I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far.

Lael Couper Jepson Unscripted Book Cover

“There is power – and a sacred gift – in simply witnessing another.” – Lael Couper Jepson, Unscripted: A Woman’s Living Prayer

When Lael Couper Jepson asks you if you’d like to do something, the answer is always YES. I’ve never been sorry for saying yes to Lael, and this was another one of those cases.

Lael asked me to photograph her for her first book, Unscripted, and I was immediately excited by the idea. Though she shared a snippet of her book with me prior to our scheduled session, I decided to go in blind so as to not let my bias dictate what I captured.


Lael invited me and Nicki Fenderson of SugarJets Studio (who designed the cover of her book) to her office in the Old Port of Portland, Maine. With me, I brought the biggest white backdrop I could find – one thing you learn about Lael is that she cannot be contained!

She prepared a playlist of music that she could dance to and that would journey her through both spectrums of the masculine and feminine – which she wanted to portray on the cover of her book. What unfolded was magic.

When the dancing was over, we took a little time for casual portraits in her space. I see her wisdom and strength in these portraits, and it was a pleasure to be a part of such an incredible project.

When the finished book arrived, it sat as a prized possession on my dining room table. I was too afraid to touch it! I couldn’t believe my photos were on the cover and most importantly, there was an entire book written by this amazing woman. She had signed and even mentioned me on the actual pages!

“The same holds true for the unbelievably talented photographer Melissa Mullen. The woman she captured in her pictures of me was ultimately the one I was able to fall in love with – with my whole heart.  These two women have been my biggest visual champions.”

While walking through the Old Port one day, I spotted her book in the window of Sherman Books. I’m sure everyone on the block heard me when I saw it because it was just so exciting!  I snapped a photo of that window and will never forget that moment.

I decided to keep the book she signed in pristine condition, so I bought her book for my Kindle and gobbled up her words like the most delicious food you can imagine.  Here are some of my favorite highlights:

Chapter 3: My Story of Uprooting

“Consciously making a move to pull up my roots and go find some more nourishing soil in which to stick them.  Not because I was bored {although that is most commonly my signal} or because I’m afraid of commitment, but because my roots were telling me it’s time.  Because I had pulled all the possible nourishment out of this soil and I was now getting diminishing returns {or nothing}.”

I was nodding my head while reading this. I have been uprooted a few times myself, so it was like YES. That is IT!  Seeking nourishment.

Chapter 10: Naturally Striving

“I had been taking things for long walks my whole life.”

Your stories, the stories you tell yourself . . . think about it.  That’s a wake-up call to read that line.

Chapter 11: One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

“In that moment, I envied him being a man.  Women don’t often give themselves permission to march up streets and rip new a**holes – but, oh, how delicious that sounded in that moment.  Just call it, draw the line, put a finger in the chest, give the hairy eyeball and say, “Do we understand each other?”  BAM!  Done. End of Story.”

I could actually hear her saying this.  I could see it.  I could feel that power and OHHHH is it good.  What she goes on to say is so incredibly relatable.

To learn more about Lael, visit her website, SheChanges.

You can also listen to her An Unscripted Woman podcast

Finally, you can find her book locally or on Amazon.

If you’ve read Lael’s book and loved it like me, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

xoxo . . .

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Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit the Melissa Mullen Photography blog. I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far. Please feel free to take a look around and introduce yourself by leaving a comment of affection at the bottom of any of the posts. Or drop me a note as I would love to hear from you.

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