This is a podcast episode you don’t want to miss! Listen to the podcast on Spotify here or on YouTube linked above.
We start off the podcast by diving into Laurken’s story about how getting evicted from her home in 2012 led her to taking photos of family and friends to booking weddings off of Craigslist. She found that she could handle the pacing of weddings and it was the beginning of where she is now. For Laurken, going full-time as a photographer literally just happened. She just started saying yes to jobs and was invited into a full-time career by the people who were hiring her. The terrible circumstances she started with shaped who she is today and what she’s able to provide for her family and loved ones through documenting people’s lives.
Creative Storytelling: What helped you find your style?
Laurken was never scared of people saying no or asking them to try weird, new things. She never had that block in her mind and believes it is what really defined her style and helped her find early on what she liked. Laurken has a very personal relationship with her couples. She doesn’t look at her work like it has any real, defined style. Laurken says, “My whole goal is to make the wedding I’m shooting now as different as possible from the wedding I shot previous because couples are so different, lives are so different. So I don’t put any external pressure on myself to create in any particular, consistent way. I’m just very inspired by the people in front of me and the mood they’re setting for me.”
Every couple has their own individual DNA. She spends the first 15-20 minutes of a session observing. She watches how their bodies fit together. What they look more comfortable doing and what looks unnatural and that’s just by letting them move around and seeing how things go.
Advice for someone struggling with creative storytelling and finding their style?
Laurken’s advice is, “First you need to prepare yourself. You need to know what you’re lacking in your work and what you’re unhappy with. How can you know what you need to change if you can’t put a word to what you’re unhappy with?”
When it comes to shooting, you need to be prepared. Laurken recommends going through a mental rehearsal of what you want to try and what is lacking in your work. Mentally rehearse the session from what it will look like to what you’re trying to do. Prepare ahead of time so you can be as prepared as possible before the shoot. Laurken asks, “ How can you create anything meaningful for yourself if you don’t even know what you’re trying to do?”
Laurken also recommends surrendering the outcome. She says, “The reason we’re so unhappy is we’re trying to control how things turn out all the time. If you go in just excited about creating and trying something new and serving the people in front of you, you won’t be disappointed in whatever you create.
Posing: Walk us through your approach to posing and how it looks during a session?
Laurken is huge into client preparation beforehand and setting expectations. During a session she does a lot of repetition and approaches it as a movie director. She’ll have couples do the same action again and again. Each time she’ll shoot from different angles and perspectives and refines things as needed. She knows exactly what she wants to get out of a shot. Laurken says, “My whole philosophy on life is I try to make everything as beneficial in multiple ways as you possibly can and that applies to posing.”
The first thing Laurken delivers to her clients is a slideshow. She wants her photos to feel like a movie broken down into a linear storyline. Once her clients view the slideshow, then she’ll deliver the gallery. When shooting, she’s always thinking of the slideshow because it helps her tell the story the way she wants it to be told and how she witnessed it for the couple.
In February Laurken launched her new membership site, Mother Photographer. For $37 a month, members receive 3-4 monthly pieces of easily digestible educational content they can immediately implement into their business. The membership includes a private Facebook community and a monthly Facebook Live. It’s a membership for busy parents and photographers, who don’t have time to dedicate to an entire course. Instead, the membership is for photographers who desire community and to grow their business through the guidance Laurken shares.
Laurken started social media in 2015 and grew quickly. She doesn’t plan out social content, but instead posts what she wants whenever she wants. In the moment. When she feels like it. She shows up in her Instagram stories a ton. Laurken’s captions are where she decided early on to not do what everyone else was doing. She has always been herself in the caption and believes that’s why she grew very quickly because it wasn’t happening at the time. A lot of people began to relate to her and it gave them permission to do the same. Laurken never puts herself in a box and doesn’t let any aspect of her business control or confine her.
Balancing Work & Motherhood
Laurken is a mother to 3 boys and homeschools her kids. She says, “Balance is non-existent.” She fits in her work where she can throughout the day. She knows her deadlines, contracts, and how long she needs to dedicate to a project each week. She begins her day with an hour of meditation and makes sure she goes to the gym. As long as she feels good, her kids and animals are cared for, she fits in work where she can.
When it comes to outsourcing, Laurken has learned she has to stop controlling things in order to feel good and give attention elsewhere in life. So Laurken started outsourcing editing last year because it’s a part of her business she doesn’t enjoy. She went through 3 editors before finding the perfect fit. She preps her gallery ahead of time and edits some from each section so her editor knows what she’s going for. Once her editor sends the gallery back, she preps the slideshow and starts her delivery process.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in photography?
First, Laurken says to choose your friends wisely. Listen to your gut and if something doesn’t feel right it’s usually for a reason. Surround yourself with people you can trust and feel good about.
Next, she says, “You need to take control of your entire business, every aspect, and be ok with saying no to things and no to things you’re not comfortable with.” Laurken recommends doing a gut check every now and again to make sure you’re happy with what you’re creating and who you’re working with. If not, it’s time to look at what YOU’RE doing wrong. She says it’s always you and not other people.
It could be something you’re neglecting to acknowledge and honor about yourself. There shouldn’t be a separation between you and your business. Everything from your website, your social media to your messaging should be a reflection of your personality. If you start your business by being 100% you in every aspect, the people just like you will find you and hire you.
In the meantime, reach out to people in your area and offer them free photos to experiment and shoot what you want to shoot. Keep shooting and get out there!
Thank you Laurken for being such an amazing guest!
You can find Laurken Kendall at the following:
Membership Site: https://motherphotographer.co/
MORE ON BACK TO THE BASICS: https://cassidylynneeducation.com/back-to-basics
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