Sarah + Elliot's Richmond, Virginia Wedding | Graduate Hotel RVA + Lewis Ginter Recreation Center

Richmond, Virginia Modern Jewish Wedding

Inspired by Art Deco, Fashion and Cultural Heritage

Congratulations to Sarah & Elliot, who are celebrating their one year anniversary today! I can’t believe it’s been 365 days since these two RVA cat-parents said “We Do” in front of their family and friends. A year later, I am still swooning over their gorgeous wedding and am so honored to feature their photos on today’s blog post for all to enjoy. I was told that these two lovebirds are having cake to celebrate today and I’m so happy for them! So please, raise your glasses for Sarah + Elliot on this joyous occasion + send them love in the comments below!



Sarah and Elliot are high school sweethearts. It was said that, “Sarah laughed at Elliot's jokes on her 17th birthday at an improv show. A few weeks later, was Sarah's prom which she went to with another boy. Her neighbor, Lorin, whom she somewhat forced to go to Prom brought Elliot. They had dinner at Eggspectation and Elliot sat across from Sarah. Elliot continued his jokes all through dinner and made it a fun evening. Sarah danced at Prom, and saw Elliot looking at her throughout the night.”

At that time, Elliot had dreads and also drove a motorcycle. That was a bit concerning for Sarah’s mum (Amy) but it eventually Elliot’s personality and practicality grew on her. When Sarah expressed her desire to go out with Elliot, Lorin set up a date for the two of them. That grew into several outings which included eating freeze-dried ice cream, watching movies and a lot of swings. Finally, Elliot asked Sarah to go out with her. And then they went off to college… Sarah at a school 9 hours away and Elliot at VCU. They did the long distance thing for awhile until Sarah transferred to VCU and moved to Richmond.

Through jobs, transitions, moves and saving stray kitties (Oreo - who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and Pistachio - a huge lover boy tabby who loves to pose for the camera) after college, Sarah and Elliot moved back to Richmond to start the life they always wanted to have together: making custom tables, painting, remodeling their home, overseas travel, going out to enjoy Richmond’s foodie scene and of course, spending time with each other and their (now) 4 feline kids.



From Sarah: It was sweetly awkward. We went to this new footbridge they put up over the James (The Pipeline Riverwalk), because it was a beautiful day. I was getting hangry so I thought we should get some dinner. I started walking back, and looked back because Elliot wasn't next to me. He was down on one knee with the sunset behind him.”

Check out the engagement photos from the Pipeline Riverwalk + other RVA locations that we did in Fall 2017!



Art Deco, Vintage, Offbeat/Alternative, Fashion-Inspired, Jewish in the River City

The Graduate Hotel RVA was the official location for Getting Ready and the Ketubah Signing for Sarah & Elliot. With it’s modern-meets-hip & preppy vibe, the Graduate was the perfect backdrop for those pre-wedding candids that we have all come to love. The Ketubah is a Jewish prenuptial agreement. It is considered an integral part of the marriage, to be completed after sunset the night before the wedding. Two witnesses are also present during the signing of this document the Ketubah is traditionally read out loud under the Chuppah.

The Chuppah is a canopy under which a Jewish couple stands during their wedding ceremony. This one was made out of birch wood. Sarah, being the artist she is, sent a piece of linen with her wedding invitations and as a part of their RSVP, asked her guests to write prayers, well-wishes, draw a picture, to simply create artwork on the linen squares and mail it back so that she could stitch everything together. The symbolism behind this is that the couple was to be covered with the prayers of their loved ones as they joined their lives together.

Another unique addition at this wedding was the inclusion of a Memories Room across from the ceremony site. In this unique retro space, Elliot’s mom filled the old wooden built-in bookshelves, ledges and tables with a gallery of framed photos of Sarah & Elliot, their trophies, photo albums, certificates, as well as photos and momentos from family members who have passed on. Most wedding receptions feature a simple memory table, but Sarah & Elliot were lucky enough to have an entire room to fill with their most precious memories. This gave guests the opportunity to pause and reflect on the journey of life these two have been through during their last decade of love and to celebrate the new memories that will soon be created.

And finally, the Horah, a traditional Jewish wedding dance that originated from the Balkans, where the bride and groom are lifted above the crowd on chairs and their family/friends dance around them.


It’s super hard to pick just one favorite part of the wedding as there were so many integral moments that made the day special for these two beauties… so I’ll choose my top 3 that are not already mentioned:

1.) First Look with Sarah’s sister, Zina (who was so surprised upon seeing Sarah’s wedding “garment”) and her adorable niece Maddie

2.) Intimate Mother-Daughter moments between Sarah and Amy


ABOUT THE WEDDING JUMPSUIT (from Sarah’s Instagram post)

When Elliot and I set the date, I asked for people's thoughts on my design. I got "people are going to think you are a lesbian," "you only get married once-wear a dress like a lady," and "I don't think it is a good idea to make it yourself". I was nervous to do this, and procrastinated because I started changing my vision to fit others. I made a whole wedding dress, but hated every minute of it. 1 week before I said "I do!"... I decided to make a jumpsuit instead. I told only my fiance at first, because I did not want to hear people telling me not to. My now husband fit me in my muslin sample, something I thought he couldn't do before because it wouldn't be a stupid surprise. In 3 days, I made myself a wedding jumpsuit. It was not perfect. I wish I had time for pockets, a little more fabric to lengthen the torso and hips, the lining is still basted at the hem; but I made a jumpsuit for my wedding which is what my vision always was. 


MAZEL TOV, Sarah & Elliot for having me document your most special and fantastic wedding weekend festivities! I feel so blessed to have been a part of your celebration. Wishing you all the best as you celebrate your first wedding anniversary today and every day! Love you both so much!



Photography: Laurentina Photography

Venues: The Graduate Hotel, RVA and Lewis Ginter Recreation Center

Wedding Planner: Best Day Ever Gathering and Events

Hair & Makeup: Bombshell RVA

Rabbi/Officiant: Rabbi Bonny Grosz

Florist: Strawberry Fields Flowers & Finds

Cake/Cupcakes: Pearl’s Bake Shoppe

Donuts: Country Style Donuts

Donut Wall: Max Lopez

Bridal Jumpsuit: Created by the Bride (Sarah) herself!

Bridal Shoes: Sole Society

Ketubah Calligraphy: Morgan Swank Studio

Wording from Ketubah/Hebrew:

Flower Headpiece: Fabric Flowers by M&S Schmalberg

Jewerly: Etsy

Tying the Knot Save the Dates from Basic Invite | Rustic Country Wood

Wedding Planning + Save the Dates

Tying the Knot with Basic Invite


As a Basic Invite partner since early 2018, I was excited to start offering my clients an option to add Save the Dates and Wedding Invitations to their photography + video packages. I myself have ordered foil business cards from them and get endless compliments when giving them out at events and networking meetings! In another life, I would probably ask to be a wedding designer since I love seeing all the intricate details come to life!

In the past, I worked with several other companies and have to say that Basic Invite is truly one of a kind… as they offer incredible customization for any style of Save the Dates, unique surfaces (such as rustic wood, contemporary clear and foil!), state of the art laser engraving, an option to add your photo and also excellent customer service via email and their online chat.

tying the knot save the dates 


In addition to Save the Dates, Basic Invite also features complimentary wedding websites, address collection services and also wedding coasters! (More about their full-service offerings below). My clients have been very pleased with the variety of options they can choose from and always thank me for referring them to Basic Invite.

Rustic Country Wood - Save the Dates

I ordered a sample of the Rustic Country Wood Save the Dates via the Basic Invite website for its natural, organic feel and earthy touches. These cards feature real cherry wood veneer mounted on heavy cardstock for extra support. Each card is slightly different and unique in its own way. This is the perfect invitation suite for a dreamy wedding under the string lights of a beautiful garden overlooking the mountains (and perhaps even the ocean)! After customizing the text and design, I was able to easily place my order via their website and contacted customer support via chat when I needed something clarified.


The Save the Dates arrived within 10 business days after I ordered, packaged nicely in a sturdy envelope and paper wrapping. I also loved the option to add a return address to the envelopes. The wood was high quality and VERY sturdy, the white laser floral designs and engraving immaculate. I showed this invitation suite to perspective brides at a Wedding Expo recently and everyone commented on the unique design!


Need more reasons to check out Basic Invite for yourself?

Here is a sampling of their key offerings:


Free Wedding Websites - Basic Invite’s modern and chic wedding websites are completely customizable! Not only are they mobile friendly and easy to use, but they also allow you to upload your wedding details, images and even a map with directions onto the site. You can choose from over 180 customer colors and designs that perfectly match your wedding invitation suite.

Nearly Unlimited Colors - Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows you to choose almost unlimited colors and grants instant previews online. Once you select a design, you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180+ different color options! The option to customize your card to the last minute detail is what makes Basic Invite such a great company for Save the Dates!

Custom Samples - Want to not only look but FEEL what your Save the Date will look like before committing to ordering for all your guests? Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation to see HOW it will print before placing their final order. As visual people, we need to be able to look and TOUCH the final product before committing and Basic Invite does just that. This is also a step towards being a good steward of the environment instead of throwing out over 100+ invitations that did not meet your standard.

Basic Invite Save the Dates + Wedding Invites from a 2018 #LaurentinaPhotoBride for their Woodlands at Algonkian Wedding in Sterling, VA.

Basic Invite Save the Dates + Wedding Invites from a 2018 #LaurentinaPhotoBride for their Woodlands at Algonkian Wedding in Sterling, VA.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes - Colors, colors and more colors! Basic Invite stands out in this way and allows you to choose colors to match your wedding for your envelopes. Since your envelopes will be the first thing your guests receive in their hands, you want to make sure the colors stand out to make a positive impression. Not to mention, all of Basic Invite’s envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed!

 Over 900 Wedding Invitation Sets - Each of our wedding invitations is part of a curated wedding set. So, you You will be able to find wedding programs, escort cards and even matching thank you cards to ensure authenticity and flow in your overall wedding branding.

 Free Address Collection Service - My clients are so grateful for this option and know that it is a life-saver when you are planning a wedding! You can use Basic Invite’s free address collection service to request your addresses with just three simple steps: share a link, collect addresses, and get free envelope printing, every single time!


Seal & Send Wedding Invitations - Our Seal & Send Wedding Invitations are an all-in-one wedding invitation with a tear-off RSVP postcard included! The Seal & Send lin is our newest collection and brides and LOVING them! Currently, we offer them in over 30 designs including our ever-popular foil options and like our other products are customizable. What's extra special about our Seal & Sends is that guest's addresses are printed on the front of each invitation which means no envelope necessary! All you have to do is share a link, collect guest addresses, and upload them onto your design, instantly. Once you receive your order all you have to do is add postage, fold your invites, and secure them with a sticker! Simple, easy, and super trendy.

Printed Wedding Coasters - Ahhh, how fun are these? You can choose from over 90 professionally desigs that can be personalized instantly to match your wedding colors. Since there are no limitations, you can make changes at no additional cost. Each coaster is printed using the latest print technology and on a premium 200lb matte cardstock, which means your coasters will have crisp, clean letters, photos, and graphics!

I hope this blog post has helped you make an informed decision about why I highly recommend for your wedding Save the Dates!

Please reach out if you have any questions or would like a referral code for 20% off your total order!

Follow @basicinvite via Social Media:





All photos styled and curated by Laurentina Photography + Video except for the Mobile We

Personalized Wedding Gifts | Groovy Guy Gifts & Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique

Bridesmaid + Groomsmen Gifts

Personalized Gifts for the Wedding Party

Happy New Year! I hope you had an amazing start to 2019! Now that engagement season is in full swing, I wanted to share my favorite wedding party gifts from two unique online companies that specialize in personalized gifts for your groomsmen and bridesmaids: Groovy Guy Gifts and Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique. Not only do wedding party gifts give your wedding photographer something nostalgic to style and photograph during the start of your big day, but they are also tokens of appreciation for the most important squad in your life: your wedding party!

Groovy Guy Gifts

I was excited to see that Groovy Guy Gifts had a cool selection of unique, personalized gifts, everything from cufflinks to messenger bags and of course, barware for all the important men in your life (and yes, that can even include your brides-man!). I decided to order the Higher Spirits Carafe as a Christmas present for my sister’s boyfriend Tasos, with his name laser engraved on the bottle. The carafe arrived in a neatly packaged cardboard box and immediately showed off it’s great European inspired sophistication, especially with the option to add two lines of engraving. The materials were high quality and provided a great vessel to allow your favorite spirits to age in a stylish carafe. We were very happy with this product and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a unique “spirit-filled” gift.

My only suggestion would be for better packaging of the carafe, or to include a glass with the carafe. I added one here to aid in the styling of the product photography shoot.



Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique

Originally, I had my heart set on ordering the Monogram Gold Glass Keepsake Box, but since the order was placed during the holidays, inventory was low and the order would not arrive in this for this review… so I settled on my second choice, the Simply Stemless Wine Cup in black with a rose gold initial on it (also available in 5 other colors). This wine cup is insulated, keeping beverages warm for up to 3 hours and cool for up to 12 hours. The lid is a push-seal, BPA free material and boasts of 304 grade - 18/8 stainless steel. The cup also comes with a straw and offers a unique and stylish design. It is easy to hold and a great accent piece to any fashionista’s wardrobe. The Stemless Wine Cup is also a perfect “on the go” cup for all your travel needs, and just what your bridesmaid (or grooms-woman) needs to enjoy a cocktail en route home from your destination wedding! Best of all, it is something practical that she can use well after the wedding celebrations!

My suggestion would be to use a shorter version of your name/nickname since only 12 characters can be printed on your cup.

Overall, my experience was positive from both websites. I was provided with excellent customer service and the gifts arrived in great condition to its final destination - even during the busy holiday rush. Since personalized gifts take longer to create, I would advise being patient with the shipping process. Be sure to order well in advance so that there is no stress over gifts the weeks leading up to your wedding!


Thank you to Groovy Guy Gifts and Bridesmaid Gifts Boutique for sending these gifts for me to review! The prices are reasonable and I appreciate their occasional coupons for free shipping/engraving!

Laurentina Photography + Video recommends both companies for the 2019 wedding season!

How to Not Lose Your Photos | Custom USB Drives for Photography Clients

The Importance of Backing Up Your Memories

Why I Love Custom USB Flash Drives for Clients

As a professional photographer who has worked in the industry since 2011, I cannot tell you how many emails I’ve received from both weddings and portrait session clients, telling me that they accidentally deleted their photos from their phone (or lost their DVD in a move… back in the day when I did DVDs - yikes, I feel OLD!). That is the most heartbreaking thing for any photographer to hear.


I like to encourage all my clients (past, present and perspective) to do two important things upon receiving and downloading their online gallery:

  • Print your Photos! #printsareforever

  • Back-up your Photos… both online and off-line!

Your memories are PRICELESS! The time, effort and money that you invest in every session/event or wedding cannot be replaced if images are lost. I speak from personal experience when I say that I’ve had computer hard drives crash and also dropped my phone into the Andaman Sea in Krabi, Thailand… never to be revived again. Now, I back-up everything like a crazy person…


How could I make it easier on my clients? While I may not have any superpowers to magically make their photos reappear (although I really wish I could!), I can provide them with a USB flash drive with their memories as their “first backup” and continue to encourage them to backup their photos on both online and off-line devices.

Enter the Custom USB flash drive! I am excited to partner with USB Memory Direct to bring you the latest Laurentina Photography + Video personalized flash drives. Think of it as a “big hug” from your photographer, a final care package after your gallery has been delivered and you have finalized your collections/order. That drive will not have scratches on it and the life expectancy is along the lines of 1000x reading and writing of images… so basically forever!


**Sidenote: The funny thing is that I actually used USB Memory Direct for my very first USB order back in 2011.

My latest order from USB Memory Direct is a lovely collection of wooden USBs in the Tower style. The drives are 8 GB and feature a SLC upgrade, which means your files will transfer faster than the average USB — super ideal for photography clients. I am in love with the earthy look of wood, which is ideal for my branding and style as photographer focused on bohemian and whimsical aesthetics. I also like that you can customize the drives with your logo and your contact info with a fun graphic of a camera on the back. The magnetic cap is not only fun to play with, but you don’t have to worry about losing the cap to your USB.

Psstt…. USB drive back-up of your photos make an excellent holiday gift for you and your loved ones!


Upon receiving your USB, I would recommend putting it in a safe place as your back-up and order extras if you want to share them with family and friends. I know people who have multiple backups of their photos in various locations — just in case. That is another step that you can take to ensure that you will not lose your most precious memories.


I appreciate USB Memory Direct’s approach on customizing your order: throughout the process, you are interacting with a person, not a bot. They work with you to ensure that your order is exactly what you envision prior to placing your order and provide proofs to make sure everyone is on the same page. Their service is fast and friendly, and I got my drives within 2 business days as a part of the rush production. Not to mention, they have a variety of materials that you can print on and everything is fully customizable.


Thank you for your partnership with me, USB Memory Direct! I look forward to using the USBs for client photo storage as the 2018/19 engagement and wedding season kicks off!

And clients… don’t forget the most important part of this blog post: BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS! In more than one place!

Beatrix + Ivan | Intimate Summer Patio Wedding in Herndon

A Southern BBQ Inspired Wedding Reception Celebration

Rustic DIY Backyard Marriage in Herndon, Virginia

Beatrix and Ivan met online. Originally from Manila, Philippines, Beatrix was living in Singapore at the time and working as an early childhood teacher. Like many couples, they did the long distance relationship thing; patiently, prayerfully waiting for the day to be reunited in love. 

It was evident that Ivan wanted Beatrix to be his forever, to infinity and beyond. And so, Ivan proposed to Beatrix at a private condo with the bride's family present. And in June, they were joined together as husband and wife at an intimate backyard patio wedding in Herndon, VA. 

As a couple, Beatrix and Ivan enjoy delicious eats, going to amusement parks, traveling to exotic tropical destinations and simply being with each other -- and their families. Beatrix is a huge fan of all things matcha (like me!) and Ivan can be described as an "OC", or "original character". He has a goofy sense of humor that makes everyone that meets him crack up with laughter. 

Beatrix was radiating on her wedding day, which took place in her (new) family's backyard patio overlooking the woods. Close friends and family members joined together to witness these two declare their love and reunion with each other. In fact, the wedding was also live streamed via FaceTime so that the bride's family in the Philippines could also watch her journey into marriage! 

The backyard patio was the perfect backdrop for a rustic and laid-back summer BBQ wedding. There were so many funny moments and endless laughter to round out the day. Not to mention a sparkler's AND silly string exit, red velvet bundt cake and these two, madly in love.

Congratulations, Beatrix and Ivan! It was a pleasure being a part of your big day!

With the Bride & Groom... CONGRATULATIONS! 

With the Bride & Groom... CONGRATULATIONS! 

Cake & Cupcakes: Nothing Bundt Cakes


Spring Vendor Feature | Wedding Artwork by Michelle Arnold Paine

Painted Wedding Heirlooms

Custom Oil and Watercolor Paintings of your Wedding Venue


Michelle Arnold Paine is a passionate trained oil and watercolor artist who has a unique gift in preserving memorable locations of your wedding day. She holds an MFA in Painting from the University of New Hampshire, studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and has also taught courses in various art schools and universities around the country. Michelle is also a mom to two beautiful girls, fellow Spoken Bride vendor (and Catholic convert), Catholic Creative and a graduate/former program assistant of the Gordon-In-Orvieto Semester. 

You can connect with Michelle on Instagram, Facebook and through her Website


Michelle and I (unofficially) met a couple of times in our beloved Orvieto, Italy and reconnected again through social media. I'm looking forward to (re)uniting with Michelle again at some point in the near future and SO appreciate her taking time out of her busy schedule to do this interview. I'm excited to partner with her and offer our #LaurentinaPhoto newlyweds (and their family members) the option of purchasing authentic wedding venue paintings that will be preserved for years to come! 

1.) Tell us about yourself! How did you get to this point in your artistic journey and what services can you provide Laurentina Photography couples?

I have loved drawing and painting from the time I could hold a crayon - creating stacks of drawings on the back of my dad's computer paper. My mom says I even sold my drawings door to door once as a kid! 

I went to Italy to study Art History but continued to take studio classes, eventually realizing that I wanted to be making the pictures in the book not studying them! 


After finishing college I studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and then completed an MFA in Painting at University of New Hampshire. I am passionate about how images can tell stories that connect to our deepest human experiences of longing, love, suffering and redemption. The experiences of beautiful art and sacred spaces in Europe opened my heart to beauty and I want to help others experience the beautiful moments.

I create paintings and drawings in watercolor or oil which capture the beauty of the wedding venue. Couples work so hard to find that perfect place to join their lives together: I enable them to take it home. 


I love finding out about people’s lives from the process of creating a painting for them. Through working with clients I am able to rejoice with them at the milestones in their lives. From the client’s perspective, developing a relationship with a professional artist is a joy and discovery that can also become a life-long friendship.

Through working one-on-one with collectors doing commissions I am able to bring my knowledge and appreciation of sacred moments into the lives of others. 

2.) You are described as a "contemporary painter who's faith plays an integral role in your work." and your work was inspired by the Renaissance masters, as well as the beauty of life in Italy. Can you tell us how this plays into the style and feel of your work?

The imagery and subject matter in my gallery paintings are drawn from religious subjects and the built spaces of Europe. The way I handle paint and composition is informed by my place in history – an artist with access to modern paint technologies. I try to create an appreciation for tradition with a fresh, contemporary feel. 


3.) Do you have a favorite wedding art to paint? (venue, bouquet, bride & groom portraits, etc.)

I specialize in creating portraits of the places which make up the important memories of life. Whether the architecture of churches or another special venue these are the places in which we hold our memories. I believe our built environment and the spaces in which we live shape our experiences and our lives. It is a joy to capture those experiences in paint and create an heirloom. 


4.) Have you done any live painting and if not, is this something you would consider? 

I have done live painting at events. Although not formal “event” painting,  landscape painting is always “live painting” in that the painter is under pressure to complete the painting before the light of the environment changes. 

5.) Why should couples consider investing in custom wedding art for their big day?

Memories (even those yet to be made!) come to life through working with an artist. Whether a gift for the bride and groom or an anniversary or “thank you” gift for the parents of the bride or groom, I make a personal connection with my art, and bring to life a memory

The flowers, music and food only last for a few hours, but a work of art endures beyond the wedding day for generations, commemorating the beginning of a new family. There is always something special about something hand-made, hand-painted, hand-drawn. An artist interprets the space in a unique way. 


6.) How do you balance motherhood and raising a family with your career?

Balance! To everything there is a season.  I am not working as much the last couple of years since we moved and my children are young – I have decided I am “balancing” the years of multiple jobs and projects and over-work that I subjected myself to for a long time… 

7.) And just for fun: if you could spend a day working with any person, who would it be and why?

I’m such an introvert – I love working alone, especially in this season of parenting young children! I would like to work with the 15th century painter Fra Angelico for a day. How did he integrate the business of his art into his life as a monk? What was his process for creating the subjects of his paintings? 


© 2018 by Michelle Arnold Paine. All images were generously released for use on the Laurentina Photography blog and used by permission only. 

Mother's Day Vendor Feature | JR Flowers in Leesburg, VA

JR Flowers by Shirley Goodwin

Floral Design for Events + Weddings

Happy May! It is FINALLY spring (just about summer) here in the DC Area and our wedding season has officially launched as of last month. On this blog, I like to bring you not only a recap of weddings & photo shoots that I document, but also feature some awesome area wedding vendors. 


A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Shirley Goodwin, owner and floral design extraordinare of JR Flowers in her Leesburg, VA studio. We worked together during a styled shoot with our local Rising Tide Society chapter. With Mother's Day just a few days away, I sat down with Shirley to chat about her juggling her career with family life, her inspirations and passions. I hope you enjoy this interview with Shirley, as well as some beautiful custom florals she created for our photo shoot!


1.) Tell us about yourself! How did you start your floral design career and what inspires your work?

I have always loved flowers, I think that comes from my mother and grandmother. I am a pediatrician too! I sort of put flowers on the back burner while I was in college and med school. After my kids starting getting older, I started working with flowers again and finally started my business almost 2 years ago. During a trip to Seattle and spending time in the flower market there I really felt this push to immerse myself in the wedding flower industry. 

2.) Do you have a favorite event to design? (weddings, showers, corporate, etc.) 

Definitely weddings but I am happy to do corporate events and parties too! 


3.) Tell us about your creative process when putting together bouquets for weddings and events.

After talking with the client and figuring out the vision for the event, I start working on a color palate. Then I select flowers that match the vision. I listen closely to the client’s ideas and description of how they want the event or wedding to feel. It is my goal to make them think the flowers look even better than they could have ever dreamed of.

4.) Why should couples consider investing in professional floral design for their big day?

Working with flowers is a joy but it is not easy work. You want someone who can source the best quality, process them appropriately and keep the flowers maintained (in a temperature-controlled room) for several days prior to the event. This is all prior to putting together bouquets and centerpieces.  It is not as simple as it may seem. 


5.) How do you balance motherhood AND raising a family with your career?

I am still figuring that out! I am very, very thankful for my supportive husband and my sons enjoy working with me sometimes. It is hard but my love for the flowers pushes me through the stressful times. I try to be very efficient and keep a list of tasks that need to be handled so that things don’t build up and lead to unnecessary last minute difficulties. 

6.) And FINALLY: if you could spend a day working with any person (living or dead), who would it be and why?

My grandmother; it would be a joy to work in the garden with her again. 


Thank you, Shirley, for taking the time to chat with Laurentina Photography + Video about your inspirations and passion for floral design!


All photos by Laurentina Photography // Floral Design by JR Flowers

You can find Shirley at any of her social media channels below:

JR Flowers Instagram | JR Flowers FB |



Best Engagement Session Locations in RVA

Richmond, Virginia is one of my favorite East Coast cities.

A true gem in the heart of the Old Dominion.

The city reminds me SO much of Austin, Texas... and vibrates with funky murals, culture, tattoo parlors, great food, live music and an overall laid-back atmosphere. It is the perfect escape from the hustle of Washington, DC and all points North. 


When Sarah & Elliott decided on their current hometown for their engagement portraits, I jumped on the opportunity to travel down to RVA for their session. As a DC and Destination Photographer, I love exploring not only new locations... but also locations that are known by locals and definitely "off the beaten path". 

These two adventurous, cat-adoring lovebirds + kitty parents rocked their portrait session and showed me the best of what Richmond has to offer. Not to mention: Elliott hates cilantro and Sarah could live off peanut butter. 


Here are some of my favorite locations for an engagement session in the River City!

Pipeline Overlook Footbridge

From Sarah: "We went to this new footbridge they put up over the James, because it was a beautiful day. I was getting hangry so I thought we should get some dinner. I started walking back, and turned around because Elliot wasn't next to me. He was down on one knee with the sunset behind him."


This new footbridge is the ultimate concrete nature walk and goes through the James River Park. This walk is NOT for the faint of heart and is a beautiful way to capture your couple surrounded by the power of the rapids, flowing from the James River.  Don't forget to inhale and exhale as the water sweeps below you. The Pipeline Walkway can be accessed from either Brown's Island or down a ladder from 14th Street. More details HERE


Canal Walk Murals

As one Yelper so aptly state, "It doesn't get more Richmond than this!" Industrial brick and steel beams frame the many colorful murals in this walk. For this photo shoot, we focused on a few of the murals closer to the river and even used a rustic Richmond sign with its coordinates on it, to celebrate Sarah & Elliott's love for their favorite city and current (possibly forever) hometown!


I mean... it doesn't get any better than this! No wonder these two VCU graduates love this city and are staying here for LIFE!


Pedestrian Bridge to Brown's Island

T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge is an amazing spot to soak up the sunset after a fun-filled day in the city. There are even benches you can sit on to take in the views and plenty of opportunities for people-watching. All of us were elated with the epic sunset that we witnessed at the very end of the engagement session. It made us fall in love with RVA all over again! 


I hope you enjoyed this blog post, featuring my favorite engagement session locations in Richmond and also the ever awesome Sarah & Elliott! Two weeks from now, they will be official "Mrs. and Mr." and I can't wait to document their April 29th, 2018 WEDDING! 

#AlongTheWay Travel Photo Series #1 | Maddalena (Orvieto, Italy)

In Heartfelt Remembrance of Elisa Lardani Marchi

Body Broken for Love: February 28, 2015

This is the first post in my personal travel photography series, aptly titled #AlongTheWay, to share a glimpse into the lives of the kind strangers and close friends, who were willing to let me to photograph them, share their stories and the environment in which they live. The aim of this project is to highlight each person's story: that through our diverse cultural, religious and social backgrounds -- we are all connected. And in the hustle of our technology obsessed lives, we are all in this together. It's time to let go of the fear that surrounds international travel and celebrate the beauty of our humanity. 


It's been four years since my last trip to Italy and the last time I walked the winding medieval streets of Orvieto in the Umbrian region of Central Italy. A town that I hold dear in my heart, after having studied there, developing many intimate friendships and where I return time and time again after many "giramondo" (globe-trotting). It is my home away from home and my spiritual home. This time, however, things would be different. 

Orvieto Skyline

Three years ago today, on February 28, 2015, Elisa Lardani Marchi passed away due to complications in childbirth. She was the beloved sister of Alessandro Lardani, our study abroad program director, the wife to her late husband Luca and a beautiful mother of four children: Chiara, Francesco, Maria and little Maddalena - the focus of this photo essay. 

Michelle Arnold Paine, another Gordon in Orvieto alum, whom I have finally connected with after years of knowing about her, was a close friend of Elisa's and the Lardani family. She wrote several amazing tributes to Elisa, two of my favorites which can be found HERE and HERE

View of Orvieto's Romanesque Duomo (or Cathedral) from the side, photographed with the Lensbaby 80 Optic Pro lens. 

View of Orvieto's Romanesque Duomo (or Cathedral) from the side, photographed with the Lensbaby 80 Optic Pro lens. 

We had just finished a beautiful Sunday Mass in the Orvieto Duomo (Cathedral), the glorious Romanesque Church where the town has many of its treasures: the fresco cycles of Luca Signorelli, Gentile di Fabriano, and Fra Angelico and Orvieto's spiritual treasure, a relic from the Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena. Nostalgia hit me hard throughout the service, and I was not prepared to meet little Maddalena. Before the Mass, my friend Corinna (who was traveling with me) and I met Alessandro on the steps of the Duomo and we quickly caught up after nearly a decade of not seeing each other. It was early January and we were approaching the third anniversary of Elisa's death - so most of the conversation centered about what had happened after that sorrowful day. I could hardly muster up the words (in English or Italian) to offer consolation to my dear friend and his new reality.


Enter Maddalena. We met as she bounced around the interior of the Duomo after Mass. She had a head full of dark curls and the biggest almond shaped eyes I've seen on a toddler. Maddalena grabbed hold of the iron gate to the private side chapel of San Brizio (where the fresco cycles of Luca Signorelli are housed). As I kneeled down next to her, I could hardly muster up the words to say. After several "Bella..."s I finally pulled myself together and spoke through my tears: "Come ti chiami?" (What is your name?" She looked at me with a large grin and proclaimed, "Mad-da-len-aaa". I continued to hold back tears and grinned, asking her how old she was. She held up two fingers... "Dueee..." (she was 2 years old). 


My maternal instincts kicked in. I wanted to hold sweet Maddalena tight and tell her (even though many in her family and the Orvieto community do so every single day) that her mamma loves her very much, that she is in Heaven now and that we will all see her one day. That it will hurt, very much so in the future, but we can pray to Saint (Mamma) Elisa and that she will always be close to our hearts. Instead, I shed a few tears and stroked her beautiful curls. 


We didn't have much time, since the Lardani-Marchi family had plans for Sunday lunch with their in-laws and I knew I wanted to document some photos of their family for their heirloom. I started in the Duomo and simply observed. Maddalena chasing her sister around the interior of the cathedral. Maddalena making us laugh by sticking her tongue out. And later, we got a group photo in front of the Duomo (note the horizontal stripes of black and white marble) - Maddalena continuing to be silly. 


It turns out that Maddalena had also suffered a lot in the first year of her life: cardiorespiratory arrest at the time of delivery and problems in her brain. Today, she is healthy and strong - the spitting image of her mother, full of energy and an intentional reminder (like Mary Magdalene in the Bible - her namesake) of the Resurrection that we will experience at Easter.

In the words of St. Bernadette"I shall spend every moment loving." That is what Elisa did, up until the final minute of her life and the legacy that she carries on and leaves to little Maddalena. We don't know what comes first: tomorrow or the afterlife. How then will you live?  


Little Maddalena radiates joy and is a living testimony of her mother Elisa's love. Happy Third Birthday, Maddalena! It was an honor to meet you and share your story. I look forward to my next trip to Orvieto where I will document more moments with those that love you unconditionally. 

"Sento il mare dentro a una conchiglia
l'eternità è un battito di ciglia."  (JOVANOTTI)

My mind's eye always returns to this landscape, the zig-zag cypress trees in the valley below Orvieto. And so, I anxiously await my return. 

My mind's eye always returns to this landscape, the zig-zag cypress trees in the valley below Orvieto. And so, I anxiously await my return. 

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


#ProTip: Don’t let your wedding photos sit on your hard drive. Share them! There are many ways that a BRIDE can share her wedding photos! ShootDotEdit shares their favorite platforms, both online and off-line. Check out the link below:

“22 Different Ways for a Bride to Share Her Wedding Photos”


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!