look.


Equipment:  Nikon D750, Nikon D850  Full frame

Lenses:  Sigma Art 50 mm 1.2, Sigma Art 135 1.4, Nikon 85 1.4

Flash:  Nikon SB700 with a Gary Fong Lighsphere



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