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Category Archives: engagement & lifestyle

I recently had the opportunity to collaborate on a styled shoot with some amazing local talent. This shoot started as a spark of creative inspiration between the stylist and myself. We wanted to use soft corals and mint as the loose basis of our palette with accents of cream and gold. We enlisted the help of an incredible florist to bring help bring our vision to life. Jackie took it to another level and added so much texture and depth to the styling. The models looked extra perfect thanks to the talent of our makeup artist, Justine. I am so proud of how this shoot turned out. Thank you, thank you, thank you x infinity to the fabulous people involved for bringing this collaboration to life:
Styling: Jesi Hoolihan
Florals: Munster Rose
Hair and Makeup: Justine Sierakowski
Model: Sarah Vande Kamp
Model: Nick from Ignite Models
Lingerie: Room No. 3
Clothing: Pac Sun

See more from this shoot on my beauty + boudoir blog. Enjoy!

  • Emily Steffen - LAURA! These images are incredible…so fresh and so beautiful! :) The flowers, that wallpaper and your colors are just so appealing!!!!! :) I LOVE THIS! :)

  • A Styled Boudoir Shoot » Beauty & Boudoir by Laura Ivanova Photography - [...] Model: Sarah Vande Kamp Model: Nick from Ignite Models (not pictured in this post, see more images here) Lingerie: Room No. [...]

  • Jackie Reisenauer - Laura, you did such an amazing job with these. I want to dive in and live in this space. And Jesi (!!!) awesome styling!!! Thanks for including Munster Rose!

  • Anna Margaret - LOVE everything about these images… and swooning over the lovely wallpaper! So beautiful!

  • Liz Banfield - Gorgeous, Laura. What a light beautiful touch you have.

  • Helgi - This images are pure inocent, joy and love! You are the best ever!

  • Rozanne Z - Classy, chic & tastefully sexy!! Amazing job!!

  • Emily Koska - GORGEOUS!! Loooove the colors. Fabulous as always :)

  • Patricia @cichlee - Warmed me up. Exactly the kind of modern, sexy, cozy images that couples want. All the little light kisses make it extra sweet.
    Lovely job all.

Happy Friday everyone!! I’m so excited to share this beautiful little blog post with you today! My husband and I (and our pup!) recently had the oppurtunity to be photographed by Kelsy & Butch of The McCartneys Photography. We are so smitten with them and so excited about our gorgeous images!! I thought it’d be fun to share our experience on the other side of the camera and give you some tips for your own session!

1.  CHOOSE THE PERFECT PHOTOGRAPHER.  Take the time to search for the perfect photographer- one who’s vision you love, and equally importantly, someone who you can have fun with!  Browse through potential photographers portfolios and make sure you love their work and you can picture yourself in their photos.  Can you envision them hanging in your home?  Are your styles a good match?  After you’ve determined a good fit, take the time to connect with your photographer on a personal level.  For my husband and I this was just as important as the photos themselves.  We feel awkward being photographed.  It’s just not natural to have someone capturing your every move!  It was really important to us to have a photographer(s) who could help us relax, make us laugh, and make the process light and fun!!  Kelsy and Butch were the perfect choice for us- because we love their work and trust them 100%, we were able to just focus enjoying the moment, and didn’t have to think about where to put our hands, or if my hair was out of place.

2. SCHEDULE YOUR SESSION. I decided on about November 20th that we needed updated pictures for our annual holiday card. This really isn’t adequate time. {I’m hanging my head in shame.}  Do yourself a favor, lower your stress levels, and plan in advance!  It’s never too early to book your session, and of course, be sure to consider what you’ll be using the photos for.  Maybe you’re engaged and want to use them for save-the-dates, which generally go out about 6 months before your wedding date.  Maybe you want updated images for holiday cards.  Consider the date you want the photos in your hands, and be sure to let your photographer know when scheduling so your session date can planned accordingly.  Build in extra time so there is no rush.  Keep in mind that fickle weather may also call for rescheduling.  If this is the case, rain, snow or otherwise unpleasant weather could mean your session occurs later than originally planned.

3.  HIRE A HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST.  Ladies, trust me, this is a must.  Don’t even think about skimping here!!  I cannot understate the value of hiring a really talented hair and makeup artist to help you look your best.  It’s pretty rare to get your hair and makeup done, but I think a photo session with your significant other is certainly a special occasion.  It’s so fun to be pampered and if you look your best you’ll feel much more confident in front of the camera.  Big, big thanks to my lovely friend Julie of Julie Swenson Beauty for my hair and makeup for my shoot.  Bridal bonus: use this as a time to get to know the artist that will be beautifying you on your big day!!

Also, as a side note, the day of your session is NOT the time for a new haircut or highlights, just in case anything goes awry.  I’d recommend doing these services at least 3-4 days prior to your session unless you really know and trust your hair stylist.

4.  STYLE YOUR SHOOT.  Start planning the overall look and feel of your session.  It’s NOT too early to start a pinboard or begin communicating with your photographer.  Maybe you have a strong vision in your head, or maybe you don’t.  Either way, open up a dialogue with your photographer (and your significant other).  You’ve chosen to hire a professional and they are there to help you!  If you need suggestions, your photographer should have ideas.  Personally, I love when my clients share their pinboards or images they like.  Usually when we brainstorm together, we come up with the best ideas.  It’s always fun to incorporate meaningful locations (if you find them visually beautiful) like your alma mater campus, the park where he proposed, your first date spot, etc.  If your location doesn’t have meaning, that’s ok too.  It’s ok to pick something just because it’s pretty.  After all, the photos are more about the subject, less about the background.

Once you have a general idea for the overall look & location(s) (whether it be urban, farm, grassy fields, lakeside, etc.) start to think how your wardrobe, hair & makeup, (and potential props) will tie in.  For our session, I knew I wanted to do two different looks and I wanted them to be soft and neutral with pops of pattern.

5.  SHOP TIL YOU DROP!  This is the fun part, but it can be stressful if you wait until two days before your shoot.  DO NOT WAIT UNTIL LAST MINUTE to start shopping!  {Again, I hang my head in shame.  Totally guilty.  And it caused me so much stress and scrambling.} Even if you have a vision, you may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for, so you need to be flexible and give yourself time.  I wanted our two separate looks to still be cohesive so the images from the entire session would flow together.  Unfortunately, the weather on the day of our session was chilly to say the least, so we only had a few minutes with our second look (see #7!).  It’s ok if the two looks aren’t cohesive, in fact, some couples want completely different looks, but for me, I wanted consistency.  Regardless of the look you’re going for, shopping in advance and actually trying on the selected outfits with your significant other will save a lot of stress.  I went shopping with my bestie (a far superior option to dragging my husband to the mall) and we had so much fun picking out outfits.  I found that it was easy to shop for my wardrobe (hello Jcrew), but a bit harder to find coordinating clothes for my hubby.  I ended purchasing several options for him and trying them on together when I brought them home.  (We kept the tags on so we could return the items we didn’t want.)  We were so glad we tried on the items the day before the shoot, because when we stood together in the mirror, some options just didn’t work like I thought they would in the store.  It’s much better to see this in person, at home, rather than on location at your session.

6.  DON’T FORGET ACCESSORIES.  The icing on the cake.  I think accessories add so much to a shoot, and life in general!  This doesn’t just apply to the ladies.  Guys, make sure your shoes coordinate with your looks and don’t be shy about adding little touches like your favorite watch or Ray Bans.  Girls; scarves, jewelry, or the perfect shoes can really complete the look, so don’t forget about styling from head to toe.  Another tip, if you’re going to be walking from location to location, save your strength for looking fab in the photos and bring along a comfortable pair of shoes to walk in.

7.  BE FLEXIBLE.  Things may not go according to plan.  Just laugh it off and enjoy your session.  Relax.  For example, the day of our session it was probably about 30 degrees; quite chilly for fall!  Our second look involved me in an adorable Alexa Chung silk polka dot blouse (there is one pic below).  The wind cuts through silk like a knife, so I lasted about 3.5 minutes outside in that outfit.  Rather than torturing ourselves and our lovely photographers, we decided to be flexible and end the session a bit earlier than planned.

I have lots more tips for a successful session, but I hope these little tidbits help.  If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.  I am happy to share my experience in front of, and behind, the lens!!  It’s good for me to be in front of the camera every once in a while so I know how it feels for my clients.

Here are a few favorites from our session!!  Of course, if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know that we recently added a new (doggie) member to the family, so I’m sure I’ll have new photos to share when the weather gets a bit warmer.  Another big, huge thank you to our friends Kelsy & Butch for capturing these images we will treasure forever!!

Ah, I love fall in Minneapolis!! Although fleeting, the cool temps, cozy sweaters, and beautiful colors all come together to create my favorite time of year. Kylee & Christian contacted me because they had decided to elope earlier this year and in the midst of planning, skipped out on a engagement session. Kylee & Christian are artists (and photographers!!) themselves, so I was quite flattered they asked me to capture their session for them! They also wanted to include their beautiful daughter, Lola, in some of their pictures. I loved the fun, vibrant colors that Kylee picked out and can we talk about the mix of patterns? I’m totally loving this!! Thank you for the amazing session! I’m so happy we met!

Erica & Bert reside in Milwaukee, but are planning a spring wedding in Minneapolis. Erica and Bert are so fun and easy-going, have such great style, and I’m so excited to see what they plan for their big day!! For now, enjoy a tiny sneak peek of some of my favorites from their e-session!

Meet the McCartneys!! ;) Kelsy & Butch are my friends and fellow photographers (amazing, amazing film photographers based in Wausau, Wisconsin) and I was so honored to capture this adorable duo for the second time! Since I first met them, they have moved back to Wisconsin, purchased a lovely home (seriously, get ready to be jealous!), and have a new furry addition to the family, who goes by the name of Parker James!  (I also think they may have gotten even more cute in the past two years, which I did not think was possible.)  I had so much fun with K&B on their home turf and they even took me to their favorite restaurant after our session!  K&B are such an inspiration to me, in so many ways. Beyond being skilled photographers and business people, they are just so darn in love.  They are best friends.  They are so fun to be around and so full of joy.  What an amazing quality to spread smiles and joy to everyone around you.  Thank you for the best afternoon, my friends!!

PS- My husband, pup, and I also had the honor of being photographed by the McCartneys!  It was so important to me to find a film photographer and someone I knew I could be relaxed around.  Trust is so important and I trust K&B 110%.  I haven’t seen the images yet (the downside of film is the wait, but it’s so worth it!!), and I hope to share those on the blog in a few weeks, as well as some tips I learned planning for my own session and being on the other side of the camera.  What a great experience! :)


  • Kelsy McCartney - Oh my GOSH Laura!! We love these images SO much!!!! Wow!! Parker looks adorable, Butch looks so handsome, and you captured us perfectly!! We cannot thank you enough – Seriously we were so excited to see these and you completely blew us away with the photos and your sweet words!! We are in love with every single picture and are grateful to call you such a great friend!! Thank you!! XO

  • Emilia Jane - I love this.

  • Melissa Oholendt - CUTIES MCCARTNEYS! Love, love – especially that wine combo but you already knew that, right?! ;)

  • Rebecca K. - So cute! Fantastic photos! Wonderful couple with an amazing energy.

  • mike mcCartney - You guys are definately a camera’s best friend! Now Parker too is a camera ham…Love it! AMAZING photos! Leaves you wanting to see more.

    How do you change your outfits so many time by the water like that ;)

  • Butch McCartney - LAURA!!! I think I’ve gone through this post ten times now, smiling all the way through. You are awesome, and having our pictures with you means so much! Thank you!

  • Lynn McCullough - Love everything about this, the pictures, the bond that you all have with each other, and who can forget about that adorable family menber Parker!

  • Anna Margaret - Stunning images of a beautiful couple, inside and out! Wonderful job Laura, you captured their sweet and fun personalities perfectly! And little Parker man looks SO handsome too :)

  • Joanna - Laura these are super adorable. Love!

  • MINNEAPOLIS LIFESTYLE SESSION ON FILM | LAURA & TODOR » The McCartneys Photography | FILM HUSBAND & WIFE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY DUO in CENTRAL WISCONSIN - [...] that she would be on the other side of our cameras filled us with excitement. Just a few days after Laura visited Wausau for our session, we headed to Minneapolis to meet Laura, Todor & their sweet pup Bianca. We had a blast [...]