Shane and Lauren are the husband and wife duo behind Shane and Lauren Photography. They are just about the most genuine and kind people you will ever meet and they are always down for a good laugh over a beer. I am lucky enough to have met Shane and Lauren a while ago, from a mutual wedding-pro friend. And, after collaborating on events, photoshoots, and other projects together, they have become good friends and a go-to resource for all my photographic needs! But, in all seriousness, they are very talented photographers who care so much about each of the couples they have the pleasure of following around on wedding day. So keep on reading to learn about how they became wedding photographers, how they ended up working together, and a snapshot of their kids that is sure to make you smile!
What was your path to becoming photographers?
We have a bit of a different path then most I think. I (Shane) studied cell biology at UCSD and after a year or two of sitting through some pretty dry science classes, I started to crave a creative outlet. Since I had always loved photography, I decided to enroll in a couple photography classes at UCSD.
Studying photography at a science school was definitely interesting but it gave me a unique background and foundation to photography that I don’t think most people have. At the time the school taught photography in all film, so that meant I got to develop all my own film and photos by hand – coming from a science background this was by far my favorite part! I ended up taking every photo class they offered (which was a whopping 5), mixed in some other art classes and ended up with a minor in photography.
Lauren’s path was entirely different. Her background was in business so early on, she helped me “behind the scenes.” I slowly started training her on all the technical aspects of photography and eventually she started coming along with me to shoots and weddings. It wasn’t too long before she had fallen in love and became an amazing photographer. Fast forward almost 6 years and we feel so lucky to have created a business we both love!
How did you end up in the wedding industry?
Four years after graduation (I was working in the science field) a co-worker asked if I would shoot her wedding. I’m still not quite sure why she trusted me with that but I’m glad she did because I loved every minute of it! I knew that being outside, getting to meet new people and celebrate with those people on one of the happiest days of their life was what I was meant to be doing. So, I started shooting anyone who wanted photos: families, weddings, birthday parties, anything that helped me learn and get better at the craft. After about a year I built up a big enough portfolio to start booking weddings pretty regularly. My second year I booked 15 weddings and by my third year I had booked 30!
Aisle Planner has two married couples on the team. Tell us about your decision to start working together?
In the very beginning Lauren ran all the behind the scenes parts of the business (emails, contracts, etc.) while I did all of the shooting and editing. At first I think she was doing it more to help me out as I was working full time at a very demanding start up biotech company and working every spare second on the photography business. It wasn’t until one weekend when we went up to San Francisco for a double header that we really realized that we could shoot together and how much fun it was. I don’t think we ever really made a conscious decision, we just saw an opportunity and went for it! Now we joke that weddings are like date nights for us, we get dressed up, get a baby sitter, and have a fancy meal.
How do you guys balance working on the weekends with your kiddos?
Since our kiddos are still pretty young and not in school full time this hasn’t been too big of an issue yet. We just always make sure to schedule at least one family day during the week where we can all hang out and go do something fun together. We have a ton of family (and a couple amazing baby sitters) in town that are a tremendous help. There is no way we could do what we do without our amazing family to help us raise our girls.
Speaking of kiddos, do you have a favorite picture that you have taken of them?
Silly question, of course we do! Here is one of our favorites from this summer.
How would you define your photographic point of view?
The most important question we regularly ask ourselves is “does this image look real, does it look natural?” We work really really hard to make sure that when you look at our images you see genuine emotions. Our goal is to make couples or families (or whoever we are shooting) feel as comfortable and stress free as possible so that they can relax, have fun, and just be themselves…which lends to natural and genuine photos!
When you work with couples, is there anything that is super important for you to learn about them before photographing their wedding day?
Not really. We have become really good at reading couples within the first few minutes of shooting them. We can instantly tell if they are shy, timid, smiley, serious, etc. and we use these types of traits to dictate how we document them. If a couple is more serious, we aren’t going to force them to smile or try and tell a bunch of corny jokes to get them to laugh, that’s not them. Instead we will use their seriousness and shoot much more intimate portraits that tell a story through that emotion. On the flip side, if we get a couple that is super goofy then we will play into their bubbly personalities and their photos will probably include a lot of them laughing.
How do you guys “divide and conquer” on wedding day?
We have discovered over the years that we have two pretty different and distinct shooting styles. Lauren tends to tell a story with close-up images of the details through out the day. She loves images like the bride’s earrings or invitation suite, or a close-up of the groom’s hand as he gently places it on his bride’s back during portraits. On the other hand, I love to tell the story through images that are from a much wider perspective. I love images that give you a feeling of what the venue looked like, what the weather was like, what the guests were doing, etc. And on a wedding day, we generally shoot together for most of the day. But there are usually always a few key times where we split up to divide and conquer. For example, we don’t feel both of us are needed during family formals so one of us will stay with the couple for that while the other shoots cocktail and reception details.
Any advice for couples on the hunt to find the perfect photographer to capture their wedding day?
Find a photographer that you like stylistically but also (and maybe just as important) that you like as a human! You will be spending a longer portion of the day with your photographer than almost any other vendor, so finding someone that you get along with and can have fun with is so important!
What are you most excited for in 2017?
We are excited for all the couples we get to photograph as well as some adventures! We are so fortunate to get to meet so many different and awesome people doing what we do. It is always so cool to hear their stories and get to know them. Every year photography takes us someplace new and exciting! This year was Cuba, so we are excited to see where next year will take us!
If you could only choose one, to drink for the rest of your life, would it be coffee or beer?
Him- Beer. Her- Coffee
First looks, to do or not to do?
Ahhh, that’s hard….To do
Sunset or sunrise?
Sunset – We definitely aren’t morning people!
Want to see more of Shane and Lauren’s work or connect with them? Head over to their website shaneandlauren.com