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

Hi Lauren, what role has risk played in your life or career?
One of the hardest things to do is to take a risk. When you are shooting a wedding and you literally do not get any re-do’s, taking a risk is 10x harder. But when it works out, you feel 10x more rewarded! I make sure to get the basics first. Knowing you have a basic staple frees up your brain to get creative! For me, the best way to challenge yourself into risk taking is to ask yourself, “is this complicated?” If the answer is ‘no’ then I rack my brain on ways to complicate it just a bit. Can I change the light? Can I change my positioning? Can I add a reflection? Can I add an element to help tell the story? Figuring out a way to complicate something simple is what will set you apart from anyone just getting by with the basics. This question often comes with a feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut, you have to get up and push and fight past any negative thoughts you are telling yourself. Like the final push in the marathon, it is often the final push that makes the biggest difference. The Nike slogan ‘Just do it’ really does make the most sense. Remember, you will never be upset for pushing yourself to be better!

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.
My job as a photographer is to catch every moment and give you photos to cherish for a lifetime. To help me do this, I provide my clients with questionnaires, vendor suggestions, structure timelines, and give tips and tricks that I have learned in the 10 years working in the industry. These all help the day run smoothly, so I can do the thinking, and they can focus on the feeling of getting married! I also remind my clients that they have been drawn to my work for a reason. A little bit of trust goes a LONG way! Being a major light nerd, I will find the best light to create a stunning frame for naturally beautiful moments to unfold. I have no problem removing screens to the doors, moving furniture, you name it. I always joke that 90% of my job is moving furniture. I also pride myself in doing all of my own editing. When editing, I like to keep the colors classic to how they appeared on the day of. It is so important to document the day in the way it looked and felt. In 30 years you will want your skin tones to look they way they are supposed to, not the way a ‘fad filter’ made you look. A bit about me: I attended Brooks Photography Institute where I was trained in the ins and outs of all kinds photography. Food, fashion, architecture, sports, portraits, you name it! Don’t get me wrong, it was HARD work. I went into photography school having never taken a photography class. Ever. After my three years of schooling, I decided to stick with weddings/portraits to make memories last forever. After only a few years shooting weddings under an established brand, I was lucky enough to be named Rangefinders Top 30 Wedding Photographers in the world. While I blush whenever I talk about it, it truly is an honor and a sample of how much I love my job, my clients, and what I get to do every weekend! Hard work and pushing yourself really does pay off.

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?
I honestly would not be anywhere without the support I get from my friends and family. I have always been nervous about sharing my art, but they constantly push me and remind me how far I have come.

Website: www.laurencate.com
Instagram: @laurencatephoto

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.