Lens and shutter spark passion
Sophomore fine arts major Lauren McKenzie is a student and photographer. Her passion for working with a camera started in high school.
At 19 years old she has a photography business and a love for working with people.
“I didn’t have the mindset ‘I can make a lot of money off of this’ it was more like ‘I love doing this’. I love the look on someone’s face when I am done… them being so happy with my work. What better job than something you love to do, but can make a living off of?,” she said.
McKenzie wasn’t aware of her talent at first.
“I started entering contests in high school at county fairs. I didn’t know really how good I was until I started winning stuff,” she said.
While she has been taking pictures for the past four years, she did not start doing it for a living until college.
Her biggest event was the wedding of students Matt and Jessica Hurst last summer.
“I did their engagement shoot and her bridal portraits. After I did that, she asked me to take her wedding pictures. It was kind of cool, being able to be there through the whole process,” McKenzie said.
Hurst, a senior psychology major, learned of McKenzie through word of mouth and liked the way she handled the shoots.
“Sometimes having to smile or not smile in shots is awkward, but she doesn’t make it awkward at all. She is great to work with. She is artsy and definitely captures the moment and gets the important shots,” she said.
McKenzie enjoys getting to know a couple before a shoot.
“It helps me know their personalities and take pictures more specific to who they are. I also start thinking poses and different types of techniques beforehand,” McKenzie said.
Right now she is focused on marketing herself. She is currently on Facebook under Lauren McKenzie Photography, and clients can reach her at email@example.com
Just recently she made a big investment in a camera.
“It’s a Canon Rebel T1i. It took me years to save up. It was so worth it …. You realize the value of something more when you have to work extremely hard to get it,” McKenzie said.
Clients pay the bills, and during finals last semester she was in need and believes God delivered.
“The woman that works at the gas station on the corner in Belton was renewing her vows. Her photographer canceled at the last minute. She prayed about it and came to the campus. The first person she saw was Michael Beach. He gave her my number and she called me. I needed to
pay for tuition, and it all just laid into line perfectly.
It was a blessing,” she said.
Through people talking and work for the UMHB yearbook, she has been able to land other jobs, like photographing the opera performances and the band
Eisley, who ended up putting her work on their Web site.
McKenzie gets inspiration from those close to her.
“My uncle, Earl Nottingham, is a photographer for Texas Parks and Wildlife. I learned a lot of everything I know from him. He is a total inspiration, and I look up to him and his work,” she said.
After graduation she hopes to branch out with her photography.
“I plan on doing graphic design for a while until I get my clientele built up. I want to do both, maybe eventually wedding invitations and save the dates …
anything to do with weddings, especially the pictures.”
McKenzie enjoys sharing her talent with friends and has taken photos for many of them.
Senior public relations major Brittany Tice enjoyed having photos taken by McKenzie.
Tice believes that her dedication is what makes her stand out.
“She absolutely loves what she does and when she is finished with a three hour photo shoot, relaxing is the last thing on her mind. She goes directly home to edit all of the pictures so that she gets a sense of completion,” she
McKenzie’s work ethic and dedication to a client is what makes her different.
“She is wonderful to work with and will always give you good quality work. And for anyone, that is just hard to pass up,” Tice said.
The experiences define her. McKenzie said, “That’s what I am all about. I’m not just get the cash and be done, it’s more so about building those relationships for life.”