Lauren Jolly: Lifestyle Photography

Photography is now accessible to anyone carrying a smart phone. We capture even the most unimportant moments on camera–what we eat for lunch, for example. The accessibility of art is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to the most important moments (graduation, marriage, babies, and reunions) hiring a good photographer is important for making sure the nostalgia lasts long after the moment is gone.

Lauren Jolly is a local Raleigh artist and entrepreneur who has perfected her talent in photography and is currently marketing her talents in the booming wedding and family photo industry. We absolutely love this carefree, talented girl! Lauren is creative and passionate about taking memorable photos. She is organized and generous, promoting her business through excellent give-aways and personal blog posts on her website. I know how important a good photographer is to record those important family events, and that is why I was excited to get to know Lauren a bit more and introduce this incredible woman here on GTH.


GT: Lauren, when did you first realize you wanted to be a part of the “nostalgic wedding and lifestyle photography” industry?

LJ: I guess I first realized I wanted to be a photographer when I took a darkroom photography class in college at UNC-Wilmington. It was one of the most demanding classes I’d ever taken, but it was so rewarding! Watching the film develop and the image appear is an awesome experience. I now shoot digital, but definitely plan on getting back into film photography in the future.

GT: Did you focus on portraits during your time with film photography? If not, what was your muse?

LJ:I always enjoyed shooting portraits so I focused on that a lot in my film classes in college. I am drawn to the emotion in a photograph and while I adore shooting detail shots of rings and wedding decor, I will always be a portrait photographer at heart.

GT: Would you consider incorporating film photography into your business? Or do you consider film to be more of a fine print aesthetic hobby?


LJ: In the future, I would love to incorporate it into my business! It would take alittle bit of “re-learning,” but it’s a truly irreplaceable look. We try to duplicate the look of film while editing our digital images, but it is nearly impossible. I think film is making a comeback and I’d love to get back into it as well.

GT: Rumour says that the wedding industry is 70% business marketing and collaboration and 30% creativity and originality. Have you found this to be true?

LJ: In my opinion you can’t separate these two from each other. While it may be 70% business and 30% creativity, you have to join the two to have a successful business model. There are so many talented people in our industry with more joining every day. Photographers are (in general) naturally creative and original when it comes to their art, but from what I’ve seen, the most successful photographers are also very self-motivated and think about business creatively. If you don’t enjoy the business and marketing aspect and find ways to bring your natural creativity into it, you may have a hard time running a sustainable business. Personally, I get excited to come up with new marketing tools and ways to collaborate with other artists!

GT: How has collaboration with other wedding vendors influenced your work?

LJ: Collaborations with other wedding vendors have been completely irreplaceable in furthering my career! I love meeting new people who are as passionate about weddings as I am! I’ve worked with vendors to create styled shoots and had the opportunity to meet a lot of new industry professionals throughout weddings I’ve photographed. It’s been great and so far I’ve only met nice, encouraging people. One of the best examples of that was when I attended the Making Things Happen conference this past spring. I got to meet hundreds of people from all over the country who wanted to make this industry better. It was such an amazing experience.

GT: On your blog, you keep inspired and detailed lists of goals for each month. How is goal setting helpful for you as an artist? Are you naturally a “check-the-list-twice” kind of girl?

LJ: Naturally? No. Naturally, I’m a “write-nothing-down-and-hope-for-the-best” kind of girl! Haha. It has been a huge struggle for me to keep up with my goals. But it has helped me tremendously. Writing down specific goals each month helps keep me on track towards my bigger goals. As long as I’m “on track” business wise, it makes it easier to focus on my art.


GT: OK, we must ask something personal. You are a constant trumpet for the fall fashionable color mustard. Do you have certain associations with this beautiful color? Or is it simply a favorite? Does it follow you through spring and summer as well?

LJ: Haha. Oh mustard! It has always been my very favorite color! I don’t really know where the obsession began, but I’ve always loved it. I definitely wear it as much as possible and try to incorporate it into all aspects of my life (confession: my office is painted mustard!!). It is also one of my wedding colors! I think it comes down to my love for odd little things that usually go unnoticed. Many people think the color mustard is ugly, but I’m just drawn to it. Check out my mustard Pinterest board!

GT: We are so excited that you are going to be stepping in front of the camera this October for your own wedding celebration! Has planning your wedding influenced your photography methods? Are there things you understand better now that you are a client of wedding vendors?

LJ: I don’t think it has really affected my photography methods, per se, but maybe that will change once I see what it’s like to actually be a bride. But being a bride-to-be has definitely helped me understand this industry so much better! I have had the opportunity to look at it from two different perspectives at once! I think it’s been such a great opportunity for me to step into my client’s shoes and really see how they would like to be treated. One example of that is the fact that my photographers have been in touch with me the entire time! I realized that I need to make sure I’m keeping my clients comfortable and keeping in contact with them throughout their planning to make sure we’re on the same page. I also loved sharing advice with my brides-to-be. We could discuss vendors and decor and really be on the same page.

GT: For a bride planning her wedding, photographs are second to only the dress in importance. How important is lighting, makeup, weather? Share a few words for brides as they prepare to be in front of the camera.

LJ: As someone who is just as nervous as any bride to be in front of the camera, this is a tough question! But here’s what I’m going to do on my wedding day: (1) Listen to your photographer. They know what they’re talking about. If you insist on taking your portraits at noon, outside with no shade, the photos may not come out how you envision them. Talk to your photographer about a timeline and come up with the best possible scenario for the lighting situations and let them do the rest!  (2) Schedule a trial day with your makeup artist. Many makeup artists will require this, but if they don’t mention it, make sure you do! You don’t want the first time your makeup artist touches your face to be the day of the wedding. That could be disastrous! (3) Focus on what matters. Today is your WEDDING DAY!! You are about to marry the love of your life! You went through a year or so of planning so that you could enjoy this day and if you spend the entire time worrying about whether or not the flowers look right or the photographer is getting the shots you want, you’ll regret missing one of the best days of your life!


GT: In your own words, what is the most important thing to consider when taking intimate keepsake photos?

LJ: I would say the most important thing to remember, as a photographer, is that each and every client has a story they want you to tell. It’s up to you to get to know them well enough to be able to tell that story. I love meeting new clients and learning all about how they met, where he proposed, and all their little quirks. It makes our photo shoots so much sweeter! On the other hand, I think it’s important when looking for a photographer to make sure that you feel comfortable with them and you trust them to create beautiful photos for you!


Learn more about Lauren, her business, and her excellent give-aways at

A BIG congratulations to Lauren celebrating her wedding this week! You will be a beautiful bride!

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