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Category Archives: destination & travel


I recently dusted off my old, manual, 35mm camera from my high school/college darkroom days.  Even though not much can break on these old, seemingly indestructible cameras, I toted the camera around in my purse for a few days to shoot a roll of film, just to test everything out.  Turns out the camera/lens function perfectly and I’m really loving the results.  The camera is super small, lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to carry everywhere.  It will definitely make a fun travel camera.

Nikon FG, 50 1.8 lens | Fuji 400H Film




National parks are pretty much my new favorite vacation destination and Zion just might be the best of them all (at least of the parks I’ve been to thus far)!  Truth be told; prior to a year ago, I didn’t know much about Zion.  I’d heard of it, but I certainly couldn’t have pinpointed it on a map and I didn’t know about it’s grandeur.  Then, I happened across a blog post on a fellow photographer’s site (ah, the magic of social media) and I fell in love.  (I mean, her pics are pretty darn stellar!!)  I think I scrolled through the photos a dozen times.  Right then and there I promised myself I would go!  Zion happens to be pretty close to Las Vegas, and luckily for me, there is an annual photography convention in Vegas!  Perfect excuse.

Fast forward to March of 2014.  I attended the conference, and had a blast with my photographer friends.  Afterwards, my travel-partner-in-crime, Laura, and I headed out for a road trip through Utah, with Zion being the highlight.  Zion is absolutely breathtaking.  Early March is quiet around the park, so you won’t see too many cars on the roads or hikers on the trails.  We enjoyed serenity, nature, and gorgeous views from every vantage point.  The highlight of Zion was definitely hiking up to Angel’s Landing.  The trail is 5 miles round trip, with a 1488 ft elevation gain, but it the last quarter mile of the trail that features the most stunning views.  It’s treacherous and requires hikers holding on to chains to avoid dropping off the 1000-1488′ cliffs.  Literally.  Some areas are so narrow two hikers can’t even pass each other and since you’re following a ridge, there are dramatic drop offs on BOTH sides.  Needless to say, my camera was safely tucked away for the majority of the hike- I only snapped pics in wider areas of the ridge and at the summit.  I didn’t create this video, but if you want a 3-min consolidated version of the hike from the safety of your home, check out this video.

I say this about every place I travel too, but I really, really want to return to Zion.  It’s such a special place.

Photos captured on a Contax 645 with Fuji 400H film, iPhone and a couple on Laura’s Canon MkIII.

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Catharine - What a wonderful trip and magical place Laura! I love all of the different textures x

jody savage - oh my gosh! so so so pretty! I am so bummed I didn’t make this leg of the trip but your images are almost as good as being there! absolutely stunning!!! LOVE them! xx



A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to road trip from Vegas to Salt Lake City.   I went to Vegas to attend WPPI- the biggest wedding photography convention in the world.  This was my fourth trip to WPPI and I love going because I get to see the latest and greatest in the photography industry, meet with vendors, and network with photographer friends from around the country!  Oh, and Vegas is kinda fun too! ;)

But this time, I secretly went to WPPI because at about this time last year, I came across this blog post on a fellow Minneapolitan’s photography site and I knew I needed to visit Zion- a mere 3 hour drive from Veags.  I immediately put WPPI 2014 on the calendar.  Then I figured, hey, as long as I’m in Utah, maybe I should hit up Arches National Park too.  Oh, and let’s just throw Goblin in there too.  I mean, I can fly home from Salt Lake City and it’s on the way.

I’m going to do a separate blog post to share my images of Zion, but for now, I wanted to share my images from Arches National Park and Goblin Valley State Park, which was inspired exclusively by this image from my favorite Instagrammer of all time (this is my second trip inspired by an image on Instagram; my first was a trip to Death Valley, inspired by this image).  Some of these images were even taken out of plane and car windows- on the road.  Utah is that beautiful.  The whole state looks like a national park.  I can’t wait to go back to Utah- one could easily spends weeks/months enjoying the parks.  Sadly, we zipped right past Bryce Canyon and Canyonlands.  There are too many parks to cram into one week.

As always, when I travel personally, I travel light.  I just brought my trusty Contax, a bag full of Fuji film, and my iPhone.  There are also one or two pictures taken with my travel mate, Laura’s, digital camera.   I also want to give a shoutout and big virtual hug to Laura.  This girl is so amazing, so full of life, and such a fun travel partner.  We had a blast!  #laura2themaxx!!

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Helgi - Thank you!!!! You girls look beautiful and the images are one of a kind! My LIV collection is getting a wall full. Love you Laura and can’t wait you to see more. XO

ZION NATIONAL PARK | FILM TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY » Laura Ivanova Photography | FILM WEDDING & LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER IN MINNEAPOLIS & NEW YORK CITY - […] my photographer friends.  Afterwards my travel-partner-in-crime, Laura, and I headed out for a road trip through Utah, with Zion being the highlight.  Zion is absolutely breathtaking.  Early March is quiet around […]



It’s funny how an experience that was once terrifying is now liberating.

In 2009, I made an investment in a photography workshop that, truthfully, changed my business.  It altered my vision.  Maybe I already had the spark in me and the workshop ignited it, but it was a really special experience.  I realize this more 5 years later.  The decision to go the workshop was a difficult one.  Of course, I wanted to, but I wasn’t sure it would be worth it. Did I mention the workshop was in Italy?  There were a lot of ways I could’ve spent a few thousand dollars as a relatively new business owner (just two years in at this point).

But, for whatever reason (can’t really recall now), I decided to go.  The workshop was hosted by one of the leaders in the photography industry, Jose Villa.  If you’re a photographer, you’ve definitely seen his work.  If you’re a bride or groom, you’ve probably seen his work and can appreciate the beauty and draw inspiration for your own wedding.  It’s like SMP over on Jose’s blog!  Jose is pretty much like the Justin Timberlake of the photography industry (I really had to sit and think of a superstar that could accurately be paralleled to Jose.  This was the best I could do!  Jose is famous in the industry, but he’s not a passing trend.  His talent is undeniable.  His work is classic and always beautiful, ethereal, and inspirational.)  But, beyond all that, Jose is a really giving person who has probably impacted the lives and businesses of many. He’s humble and a great guy (as I like to imagine JT is!) and I believe he gives his workshops his all.

At the workshop in Italy, Jose surprised the attendees with a day trip to Florence to explore and take photos.  You can read more about that here.  The catch was that we could only bring one camera and one lens.  Though now I always travel utilizing this method (I’m talking strictly personal trips, of course), when Jose first presented this challenge, it was terrifying.  It was the terrifying experience I was referring to in the opening line of this blog post.  I decided to embrace it and bring a film camera that I received at the workshop.  I could’ve brought my fancy new MkII.  At the time, I was shooting ALL digital.  I didn’t have much experience with film and I only had three rolls at my disposal.  But I took a chance.  And fell in love with film.  I think I subconsciously knew before the workshop that I wanted to shoot film (why else would I spend thousands of dollars on a workshop hosted by a film shooter?!), but the workshop sealed the deal for me.  I slowly started introducing film into my work, but after the workshop I saw a drastic change in my digital work too.

Now I shoot primarily film, and I love it because it forces me to slow down and enjoy the process.  I actually enjoy waiting for images to be processed.  It seems simpler.  I’m all about slowing down and simplifying (in all areas of my life and business).  So film seems fitting.  I love the way skin looks on film.  I love the colors.  I love the latitude.  Each artist has their own preferences and film just speaks to me.  Everything looks prettier on film.

This blog post isn’t an endorsement for film.  It’s not an argument for film vs. digital.  It’s not an endorsement for attending Jose’s workshop, or attending workshops in general (though I do endorse attending Jose’s workshop, for the record!).  It’s just about taking a chance, finding your passion.  Having fun and enjoying the process.  I never shared these first film images I took in Florence that day.  These images are captured on a Holga.  The memories from this day are really important to me.  I was with a group of people that I had only known for 3 or 4 days, but together we ventured to Florence. Little did I know that these people would still be very much in my life 5 years later.

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Renee Trubai - Gorgeous Laura, the words and the photographs. I remember you telling me about the film camera only trip to Florence when we met. I’m so happy to see how your work has evolved, it’s beautiful.
I only remember a handful of people that day (I too was star struck!) but you’re one of the ones I remember best x

Jody savage - I was so excited to see this post!! You are such an inspiration to me and my photography journey!! I cannot wait for Jose’s
Workshop and I am so glad I have met you in my own journey!! Thank you
for posting- lovely work as always! xx



I’m writing this blog post from Zion National Park in Utah! It’s been a whirlwind few days. Actually, it’s been a whirlwind few months with lots of travel. I spent the past few days in Las Vegas for WPPI, a wedding photography convention, catching up with old friends, learning about all the latest and greatest in the industry, enjoying the weather, and organizing a styled shoot. Three nights in Vegas was about all I could handle, so this morning I headed out with a photographer friend, also named Laura, to Zion. We’re soaking in all the amazing views, rocking our yoga pants (such a welcome change after heels and cocktail dresses in Vegas), hiking, Instagramming (#laura2themaxx- get it?), and just trying to enjoy every second.

The thing about national parks is that it can be a bit boring at night! Entertainment is limited, but wifi is plentiful, so I decided now was the perfect time to share photos from my last trip: Yosemite and Big Sur. As of late, my vacation preferences have slowly been shifting from city to country. I am in love with visiting America’s gorgeous national parks and Yosemite certainly did not disappoint. There’s nothing quite like the open road, the most beautiful vistas you can imagine, solitude, and nature. I traveled with a longtime friend & travel-partner-in-crime. We grew up together in the same small town and have known each other our whole lives. Our mothers were friends long before we were born. We’ve traversed the world together- Montreal to Thailand to Peru to Italy, to name a few, and we have similar taste in adventure! We were excited to visit Yosemite in the off-season and we practically had the park to ourselves. The snow didn’t bother us a bit (still many, many degrees warmer than Minnesota) and we hiked our hearts out! After 3 days in Yosemite, we headed west for Big Sur and enjoyed the gorgeous northern California coastline, before rounding out the trip with a one-night stay in the Mission in San Fran. We enjoyed fresh mex (including an amazing vegan restaurant and a fun taco spot), boutique shopping and must-see views of the Golden Gate.

Emma S. - Breathtakingly beautiful.

Helgi - O.M.G! Unbelievable, beautiful beautiful images!

Sabrina - These photos are so amazing Laura!! I especially love the deer!! Any chance you tasted the clovers? When I was hiking with my brother in a forest in Oregon there were tons of clovers. My brother told me to try one, and being it was my brother, I thought he was joking. He tried one first, so I gave it a try and they were delicious! They’d make an awesome addition to a salad! Love seeing your photos from your travels!