Cherry Blossom Inspired Wedding at Kentlands Mansion | Y & K

An Intimate Maryland Wedding

Celebrating Y & K

It may be February outside, but I am already setting my sights on spring in DC... which means warm(er) weather and the famous DC cherry blossoms! Congratulations to Y & K, who were married last April at Kentlands Mansion in Gaithersburg, Maryland! I photographed one of my first weddings ever at the mansion back in 2012, so their wedding brought back a sweep of nostalgia! 

K and Y met each other through mutual friends over hot pot and immediately connected. They would hang out and play video games together every opportunity they got. K’s proposal was also a super romantic one. When Y got home from work one day, she found a card with a bouquet of flowers. The card was written in their dog Genie's (golden doodle puppy) voice, which said, "I love you. Today, tomorrow and always, and Genie does too. Will you marry us?"

Following their engagement session in Old Town Alexandria, Laurentina Photography had the honor of creating photos and a highlights video for their Cherry Blossom inspired spring wedding.  Y & K chose a perfect and warm spring day to celebrate with their family and friends. The decor was also very lovely, adorned with the curated wedding colors of pastel pink, straw, and glitter.

A few of my favorite wedding highlights: their bubbles exit, the Soju Yogurt Cocktail (which was the official wedding drink) and watching their small group of treasured family and friends dance to the Macarena! Not to mention, that delicious pink fondant wedding cake, which happens to be a light and moist mocha green tea flavored cake from Chinatown in NYC! Asian foodie taste buds rejoice! 


Y & K: I wish you both a lifetime of endless love and happiness! Thank you for letting me be a part of your intimate wedding day! 


Shoutout to the Vendor Team:

Venue: Kentlands Mansion  
Florals: Kentlands Flowers and Bows  
Hair: Mika's Hair Studio  
Groom's Tux: Blank Label
Groomsmen Tux: Blank Label
Catering: Purple Onion 
Officiant: Rev. Martin Lavery 
Wedding Dress: BHLDN
Bridesmaid Dresses: Donna Morgan 

Bride's Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Makeup and Hair Tips for Professional Portraits | Best Face Forward

How to look your best for any Photo Session

Advice and tips from Kara Reade Gomez of Best Face Forward - Skin, Makeup, Hair

Lead makeup artist Kara Reade Gomez shares her secrets for makeup & hair!

Lead makeup artist Kara Reade Gomez shares her secrets for makeup & hair!

I have had the pleasure of working with Kara since 2016 and cannot recommend her enough. She has an upbeat personality and will make you look your absolute best -- not to mention, she is super fast at responding, dedicated to her craft and balances motherhood and a rockstar career with such grace! My clients love her and I know that you will, too! 

1.) Tell me a little bit about yourself. How did you get started and what inspires your work?

I actually have a bit of a unique story! My parents started an international marketing company
before I was born , and one of the partnerships was a global beauty brand. My mom dove into
that area of their business out of her own personal interest and so as I was growing up, I saw
my mom teaching people about skin care and makeup all the time. Our house was the house
where all my friends learned how to wash their face.

It wasn’t until I was engaged and planning my own wedding, that I started realizing there was a
major unanswered need in the beauty market for girls like me. I had a hard time finding experts
that could not only provide our service, but educate, and basically make the process of prepping myself and my party stress free. After expressing my frustration with not being able to find a full-service, educated team, my wedding photographer encouraged me to “just do it” myself. I thought he was crazy, but the more I thought about it, I decided randomly (which is funny because I’m not normally random at all!) to give it a go and see where things could go.

Six years later… 32 girls, 3 markets and hundreds of weddings and clients later, here we are!
Ever since the beginning, I’ve been inspired by 2 things. The success of my parents in business - I strive to continue that legacy for our family because I was taught by the best entrepreneurs! My other inspiration is actually my very own wedding experience. I feel like every client deserves a stress-free experience so they can feel confident and relaxed. It sets the tone for their event. I know that when I see a smiling client in their photos, I had a part in that, and that is awesome!

2.) Why is professional hair & makeup so important for a photography session?

Professional Headshot Makeup for one of our clients by Kara of Best Face Forward. 

Professional Headshot Makeup for one of our clients by Kara of Best Face Forward. 

Makeup and hair is important for a photography session because most people are not educated about the best products and looks for them. People tend to get into a rut, and usually professionals in the working world are on the go… and likely foregoing much makeup and hair prep time each morning. So, professional preparation can make or break your headshot and ensure you stand out as the most polished and friendly. A few key things that hair and makeup artists can do: even out skin tone, reduce shine, tame flyaways, use complimentary colors
that make your features pop, and give you confidence!! In the end, having photos taken can be stressful and anxiety- inducing for many people and bring properly prepped can reduce your stress, which can make you more relaxed in front of the camera. That translates through your photo and makes you look confident and relatable!

3.) What are your top tips for DIY hair & makeup at home?

My 2 ultimate tips actually would be two things that help ANY makeup application: drink lots of water and get great sleep before your session!

You will look refreshed with more supple skin if you do! In regards to makeup and hair at home or every day, they would include finding a great nude lip color, a mascara that really emphasizes lashes so you look awake, and a great hair shine spray! They can help someone look just a bit more put together without much effort!!

Kara of Best Face Forward doing makeup for a client in my studio! 

Kara of Best Face Forward doing makeup for a client in my studio! 

4.) What about hair and grooming for men? I have many male clients who are hesitant to add this option to their headshots package.

Oh yes!!! I can’t say this enough!!! Men have skin that in many cases, ages worse than women!! Men are not taught or encouraged to have a routine. Ugh!! It can be totally basic but you NEED to use more than just soap and water!! Because of the lack of regimen of any products that can repair and/or protect the skin, males tend to have fine lines, rough skin,and usually razor burn! Grooming for any photoshoot can help take care of that so it isn’t apparent in photos! Men can literally look 10-15 years younger with a quick grooming session in advance! The difference is really pretty surprising!

Best Face Forward also specializes in Senior Portrait photography makeup and I loved working with Kara to create these images for my clients!

Best Face Forward also specializes in Senior Portrait photography makeup and I loved working with Kara to create these images for my clients!

5.) Can you recommend some brands our headshot clients can experiment with prior to their

Some great go-to quick and accessible brands I love are E.L.F. and Real Techniques for proper makeup brushes. They are user-friendly because they are LABELED so you know what to use them for!!! As for treating chapped or dry lips - because most people have them- use Carmex, which can be found at a drugstore!! If you feel like experimenting with lashes and getting girlie, you can find Ardell 110s (that’s the brand and “model” #) at a drugstore and then go to their website for a quick tutorial on how to apply. And the last brand I love that is easy to integrate for the everyday user is NYX- they have my fave liquid lip color that can stay all day and in lots of colors from nudes to berry tints! Once the client comes to their session, I can help them with more personalized recommendations for skin care, and proper foundations and concealers!


Thank you, Kara, for taking the time to educate past, present and future Laurentina Photography clients about why professional hair and makeup is SO important for every photo session! You can learn more about Kara here on her social media accounts below: 




Wedding Wire


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Wedding | Austin Texas Destination Wedding Photographer | Jadzia and Mike

Destination Wedding in Austin, Texas

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Wedding Highlights 

It's been almost three months since Jadzia & Mike said "I Do" on that warm September evening in front of Cecil's Arch at the gorgeous Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. This destination wedding was over a year in the making; every last detail showcased perfection and artistry at it's finest, not to mention an amazing team of vendors who went above and beyond to create joy on the happiest day of their lives. 


I'm SO very grateful to have been a part of Jadzia & Mike's special day since that stormy July evening in 2016, when Mike (and their black lab Gunner - via the Orlando Sentinel) proposed to Jadzia in front of the Newseum in DC. I connected with their beautiful story of love for each other, celebrating life as a journey rather than a destination and above all... their vibrant personalities. Throughout their engagement session, I secretly wished that I could also photograph their wedding and on September 30th, 2017 it finally happened!

Jadzia and Mike have such a big heart for both their families and communities. Less than a month before the big day, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma devastated both of their hometowns. In lieu of their wedding registry, Jadzia and Mike encouraged their wedding guests to donate to charitable causes that support hurricane relief. That alone speaks volumes about their character and the legacy they will no doubt show for generations to come.

Best Dog at Wedding in Austin Texas

When it came time to celebrate with family and friends on the day of their wedding, everyone came together to make their wedding the party of a lifetime! Details such as Texan succulents in the bride's bouquet, fruitwood vineyard tables laced with a greenery garland, chiavari chairs and Trusses of hanging candles in glass domes combined natural + earthy tones with a modern aesthetic for the most romantic Southwest wedding. The bride's blush pink dress also complimented the official wedding colors of ivory, mint and slate. Not to mention, Gunner as the "Best Dog" of the wedding! 

Jadzia and Mike's wedding captured both the essence of the famous Austin wildflower center and the vibrant personalities of the couple. The entire evening was magical and a dream come true. It was hard to pick my favorites from their wedding celebration, so I hope you enjoy what I have put together!

Jadzia & Mike: it was truly a honor to work with you both and journey through this adventure, from the night of your proposal into marriage! Thank you for trusting me to capture the best day of your life in such a gorgeous location! I look forward to many more portrait sessions with you in the future, such as anniversary sessions and more close-ups with Gunner!  

For anyone looking for wedding vendors in the Austin Area, I worked with the BEST in the industry and highly recommend them all:

Planner: Something To Celebrate
Venue: Wildflower Center
Officiant: Jill Grothusen
Caterer: Royal Fig 
Florist: Last Petal
Ceremony Music: Musical Discovery 
DJ: Altared Weddings
Live Music (Band): Horizon
Rentals: Marquee 
Lighting: Ilios
Trusses: Floral Philosophies
Hair & Makeup: Pearl Maris
Bridal Hair: Ramon Alonso
Getting Ready Venue: Omni Austin Downtown 
Stationery: The Inviting Pear  // Cake: Simon Lee Bakery 

Bride's Jewerly: Kendra Scott // Groom's Shoes + Cufflinks: J. Hilburn

Tahereh + Dayheem Wedding | Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast, Middleburg, Virginia Photographer

A Rustic, Romantic Baha'i Wedding Celebration 

At the foot of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

Tahereh and Dayheem. They met briefly at a Baha'i youth retreat in North Carolina, but did not reconnect until almost a decade later, where (according to their friends and family) both rekindled "the heart's natural longing for love's tender snuggle…" . These two lovebirds, two bright orbs were joined together in a beautiful marriage celebration in a rustic, romantic and spiritual wedding celebration this spring. Who doesn't love it when stories like this come Full Circle? 

This was our first Baha'i wedding and we enjoyed every minute of this unique wedding ceremony. Since there are no clergy nor churches in the Faith, many traditions that are associated with other Faiths (i.e. wearing a certain color, religious rituals, etc.) don’t apply. In fact, one of the very few requirements of a Baha’i wedding ceremony is that both bride and groom recite the verse, “We will all, verily, abide by the will of God”. 


T&D's ceremony was a blending of Iranian-American and international cultures, live music from talented family and friends, sung prayers and a bubbles exit... where the newlyweds exuded every ounce of joy and passion while dancing their way out! I could not help but shed a few tears during the ceremony, simply because you would feel the passionate love they have for each other and for every wedding guest who attended that night.

I absolutely adored documenting T&D's celebration, which took place at Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast on the hottest day of the year so far. It was an unusually warm and humid "spring" day, with temperatures reaching the low 90s and the humidity over 80%, but T&D rocked the many family portraits flawlessly. 

My favorite part, however, was capturing T&D's First Look. It didn't matter that it felt hotter than the hottest day in July... the only thing that mattered was each other's presence, holding each other and celebrating the start of their eternal bond. And did I mention how stunning both of their outfits were? (Tahereh in her BHLDN vintage inspired lace wedding dress and Dayheem rocking his cobalt blue Brooks Brothers tux.)

Congratulations, Tahereh and Dayheem! 

I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness. Best of luck on the next adventure in life! And thank you for living out your life's mission of light and love!

Please enjoy some of my favorites from the epic #TDayWedding

Wedding Vendors:

Venue: Briar Patch B&B, Middleburg, VA

Photography: Laurentina Photography

Makeup: Makeup by Shadi

Hair: Salon Aubrey

Florals & Decor: Kaihan Strain, Shahri Naderi, Parisa Haghighi

Bride's Dress: BHLDN

Groom's Tux: Brook's Brothers

Caterer: Johnny's Kebab

Cake: Salamander Market

Wedding Videography Tips | DC Wedding Videography + CINEMATOGRAPHY


your love story, captured well IN A MOVIE

Congratulations! You have just chosen a wedding videographer (or perhaps a vendor that does both photography and video) and need to meet with them to discuss your wedding highlights film. What are the best questions to ask? And what is the best way to prepare for the big day, so that you will enjoy watching your wedding video for years to come?

Before the Wedding

Your videographer should meet with you face to face. This can be in-person at a local coffee shop, in their studio/office or virtually via FaceTime or Skype. Think about the kind of edit that you would like for your video - our work is more cinematic (playing out more like a movie, which includes montages and music) in style, but if you prefer a more documentary edit (a chronological order of events, from start to finish) reasons, please let us know in advance so that we are equipped with the gear and team to accommodate you. 

Consider the LIGHT when you choose the location where you are getting ready. Are there windows and do they face east or west? What time of day are you getting ready? Natural window light works best and is more flattering, and can also provide opportunity for contrast, shadows and drama in our storytelling as videographers. And make sure you are comfortable in that environment -- it will show in the video! 


Make sure that you and your videographer are on the same page about what the final product looks like and the kind of story you want your video to tell. We will use our creative discretion for all editing curation, but need your input too! Here are some good questions to consider:

  •  Is there a specific song you would like to use for your highlights video?
  • What are the key moments that you want to include in your film (getting ready, first look, traditions, ceremony, speeches/toasts, final exit) - we always require our couples to provide a shot list so that nothing gets lost in the mix!
  • Are there any limitations on filming in your wedding venue (i.e. no lights in churches, etc.) 
  • Can your videographer capture the event from multiple angles? 
  • If we are filming an interview or voiceover, is there a quiet place to escape to where there is minimal background noise? Or is there a possibility that we can do this portion before or after the wedding (so that it doesn't take away from the big day)? 
  • What kind of audio and lighting devices are will the videographer bring to the wedding?
  • How many people are on your team and who are they?
  • Do you want a full-length coverage of certain events to be filmed on a tripod (but not included in the highlights video)?

During the Wedding

The day is finally here! You made it to the most important day of your life! You will most likely feel like you are walking down the red carpet, with the paparazzi chasing after you... so feel special, leave the worrying up to the people you hired (your vendors!), take a DEEP BREATH and just enjoy your day! We won't ask you to "smile" for the camera, but pretend that we are not there... that is the best way to document the most authentic wedding films!

We want to see you interact with the wedding party as you get ready, cry while reading the sweet letter from your partner, really go in and KISS your partner when it becomes official, celebrate with friends and family, EAT THAT CAKE and dance like no one's watching! 

**Another great way for you to remember your wedding day (from a CREATIVE ANGLE) is to have friends record messages for you on your big day. If you are interested in this idea, consider setting up a photo booth with a backdrop (and PROPS!). Have one of the videographers film each person sending you both greetings (and maybe even doing a dance) - this is something that you can watch over and over again, as you open your gifts after the wedding and write your *THANK YOU* notes to friends and family for their attendance!

After the Wedding


You should be familiar with the videographer's editing process and turn-around time. Some videos take 4-6 weeks to edit, while others take up to a year! Keep in touch with your videographer as they will with you -- turn off all distractions while viewing the edits that they send you. Make a list of the things that you love about your highlights video, as well as things you want to tweak. With our videography services, you get up to 2 edits for the final highlights video.

REMEMBER THAT THIS VIDEO IS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR LIFE PARTNER. A lot of times, we have come across family members intervening and making decisions for the married couple, even after the marriage is complete. We understand that sometimes this happens and more times than not, it is cultural (trust me, I have been there) -- however, those who signed the contract should be the ones making the final decisions regarding their video.

And finally, if you LOVE the video, make it a point to show the video on the BIG SCREEN to your family and friends. They will cherish the experience more and appreciate all that the beauty of film has to offer on the most special day of your life! 

We believe that your wedding is just the beginning of a great adventure together. We want to celebrate you and document this very special day that you will remember for the rest of your life! If you are interested in a videography experience with Laurentina Photography & Video, send us a note HERE! We would LOVE to chat!

#filmsbyLaurentina | 

Y & K Engaged | Old Town Alexandria Cherry Blossom Engagement

Old Town Alexandria Engagement Session

Waterfront, Cobblestone Street, Cherry Blossoms

We were gifted a beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon for Y + K's Old Town Alexandria engagement session. Spring was in the air and the cherry blossoms that persevered through the winter storm were at its peak bloom. Simply put, it was a wonderful spring afternoon for an engagement session!

Y + K brought their golden doodle puppy (Genie) along for the photo session. Genie was so excited to explore his new surroundings with us. We walked along my favorite route for engagement portraits: starting on the docks at Founder's Park (351 N. Union St, by the boat house), walking down the pier by the Torpedo Factory Art Center and ended our session on the famous cobblestone street (Prince Street), located right next to the Alexandria Athenaeum

Here are some of my favorites from this spring engagement session:


Congratulations to Y + K on your engagement! It was so much fun to document your love for each other and for Genie! We look forward to photographing and filming your wedding in Maryland this month!

Slovenian Easter Traditions | Preddvor, Slovenia | Destination Photographer

Easter in Slovenia

A Lifestyle Children's Photo Session at Lake Preddvor

Last spring, I had the opportunity to visit Slovenia during the week leading up to Easter and share in some of the country's religious and cultural traditions. As a sometimes destination photographer, one of my favorite travel pastimes is to use photography as a cultural bridge with the locals I meet, and as a means of educating friends and family back home. 

Preddvor Slovenia

I met Rebekah (+ her sons Blaz and Brin) and Ziva (+ her daughters Mirna and Zarja) through my Slovenian pen pal of 20 years, Janja. The three of them work together at the University in Ljubjalana (in Slovenia's capital) and their family friendship spans across three generations. In addition, Rebekah and Ziva are high school friends and their children spend weekends, summers and all holidays together.

Preddvor Slovenia

We went to Rebekah's majestic hometown of Preddvor, Slovenia for the photo shoot (just under an hour from Ljubjlana), where there is a serene lake and the Julian Alps as the perfect backdrop. It was Good Friday, and the kids were getting their Easter baskets ready.

(From Rebekah): "A week before Easter, on Palm Sunday, people take a decorated olive-tree-brunch or a butarica to the church to be blessed. Children sometimes put an orange or an apple on the branch. This branch kept through the year and used during three important occasions: Christmas Eve, New Year Eve and the Twelfth Night. On Easter Sunday, a basket of food is prepared and covered with a handmade cloth and brought to the church to be blessed. A typical Easter basket includes bread, colored eggs, ham, horseradish and a type of a nut cake called potica - which has religious symbolism referencing the Passion of Christ. While everyone is in the church, the Easter Rabbit comes and brings sweets to the children."

It was fun learning about Slovenian Easter traditions with my four new Slovenian friends in such a storybook, whimsical setting. Even though English is taught in school, the kids could not understand much of what I was saying (their moms had to translate) but thankfully, laughter and the word "smile" is universal. And I loved how Rebekah and Ziva simply let their children explore without hesitation... the ultimate "childhood unplugged" experience!

Easter eggs in Preddvor Slovenia

Slovenia is a darling little country with so much heart and I can't wait until my next trip back! Hope you enjoyed this post on Slovenian Easter traditions... since Easter is so late this year (and I gave up desserts for Lent), I can't stop asking myself, "Are we there yet?" 

Photography: Laurentina Photography

Styling: Rebekah Zalle Zorman + Ziva Broder

Children's Wardrobe:

Mirna and Zarja (H&M, Doc Martens, Converse)

Blaz and Brin (United Colors of Benetton, H&M) 

Loudoun County Photographer | Snow Day Portraits at Algonkian Regional Park

Snow in March?

Golden Hour Portraits at Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, VA

As a photographer who has worked in this area for many years, I have come to accept the fact that the weather in Northern Virginia is more than unpredictable! Summer, winter, summer, winter, spring? The warm sun could be shining on your face on a mild "winter" day in February, or gale force winds could be blowing at you on an "almost spring" evening in March!

This week, the Northeast finally experienced our first "significant" snowfall of the season, aptly named Winter Storm Stella. Unlike the blizzards of previous years, Stella brought Fairfax and Loudoun Country residents 3-5 inches of snow. Schools and businesses were closed, and many of us were able to work from home (or in my case, #adult less). 

To celebrate the season's first (and only?) snowfall, my fellow photographer friend Brooke and I planned an impromptu photo shoot in the snow. We went to Algonkian Regional Park (one of my favorite locations for portraits, by the way) to seek the golden hour light and photograph our friends enjoying the snow day! Here are some of my favorites:


We had some cloud coverage, but eventually the sun decided to pop out and give the landscape some color after a stormy day...

Many thanks to the models (Viji, Tanvi, Trisha, Clint, Megan and Glor) who came out to brave the cold and pose for us! You are all rockstars and I love you all for embracing the elements and celebrating the beauty of photography as an "all weather art form"! 

#PROTIP: It is okay to be silly sometimes... actually... always! 

For more information on Lifestyle Portraits for families, engaged couples and ladies who rock, please check out our Portraits Gallery on the website! 

Alison & Sam | Sis & Co @ Petaling Jaya | Malaysia Engagement Photography

A Foodie Engagement Photo Session

Sis & Co | Petaling Jaya | Malaysia

As an international destination photographer based in the DC Area, it warms my heart to meet couples from all over the world, document their love stories and also learn about the wedding industry in that particular country.

Last month, I was visiting my sister in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia (a suburb of the capital city Kuala Lumpur) and had the opportunity to meet Alison and Sam. They are getting married in just a couple of months... May! We met for brunch at one of their favorite date spots: Sis & Co, a warehouse cafe secretly nested in an industrial area, full of natural light, tantilizing flavors and great energy.

Throughout the photo shoot, I had so much fun getting to know Alison and Sam's humor, quirks and love for Tiger beer + chicken wings! It was also a plus that our session took place during the Lunar New Year, so the restaurant was decorated with red lanterns, festive green garland and sparkly lights. 

Here is a recap of some of my favorite shots from Alison and Sam's engagement session! It was such an honor to get to you know through the lens and best of luck as you plan your wedding day celebration! 

#EngagementPhotoTip: When deciding on locations for your photo shoot, choose a location that is meaningful and a part of your love story! 

***To learn more about engagement sessions with Laurentina Photography, send us an email at!