Braid Community Spotlight: Lauren Nielsen
Local photographer Lauren Nielsen over the years has shifted into working more and more full time as a freelance photographer. To learn about her adventures in photography, keep scrolling on below!
How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Part-time lover, full-time Kourtney Kardashian impersonator.
Tell us about the brand that you are hoping to grow:
My brand as a photographer is all about creating modern, genuine, and artful photos with passion and sincerity.
What inspired you to start?
I first became interested in photography in high school when I visited an art museum and saw an exhibit of Allen Ginsberg’s photography during the Beat movement of the 1960’s. I was so captivated by the way he could capture the zeitgeist of such an exciting time in history through his photographs, and I realized then how powerful photography could be. I bought my first DSLR shortly after that, and now–thousands of Google searches and several camera upgrades later–I am able to make a living off of taking photos.
If you have a mission, goal, or vision for your brand, what would it be?
Although I primarily get booked to shoot weddings right now, my goal is to expand my brand beyond wedding photography and get booked for editorial or commercial work where I would have a little more creative flexibility.
Who is your target audience?
I don’t know if I have a target audience as far as demographics go, but my dream client is someone who appreciates the value of photography as an art form, someone who is willing to trust me, and trusts the process. It’s so important to me to tailor my style and vision to fit each client rather than finding clients who are tailored to fit a particular style.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve experienced so far with your brand?
This is very “tortured artist” of me, but dealing with an oversaturated market and the debilitating self-doubt that comes with that will always be the biggest challenge as a photographer. I’m constantly second guessing myself and wondering if I really deserve to be doing what I do. There are so many talented people I’m competing with and it’s a constant struggle to find ways to stand out and offer something truly unique. On a more practical note, I’m learning that having my own business requires me to wear several hats. Not only do I have to be a photographer, but I also have to be a website manager, a receptionist, a marketing expert, a social media wizard, and so much more if I plan to be successful. Balancing all of those roles has been a major learning process (as in, I’m terrible at it).
Your biggest successes?
The first time I ever booked a client who I wasn’t already friends with or related to was a big moment for me. My friend posted some photos I had taken of her on Facebook and her friend reached out and wanted to book me for her engagements. Like, here was a STRANGER who liked my work and was going to pay me actual MONEY to take pictures…what a concept. It seems silly now, but it was very validating at the time and gave me the confidence to pursue photography as a career.
What do you hope to learn at Braid Workshops?
I hope to learn anything and everything related to the logistical aspect of owning a business (taxes, legal stuff, etc.) because we all know that is NOT my forte. I also want to hear stories and experiences from like-minded people and hopefully gain inspiration for my own brand.
Who do you hope to meet at the Braid Workshops?
Provo is such a fun and collaborative environment, so I would love to meet fellow entrepreneurs, artists, and creatives who would want to collaborate on a project…or just, like, hang out sometime.