Summer is my favorite time to do family sessions, but this year I did sessions well into late November and the photos came out beautifully. On this day it was 34 degrees and extremely windy, but you’d never know. This session was originally supposed to happen at Kettle Cove, but the 20mph wind was hitting the beach head on, so we drove to Willard Beach to get away from the wind. It was almost freezing, but we were able to capture beautiful images and in-between moments.


It’s hard not be extra excited at the start of wedding season. With so many Maine weddings on the horizon, I can’t wait to see what unexpected or on-trend details my brides have come up with. It seems like lately brides have thrown out the rule book when it comes to weddings. Now, unexpected and surprising elements are the norm. As a guest – or a wedding photographer – this gets me all the more excited for what’s to come. Here are some 2019 trends you’ll be sure to spot at New England weddings this coming season.

Natural Elements

In the past, weddings have traditionally had a glossy, over-polished appearance. While boho brides have been reconnecting with nature for a while now, the trend in 2019 is to incorporate unexpected natural elements into their décor. Raw crystals, geodes, rose quartz, and colorful gate provide fun pops of color while still maintaining an earthy, elemental look that brides are drawn to. You’ll surely see these stones used in hair pieces, place settings, and plenty of other places in 2019.

Inventive Florals

Flowers and weddings go hand-in-hand. While having beautiful florals at a wedding is nothing new, brides are now using flowers in more inventive ways than ever before. Flower arrangements cascading down a modern wedding cake add an unexpected twist to a classic tradition. Edible flowers are also a fun way to make your dessert table look extra elegant. In lieu of bouquets, bridesmaids will be carrying exquisite floral hoops. Even a floral-printed wedding dress – or a veil dotted with pastel petals – is not out of the question.

Rich Color Palettes

Blush and neutral tones were all the rage throughout most of the 2010s. Now, however, brides are putting together weddings with a more opulent color palette. Dark jewel tones, muted hues, and metallics combine together beautifully to create weddings that look lux, mysterious, and right on-trend. Dark teal, mustard, hunter green, burnt sienna, and crimson will be everywhere at 2019 New England weddings. Don’t be surprised if you even see touches of black, which (when used sparingly) can look incredibly elegant.

Edgy Accessories

Social media has made certain wedding trends spread like wildfire. In 2019, don’t be surprised to see some of these frequently-double-tapped Instagram trends come to life. For boho brides, a felt hat or fedora puts a lovely, low key twist on any lace wedding dress. Other on-trend brides are opting for customized jackets that feature their new last name hand painted on the back. A custom denim style is perfect for the casual, free-spirited bride. Edgier urban brides, however, are opting for custom leather moto jackets. While these likely won’t be worn for the ceremony itself, they make for fabulous photo-ops alongside the groom or bridal party.


As a wedding photographer, I can’t wait to see this trend continue. In the last few years, sparklers have been frequently used to make weddings a bit more fun. When used for photographs, they add a romantic touch that will make your wedding portraits look simply magical. Get your guests in on the action by having a sparkler exit after the ceremony or reception. No matter how and when they are used, the result is fun, fabulous, and unforgettable.


Newport is a place I hold near and dear to my heart.

I grew up in New York City and attended The Convent of the Sacred Heart. Since the summers in New York are pretty hot and stuffy, most families summer in Long Island, Upstate New York or in Newport, RI. So every summer my family and I would escape the New York City heat and head to Newport, RI.

We were members at Bailey’s Beach Club, which is now Spouting Rock Beach Association. Every day was filled with tennis lessons and hanging out by the beach side cabanas. My parents met in Newport and got married at St. Georges Chapel. They had a wedding weekend extravaganza, which lasted four days. It was filled with late night parties, brunches, tennis matches, and sailing.

I can’t express how much I love Newport, RI and how it played such a large role in shaping who I am today. I hope to photograph more weddings in Newport in the future. For now, I wanted to share a couple photos that I took while shooting for the incredibly talented Jaimee Morse. Check out her beautiful work and also check out her bouquet preservation company, The Heirloom Bouquet .


As your wedding day approaches some of you may be wondering if you should do a first look or not. Clearly there’s no right or wrong answer here and it’s all personal preference however, I wanted to outline the pros and cons so that you have more information that may be helpful in your decision making. 


  • Couples will choose to do a first look to ease the nerves of seeing each other for the first time in front of all their guests.

  • It’s a good time to connect with your soon to be husband in a more personal setting.

  • It allows you to spend more time at cocktail hour and with your guests after the ceremony.

  • Your wedding day can feel like a whirlwind so it’s a nice time to pause and have an intimate moment together.

  • The first look is an amazing time to capture fun, meaningful, intimate photos. 


  • Tradition. If you’re traditional and value seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony then a first look isn’t for you. 

  • First reactions can be more meaningful during a ceremony vs. during a first look.

  • You will have to get ready earlier in the day and budget enough time. If there isn’t enough time in the timeline then don’t force it.



It feels like Brett and I have been gone from Maine for months, but it’s only been 12 days. As a Maine and New England wedding photographer one of my goals is to travel during my off season because traveling is one of my biggest passions. We’re traveling for 3.5 weeks and for most of that time we’re in Bali, but we decided to make a pit stop in Dubai.

Dubai is a big layover hub so I wanted to write this post for anyone traveling through Dubai with a long layover or for anyone looking to go to Dubai. We extended our 3 hour layover to 24 hours and iIt was the best decision ever. Here is why…

Dubai has a lot of extravagant hotels to choose from and most of them are currently discounted by 50-75%. They’re so cheap because the city is really trying to push tourism. We stayed in a nice hotel that was close to the airport since we only had 24 hours. Carleton Place wasn’t the fanciest of hotels, but it was charming and extremely inexpensive. We booked our king room for $70 for the night.

For the first part of the day we walked through the gold and spice souks (markets) of the city. (These markets are similar to the ones in Marrakech for anyone who has been to Morocco). As Brett and I walked through the side streets we quickly became known as Shakira and Justin Bieber. It was hilarious. I also got called Shakira in Marrakech…. hmmmmmmmmm.

In the afternoon we went on a desert camel safari, which was absolutely incredible. The guide picked us up from our hotel and drove us to the safari location, which was an hour outside of the city. We met our camel convoy and enjoyed a 45 minute camel ride, which was a great way to connect with the desert and understand what transportation was like for the nomadic Bedouins. The ancient art of Falconry is a big deal for the people of the UAE so I was excited that we also got to watch a falconry demonstration.

As the sun set we approached a compound in the middle of the rolling sand dunes that was illuminated by flame torches . Inside the compound we sipped Arabic coffee and enjoyed a 4-course Emirati feast. They demonstrated traditional cooking methods such as slow cooking lamb in a cast iron pot under the ground. They also served camel and I was completely unaware that it was part of their cultural diet. Towards the end of the evening there was traditional music, dancing and shisha smoking. This tour was a great investment and I highly recommend it to anyone going to Dubai. You won’t regret it!

Hope you enjoy the photos 🙂



At the end of my 2018 wedding season I was featured and interviewed by the Boston Voyager. It’s an honor to be featured by such an amazing publication. Check out a preview of my interview below.

Full interview HERE.

Natalya, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Photography has been my biggest passion since I was a little girl. From a young age I was obsessed with creative imagery, visual storytelling, and the power of freezing a memory with a photograph.

My father was a hobby photographer so I grew up with a darkroom in my basement. I watched him develop film for hours every week. My Grandmother was also a photographer and she never went anywhere without a camera. I watched her obsessively capture every moment of life. I remember being so annoyed with her because she was constantly posing me and my siblings for pictures, telling us to smile, and snapping candids. After she passed away I inherited her photo albums and it was at that moment that I realized how valuable her photos were. I was able to relive my childhood, experience a piece of my history, and feel all the feelings I felt in that exact moment when the photo was captured. My biggest goal, and why I started this business, is to pass the same feelings and experience onto my clients.

In high school I felt strong pressures to pursue a path that would lead to a steady career, so I got a degree in Management and Marketing from the University of Colorado at Boulder. I spent 10 years in various corporate positions – financial sales, advertising, management, executive administration, and global operations, but I never felt like I was in the right place. After some life changing events and the loss of some close friends, I decided that life’s too short to be doing something I’m not passionate about. In 2017, I took a leap of faith and left a steady paycheck and health benefits to start my company, Natalya DeSena Photography. Although it’s  scary at times it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to do what I love. At 31 years old I finally feel like I’m in the right place.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are two emotions that tend to dictate how things go in our lives; fear + love, and I think most of us tend to live our lives with fear.

Growing up I was a bit anxious. I was always second guessing myself in terms of my career and accomplishments. When I turned 30 I felt fed up. I felt like I was missing out on my life’s potential. So instead of overanalyzing and questioning EVERYTHING that could go wrong, I jumped all in, heart first. I started saying no to things I didn’t believe in and yes to things that supported my growth. I started to believe that I could create the life of my dreams if I changed my internal dialog and surrounded myself with positive people.

What should we know about Natalya DeSena Photography? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a wedding, family and lifestyle photographer based in Portland, Maine but I shoot all over New England and in New York. I capture all my images with style, heart, and soul.

I’m passionate about fine art wedding photography and film, so you’ll see that most of my wedding work has both a fine art perspective and a film aesthetic. I aim to capture genuine, un-posed emotion and moments as well as timeless editorial portraits.

My photographic style is captivating, soft, and natural . I use the word captivating because I aim to capture moments that are emotionally raw – these are the pictures that will make you feel something, the ones that will move your soul.

I get to know my clients and learn about their story so I can tell it in the best way possible.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
Jewel (yes the singer) was my biggest inspiration growing up. She has a soft demeanor and her poetry and music are extremely powerful. When I was younger, she influenced me to pick up a guitar and write my own songs and poetry. She embodies grace and is highly talented at her craft.

My younger brother is another person I look up to. He’s a director, DP, and editor based in New York, but he works around the globe. Watching him work is fascinating. He’s extremely maniacal and passionate about what he does and it shows in his work.

Another woman who has influenced me over the years is Annie Leibovitz, a portrait photographer. She’s a master at her craft and is committed to her work. Watching her behind the lens and listening to her interviews is very inspirational and motivates me to be the best I can be as an artist and a photographer.


  • Weddings Collections begin at $3,500

  • Elopement packages start at $1,500

  • Family Portraits start at $450

Contact Info:



“Natalya was the perfect choice for our wedding! She took the time to meet with us on several occasions prior to our big day and scoped out multiple locations in order to capture our special moments. We live in California and we thought the time difference would be an issue with communicating but she didn’t miss a beat or an email. She was never intrusive and was super flexible throughout the whole experience. Natalya is passionate, thoughtful and truly gets to know you. We absolutely loved working with her”

– Allie + Jake


“I live in Kentucky and got married up in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. I hired Natalya DeSena for our photography and it was the best decision! She did a fantastic job with our elopement. From the beach to a boat ride to pictures on the coastal rocks! Every pic is so beautiful I can’t believe they are mine 🙂 Great photographer… Highly recommended!!!” – Melissa + Mike, Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa, Boothbay, Maine