Jacksonville Wedding Photographer

Kayla + Kris Celebrate 5 Years | Leighton DaCosta Starke, FL Wedding Photographer

Kayla + Kris Celebrate 5 Years | Leighton DaCosta Starke, FL Wedding Photographer

Wow, five years flies by so fast. I remember this wedding in Starke, FL between Kayla and Kris Kadlec. Saturday, May 14th, 2011. Such a beautiful wedding and day.


Survey Question #18: Does my photographer really need to be insured?

If you asked me 10 years ago, does a photographer need to carry liability insurance, I would have probably looked at you crazy. Why? At that time, I knew of nobody that had been injured or killed while taking a photograph. I would have told another photographer, "Just cover your gear and you're good!" Today with photographers taking photographs on more and more railroad tracks (usually illegal), private property, and other places; placing clients in danger, I have done a total about face on this subject. 

One of the first weddings I've ever shot, I ended up booking, because the other photographers did not carry liability insurance. The venue required only $100,000 at the time, and I was covered for that. I didn't think anything of it though, until after the fact when I found out why I had won the booking, and started seeing more and more venues require liability coverage. These days, usually between $1 Million and $5 Million at some of the premium venues.  

Simply put, EVERY vendor you work with should be insured for the unforeseen. In most cases, the insurance is pretty affordable, and there are companies who specialize in photography studios and businesses. This is a legitimate question to ask your photographer, and the answer should always be, "YES!"

If you find a vendor who DOESN'T carry basic business liability insurance, be very concerned. This could be a signal that he doesn't have the other requisites in running a legitimate business in his state or city. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. 



I just got a little more social!

See my most recent Tweets and 'Grams right from the Director's Cut page!

See my most recent Tweets and 'Grams right from the Director's Cut page!

For those of you who use Instagram or Twitter, and are like me, you probably follow hundreds of folks. I know I follow these folks, because I really want to see what they have to say and show. Unfortunately because of busy schedules, and multiple postings, I sometimes miss some REALLY great tweets and grams. I bet you are probably like me, so guess what?

On the Director's Cut page, you will see my own personal direct feeds from Twitter and Instagram! And if you are not already following me, feel free and add me. I would love to see what inspires you as well! 

Hope you enjoy!




5 Things To Remember in Your Wedding Budget


As many couples start their wedding planning this time of year, I want to add a few tips on things to remember when planning your budget. Hope it helps, and feel free to add any tips in the comments section. 

1. SALES TAX. Ranging anywhere from 5-8% on average, sales tax can become a quick way to break the boundaries of the budget. Remember almost every vendor that you will hire will charge some kind of sales or use tax.

2. VENDOR MEALS. Most, but not all, caterers actually will count vendor meals in the overall count of an estimate. You will have a photographer and assistant(s), DJ, Planner, and other on site vendors that will be there all day, it is customary (but not a requirement) for them to be offered a meal. 

The extra night in a hotel room can add several hundred dollars in unexpected costs to your wedding budget. 

3. HOTEL ROOM. While sometimes, many larger and upscale hotels can offer you a special rate for early check in/late checkout, not all hotels will do this. So keep in mind that the hotel room that you need for 9am on Saturday morning, may have to be checked into on Friday afternoon with a Sunday morning checkout. 

4. COUNSELING. Pre-marriage counseling is a requirement in some states these days to getting a quick marriage license. This can be done for a offering to a church or through several services. While in the grand scheme, not a large expense, it is one of those expenses that may catch a bride and groom off guard, especially when they most need it. That Tuesday afternoon before they fly to Vegas for the wedding that weekend. 

5. MARRIAGE LICENSE. In most jurisdictions, the license runs as much as a couple of hundred dollars, but is often one of the last parts of the wedding that many couples apply for. If applying for a license in a different state, make sure you know what their policies are when it comes to getting a license. Especially as listed above with counselling. 

The average wedding is around $25,000 right now. If you take in consideration just THESE 5 costs, on average you will run into about $2,000-3000 in costs that often are not realized until the last minute. There are many more such as the gifts for bride/groom, parents, groomsmen/bridesmaids; the parties/rehearsal dinners, even the alterations of gowns and tuxedos. The more you know when planning, the better you can plan. 


Increase value when trying to save money on your wedding.

Increase value when trying to save money on your wedding.

Price is what you pay, Value is what you get. ~ Warren Buffet


Nicole Stoddart and Betty Blake

Styled Bridal and Beach boudoir session in Amelia Island and Jacksonville. 


  • Nicole Stoddart, Montego Bay, Jamaica W.I.
  • Betty Blake, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Makeup Artist:

  • Timothy Cabell, Savannah, Georgia
    Studio Beau Monde
    On Facebook

Hair Stylists:

Wardrobe Stylist:


  • James Burney, Photographer/Assistant to Mr. DaCosta
  • Nicholas Fletcher, Photographer/Assistant to Mr. DaCosta
  • Tiffany DaCosta, Assistant to Mr. Dacosta
  • Brei Morgan, Assistant to Mrs. Sullivan

Special thanks to: