Industry Feature Friday: Lauren Stoner (Concert/Brand/Music Photographer)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
Not only does she take gorgeous pictures - she is a gorgeous gorgeous person inside and out!!
Lauren Stoner of Lauren Stoner Photography!! Thank you so much for joining me this week Lauren! I'm so excited!
She's a very very talented music, concert and brand photographer living in beautiful British Columbia.
Lauren says, "I have loved taking photos for as long as I can remember. It all began with disposable cameras, many digital cameras that I kept breaking (haha whoops), until I eventually got my first professional camera at age 18. I've tried all the genres when it comes to photography, you have to find what you love and where your passion lies. And I'll be honest with you, nothing sets my soul on fire quite like music photography does. The music industry isn't for the faint of heart, it takes passion, grit, talent and the ability to keep pushing when all seems to fail. That is why I love capturing these musicians, because they're all here for the love of music, as am I." - laurenstonerphotography.com
Without Lauren, the world would have been robbed of her beautiful, visual imagery of some of our favourite musical hit acts and rising starts.
She's photograped Lindsay Ell, Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, Robyn Ottolini, Dallas Smith, Jameson Rogers, Jojo Mason, Gord Bamford and MANY more! She's photographed The Whiskey Jam, Blue Jay Sessions, the Country Music Alberta Awards, and throughout Nashville amongst many other events and venues.
Both visually appealing and touching, Lauren's photos are electric, vibrant and intimate. Her portfolio is diverse and full of wide shots, lots of angles and close-ups that showcase that raw reaction, that grit, sadness, love, excitement, the fun - that authentic, genuine emotion that comes with an artists performance and personality on (and off) the stage. Because of this, her concert photos WILL make you feel like you were a part of the show no matter how far away the show was.
I would love to do a photoshoot with her!
I caught up with Lauren to discuss how she began her career, what a typical day looks like for her, and, in her opinion, what makes a good music photographer and how to get the best shots as an artist at any level.
Get to know more about Lauren here:
Sarah Scott (SS): Lauren, thank you so much for being a part of IFF to talk about your concert photography! This is your first time on a Studio B Podcast Productions platform and I'm so excited! So, with that said, tell us more about yourself! When did you start taking concert and artist photos and at what point did you know that you wanted to make a career of photography?
Lauren Stoner (LS): Thank you for having me Sarah. I absolutely love all the work you do in our industry! I’m so happy to be here! A little backstory on me - I have been taking photos for as long as I can remember. My mom could not keep disposable cameras in our house when I was younger because I would use them all up. Taking photos has always been apart of me. I’ve dabbled in all sorts of genres, and I really focused on shooting kids/families after I had babies of my own but nothing has ever aligned with me like concert photography has. It genuinely sets my soul on fire. I started taking concert photos 3 years ago and I honestly knew from the very first show that I photographed, that this was my calling. It’s really surreal to know that my love of photography and country music has collided and brought me to where I am today.
SS: How do your assignments vary day-to-day, and what are the most surprising day-to-day aspects of music photography?
LS: I think with any career the biggest task we take on is to consistently learn. We live in a very visual world so I think the pressure to have extensively beautiful photos has been elevated, especially for professional photographers. On days where I am not shooting or editing I am researching, or learning new techniques I can bring to the table on the next shoot. I think the most surprising aspects of music photography is that everyday will look different. One day you could be shooting a show, on set shooting an album cover, or working to grow and remain connected in your community which I think is very important. Stay inspired.
SS: How do you like to communicate musicality/musical identity through photography?
LS: I am always looking for that raw emotion, it may sound a little cheesy but I am looking for that twinkle in the artists eye. When they’re playing that one song they love so much that they just forget the whole world exists and they’re just in their own world - that’s what I look to capture. Each artist is so unique and you want to showcase that. Essentially you’re anticipating the unexpected, it could be banter between the band, explosive energy or raw emotion. Ultimately I want people to look at my photos and feel something, whether it’s excitement, happiness or sadness. I want it to feel as if they were at that concert themselves.
SS: Two in one question here: How does the process differ in music portraiture when working with upcoming talent versus established artists? What kind of advice do you have for emerging artists when booking/planning their shoots with you and/or other music photographers?
LS: Honestly, I think the biggest difference in music portraiture when working with upcoming talent versus established artists is that upcoming talent is testing the waters essentially. They are new on the scene and they are still figuring themselves out, as many of us are when we jump into new careers, so I feel like their identity is getting figured out. When dealing with established artists, they typically have a vision of where they want the to shoot to go. They have that recognizable body of work that you want to showcase through the photos you take of them. With that being said my advice to an emerging artist or a photographer is to have a vision when it comes to the shoot. What are you trying to portray? What are your goals? What emotions are you trying to evoke with these photos? Really make that clear, especially if it is something as important as an album launch or a single launch for an emerging artist. You really want the work you’re doing to be memorable because like I said prior, we live in a very visual world so you want make sure that their personality comes through in your work, and that they are happy with the outcome.
SS: What are a few key lessons you’ve learned about concert/artist photography that other aspiring concert/artist photographers could take advice from?. Do you have any pointers for people that are looking to become photographers, or more specifically, music photographers?
LS: It may sound cliché, but one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my concert photography career is to never give up. Concert photography isn’t something that just unfolds quickly or has unfolded quickly for myself but as I navigate through this career, I always remind myself why I started. I started this career because I love music. I love country music, and sometimes you won’t get to photograph the artists you want to or get approved for the show you want to shoot. You just have to remind yourself why you’re doing this and just keep pushing through the murky water because I promise, even though it is a difficult industry to feel like you’re excelling in sometimes, it is an absolutely beautiful community to be apart of. I highly encourage you to fully immerse yourself into honing your craft whether it’s watching YouTube videos, doing online courses, working with other photographers, just get inspired, stay inspired and never give up.
SS: Bonus Question! Have you ever been starstruck on a set? Or by someone who has asked you to be a part of their show/photography? How do you overcome that?
LS: I feel like every time I get to work with artists it’s a surreal moment for me but I think the first show I did was what shook me to my core when it comes to being starstruck, as it was Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen and Jameson Rodgers. 3 powerhouses in country music. Somehow I remained calm and took some of my favourite photos to date. In all honesty I think you overcome those feelings of being starstruck by realizing you’re there to do a job and you want to be taken seriously, so you kind of tuck away those fan girl feelings and do what you came to do.
To view her portfolio and to book a session with her for your next concert, release campaign, album or single cover or just for fun, you can find all her details at: