If you’re reading this, you probably know that running a photography business is no easy task. Whether you are just starting or have been killin’ it out there for quite some time, it is safe to say that it’s hard work.
I would like to note that I’m always looking for ways to improve. I’ve done my fair share of photography research and I’ve spent plenty of time dreaming over Instagram accounts but what I haven’t done enough of is reaching out and meeting local photographers in my area. Not only does this create a new network and build friendships, but it I get to grow and learn beside others who share the same passion.
With a recently published website and a desire to share my writing, I decided to start a blog series to feature local photographers in Austin.
Lauren Parr – @photographybylp
How and when did you pick up photography?
When I was 18 I got my first camera. It was basic, not expensive and back then, it was just a hobby. I’ve always been interested in the arts. I play piano and guitar and I knew I always wanted to take good pictures. It all started with my friend Caitlin. Her boyfriend was stationed in Afghanistan and he kept pictures of her in his locker so we came up with the idea to take her pictures send him the galleries. After sharing those photos on Instagram, I began getting messages from people wanting their pictures done.
Who or what influences you to do what you do?
I’m very self-motivated and I’ve always been independent. What drives me, is what I have to do for myself. Art is all that I really know and and it’s something that has always been there for me. For me, taking photos is a therapy session – it’s my escape.
How do you think you have you grown from the time you started to today?
I’m completely self-taught. I’ve grown so much and it’s taken me a long time but you have to understand that growth is slow and you have to be patient. Over the years, I’ve met and collaborated with others and I’ve learned so much by doing that. My skills and my confidence have grown – across the board all the way around.
How have you grown your business? What has worked and what hasn’t?
I used to post my work on my personal Instagram account but starting a separate page for my photography opened up a whole new world for me.
One thing that has always worked for me is doing what I want to do and sticking to my vision – even if I have to do it for free. When I do this, I gain confidence in what I do and that’s what gravitates people to me and my work.
What are some things you wish you knew when you started your business?
To tell people no and not let them walk all over me. For too long, people wanted to change me. When you work with me you get what you get. Don’t be afraid to tell people no and stay as you are.
How do you organize and plan your work? (choosing clients, locations, vibe, etc.)
I can always tell when someone is confident in front of the camera so tend to gravitate towards that when I choose to do a styled shoot or collaboration.
As far as working with paying clients: I do my best to get to know them and focus on what they want. In a Google survey, I ask them to send me outfits, if they want to shoot indoors or outdoors, etc. I like to give them options and try to get the most information as possible. Sometimes people can’t express what their vision is so I ask them send me Pinterest ideas or have them screen shot my photos on Instagram so I get an idea of what they are looking for.
It’s safe to say you’ve learned a lot about photography over the years. What are some of the most important lessons you can share with someone just starting out?
1. Take your camera everywhere. Shoot all the time. In my home town, people always knew me as “Lauren and the camera.”
2. People always ask me; what camera do you use? It doesn’t matter. It’s all about your eye.
3. When I first started, I would see other photographers’ work and I had stars in my eyes. I wondered how I would ever get that good. What I realized, is that you don’t have to be like anyone else. Experiment and find you own style.
4. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Reach out to people, ask questions and take notes.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
When you are not studying or taking photos, what do you enjoy doing?
- I like to travel. Road trips and international travel. My favorite city is Barcelona, Spain because it’s a very artsy and inspirational city.
- I enjoy working out
- I have 2 dogs so I enjoy hiking with them.
A lot of time, we find ourselves overwhelmed and busy with school, work and all other adult responsibilities. What do you to make time for yourself? What does your “me” time look like?
- I like to sit on my back porch, drink my coffee and avoid using my phone – I know, it’s hard because being on our phones is part of our jobs but I try.
- I like to play fetch with my dogs.
- I’m really into beauty so I like to create an at-home with face masks.
- I enjoy self-help books but pleasure reading is always thriller. I always recommend The Millennium Series – the ones from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
What advice would you give to someone who has a vision/goal/dream but is just stuck?
Write it down. Writing down your goals sets them in motion. Seeing them written down makes them more possible achieve. You have to hold yourself accountable to make them happen.
This summer I had three goals:
- Shadow a wedding: done
- Hit 1K followers on Instagram: almost done
- Be accepted to the Hub Influencer Collective: done
Favorite pizza in Austin?
Austin’s Pizza with all the veggies
Favorite coffee joint in Austin?
Brew & Brew
Favorite burger in Austin?
Any suggested happy hour spots?
Moontower Saloon (dog friendly)
Lauren – thank you so much for spending time with me. It was a pleasure getting to know you and feed off your positive energy. Your future is so bright we will need sunglasses to see your success down the road.
Contact me if you’re interested in being featured. The feature will include a Q&A with similar questions and a few portraits to go along with your story.