Business Name: Lauren Carnes
Where are you based out of?
Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer?
What is your predominant photographic specialization?
Food & Travel, Weddings, & Lifestyle Branding
What camera(s) do you currently shoot with?
Canon 5D Mark iii
How would you define your style?
My style is clean, timeless, & welcoming. With a passion for storytelling, my goal is to capture imagery and memories that are true to life and with a bright joyful vibe.
What motivated you to become a photographer?
I’ve always been the “girl with the camera.” As a child I brought my point & shoot to birthday parties, as a senior in high school I was the editor of the yearbook, and even in college, I documented the highlights of every event. When my husband’s medical school career consumed most of his time, I began looking for a creative outlet. I purchased a used Canon Rebel XS from a friend and immediately dove in, excited to capture friend’s engagement sessions as my wedding gift to them. What began as a hobby quickly turned into a dream of full-time photography while working full time as a public relations practitioner & social media strategist. Upon discovering we’d be moving for my husband’s medical residency training, I figured then seemed as good a time as any to launch a photography business. I knew that I wanted to be able to have a career that could take me anywhere as he pursued his career, and the opportunity to capture memories, experiences, and gatherings for others seemed like the perfect fit!
What is it that you try to convey with your work?
I recently launched a new website, and in doing so came across a list of words I jotted down years ago on a scrap sheet of paper. The list was of what I wanted people to experience through my images (link: https://laurencarnes.com/blog/2018/03/01/launch-day-the-new-lauren-carnes-brand-website/) … while that was 3 years ago, still so much of that resonates today. I want to convey the joy and beauty that we experience in everyday life – the natural way a couple embraces, the freshness of a dish you’ve just cooked for the first time, the inviting cultures near and far, and the classic & inviting branding image that tells the story of the people behind the brand. With shooting such a variety of things, everything comes back to conveying those descriptors, and that guides how and what I shoot!
How do you accomplish that?
Before every shoot, I aim to learn as much about the people, places, and things I’ll be capturing. Not just the basic info, but the stories behind the session… knowing those allows me to capture them in a way that feels true to who THEY are.
What do you do during a session or wedding day to help make your clients feel comfortable?
To me, communication is everything. Pre-shoot, during the session/wedding, and after. With a background in communications, I find that the more we are on the same page and the more I can portray to my clients that I am the expert, the better overall of an experience it is for everyone… and the better photos we capture as a result!
Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
Oh my goodness, countless photographers! We are surrounded by so many incredibly talented people in this industry, it would be impossible to choose just one. But I will say, I am most inspired not just by the work others create, but who they are as PEOPLE. Beautiful work is one thing, but beautiful hearts & souls just take it to the next level!
What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
I recently shot a wedding at a bucket list destination. Truly, one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever seen. The night before the wedding I had the chance to grab dinner with my amazing friend who second shot with me for about a year and a half prior to that. She also happened to have a wedding in the same city that weekend, which also happened to be the same city where we did our first overnight wedding together. That was the night where I showed her all the behind the scenes of how I edit, what I do for each wedding, etc. It was a really memorable and pivotal weekend for so many reasons in my life. But seeing her there succeeding like crazy in her business, training up her second shooter, and investing in those around her in amazing ways was a true testament to the fact that “A candle never loses its like by lighting another candle.” Ever since I began my career, it was always my goal to invest in, educate, and encourage newer, greener photographers & business owners. Seeing her reaching such great heights & pouring back into others in a city that meant so much to us was truly special.
What is one important lesson you have learned during your career?
Passion projects are some of the best things you can do. Food photography began as a passion project… as a way to show I was able to use a camera when I had no clients. Now, it’s one of my main types of photography, and still, the passion grows every day!
Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
The ivory & grey linen print boxes. Gosh, they are so lovely & the perfect gift for my wedding clients post-wedding day. I love thinking of the couples filling it with their favorite prints over the years long after the wedding day is through.
How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
People are blown away when they receive the print boxes in the mail full of special memories from their day. Not only are they stunning, but they are the perfect size to slide on a shelf as a keepsake. My clients always rave about them & share on social media with such excitement, spreading the word further about my business and bringing in new referrals and inquiries!
How has packaging elevated your brand?
In the earlier days of my business, I just would tie prints up with string and slide them into an envelope. It didn’t present them well or give them a home long term… I mean, what do you do with a stack of 50 prints and no home to store them? Now, the packaging truly gives the elevated experience that my clients deserve, and it allows them to display my work in their homes!
Is there anything else you are passionate about besides photography?
I’m obsessed with marketing & communications, and absolutely love how storytelling is bolstered not just with photos or just with words, but with both. I have a dual degree in Public Relations & Spanish with a certificate in Personal & Organizational Leadership, so absolutely love having a career where I can capture images as a photographer & help others craft their brand message & digital communications as a communications coach. I feel hugely grateful that I have been able to create a business that lets me combine all of my passions in one and helps bridge the gap between photos and copywriting! And I’m also more than obsessed with all things food & drink – cooking, eating, trying new recipes, traveling & experiencing new cultures & foods. If we’re not working, we’re likely doing that as a couple, with our pup, or with family & friends, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What type of businesses do you help with coaching?
As a photography & communications coach, I serve creative entrepreneurs looking to uplevel their businesses, hone in on their messaging and brand voice, and connect with their ideal clients. As a photographer, I have a special place in my heart for creatives. I’ve been there, done that, and know all too well what it feels like to try to find your place in this very over-saturated industry. I love being able to apply my knowledge and past experience of working with worldwide brands to each individual, meeting them exactly where they are at in their career. Many of my clients are in a season of transition, pivoting from one element of their business to another or preparing to launch a new website, service, or offering. Others are just ready to take their business to the level they have always dreamed of but hadn’t had the right words or confidence to get there. I take a 30 thousand foot view approach, and then walk through whatever my client’s are struggling with a clear action plan for everything from brand messaging to email marketing to photo styling. (link: https://laurencarnes.com/communications) And the thing I love most about my coaching offerings is that I am able to cater the coaching directly to the individual. No two sessions are exactly alike because no two creatives are alike… and our time together really highlights what makes “you, you!”
What is great about being a multi-passionate entrepreneur?
When I first began this business, I intended to shoot weddings forever. That was going to be my niche. However, I quickly learned that I would never feel truly full if I abandoned my other interests and passions. As humans we have lots of things that fire us up… and for me, it seems like a futile effort to squash those in the name of “niching.” Instead, when I truly finally began embracing all of the passions, I found that it brought even better clients for me. My wedding clients connected with me about the latest recipe I was trying. My food clients appreciated my ability to coordinate with their agencies and draft stories for editorial work. My coaching clients want insight on communications AND imagery, and how they can bring consistency into every element of their brand. I believe that by bridging the gap between imagery and communications, my business is set apart from others, and I have the opportunity to serve a really unique type of client… one that wants a 360 view, and one that loves a good meal. 😉 Because as Julia Child says: “People who love to eat are always the best people.” Plus, being multi-passionate is just a normal element of being HUMAN. Embrace that… it’s way more fun!