Next time you're in the mood to change up your Facebook profile picture, may you remember the name Lauren Lemon. Though her actual name is Lauren Randolph, this Los Angeles-based photographer also goes by that sweet (or should I say sour) pseudonym. With a specialty in creative portrait photography, Lemon has a way of making people's personalities, quite literally, jump off the screen.
Whether she's using colorful props and funny backgrounds or completely staging her shots, Lemon always finds ways to change it up. Find out what's going on inside her mind in our short interview with the photographer, below.
Love your creative portraits. What do you think sets your work apart?
I often get told that my work is very vibrant and fun. I'd like to think that the way I feel while making a picture translates to the viewer. Photography is supposed to be fun, and if I'm having fun doing it, then the people I'm shooting are probably having fun as well. It's easy to take portraiture very seriously, trying to capture people as they are in their natural state, but nobody feels fully comfortable in front of a camera. So for me, it keeps things interesting if I try and mix it up, and force people to step out of their comfort zone and do something they wouldn't think to normally do.
How long have you been photographing for?
I have a photo album that my dad help me put together when I was probably 5 years old, so I'd like to say I've been photographing my whole life. However, I didn't become serious about photography until college. I was constantly documenting my friends and life through high school, but I took my first formal photography class in college and knew I was hooked. Since then I've taken my snapshot photography a bit further by creating and setting up staged images.
A lot of your portraits involve stories. How important is storytelling to you?
A lot of people can take a pretty picture, so I feel it's important in my process to tell something different about the subject or place. When I set out to make a photo, I always try and think about how I can mix it up and show the viewer something a bit quirky, weird, or silly. I don't always know what story I want to tell when I begin shooting, but it usually doesn't take long for something to evolve. A good story sticks with a person longer than just a good visual.
You put yourself in a lot of self-portraits. How do you change it up?
I've been shooting self-portraits since I started taking pictures. I love shooting portraits, but I'm not always around other people when I wanted to make photos! When I step in front of the camera, I'm always trying to play a different character or tell a different story. As a kid I always loved playing make believe, so I guess those old hobbies never quite wore off.
What are some tips you could give to other portrait photographers?
The best advice I could think to give is the same advice I still remind myself of daily – constantly be shooting! It's so important to always be making new photos, and always be trying new things. It seems so easy as a photographer to get stuck shooting the same things in the same way – but that leaves no room for growth. Not every picture I take is one I'm thrilled to have in my portfolio book, but every picture I take is going to be better than the last one, based on the what I learned during the process and in between.