We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Tiedeman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It all started with a camera.

I could tell you all of my recent graduation money had burned a hole in my pocket or I could let you believe that I walked into a Best Buy and I was just drawn to the camera. Both are true! With a couple hundred dollars in my bank account and my incessant need to create, I took a leap and made the biggest purchase of my young adult life. I remember friends thinking I was crazy to have wasted such a large amount of money on a ‘shiny new toy.’ But in all honesty, all of the negative talk I received just fueled me even more to create something successful.

From there, I pursued my passion of fine arts and digital arts at the University of Washington in Seattle. During the week, I would learn all about artistic concepts, bold movements, and influential artists that had the ability and passion to create something beautiful with visual mediums. It was like a type of poetry to me! On the weekends, I started asking my friends and their families to model for me as I learned to navigate my camera. Slowly it turned from free sessions to paying clients.

Shortly after my undergraduate graduation, my parents decided to move to the sunny state of Arizona! Tired of constant rain and gloomy skies, we became desert dwellers! It was a bit overwhelming not knowing anybody and completely starting over with friends, clients, and life. With all the newness, I put photography on hold and began pursuing another passion of mine, education. I received my master’s in education from Arizona State University and began embarking on my teaching journey as a first grade teacher. Three years in, I was ready for a change and an art teacher position opened up at my school. I immediately applied and accepted the role even faster! I felt I had landed my dream job where I could combine my love for children and my passion to create! Still, I felt the urge to create.

After getting my footing in my art role, I dusted off my camera and began to chip away at my lofty photography goals! I met my incredible husband who brought with him three children. I began photographing for fun, to document our activities and vacations together and to capture the milestones (and darling in-betweens) of the kids who I grew to love as my own. Time is constantly fleeting and I felt like photography was our little time machine where we could visit a snapshot in time or a moment that we could make stand still.

It’s now been three years, and the side hustle that once was, has grown and developed into a full-time business! One that I am extremely proud of, exceptionally zealous about, and brings immense joy! It’s the absolute, perfect blend of things I cherish and love; family, art, and the pursuit of creation.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Photography can be highly competitive. There are a ton of photographers to choose from out there. However, I feel my personality, my brand’s mission, and my brand’s aesthetic are what truly set me apart and draw in clients. I look to authentically illustrate people’s stories with heart.

I am able to tap into my background at UW, in interdisciplinary visual arts, and at ASU with elementary education. Uniting these halves, I can create an exclusive experience for my clients. Being a teacher has provided me with years of experience working with K-8 children. I have working knowledge on what they are engaged in and where they are cognitively and developmentally. I am able to guide the flow of my sessions to cater to this knowledge while tapping into my artistic side to deliver exceptional images. My sessions are uniquely play based, meaning my clients tend to forget that they are even participating in a photo session! I keep the sessions positive, upbeat and fun. Ultimately, I am the photographer that you can adventure with, laugh with, play with, connect with, and have a rad time with!

In each client’s final gallery, I like to provide them with an array of images. Some are posed and include the entire family smiling from ear to ear. The others will include the littlest and most precious of details. Either way, I want you to look back on these little rectangles of art and remember how every phase of life looked. How the dress made you feel as you twirled, how full of pride you were for graduation, how sweet the kisses felt when your kids doted on your cheeks, how strong you felt linking hands with your soul mate and most importantly…how radiant the milestones of your life truly are.

I love to shoot outdoors during golden hour. We find an epic spot in nature and this becomes our wild playground for the session. For golden hour, this is about an hour before sunset, I try and capture the sun’s memorizing glow. This fits seamlessly into my editing style, which is chalked full of warm, muted tones. You’ll see light peeking through the frame and sun glare streaming through. It’s pure magic.

Seasonally, I offer themed mini sessions as well. This creates budget friendly options for clients who like my work but don’t want to invest in a full session. These are usually quick and festive options that tie into the holidays. A few of my favorites include my Santa sessions, Peppermint Dreams, Pjs, Elf on the Shelf, Cookie Co. etc…the list goes on and on! Again, I get to be creative by bringing a vision to life!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My husband and I love to explore breweries! Although the craft beer is delicious, we find joy in discovering a new place to grab a bite to eat, sample local rotations, listen to live music under the lights, and learn the story behind each brewery business. Some of our Arizona favorites are Simple Machine, State48, Lumberyard, and Arizona Wilderness Brewing Co.. They all have a different atmosphere, vibe, and specialty! Definitely worth checking these out!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, my extraordinary husband. He is nothing short of kind and supportive. His witty sense of humor keeps me going. He greets me every morning with a cup of coffee and a smile. He’s pure genius when it comes to problem-solving and he accompanies me to every photo session to make sure I’m safe. He’s literally my favorite person and I have been so blessed to have him by my side as we run this business together! Secondly, my deepest gratitude and appreciation to my family. They have been supportive and flexible throughout this entire process. I have been fortunate enough to have the most caring parents. My mom has the biggest heart and my dad has the strongest work ethic I know. They have always been a driving force in pursuing my dreams and shaping me into the person that I am today. They are my biggest fans.
Lastly, to all of my clients- thank you for your business! You are helping me crush goals, reach for my dreams, and spread happiness along the way! Every client means the world to me and I have been so honored to share your story and capture what makes you, YOU! I adore you all.

Website: www.laurenashleyphotography253.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauren.ashley.photo/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurenashleyphotography253

Image Credits
Lauren Ashley Photography

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