it's not every day that you meet someone who's creativity rubs off on you in such a way that it becomes the inspiration for the work that you do. lauren miller of lauren louise photography is just that creative. it was a fast creative friendship between her and i and i quickly wanted to find as many ways as possible to work together. for one, it's not hard to see that her work is stunning beyond words, but two, it's the tone, the mood and emotion that she captures is really hard to put a pin in. and she's also just a force. it was easy to see from day one that she is steadfast in what she wants to accomplish with her photography and the level of professionalism that she brings to every client. she also has a sass that's hard to beat!
on a personal note, it is just that one, mood and emotion that i knew i wanted in my rebranding. I did a lot of research, soul searching and instagram stalking when attempting to find the right look for elizabeth carberry and it kept coming back to lauren. i knew early on that she would be able to help bring together my monochromatic lifestyle with my creative and slightly awkward personality. and for those that know me, i think you will agree that lauren did this perfectly.
it has been incredible to watch as lauren has grown her business and fine tuned her work over the last (almost) two years, so who better to feature on the new site first but the woman responsible for it's tone, mood and emotion.
ec: Why photography?
llp: My parents gifted me a 35mm ricoh for my 8th grade graduation after taking my first film class. I was terrible at the time, but I enjoyed it. Photography was put on hold in high school since I was already heavily involved in the performing arts; I sang in the chamber choir, played the bass clarinet, and was involved in all of the school musicals. When I got to college, a friend of mine invited me to work on The Stylus, our school’s newspaper. I shot with a DSLR for the first time, and began learning how to shoot manually and eventually became the Photo Editor. Still, I was pretty terrible. It wasn't until after college when I joined AmeriCorps (and needed to find a way to make rent) that I became serious (and better) at my craft. I have countless hours on youtube and generous veterans in the industry to thank for that. I shot my first wedding by responding to a frantic Craigslist ad after a hurricane had prevented the originally hired photographer from getting to the wedding. Still, I was no professional but it was that wedding that lit the spark. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, this is something I could really love.’ And a couple of years later it was, ‘Oh, this is something I could make a living from, and a damn good one.’
ec: Your style is very unique. It has a certain mood to it. Is that on purpose? What is appealing about this aesthetic to you?
llp: It’s definitely on purpose. When I first started my business, I was living in South Florida, where folks either got married on the beach or on a golf course. I hated it. Every wedding and every photographer’s interpretation of those weddings all looked and felt the same to me. But as soon as I realized that wedding photography didn’t have to be posed and mechanical; that I could shoot weddings how I wanted to, organically and authentically; that I could document a story, not direct one, I was hooked. I started to seek out like-minded couples who wanted me to tell their unique story and who were equally as passionate about genuine and authentic storytelling as I was. Those folks weren't running rampant in Ft Lauderdale, however, and ultimately, I ended up moving to DC where my approach and style was appreciated and sought after. The year I moved, there was a shift in the creative industry in DC. The city wasn't just for the 9-5ers or the politicians anymore and folks in all facets of the art world were evoking respect and change. It was, and still is, such an exciting, albeit small, movement to be a part of. When I think about all of industry folks who invited me into their circles during my first month here, I’m overwhelmed. I’m talking about some of the kindest, most passionate and hardworking people I’ve ever met. DC is not my favorite city, but it has my favorite people, and I don't see myself leaving here anytime soon.
ec: Everyone always seems to say “wedding photography is so expensive for just a few hours” … But the truth is that it takes a lot longer than that to execute the vision and pull together a collection of images that your clients will have forever. What does that process look like for you?
llp: Oh, man. Wedding photography is exhausting and there’s so much pressure! I mean, I’m responsible for documenting one of the most important days of peoples’ lives. I’ve gotten better about the nerves; now it’s mostly just excitement but that’s because of the years of experience, and I think that has a ton to do with the cost of wedding photography. What a lot of people don’t understand is how much money it costs for me to protect their images. I shoot with multiple camera bodies that allow me to shoot to two different cards at once, this way, if one of my cards malfunctions (and they do!) I have a backup. I then have physical and cloud storage where their images live for, like, ever. And then there’s liability insurance and property insurance, lenses and flashes, repair costs, workshops, marketing plans and yada yada yada …not to mention the amount of time I spend with a couple leading up to, during, and after their wedding emailing, planning, editing etc. I educate my clients on what to expect and how to prepare for the best images on their wedding day, and I think that’s something that holds quite a bit of value.
ec: You are in the midst of wedding season … Is there one this fall or in 2018 that you are really excited about? And what other projects or clients are you excited for?
llp: I’m actually on my way to the wedding I’m most excited about as I type this. RL + Kaitlyn are tying the knot in Brooklyn, one of my favorite cities to visit, at The Greenpoint Loft, a pre-WWII rope factory transformed into a wedding venue. It also has a sick rooftop where I plan to photograph the couple’s sunset portraits. The couple and I grew up in the same small town on Long Island and so while we aren't the same age, our circles have crossed paths many times over the years. They have a really relaxed style, wonderful personalities, and great respect and love for one another. I’m really excited to see how their unique relationship translates to their wedding day atmosphere.
Because wedding season is so dense in DC -September to November is non stop (16 weddings between my associates and I, I think?)- I barely have time to breathe, yet alone take on creatively taxing projects. I’m looking forward to Spring when I can focus some energy on personal projects, like a styled editorial I’ll be shooting with Elizabeth Carberry (the awesome chick that’s doing this interview) in April. Other than that, I look forward to the very little time I have off in the next few months.
ec: What inspires you? Personally? And Professionally?
llp: I try to find inspiration for my craft beyond other wedding photographers. Comparison is the root of all evil in this business so I stick to other art forms, like interior design and fashion. I also travel a ton, both for work and pleasure, and I try to explore as much as possible, whether that means sightseeing or meeting up with a local artist I’ve connected with on Instagram for a cocktail. Personally, I’m inspired by my circle. One of my best friends just signed her company a huge deal with Vogue, my partner runs a successful commercial construction company and risked everything in the process, and my parents are the freaking hardest working folks I’ve ever met. I’m so proud to call these people family and to have them to support and encourage me to be the best version of myself. They love me so well.