My story on how I became a photographer is quite funny…I didn’t want to become a photographer.
Yep, you heard me. I had ZERO INTENTIONS of becoming a photographer. Ever since I was a little girl, I had big dreams of owning a dance studio and choreographing for dance teams all over the country. I was commuting to Dallas from Waco while attending Baylor University and teaching 20+ high school drill teams choreography. I had a website, logo, and had started looking at spaces for my studio. I sacrificed a lot in college to pursue my dance studio dreams, but little did I know, God had a different plan for me.
When I was a kid, I would take 9 disposable cameras to a week long summer camp. My friends in high school and college would always say, “Leave your cameras at home! Lauren Guy is going to be there!”. I’ve always loved taking pictures, but never considered it as a career. I had my dance dreams in my head and that was all I wanted.
I was a Film and Digital Media major at Baylor, but really was taking the easy courses just so I could graduate and open my dance studio. The courses I was taking didn’t teach much of anything about photography, but they taught the logistics of running a TV station, history of radio and television, how to write movie scripts, the roles of people on a movie set, etc. Quite frankly, Baylor didn’t have a major that fit my interest of dance and choreography, so I chose a major that would get me out easily and quickly. I fell asleep during the orientation meeting for the business and entrepreneurship programs and quickly nixed those. Let’s be honest…I was in college for the social part (and because my parents made me :)). Even though it was a struggle, I would never trade my college experience in for anything else.
My fall semester of my junior year of college, I decided to take an Intro to Photography course. I had heard the professor was amazing and I thought it would be a fun elective to take. In walks Curtis Callaway. I’ll be really honest…I almost dropped the class when I saw he wasn’t the old professor. I had heard great things about the former professor and really wasn’t excited about “this new guy” and thought about taking Yoga instead (HA!). Little did I know, but this “new guy” would teach me more in 4 classes about my future career than all of my other classes at Baylor ever could. (Yes, he now knows that I almost dropped his class!)
That fall semester was a total blast. I learned how to effectively use my camera on manual and really enjoyed taking portraits for all of my projects. I didn’t like taking pictures of scenery or small objects. It was portraits that really got my gears turning. I started to click with my professor and my class eventually gave him the nickname, “Captain” Curtis Callaway. He invested a lot of time in helping me critique my work and really challenged me to pursue portraits. I won’t ever forget him saying, “You understand how the body moves because of your dance background. You really should try photography for a bit to make some supplemental income while your dance studio gets off the ground.” And just like that, I was hooked.
I did independent studies with Callaway until I graduated. I would do shoots each week, edit the images and take them into his office for critiques. After taking his classes and working with him during my junior and senior years, I had 13 weddings booked between the end of May and middle of August. I was shocked. He helped me pick out all of the gear I needed and start a website. After that (crazy) summer, I ended up teaching dance to 20+ high schools as well as taking senior pictures and shooting weddings. It was truly the best of both worlds. My dance students eventually because my photography clients and I was combining my two passions of dance and photography by taking pictures of dance companies.
I’ve been in business ever since I started in 2010 and my business has continued to grow. This is my first year of not teaching dance or choreographing in 12 years and honestly, I’m totally content with that. Dance was such an important part of my life for so long and I have nothing but fantastic memories from it. Honestly, I believe that my dance career led my to photography. Whenever I get a client that wants to take dance pictures, my heart flutters a little bit!
It’s been 6 years since I’ve graduated from Baylor and I still work with Callaway every once in a while. I had the privilege of taking his engagement pictures this past fall. Even after doing photography full-time for 6 years, I STILL GOT NERVOUS BEFORE THAT SHOOT. Guys, it’s intimidating photographing the guy that taught you everything you know! According to him, I got an A+.
Clearly, God had a plan for my life when I signed up for that elective. I thought I knew what was best for my life, but it was made very clear that God had much more in store for me. Thank you, Curtis Callaway, for believing in me and seeing something in me back in 2010. Thanks for always giving advice and thanks for always helping me out even though I’m not your student anymore!
I am so thankful for the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had and the FUN that this job has provided me over the years. Thank you to all of my clients that make this job a total blast! So much has happened over the past 7 years and I can’t wait to see where Lauren Guy Photography is headed!