First things first - Hi, my name is Lauren. I am the owner of Simply Bliss Studio of Smithfield, NC. I'm a lover of art, travel, salt air, smiles, and fantastic romance novels. I live near the little triangle where Wake, Harnett, and Johnston Counties meet - with my husband, daughter, and two crazy dogs. My favorite words include; fabulous, lovely, awesome, fantastic, vivacious, phenomenal, magnificent - and other similar adjectives... Fair warning; you'll see use those words a lot and I love using a thesaurus. My favorite color is blue, but ask me tomorrow and it may be something new. I have a weakness for ice cream and delectable Belgian or Swiss chocolates. And I loathe collards, most beans, and brussel sprouts. I’ve got an eclectic taste in music and there’s not many times anyone will find me not listening to something… OH, and I love emoticons and smilieys :) ... Ok, so now you know me a little better.
Since that that's out of the way... I'd also like to say that this blog post has been a process that’s been weeks in the making (at least 8 or so now). I have revised it probably 30 times and I don't usually have an issue getting out what I have to say, but for some reason... this time I had some obstacles.
It's about time that I FINALLY get this blog up and running. I used to be really great at blogging my sessions and adventures. Then, I had the opportunity to open Simply Bliss Studio. It's been a whirlwind since... not the bad type, but --- the busy, "I have to do this and that, and that, and I need that, and ... oh wait, I forgot... that, too!" type of whirlwind. Many sleepless nights (like tonight)... So, I figured now is a good time to take a moment to: introduce myself (which I have done so already), explain a little bit about the studio, dip into my philosophy and discuss why I love what I do and why I feel photographs are important. Since I've been putting this post together for so long, I can now get back on the blogging bandwagon and get back to keeping up with a blog again. So, here it goes... On with the show…
I signed the lease papers for the studio mid-February of 2015. And, I did not plan on opening a studio quite yet. To be honest, opening a studio this early in my "professional" (I used the finger quotes) photography career wasn't in my short-term agenda (I was and still am a hobbyist at heart). It was more of a 4, or 5, or maybe even 10-year plan - you know sometime down the road... But, the opportunity sort of landed at my feet. And I had a choice to make. Dive in headfirst or let it pass. My heart said, "Go! Doooo it" and my head said, "um, I don't know about that now... You're not that good..." Well, you can probably guess which way I went... With the support of my wonderful family and friends, we made the decision to literally "dive in". The grand opening was held in November 2015. I'm still working on getting the studio off the ground (which I don’t think that will ever end). Especially, since I started my photography business out of my home and jumped to opening a Studio also while using a new business name.
I originally started out as Lauren Beasley Photography. P.S. The Lauren Beasley Photography website will continue to remain "live" and I will convert the blog over for my personal adventures and photos. I haven't been updating it though, FYI. Well, before I started Lauren Beasley Photography, I was a hobbyist, probably like every other photographer on the planet. I can't even begin to explain how I got started into photography.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved and enjoyed the art of photography; the act thereof, flipping through books or magazines to only study the photographs, or admiring photos. The short story - I love pictures. It's pretty simple... But more than anything, I love making "pictures" - or portraits, photographs, prints,... the whole process from composing, shooting, editing (my least favorite)... and then having it printed. Now, I don't print in house as I use a commercial lab, so I leave the printing part up to the professionals, because I don't have the means for printing on my own (place, time, and patience included). Obviously I shoot digital although I'd have to say that shooting on film from start to finish (developing, processing, ...) is the most gratifying (I did learn black and white) - but I don't really have the means for that either (place, time, and patience - again). But it is a process and it's one that I thoroughly enjoy.
I also collaborate with my great friend, Amy LaRee Lewis of Simple Moment's Photography based out of Mebane, NC. Amy has played a key part in making me a better photographer as well as playing a part in the studio. We both brainstormed for studio name as well as designing the logo and design elements for the studio's branding. I've been trying my best to get her to make a move down this way, but it's hard when both you and your family have been established in the same place for many, many years. I started co-shooting weddings with Amy in 2013 and we've been shooting and collaborating together ever since. It's funny because I first met Amy in 2006 at my best friends wedding and called on her for maternity portraits in 2011. I would harass her for photography tips and advice until she finally let me assist with one of her weddings. :) Amy, I do believe if it weren't for you; I wouldn't be still holding a camera in the way I do today. <3
Along with "taking pictures", I also really enjoy connecting with my clients. I thrive on meeting new people and getting to share my passion with them. At the end of every session, by the time I get to print delivery, I literally hand over a tiny sliver of myself. Each portrait, each print, wall art, canvas... is a part of me... because I feel like I have put part of myself into creating that piece. I am thrilled to be able to share something that I love with others and that it becomes something that they love. And my hope is, that what I have given to them is something that is cherished, loved, and shared for a lifetime.
Which brings me to my next point. Take pictures. Take "lots" of them. And print them. That's the most important part, "print them".
P . R . I . N . T . T . H . E . M .
Let that simmer. :)
I advocate to others the importance of photography, prints, and family portraits. It's extremely important. But, it's also hard (I knoooww!). For me, taking our family portraits or simply having my photo taken is sticky because I'm the one behind the camera all the time. Over the years it got easy being the one behind the camera. :::clears throat::: Back in my younger days, I loved being in front of a camera... I ate it up. But these days, I am perfectly fine being on the other side of the lens. You can believe that. In these past 12+ years, both pounds and insecurities have been added. Yup. I don't fancy my photo being taken. But you know what? I do it anyway.
Crazy, eh? You know why I still make sure I am photographed? Because I want to exist in photos… Because, 10 years from now I will have the opportunity to look back at the photos I have had taken with my family and I will be prideful. I will have pride, because I will be giving to my daughter something I don't have much of; photographs with my own family when I was growing up. My daughter will be getting photographs taken with: me, her father, her father and I, as well as other family members and friends that practically might as well be family.
I posted a blurb on Instagram/Facebook back in mid-December - a really badly, typed on an iphone, caption to a photo of my daugher and I, sort of explaining this. I cannot recall having family portraits made while I was growing up. Sure, I had portraits made at the local portrait studio when I was very young, but it was just portraits of myself. And luckily my uncle would set up his tripod at large family gatherings and get a group shot of the family at holidays and such. But, I'm talking about put on the wall, framed family portrait of me my family when I was growing up... My mom raised me, so maybe looking back it was a commodity we couldn't afford... I don't know. But I do know that I have very few photographs with my family when I was younger - both snapshots and portraits... It makes me sad, very sad.
So, take pictures. Have them taken. Be in photo's. Exist in photographs. Please, if not for you... do it for your loved ones; your mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, cousin, your best friend... Take pictures. Lots of them... All the time... And PRINT THEM. Disc's and USB's do you no good sitting, collecting dust, in a drawer or elsewhere. Technology is volatile, unpredictable, and trust me they're not archival. Simply put, USB's and disc's may not withstand the tests of time. So do your self a favor and print it, pretty please?
If you can, hire a photographer. Make an investment to preserve your memories. You will be glad you did, or at least your children, their children, and their children's children will be glad... If children aren't your "thing" - I bet you there is someone that will be glad that you did. If you're making excuses on why you don't want or need your picture taken (Like, "I'm losing weight")... STOP. Stop making excuses. For me, I've used the weight excuse. I've struggled with my weight for years and it's really no excuse anymore.
So, in closing… I have included a slide show of my little family and myself ((TURN UP your volume and jam out to the music it's put to)). :) I have condensed the last 4 years into just under 5 minutes of time. I have to thank Amy again, because if it weren’t for her and me having her take our family portraits – we would not have any. Amy’s wonderful portraits are accompanied by her circle logo in the corner. The photo’s that were taken by myself include a small Simply Bliss logo in the right bottom corner.
So, I hope you enjoy this little snippet of our life story and if you’ve been on the fence about hiring a photographer or being in front of a camera – I can only hope you will change your mind.
What's your legacy? Make a mark? Make YOUR mark. Exist in photos. Print to preserve your memories. Print to remember.
The video below is displayed in 720p. The video is uploaded to YouTube in 1080p. Custom slide shows, like this one, are avaliale for purchase.