I’m really not even sure where to begin… this month marks so many milestones for me and my business. It’s:
8 years in business – 3 business names later – 1 year full time – 2,000 likes on Facebook
Oh, and something else happened this month… something that brought me to tears when I got to see it for the first time:
I was published in Lemonade & Lenses.
From the day that I first began to really hone in on this photography craft, I looked up to the artists featured in Lemonade and Lenses. This publication served as a piece of inspiration to me as I grew and evolved. Over these past few years, as I really began to find my style and cater to a particular aesthetic, I found myself feeling even more and more drawn to them.
After responding to an Instagram post of theirs on a whim about travel, I thought to myself that there was no way a publication this big was even going to read my message. I had already sold myself on the lie that only wedding photographers deserved to be published in this industry — something that I had felt to be true for a while. Ironically enough, they were looking for something a little bit different and asked me to speak about my travel with senior photography. If you didn’t already know, I travel regularly down to south Louisiana to photograph high school seniors.
Yes, this entire blog post is about this feature in Lemonade & Lenses and the incredible sense of community and the love they have shown me since that very first day, but it is also about the weird journey I have taken through photography and the way it has changed me as a human.
I have one single person to thank for my photography career, and I’m not even sure if he knows that it’s thanks to him, but his name is Gary Gundy. This man, sweet as can be, once told me, over a family dinner, that he thought I had real potential behind my camera and that I should begin charging people for the photos I was taking of them. That little conversation lit the spark in me and I am so thankful for that moment, looking back. That tiny passing comment has given me my entire career.
When I began 8 years ago, I was only 15 years old, and there were many, many things I didn’t realize about running a business, or even running my camera (LOL) at the time. I did know one thing, though: I loved how I was able to make people feel about themselves when they were across my camera from me. This simple acknowledgement changed me as a person as I realized the genuine influence we have over others: power to make them feel known, valued, secure, seen.
This reason is probably why I am most drawn to working one-on-one with my seniors and with my small businesses/brands… I strive to know the individual because I always felt like maybe people never really knew who I was growing up. Of course, a lot of assumption goes into every relationship, but when I began this business in high school, I was living in a mold of “Laura Rowe.” I wasn’t offended by it, but I did feel limited. I was limited to what was being seen and valued about me.
I always want my work to be able to speak for itself, but I hope that my experiences and interactions with my clients speak volumes too. The people that I have worked with have allowed me to grow and find myself and my voice as an artist these past years and I couldn’t possibly be more thankful for that.
Thank you, Lemonade & Lenses, for making me feel seen, for always giving me something to work towards, and for reminding me that there are always personal victories along the way – success is just one of them <3
To read the article, Becoming A Traveling Senior Photographer, in the March/April 2018 Wanderlust issue of Lemonade & Lenses, please visit their website here to purchase a digital or print copy. I cover tips and tricks for successfully setting up a second market of high school seniors for your photography business!
Cheers to the many years ahead!