I am thrilled to introduce to you my friend and colleague, Lauren Stewart. She will be working alongside me as second photographer at most weddings this year. I am so thankful for her willingness to share her time and talent. Lauren is such an enjoyable person to be around and wonderful to work with. She's intentional, authentic, bright, confident yet humble, detail-oriented yet easy-going. I wanted you to get to know who she is and to see her beautiful work.
Tell us about yourself! "My life mainly consists of: My adventurous, mountain-man, audio-engineering husband, Casey; our dog-cat and unashamedly one of my best friends, Ansel; CREMA coffee; living in the country; cooking/finding/eating healthy, gourmet food and drink; and the city of Nashville—all of which make me fall more in love every day."
Tell us about your wedding! "When my husband, Casey, proposed in the spring of 2012, I had already been shooting weddings off and on for a few years. Being behind the scenes really clued me in to how much went into such a big event, and in my mind, weddings had become associated with work. I thought that once I was engaged, my outlook would shift, but after a few lighthearted allusions to eloping, Casey called me out. The reality was, I didn't really want a wedding—at least not in the traditional sense. The more we talked, the more we realized we both wanted our families and close friends to be involved, but we wanted something intimate, relaxed and simple. We were wed in the mountains of North Carolina just outside Asheville. We rented out cabins and held the ceremony by a stream, surrounded by 30 of our closest friends and family who were all seated on quilts. I hand made my wedding dress, and my mom and youngest sister tag-teamed all the food and desserts for the reception. It was absolutely everything we wanted it to be."
Below are some of my favorite photos taken by Lauren from weddings we shot together last year. I love Lauren's compositions, candids, details and the unexpected shots.
What's the story behind why you got into photography? "Growing up, my dad was an avid recreational photographer, so learning to use a camera was like learning to tie my shoes. I vividly remember taking photos of the red foxes at a local wildlife refuge with my dad, when the camera was still too heavy and awkward for me to manage on my own. A few years later, I had my very own blue, plastic point-and-shoot. And then in high school, my parents gave me my first "real" camera: a Canon Rebel Ti. I spent hours upon hours in the school darkroom learning to process and print my own film. (The story continues, but I'll spare you my entire life story with photography…)"
What keeps you inspired? "In regards to photography, film is my first and true love. All of my personal work is shot on film (other than everyday iPhone photos caught on the fly), which is something I've found necessary to stay passionate about photography. Traveling is a big part of that too. Seeing new places and people inspires me, but it also reminds me of the beauty in my day-to-day life. Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Vivian Maier always motivate me to keep shooting. And I have some seriously talented friends! Having a glimpse into their lives, unique styles and moments they capture is a huge source of inspiration for me."
What's your favorite part of documenting a wedding day? "Weddings are so full of movement that unfortunately many noteworthy moments often pass by unnoticed. The chance of capturing those moments is what draws me to keep shooting weddings."