42. Visual Story Telling of Brands, Food and People Through Photography
This week’s guest proves that sometimes all you need is curiosity, drive, and passion to make your dreams a reality. Lauren Carnes’s love for capturing moments and telling stories with a camera began in high school, where she served as the yearbook editor, and followed her throughout her college tenure. She dabbled in graphic design and advertising before landing in the public relations arena, which may seem like a stretch from photography, but Lauren always kept her love for photography alive.
While maintaining her 9-to-5, she began casually offering to take engagement and wedding photos for her friends as gifts, and what started as a hobby and small gesture, quickly morphed into an overwhelming demand for her services. What truly makes Lauren’s story amazing, is that she’s a self-taught photographer who let her passion guide the way.
- Started out working at an advertising agency
- Started shooting engagement photos as gifts for sorority sisters and other friends
- Volunteered to do second-shooting for photographers in Atlanta
- She is self-taught and attributes her learning to other photographers, Google, Creative Live classes and thoroughly reading her camera’s instructions manual
- “I had been doing the work in order to show the work.” —Lauren Carnes
- She decided to do second and third shots for free until it lead to paid gigs; it allowed her to build her portfolio
- “It all started by the proverbial getting the coffee.” —Lauren Carnes
- Lauren was balancing a 9-to-5 while balancing her photography side-hustle initially
- When she realized she could not serve the public relations job and the photography side-hustle fully, she decided to start her own business
- During first full year as a photographer, she shot 24 weddings; the next year, she booked 23 gigs
- People started to ask for her advice about her photography and the success of her business so she started coaching and consulting for creative entrepreneurs and small business owners in the lifestyle, creative, and food realm
- In order to diversify her clientele, she leveraged her public relations background and used a system that had worked during her time as an PR associate:
- Start shooting X type of photos (wedding, engagement, food, etc)
- Get work to showcase what you can do
- Make yourself available and present it to the public
- Overarching theme for her brand is herself, which allows her to serve and be both a photographer and communication strategist
- Her photography has a similar editing style, which connects her various types of photography together
- Postions herself as a lifestyle brand versus trying to manage multiple brands
- Her advice: “Make your niche by finding out what makes you different from everyone else; bridge the gap!”
- Tips for getting exposure:
- Don’t be afraid to submit or pitch yourself
- Find a publication and pitch your story
- Story should be timely, relevant, and of interest to you audience
- Make sure your package is put together (professional images, website, good story) and sent in the way the publication wants it packaged
- Typical Day – Every day is different, but these items are consistent:
- Morning: quiet time – snuggle with the dog
- Night: Cooks with husband almost every night
- Creative Live – Online courses
- Garden & Gun Photos by Lauren Carnes
- Rising Tide Society – submit blog article
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