About Lesa


Photo Credit: Carey Jacquay

Do ONLY what only YOU can do.

I live my life by this philosophy and I love capturing the essence of others who are doing what only THEY can do. I believe each of us have a “thing”, a personal gifting, that we contribute to the world. A gift that is uniquely available to only us to achieve in that specific way. A gift that acts as fertilizer in the lives of others to spur on THEIR gift. We are dominoes lined up together, helping push the next one forward.

In 1998 I realized one of my gifts was photography. So I started Shadowlands Photography out of a desire to capture the essence of those I photograph. I love seeing the eyes light up and the personalities of my subjects begin to pour out. That’s why it is so important to me to have pre-session consultations – to explore the possibilities and to break open the shell of self so that I can celebrate all of its intricacies on the day of the shoot. I am intentional which allows freedom to flow freely on the day of the session.

My passion is to create beautiful, dramatic, artistic and timeless portraits for:

  • high school seniors
  • models (both aspiring and working)
  • brands (clothing and accessories)
  • corporations (editorial and environmental headshots)
  • individuals who have a desire to have images which truly reflect who they are

The magic comes to life with a creative fusion of created sets and natural surroundings, carefree moments, modern high-fashion attitude, and classic-minded poses.

I love embracing and harnessing the power of all forms of light in order to create unforgettable images (my creativity is not limited by daylight hours).  Come dream with me! The possibilities are BEAUTIFUL!

For every photography session, I pull inspiration from my life experiences. I was born in Tucson, Arizona and then moved from coast to coast many times – living in 11 houses in 8 states (from California to Virginia and many places in between). My best mate was Change. I grew to thrive with Her – she taught me flexibility, forced me out of my perspective constantly and threw me into situations where I was not in control but instead needed to be a quiet, humble, listening observer. Some of my greatest lessons were wrought from those struggles: to look for the Irreplaceable, to be Patient in loving, and to not get scared by the moving Wind but instead to soar in its Mighty Power.

I photographed nearly every day of my life while I was growing up.  As a child I didn’t even think about the fact that it might be unusual.  It was just a natural extension of myself and it is how I processed the world around me.  I would obsessively (and catharticly) piece together scrapbook journals of my experiences, my friends (their comings and goings), my sightings in this city or that.  The shelves that are filled with my mind’s eye are numerous.  And I keep filling more…

I am indebted to my husband and our five children, mentors, friends and clients — each of whom have helped me grow closer to the one great Light.

Photo credit: Carole Moreno
Photo credit: Carole Moreno


When I am shooting, I am swept away into a carefree timelessness that allows me to delve into the nooks and crannies of not only my heart, but of those I photograph.  The eyes are most certainly the light of the soul.  It is my great honor and desire to capture that essence – the joys, the sorrows, and the Truth that unravel in their eyes and that have shaped them into who they are. And if my lens can be a catalyst to draw that out of my clients, then I have even more for which to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I fear and reverence God – and do so by celebrating with photography the fact that we are created in the image of God (that is something amazing to celebrate)! We “exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than (ourselves)” (C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory). I respond to that greatness by daily acknowledging and appreciating the fact that the REAL thing that makes the shadows I live in is the best thing.

All images © Shadowlands Photography


2 thoughts on “About Lesa

  1. Are you the Lessa Van Meter who avoided a c-section with your first baby boy by asking 2 questions ? I think you might have named him Ronan or Roman? You husband played guitar music for you? If so, I was your nurse who told you to ask those 2 questions, “is my baby okay? Am I ok?”…… I am looking for a photographer to take photos of my family during the last week of September and always wanted you to be the photographer.

    1. Oh my gosh Gretchen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don’t know how many times I have told people that story and bragged about you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You were such a saving grace for Chad and I. Yay yay yay I’m so excited to reconnect with you! xoxoxo

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