Lauren’s beautiful images are actually the placeholder images within our Positano template and we were so excited when she decided to use Positano as the template for her new website. Lauren is a talented photographer and communications genius (she calls herself a strategist and coach, but we think genius is more fitting). One of her goals for her new website was to make it feel as welcoming as her Georgia home, and we’d say she definitely achieved that! Her site is filled with gorgeous photos, helpful resources and enough gorgeous food images to make you forget about that summer diet you’re supposed to be starting.
We asked Lauren to share a bit about herself and the design process:
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you get started in photography & marketing?
As a senior in high school, while everyone else spent their lunch period in the senior’s only cafeteria hangout, I was knee deep designing & editing our school’s yearbook. Ironically enough, I intended to be a graphic design major in college, and got my start in the computer lab, sorting file after file & telling stories of some of the year’s shining moments. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I wasn’t actually preparing for my future as a graphic designer… instead, I was tapping into my lifelong love of photography & storytelling, and preparing for the day when all of the elements would come together in my future career as a photographer & communications strategist.
After serving as the Marketing Director for a local Chick-fil-A in Athens, GA, I joined an amazing agency as a public relations practitioner & social media strategist for companies like Nike, Airstream, & The John Maxwell Company. After 6+ years in the marketing world, I launched Lauren Carnes Photography upon discovering we’d be moving to a new city (Augusta, GA) for my husband’s medical residency training. Seemed logical to kick off a new business in a new town where I knew virtually no one! 😉 Fortunately, I was able to apply my marketing background to launching a new business and quickly jumped into the photography world.
Starting in wedding photography, and expanding to food & travel, as well as lifestyle branding photography, I began getting inquiries not asking for photography services, but instead for marketing & communications. Since then, I’ve united my passion for marketing, photography, & education into one by offering one-on-one communications coaching for small business owners, in addition to photography! It’s been a wild ride and one I wouldn’t change for the world!
Why did you decide to redesign your website?
As you can imagine, over the course of the past 4 years, my business has made countless transitions and pivots. It happens to all of us! I originally launched a website to serve as my online portfolio. It served me so well for quite a while… but after a while, I realized it was just that… an online portfolio, with little insight into my communications side of the business, my personality, or my process. I knew it was time to have an online home that reflected the full depth & breadth of my work & what I offer! Nearly 3 years ago a created a list of the type of work I wanted to capture. Now, it’s amazing to see how this new website showcases those descriptors in ways beyond what I could have imagined, not just for photography, but also for communications, & my brand voice as a whole. That vision has played out in the “big sister” version of my old site! A new site was long overdue, and I am so thrilled to officially launch it!
What is your favorite part of your new site?
The way it started as a template and has become so “me!” I am amazed to see how I could take your gorgeous Positano template and make it something entirely unique to the Lauren Carnes brand. The fact that (without any CSS knowledge!) I was able to customize it to find my needs, add new pages, and change things around easily is absolutely mind-blowing. That peace of mind knowing I have the ability to change it as I need to is unlike any other feeling… and truth be told, I never thought I would be able to say that. I was concerned in redesigning a site that I would forever have to hire someone to alter it, meaning that when the brand inevitably grew over time, I’d just have to redesign entirely again. Instead, I built out this site with the hopes that it would be the foundation that would last me for years, knowing that I can easily change and tweak as my business continues to pivot. It meant I felt confident in getting it launched knowing it could always be changed in the coming weeks, months, and years.
I’m kind of obsessed with The Pantry! One of my main goals in the site was to make it feel like you were walking into my digital “home” per say – where the kitchen is, of course, at the center of it all! The Pantry is a space my dear friend Megan of Megan Martin Creative dreamed up to house my best free resources – business “staples” if you will – and other fun elements. It features free downloads for discovering your brand voice, to best tips for Instagram Stories, and even a recipe box of all of my business go-to’s. From food puns to free stock photo downloads, she added some unique customizations to an already amazing template to make it feel really “me!” It was so fun to infuse my personality & love of food & drink into each page!
Is there anything else you think people considering re-designing their website should know?
It can be super overwhelming not knowing where to begin in a re-design. I have two recommendations of how to get started.
1. Get yourself a template. I began with the Positano template and it was a gamechanger: perfectly on brand to begin with – clean & lots of neutrals to really let the images shine. For those of us who are not designers, an entirely blank canvas can feel super intimidating. I truly don’t know if I would have ever launched a new site if I didn’t have this gorgeous template to get the ball rolling. The template made it easy to pop in my own images and copy to get a bit of momentum & see how I could make the site truly my own! Don’t let overwhelm and perfectionism stand in the way of just getting going. Starting, after all, is the absolute hardest part!
2. Ask yourself what the goal of each page on your site is before getting started. What do you want your ideal client to see, feel, and experience when they arrive? And how are you going to move them from landing on the home page to actually taking action on that goal in the quickest and easiest way possible? Ask yourself these questions to start… and then get started! And remember: you can always readjust and pivot with your site as time goes on! And also… once it’s officially live… CELEBRATE! I spent a week road tripping through Florida with my husband as a post-launch celebration and it was the best decision I could have made! Whether it’s treating yourself to a massage or hopping a plane to Europe, give yourself major credit for launching your new digital home into the world. You deserve it!