I’ve decided to participate in Joanne Hawker‘s #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge – a challenge that all types of creators participate in, to help their clients and followers get to know them a bit better.
Wanna get involved too? Here are the prompts!
1 – Story
If I’m not shooting or editing, this is likely how I’ll be – on my phone! 😂
I’m Lauren, I’m from Tavistock, and I’m a wedding and portraiture photographer.
I fell in love with photography from a young age, as I could hide behind the camera and document people without being noticed. Fly on the wall, and all that jazz.
I went on to Falmouth University, and realised that it was weddings that I love to capture! My love of weddings and photography went hand in hand 😍
Now I spend my time meeting gorgeous people, photographing their weddings, and binging Netflix while I edit. And I love it! I love capturing the happiness and realness of the day. (Also I work part-time at a local card shop and a wedding stationery company Hip Hip Hooray!)
Nice to meet ya!
2 – Hands at work
It’s not just taking photos and editing that’s important in this line of work. It’s the organising, the orchestrating, even the herding of tipsy family members for a group photo!
This is me (well, my hands!) in the video above, organising the gorgeous stationery for our lovely autumnal styled shoot – big thanks to Maven Visuals for letting me cut this from their gorgeous video of the shoot.
A lot of time, attention to detail, and often trial-and-error goes into the final products. The “unseen adjusters”, we are. The button hole assistant, dress doer-uper, and flyaway-hair-adjuster. And it’s all worth it in the end!
3 – Time
Time, time, time. How does it go so fast? I mean, it’s a construct but we live so rigidly by it. I’m guilty of that too, but on the other hand it helps me feel in control.
As with any business, time management is super important. With 6 week deadlines for wedding photo delivery, contracts to be sent off, and invoices to check up on, a lot can slip through the net. However, to-do lists and time management are an absolute win! They’re so helpful for me personally. They help me prioritise and organise. I’ve also just moved house, and hadn’t had an office for about 7 months before that! Simply setting aside a few minutes to make a note of which stage you’re in and with who, of who’s emailed enquiring about what, is SO helpful.
On the other hand – KNOW WHEN TO STOP FOR THE DAY! Yeah, your business might need some various things doing, but they don’t all need to be done right now! Let yourself rest, recuperate, and breathe. Be with those you love.
This photo is of Matt and I from our time in Falmouth (we had our first flat there). That period of time was ours – we felt organised and on it – it’s how I want to feel all the time.
Branding – whatever you post is a constant reflection of you and your business. And to be honest, I’m fine with that! I’m actually super happy with my branding, and it was all done myself.
I designed and created my logo, and the colour scheme… no smart idea, just the colours I love the most in my images! Plus my favourite colours – the rich, strong colours balanced with the airy, light vibe.
I love to have the same font throughout, which is the one you’re reading right now (unless you’re reading this on facebook – go to the link below! 😂). This font is all over my website, my branding content such as business cards, flyers and posters, and in my emails too.
Not only are images, colours and text important when branding, but it’s YOU. You as a person, you as a supplier, you as yourself. In photography, it’s a very personal thing, to hire someone to be so close to you for 8 hours on one of the most important days of your life. You’ve gotta make sure you like them! On social media and in emails, I just try and be as I am. I base my branding around myself and my images, and try to reflect that whenever I post on social media or meet my lovely clients. No faking – I’m literally this enthusiastic in real life (sorry). People hire you, so be you.
5. Close up
Detail shots – L O V E them! I love capturing all of the small and intimate details of the day.
Cute personalisation on your shoes? Got it. Have your great-grandma’s engagement ring? Shot that. Surprising your dad with having his favourite flowers in your bouquet? Done!
Let me know all of the little details and I will do my best to capture them in the most beautiful way I can. They all add up to create the most gorgeous day – YOUR day!
6. Reducing waste
As my products are pretty much all digital, I don’t really create much ‘waste’, fortunately. All of my files are digital, and I only print out documents when I’m meeting clients in person for them to sign contracts etc. My gorgeous USBs and USB boxes are wooden, and I post them packaged in paper and cardboard, all of which is recyclable.
Apologies for the partially relevant image! It is from when I met some of my lovely 2021 clients 🥰
10 fun facts about me!
- I love a good list! I literally love organisational stationery. YAS.
- My current binge-watching show is of The Good Place. I love to have something on while I edit and do admin stuff.
- I recently moved house and have an office again! Good days. I’ll be posting some photos when it’s all finished.
- My favourite parts of a wedding are – bridal prep, confetti, and the couple photos.
- Love a good bit of calligraphy, and have a habit of doing super fancy envelopes when posting things
- I’m a rather jumpy person and in fact actually jumped when an automatic air freshener went off near me earlier today
- Talking of jumps, I once did a skydive to raise charity for Children’s Hospice South West
- I was originally into super surrealist/highly retouched photography
- I love winter because of boots, scarves and big jumpers, but I love summer because of flowy dresses and more weddings!
- I’m not the best at on-the-spot decisions such as what to put on a list!
8. Love to make
I really just love making people so happy with my images and my performance as a photographer. It is so wonderful to be able to make people this content and delighted. There’s nothing like it.
It truly MAKES my DAY, receiving feedback and reviews like this! How wonderful is Jeni?!
9. Rough/mock up
Original RAW images vs. the final edit.
Yes, having the correct settings is super important – I’m a stickler for making the most of my gear and using is as best as I can.
If you’re photographing the gorgeous table lay outs and a guest says “oh look, the newlyweds have arrived now!” then yes, you will indeed run down the lawn to try and snap them coming out of their cool car before they are indeed out of said car.
In that moment of “omg, quick!” you may indeed forget to check your settings and make sure they’re as you need.
In these cases, thank goodness for Lightroom! 😍I’m so glad to be able to salvage shots like this. Look how happy they are!
10. Authentic space
Yep. This is it! 😂
We moved house 3 weeks ago. My office is also a storage room! Hence the beanbag on an old mattress-topper.
It’s in the cute room above the garage which has some steps down into it from the landing, a massive window (on the right), and a slanted ceiling! Cannot WAIT to get some fairy lights up in here. And some order to the chaos, too.
Also, yes that is an empty box of Malteser ‘Teasers’ that I demolished. Unapologetic about that one!
Not only do I do weddings, but a handful of other things too. If you want me to document something, I’ll do it (but I draw the line at full nudity! 😂)
I LOVE photographing couples a few weeks or months before their weddings as we all get to know each other a bit better and they’re then a little more relaxed in front of the camera.
Pet photos are SO CUTE to do as I love animals!
Branding is super fun to do as it’s great to be able to successfully capture a person and their business.
Aaaaaand… my friend Conor likes his Harley so asked for some pics of him on it 🏍️
12. Learning Curve
It’s SO easy to compare yourself to those around you. I’ve learned that, yes, comparison is often hurtful to yourself, but you’ve gotta be inspired rather than put down. Raise others up, and you will raise up too.
Without sounding like a cheesy poster, try your best to compare yourself to how you were doing a few years ago, put your current work into perspective!
Above you’ll see a photograph I made/edited 7 YEARS AGO! It’s honestly really cool to see how far I’ve come, when comparing it to an image I shot at a wedding last summer. I implore you – do a then/now image of whatever it is you’re working on. It’ll help.
TLDR: Learning curve – learning not compare myself to other super fab photographers who’ve been shooting for much longer than I have.
My Unique Selling Point – hopefully my personality!
I put my all into my work – I really do love what I do! I’m really enthusiastic about weddings and my wonderful clients. I want them to feel as relaxed and at ease around me as possible. After all – it is their wedding day!
“Now that we’ve met you, we’re even more excited about our wedding day! Didn’t think that that was possible!” – a delightful client 😍
Please enjoy this gif (cut from a video by Maven Visuals) of me being like “mate don’t WORRY you like GREAT” on a recent styled shoot
14. Current Project
My current project is working on my stall for next Sunday’s Pretty & Punk wedding fair! (Finger’s crossed…)
This photo is of my stall from their last fair in October. It was a BRILLIANT fair! So so many brilliant people to meet.
This time, I’ve planned on borrowing some AMAZING dark green velvet table runners from The Pretty Accessory, have changed my photo frames to dark brown wood, and definitely won’t clutter the table as much. I’m super excited!
I’m almost ready to send my flyers and contact forms off to be printed. I’ve already had new business cards done, they’re in the post! Yay!
Will I see you there?
Ask for it when you need it!
Give it when it is needed.
Make the most of your time with those around you, and never take yourself too seriously.
Give yourself time to b r e a t h e .
16. Self care
Give yourself time off! Relax and go stroke a dog.
Curl up on the sofa under a fluffy blanket and watch some Netflix. I’m still binging The Good Place (season 3 now).
17. Proud of
Pride. It’s something I’m not great at having. I’m not good at taking compliments but I constantly seek out praise. Aren’t we such weird creatures?
I’d like to publicly state this, though – I am proud of how far I’ve come.
This is my first “proper” year of being a professional photographer. I’ve 9 weddings myself, and about another 8 or so with other photographers.
I’ve made my own website, networked, and created my own portfolio. I got my degree. I’ve made connections which enabled me to participate in some INCREDIBLE styled shoots (see pic above!) and now know some amazing people in the industry.
I’ve come pretty far, for a girl who got het up about eating in public or talking with strangers.
Well. I’m TERRIBLE in front of the camera – that is a well known fact. I’m so bad. I just have no idea what to do. I just do weird poses. Not that I don’t do that a lot when I’m not in front of a camera, but…
BUT I’ve been told that this is good as I get what it’s like for you, my lovely clients and friends! Plus, this relaxes people when they’re in front of my camera.
How much of a fool can you look, when I’m like this 24/7?!
Believe me, I’m a professional photographer and self-embarrassment. Got it covered. You’re in good hands.
Well. I’m saving my gorgeous wooden USBs for Day 24 – Personal Touch – so this one will be about my packagES instead of packagING.
Be it for weddings, family portraiture, or solo portraiture, everything (except branding!) has 3 packages – Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These are time-based to make it easier to work out what you need and which one to go for.
I find it so much easier to have my packages all up on my website as it decreases the amount of “how much do you charge?” messages… but doesn’t stop them completely! 😂
I was contemplating changing the names of them, though. Any suggestions?
Marketing – be yourself! As much as you have to let your images speak for themselves, you have to actually use words and represent yourself.
I always try and market myself as accurately as possible. But I don’t see it as marketing, I just see it as “posting but on my LDillon page”. I try and embody my business, and reflect that accurately.
Consistency is key – let your website, social media, physical marketing etc all seamlessly fit together. Take a look at my 4th post on this blog – branding – for more on this.
Wow. It’s so cool to see how far I’ve come! Always remember that you’re constantly improving and developing.
As I mentioned on Day 12 – learning curve – it’s hard to not compare yourselves to other. I try my best to compare myself to my previous works, which gives me a great sense of achievement!
Change is good.
Embrace it and keep on going up.
22. Tools & materials
Okay, so yes tools are important, but it’s the life-long phrase of “it’s not what you use, it’s how you use it”.
I taught myself photography on a little Canon EOS 1100D and a 18-55mm kit lens that I bought myself when I was about 14. I upgraded a few years ago and am in need of another upgrade about nowish.
I ADORE my Sigma Art lens. I use it for about 80% of my work.
B U T
I got this far by using what I had, and learning how to use it well and to the best of my advantage. I’m glad I didn’t have the best-of-the-best kit growing up, as it pushed me to use what I had and learn more.
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE. Learn as you go.
Why is photography so important?
Capture the moments forever.
Make it your profile picture, your framed photo above the mantelpiece, your annual printed-out-and-posted-to-the-Grandparents picture.
Let your day be documented and treasured.
24. Personal touch
My little beauties. How CUTE are they?!
The USBs have my logos engraved on them, and swivel out. So cute and sleek!
The boxes are magnetic, and are engraved locally with my couple’s names on.
I love the personal touch, I think they’re just lovely!
25. How it’s made
An email. A response.
A pre-consultation form filled in with the venues, date, times etc, and all the fun details like colour schemes and flower types as well.
A meet up – either a coffee and cake or an engagement shoot.
Contract signed and deposit paid.
USB box’s lid engraved.
A checklist made – “B&G and groomsmen, B&G and bridesmaids” etc.
A wedding attended, thoroughly enjoyed and captured.
A very long few sessions of culling, editing and exporting.
A USB filled with images posted. USB received.
Memories captured. Memories enjoyed.
A good relationship with my couples is essential – I’m in charge of capturing their big day! I need them to like and trust me.
26. This or That
A short and sweet one – this or that?
27. Future goals
I’d love to be doing this with more confidence and the ability have a more specific niche.
It’s amazing, to photograph weddings, honestly it is incredible. I’m fortunate to get to meet and work with such fantastic people and go to some amazing venues.
Ideally I’d have a better flow with it and become more experienced so that I can enjoy the experience more as well as be super good at it!
Here’s to the future. 🥂
I always ask my lovely couples for a timetable of the day and a photograph checklist, even if only a rough one.
Fair enough to be free and shoot as it happens, that’s fine.
I, on the other hand, like to have a rough idea of what’s going on and when.
What if I’m half way through the group photos, and the venue’s event coordinator is all “errr we need everyone to be seated for food in 10 minutes!”?!
I just like to have rough time plan of what’s happening and when, then we can make the most of the time we have and can document your day fully. If we don’t have much time for something specific, e.g couple portraits, I’ll prioritise what we do shoot in that moment.
Being aware of time is so important, especially on a busy day where so much happens!
But DO. NOT. FRETT.
I will not stress you out with my time management on the day – it’s purely so I photograph what needs to be photographed and am in the place where I’m needed at the right time etc.
For you, it will be a fabulous day of happiness, families getting along, and looking amazing. Oh, and marrying the one you love, too!
29. Self promotion
Well, here goes!
I’m Lauren, I’m based in Tavistock, Devon.
I SO enjoy photographing weddings and getting to meet some really wonderful people.
I also really enjoy doing couple shoots, family shoots, business branding and solo portraiture.
I’d LOVE to one day photograph a surprise/secret proposal!
Let me know if I can be of service ✌️
30. Work life balance
Well. Right now it’s not really as hard to balance as usual, is it?!
With having a part-time job in the local card shop and also working 2 mornings a week at the incredible wedding stationery company Hip Hip Hooray, I manage to squeeze my work (editing, website maintenance, emails, social media) in between the rest.
However, I know I’ve got it easy – I haven’t got kids yet, and I’m not doing too many weddings so that it’s overwhelming. Fortunately I’ve got a good balance.
On the other hand, we just moved house about 6 weeks ago, so there have been plenty of distractions!
Being off for the last week with the dreaded Covid -19 self isolation, I’ve had plenty of time to paint my room, organise my office, and work on my portfolio again.
I try and be off my laptop by 8.30 each night and to sit down and watch some TV with the family or read a book.
Let yourself switch off. You’ve gotta be at your best to provide the best!
Stepping into April like…
I joke. We’re stepping nowhere apart from the lounge to the kitchen and back. Sigh.
So, FAQs! I put on my Instagram story about questions. Some of these are from emails that clients have sent, and some are what I get asked when I meet them for a cuppa
“How do you work so hard yet remain fabulous? I must know”
Well. 💁Sophie, you do humble me. Haha!
“Any tips for newbies in portraiture?”
Practice LOADS. Honestly. You’ll come very far. Try and only compare yourself to your past work, else you’ll end up in a bit of self-pity. Use a wider aperture (I LOVE f/1.4), but it’s sometimes too wide. Try f/1.8, f/2, etc. Work out what your style is, how you edit, and how you shoot. I LOVE real emotion and happiness, those pure moments, and I try and get them accurately. Make sure, that the eyes are in focus – not the nose, not the forehead, if you’re super close not the eyelashes but the eyes.
“Are you insured?”
Yep! I am indeed.
“How long from the wedding until we can see our photos?”
It’s usually within 6 weeks of the wedding, but this is dependant on when that is! If you’re getting married within the middle of wedding season, it may be 6-7 weeks, or if it’s a winter wedding it could be 3 weeks. Either way, I’ll keep you updated throughout the process 😊
“Where can we find your prices?”
Head on over to https://ldillonphotography.blog/wedding-packages/ for my packages. They’re all time based – if you’d like a custom package just let me know.
“Do you provide photo albums?”
I don’t, no, but I can look into it if it’s something you’re interested in.
“How do we book you?!”
Ha! Thanks. Head on over to https://ldillonphotography.blog/contact-me/ or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks! If you’ve a question you’d like answered, feel free to pop me a message on any of the social media platforms on via email.
That rounds up this year’s #MarchMeetTheMaker!
Thanks for reading.