March 5, 2020
Today we welcome the one and only Lauren Scotti on The Heart & Hustle podcast! Lauren Scotti is a wedding photographer based in sunny Southern California, yet she can’t stand the heat or bright light. She started her photo business 8 years ago after being brought up in the family photo biz. When she isn’t chasing after her cute toddler Milo (while being 6 months pregnant) traveling or shooting a wedding, you can find her binge-watching something, cooking up something delish, or listening to Harry Styles. Lauren is known for her modern, minimal, artistic work that combines storytelling with creating photos that look like actual works of art. Go to her instagram and you’ll understand what we mean. Lauren is the QUEEN of aesthetics and honing in on a visual style that represents HER and her brand. So that’s exactly what we chatted about with her. Lauren chatted about how she found her style, and the one wedding she shot that made her go, “OMG this is it. This is what I want to be shooting.” She gives some visual Instagram tips on how to create a visually appealing feed and her advice on how to target ideal clients to start booking what you actually want to shoot.
Lauren’s story differs from most photographers. Lauren was inducted into the family business. From a young age, Lauren saw her dad run his photography business. He often had her help out and offered for her to work for him. Lauren took him up on his offer (especially since there was free food involved). She started to second shoot for her dad around 14 years old.
From there, she knew she liked photography but not enough to make it a career. She went to college and got a degree in Graphic Design. She’s always loved design and really thinks this plays into how she now photographs. But, she didn’t like creating something out of nothing.
She eventually discovered the creative world of photography. She started to see how blogs and people were really making photos their own. Lauren always assumed photography had to be a certain way, just from seeing her dad’s work, but when she realized that you could make it your own she was sold.
She began to photograph friends, which turned into referrals and it slowly progressed to where she is today.
She began to shoot anything and everything to figure out what she liked and what she didn’t like. Lauren luckily stumbled upon booking a wedding in Palm Springs. She didn’t know this was her jam going in, but she left knowing 100% that that was her style. The design aspect, lines, minimalism, and colors were everything she loved. Moving forward, Lauren knew this was her focus.
Lauren ended up getting referrals from this wedding and the exposure from that really catapulted her career.
Palm Springs was the start of finding what she liked, but it evolved and grew over the years. Lauren really tries to stick with what she likes and who she is rather than getting caught up in the trends. She goes into a shoot truly just wanting to create something awesome for her client. Lauren often tells her clients that she wants to create some sort of art piece with them in it if she can.
The smiling at the camera photos are great, but how cool is it to have a photo to hang on your wall that is more of an art piece that you are a part of? She always makes this a goal. Because of her “classic” training background, she tends to mix both styles. She knows how to pair the timeless with the creative, but this took her awhile to perfect.
When you start out, you want to push the boundaries and do what is cool and trendy. But, you need to figure out where you land. Lauren lands in the middle by providing classy, timeless photos alongside the more creative and edgy.
Shoot a lot of anything and everything. How do you know you don’t like something until you shoot it?
Lauren had to shoot a golf course wedding to realize that it wasn’t her necessarily her style. It’s hard to judge until you actually do it. Sometimes you can get in your head that you don’t like something, but you may end up loving it.
If you connect with a client, and they are getting married at a golf course, that should trump the location of where you are shooting. It’s not all about that. Obviously it’s cool to shoot in cool places, but at the end of the day we are here to serve our clients and capture the memories for them.
In every location think how you can challenge yourself to make it unique or different.
We need to change our mindset of how we approach things.Finding your style is more than just a specific look on the outside. You need to discover within yourself how you can challenge yourself to make something look awesome.
Sometimes it is easy to let the location do all the work for you. You have to challenge yourself to think creatively.
So many people want to skip the time it takes to develop their style. It’s not going to come fast. In today’s world everything is about getting it as quickly as possible. Good things do take time. There is so much education that is now available but it is going to take time. Lauren second shot and worked with other photographers for years. Take the time to figure out what you want to do and how you want to do it. It’s okay if it takes a little longer than the photographer next to you.
Let a difficult location challenge you to use what you have and make art of it.
Learn what tones you like. This can help your lifestyle and wedding photos really blend together.
People can go back and forth between whether or not to show personal things on your business page. It comes down to personal preference. Lauren knew she wanted to share her life and her business. When clients get to know you personally it’s so beneficial since photography is such a personal thing.
You want to be able to go to someone’s page and get a sense of who they are. In today’s world, since everything is so quick, people may not be as likely to go to your website and read your about page. It’s so easy to get on Instagram and quickly check their feed.
Yes, there is so much pressure to make those squares look cohesive. But now that there are stories, you can really show up there and post things that may not be cohesive with your feed.
It’s nice to break up an up close portrait with a further photo. Lauren tries to avoid posting two up close shots side by side.
What you put out there, you will attract. Lauren strategically posts weddings and styles that she wants to shoot more of.
When people are looking to hire you, they tend to envision themselves looking like the people in Lauren’s photos. When people can see themselves in your photos, they are more likely to book them.
Share what you want to shoot.
If it’s not coming your way, then make it happen. There are so many resources out there, you can do whatever you want. If you aren’t getting the type of couple you want to shoot, or you want to experiment, now is the time to freaking do it. You’re not booked up with a ton of weddings and clients and dealing with the business side so you have the time and freedom to do so.
If you are in a location you aren’t vibing with, do something with the lighting that is different. Challenge yourself in other ways rather than just being bummed out.
It’s always a work in progress. With Lauren’s first kid, it took a few months for her to feel like herself and get back in the groove. It was really helpful to hire a nanny so Lauren could really focus on work for a day or two.
Lauren has taken a slight step back in order to really be present as a mom. It’s a lot of figuring it out on the way. It takes time to figure out the rhythm of your business.
Lauren knew she didn’t want to take as many weddings this year since she is unsure how life will look with two kids. She planned to take on less so she wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. It comes down to being okay with where you are in each season.
It’s figuring out what your new normal is in each season. You have to give yourself grace.
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