A Farewell to Wedding Photography

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Sep 14, 2020

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I’ve put off writing this blog post and making this announcement for… months! In fact, I’m teary officially writing this down!

I kept thinking: “Oh, let me just get finished with _______, and then I’ll begin booking weddings again!”

I had plans that once we officially got settled in Athens, GA, I’d reevaluate my schedule and open back up dates for a limited number of weddings beginning in fall 2020.

While the days of 24 weddings a year all over Georgia & South Carolina are long gone, I always figured I’d at least have a small number on the books every year! I love weddings too much to not photograph any!

And… that is true – I DO love them so much – which is why this decision has been so bittersweet to make!

Wedding photography is what has built and sustained my business and life since 2012 when I first invested in a used Canon Rebel XS to pick up a “hobby” while Chip studied for medical school exams. It’s fueled my love of building relationships and connection with the most incredible couples and families and friendors. It’s opened my eyes to the creativity and talent that abounds around us, and the unique ways the Lord has gifted me.

Truly, it’s been the best of journeys – one that has encouraged and challenged me in ways I could never have imagined.

But like every journey, there is some kind of destination. And here, in 2020, 8 years after that journey began, I am honored and grateful to look back and recognize that although my season as a wedding photographer is coming to an end, my life as a creative entrepreneur has only just begun.

(and also, that farewell to wedding photography now, doesn’t mean farewell forever and ever amen, right?! 😉 I am giving myself permission to always know I can reevaluate and kick back off in the future if and when the time feels right for our family! Or to say yes when an opportunity comes along that I just can’t say no to! Or to second shoot for a friend to scratch that wedding photography itch! That’s the beauty of running your own business, right?!)

Why farewell to weddings?

Perhaps you’re wondering why I’m hanging up my wedding photography hat!

I’ve cried and prayed and felt peace and second guessed and sought wisdom and felt confident and finally trusted that ultimately, this is the right decision for our family and for my business in this season. It’s a hard decision, but a good one!

A bit of back story:

Years ago in college I was a public relations major. I worked my booty off in a public relations agency for the most amazing clients. And when I moved away from Athens, GA in 2014 and then left the the public relations agency world in 2015 to become a full time wedding photographer, I never expected how “full circle” my life would come. At that point in time, I had moved to Augusta, GA with the hunger and drive of a mid-20s entrepreneur with all the time in the world while her husband worked 60-80 hour weeks as a medical resident. The world was my oyster!

And I embraced that fully… quickly diving into not only weddings, but also a myriad of other types of photography – food, editorial, branding, interiors, newborn & family. Capturing celebrations, legacies, and the moments that bring us together paired with a storytelling focus was my sweet spot.

During that time, what I quickly learned is that you can take the girl out of public relations, but you can’t take the public relations out of the girl. In my “free time” between photo sessions (LOL) I began consulting businesses on communications, content creation, and marketing strategy. I never planned for it… but I began coaching other creative entrepreneurs just like me on how to build a business, connect with their audiences, and sell with consistency and confidence.

I loved it all.

And in a short while, I learned… I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur.

I want to be BOTH a photographer AND a communications strategist.

And as my business grew, and both photography and communications coaching & consulting flourished, I quickly learned that being both/and is how I thrive.

That my niche is in the middle. I accepted that I didn’t have to pick just one (contrary to what everyone says)… but instead could create a career that perfectly suited all my passions.

These website home page words I crafted 2.5 years ago (with some recent tweaks as I make this transition!) still fit so well today.

On top of that, what has evolved since I began this journey is our personal life – our family, our sweet baby boy, Oliver, a move back to Athens, GA for my husband’s career, and more – and with it, my passion for both/and.

As an multipassionate entrepreneur, I am both/and

Both an entrepreneur AND a mama. A small business owner AND a wife. A boss AND a homemaker. An encourager of other entrepreneurs AND also of those nearest and dearest to my heart. A photographer for creatives, families, and foodies AND a communications strategist.

I am consistently evolving in life and business, leaning into where the Lord is calling me, the doors He opens, and the passions in my heart.

And in order to be both/and in this newest season rocking out all the elements of my business and also fully present for my family, I know that it’s time to pass the torch on as a wedding photographer.

And to celebrate the incredible honor and experience of documenting the first day of SO many marriages and the start of their stories and legacies. To say truly THANK YOU to every single couple and family and friendor who believed in me from the start.

YOU are truly the reason I am here today.

You brought the most joy and excitement and beauty into my life every single Saturday (and every day in between). For that, I can never say thank you enough!

Sometimes for fun, I scroll back through galleries of weddings I photographed years and years ago, reminiscing on the days. And I plan to do that evermore… because those days will always be some of my favorites in business! Some years it was as many as 24 incredible couples. In 2019, I had the privilege to photograph 2 incredibly beautiful and special days in the midst of maternity leave, residency graduation, moving, house renovations, and more.

And while I don’t have any weddings on the calendar for the foreseeable future, I’ll hold every single day (and couple!) dear in my heart. No matter the season, every wedding was such a cherished memory! And now, the opportunity to spend time with my couples again as their families grow is something that brings me ALL the joy!

More than anything, I wanted to write this blog post with a huge amount of genuine GRATITUDE, to reflect on where this business began, and to look forward to what’s to come! I believe the Lord has brought me through this journey every step of the way and will continue to do so. And I count each of you as such important elements of the story He is writing.

So here I am:

I am thankful and sad, nervous and confident, hesitant and ready. It’s a both/and situation – and if 2020 has taught me anything, it’s that you can feel both/and emotions and it still be a good thing.

What’s to come:

Wondering what this all means?

Well… More of what you’ve grown to love and see in the last couple years. Photography meets communications strategy meets educating other creatives meets mama life & marriage meets a large helping of recipes and sourdough bread baking and building community and Jesus and hopefully travel (one day maybe again!).

Also, new things I’ve never done before and can’t wait to share about… including exciting things like my upcoming Mini Sessions & possibly Lightroom Mobile Presets!

The best thing about an evolving business? It’s not going anywhere & the world is still my oyster.

To My Wedding Couples:

One more giant thank you and I love you and wow, what a special opportunity to know you and photograph for you. Means the world! I hope to have more opportunities to photograph you in the future!

To My Photography Clients:

I am so honored to continue preserving stories and legacies for generations to come as a lifestyle newborn and family photographer in Athens, GA (and surrounding cities… Atlanta friends, I see you!), a branding photographer for creative entrepreneurs, and an editorial photographer capturing food and travel with a visual storytelling meets marketing lens. Find my portfolio here.

PS: also, if you dreamed of having me photograph your wedding (so kind, thank you!), I would be THRILLED to share referrals of photographers I adore and highly recommend! Just send me an email to: lauren@laurencarnes.com.

To My Creative Entrepreneur Friends:

And for my creative friends, I’m here to serve you through communications and marketing coaching and education, as well as through branding photography to help you tell your unique story, both visually and through words, content, and more. You can learn more about communications coaching here and speaking here.

What a beautiful journey it has been as a wedding photographer. And I am so eager to see where this journey leads next!

Thank you for being a part of it, each and every one of you. You all are BOTH the most incredible stories to be a part of AND the reason I love doing this work.

Cheers to what’s to come!

PS: In scrolling back through, I found this gem of a behind the scenes dance party wedding photo, and just felt fitting to go out on this note. Especially because I need a little giggle now that I am crying remembering all the good times. 😂 thank you all for those good times!

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