Interview: Photographer Lauren Dahlhauser
What’s the story of how you got into photography and end up pursuing your passion?
I started taking pictures 6 years ago as a senior in high school. It was something that I naturally developed an interest for being the artistic minded teenager I was. I’d always been more drawn to the creative side of things. Honestly, I didn’t realize it was something I’d grow so passionate about because back then, I had aspirations of becoming an elementary teacher. The idea of impacting kids at a young age intrigued me
Then, when college rolled around, I had to choose between art or kids. Society told me education, because I’d have a concrete path to take and more guaranteed financial stability. My heart told me art, because of passion, my creative mind, and a natural eye for capturing moments. Despite what others expected of me or what society deemed “the smart route”, I followed my gut and I’m so incredibly glad I did. Through the pursuit of art, I found passions for portrait photography, meeting new people, and traveling the world I probably would have never discovered at such a young age. Now, here I am, doing what I love with no regrets and pure excitement for what is to come in the future.
What has influenced your style and work the most?
The people that I have met, photographers and non-photographers alike, are probably the biggest influence in why I see the way I do. I am super passionate about traveling, culture, and understanding why others have various perspectives that are foreign to me. When I work with people I don’t know, I always learn something. My mind is opened to new ways of shooting when I work with other photographers and new ways of capturing emotion and the human body when I work with a variety of models. Constantly collaborating and creating for myself is how I keep inspiring others or how I become inspired by other artists. My style ebbs and flows depending on the people I work with.
What are you looking forward to achieving and doing in the future?
At 24, I can’t say I know what the future holds. Moving forward feels like stepping into a big ocean of the unknown. But then I remind myself, there is always going to be more that I don’t know in comparison to what I do know no matter what chapter of life I’m in. What I *do* know and am choosing to cling onto as a growing artist is this: the world is at my feet. I am free to create whatever I want to create without limits. I can experience the fulfillment that comes from pursuing my deepest passions and allow that to fuel the life changing and transformative experiences I will have along this journey of life. I’m so excited to see who else my passion for photography will cause me to cross paths with and what parts of the world I will get to explore next.
What was your last shoot like?
My last shoot was with a lovely, silvery haired senior surrounded by the beauty of nature and Autumn leaves. Alaina was definitely one of my favorite seniors I’ve ever worked with. Not only did she have an amazing eye for fashion, but she told me she hired me because she liked my style, and also loved the way I put people in non-typical poses while making them look natural at the same time. She was a big reminder of why I love working with seniors. How often do they get their portrait taken professionally outside of the awkward snapshot of a school photo? I love making them feel beautiful in their own skin.
What is your dream location and why?
My dream location to shoot (and live) is anywhere in the mountains with pine trees on end. Ideally, there is a crystal clear lake and a rustic cabin nearby with a wrap around porch and lots and lots of sunshine. A girl can dream. :)
What are some key elements in your work?
It’s so weird to look at my work as a whole and to pick out what makes my images *my* images. I have to say though, the way I see and utilize natural light on my subjects paired with how I edit are two key elements of each portrait I take. I am very drawn to warmth, contrast, intimacy, and moody vibes.
What kinds of things did you learn that advanced your skills and creativity?
I absolutely love this question because I feel like so many photographers can relate to this or learn from it. For a while I felt like I didn’t have a style. My work flow was and is very driven by each individual portrait I take as its own work of art. I don’t use specific presets or do the exact same thing to every image I take. I edit based on what I want that particular image to convey. Over time, I realized there are specific creamy tones and colors I gravitate toward. What got to me though, is that these specific tones and muted colors are evident in most of my images, but not in all of them. This bothered me for a while because I felt like my Instagram feed wasn’t “unified”.
I went through a phase of not posting certain images simply because they were “too bright” or “too saturated” just so my feed would be cohesive in my eyes. And then I realized, I liked each individual image for what it is and not for how it compares to another. Each image I take is a strong image because treat it as it’s own work of art. So then, I started posting for me, and not for others, and I discovered a way to see my work as “unified”: the mood/vibes it gives off. My work is unique because of the moments I capture and the moody vibes they emit. This whole idea of posting for me and not for how others will judge my work is the biggest catalyst for my skill development and any boost of creativity I have.
What is the best thing you’ve experienced by being a photographer?
The best part about my job is showing ordinary people in a light they have never seen themselves before. By this, I don’t mean that I make them look unnatural; I find ways to pose them or get a reaction out of them that is candid and then create portraits that make them feel beautiful in their own skin. The fact that these moments I’ve captured for either seniors, couples, or families will last a lifetime is *so* incredibly fulfilling to me. The reaction that I get out of my clients and friends after I shoot them is the reason why i keep doing what I do.
Is there anything we didn’t ask you about that you’d like to share?
Stop playing the game of comparing. Admire and be inspired, but don’t let other’s work or experience make you feel like you aren’t good enough. You are capable of creating something unique that nobody else could ever create. Embrace the way you see life and capture the story around you. The moment you start copying others is the moment you stop creating. What is art if you aren’t creating?
We’d like to thank Lauren for such an insightful interview! If you’d like connect with her further here are some links to her other social media networks!