how to prepare for your wedding

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!

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 |



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 |