We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren W and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process…hmmm….I guess more or less the freedom to create what, when and how I wanted.
I used to create under the rules and regulations of others. I tried to be more like them and what they wanted instead of what I wanted or felt in my soul. It wasn’t to be like them or anything like that. I just didn’t really understand who I was in photography or what I wanted the world to see from me just yet.
As time went on though, I started becoming restless and felt stifled where I was. That’s what started driving me in this direction, I wanted people to have a peek into my vision and since I was ignoring it, it started forcing its way into play.
Thats the day I decided I needed to go my own way and do things on my own. Even if that meant I was going to fail and look foolish.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As much as I’d like to say my photography keeps me the most busy, I can’t. I work full time and try to manage my photography in my free time. But if I’m 100% honest, my perfectionism keeps me the busiest and on my toes. If one shoot or session turned out really well, I’m like “Ok cool. How can I beat that one?” If one post on social media does really well, I’m like “Alright, bet. I have to do better now.” It’s honestly exhausting, but I feel like it forces me to get out of my comfort zone and create something new. I also believe it pushes me to keep trying to improve my skills and learn new techiniques. Most importantly, it causes me to use my negative experiences to try to create better and great experiences for someone else.
Not many people know that I wanted to model when I was 17 and actually made some attempts to make that a reality. I participated in a beauty pageant and auditioned to model for Abercrombie and Fitch. I also met with this agency in regards to getting training and signed. That company was trying to push me to do nudes and overly sexual themes at the age of 17 and had no consideration for my age or the fact that I held strongly to my religious up bringing. They kept trying to use the fact that I was turning 18 soon as a reason to keep pressing the issue. As hard as it was, I told them this was not for me and I left and gave up on modeling at that point.
So fast forward to now, from the jump, I tell models or anyone wanting to shoot; I will not suggest or force you to do X,Y, or Z unless you yourself suggest or express interest. I don’t want to fit in the same mold as the people who tried to convince me to do something I wasn’t cool with. I want people to feel safe and comfortable around me, so I work hard to, as previously stated, to use my negatives as a positive for someone else.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well for starters, if they come here looking for In N Out, I’m dropping them back off at the airport lol.
I’d definitely take them to my favorite wing place, Dream Wings in the Garden Oaks area off of Ella Blvd.
BB’s Cafe in The Heights has good Red Headed Whompus Cats…rats…something like that, it’s some creature. It’s their version of a Hurricane but they’re really good.
Then they got to goto Frenchy’s chicken if they’ve never been, especially the one off of Scott St.
To hang out………usually if I’m not at work, working on my photography or editing pictures, I’m at the gym. But if I did hang out, we’d probably got skating somewhere. Besides skating though, if we could get a team together, I’d definitely be up for volleyball.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents firstly. They’ve always had a camera around me at some point. I doubt that if that wasn’t the case, that I’d be as interested as I was when I started.
My friends Hannah and Cody for being my first official session. They let me photograph their wedding like 3 days after I bought my first camera and I had no idea what I was doing. Hannah has always been super supportive and encouraging about me and photography since and still says those photos are among her favorites.
My brother in law, Nate for being my mentor. I have grown and come to learn a lot from him. I’ve worked as a second shooter at a number of weddings and events as his assistant/second shooter. He helped push me out of my comfort zone when I first started and told me to get serious if I wanted to make any progress.
My friends Chris, Kyndall, Stephanie and Stacy. I just met Chris about a year or two ago, but he’s been encouraging, supportive and a mentor to me since. Kyndall has talked me down from many proverbial cliffs countless times. He also encouraged me to start blazing my own trail and do things I want to do and enjoy. Stephanie and Stacy were friends of mine in middle school and we just recently reconnected after 20ish years. They’ve been supportive, encouraging and my shoulders to lean on especially at 3am when it came to photography.
First two photos: Chris @126_photography Models: Dylan @dylthekillsmith Kay @imjustkay_6 Joe and Malayka Niko @thatboynikooo Brittany and Lindsey @britt_oliver @princesalnz Lola @lolavaughnpinup