Full Name: Lacey Braden
Photography Genre: Fashion & Portrait Photography
1. Could you please provide us with a professional introduction about yourself and your photography work.
I am currently working on curating more grunge/pop shoots for the talented designer Jacob Heath and The Untitled Project. The Untitled Project is a portrait series featuring female burn survivors and telling their stories. We have recently been featured on the cover of Hollyway Magazine.
2. Can you tell us about how you got started in photography?
In 2018 I was a high school math teacher; I hit a point where I fell out of love with teaching. I knew I needed to be doing something creative. My husband and I brainstormed various ideas of how to make a career out of something we loved – we landed on the idea of photography. it had always been a hobby of mine, but never anything serious. Literally the next day after having the conversation with my husband about wanting to start a new career, he bought a brand new camera, lens, computer, and editing software. I started learning the manual settings of my camera, posing, composition, and editing techniques via YouTube. I then started to seek out other photographers in my area and shadow them.
3. What was your passion driving you during your journey? Who or what prompted you to begin?
I was passionate about being able to create something beautiful every day. Every time I pick up my camera I challenge myself to do something different/better than the last time. I am in constant competition with myself.
4. Could you walk us through your photoshoot planning process?
Each shoot I do, I try to push the boundaries just a bit; I like to incorporate a new pose or technique. I start by looking through Instagram for inspiration – I follow some incredibly talented individuals. I then think about how can I portray what my subject is trying to say – I do this with color, body movements, and emotions. I also try to troubleshoot all of the possible issues ahead of time. For instance, the fashion shoot I did for Jacob Heath was done at Graffiti Alley – it is visually very busy with patterns and colors. I knew that his designs were also busy with patterns and colors so I brought along solid colored paper backdrops. The images that happened to be the most iconic are the ones on the paper – the subject and the fashion are able to speak louder when the background distractions are minimized.
5. As a photography expert, what sets your work apart from other photographers?
I like to photograph the essence of the subject – like really convey who they are through the image. I also love to get the subject out of their comfort zone and push the limits of the creative process.
6. Where do you get your ideas for photoshoots?
I let the client choose the location and have them describe the vibe they want to portray. Once at the session I coach them through every pose. My goal is to bring my client’s vision to life. That being said, it’s really their ideas that I capture.
7. Can you tell us about the most memorable moment you’ve had as a photographer and what experience you gained from that?
In 2020 I had the honor of photographing an all female Vietnamese monastery. There were seven monks who ran this beautiful temple. They devoted their entire lives to serving their community. The occasion was the lunar new year and one of the patrons had hired me to do portraits for the monks. It was such a beautiful experience seeing them in their element. It was a busy day at the temple; the patrons were coming to receive a blessing for the new year. I observed the head monk take a special moment with each person that entered. She gave an individualized blessing to each person and fed them. This was an incredible experience – photography gave me the opportunity to have a peek inside a subculture that I would never have entered otherwise.
8. What are the most important components of an extraordinary photograph, in your opinion? Emotion. If the viewer doesn’t feel anything when they look at the image, it means nothing.
9. How do you strike a balance between your artistic expression and your client’s expectations during a shoot?
I always tell my clients that they can say no to anything I propose. I give them the control over how far we take the shoot creatively. Ultimately, I am bringing their vision to life, so I am respectful of their boundaries.
10. How do other artists influence your work? Are there any other photographers you look up to? Who?
There are sooo many photographers who are endlessly inspiring. In the wedding world, Ken Pak is my inspiration. His work is full of surprises. As far as artistic portraiture, Michael Betzner is really giving me inspiration with his ethereal and moody poses.
11. How do you enhance your vision after a session by post-processing your photos? Do you have a best-kept secret for editing processing that you’d like to share?
I tend to go more contrast, shadow, and moody with my images. I wish I had a super cool secret.
12. Can you tell us about the most difficult photographic challenge you’ve ever had, including lighting, unexpected situations, and how you managed the issues on set?
Oh goodness, I think early on I made every mistake possible – especially with lighting. I remember at my first wedding my flash overheated and I had no backups with me. I think the best thing to do when things are going awry is to remain calm under pressure. I never let my client know that I’m not in control – my main goal is to always keep the client calm and inspired.
13. What are your top tips for aspiring photographers on skill development and finding their own creative voice? How did you develop yours?
I can only speak from experience when guiding others. I think the best way to develop your skill is to shoot every day – shoot everything and everyone. It’s the only way to find out what you are good at. I tried to practice one new skill every shoot – whether it be a pose, composition, or a camera/flash setting. Small steps, but constant steps are the key.
14. What is your favorite piece of work you’ve ever shot?
I am currently working on The Untitled Project, it is a portrait series featuring female burn survivors. This project is close to my heart as I too am a burn survivor. I am focusing on taking photos of the things that make people insecure and portraying them in a beautiful light. It is unconventional beauty at its finest. I also tell the stories of each woman – it speaks of resilience and perseverance to overcome difficulties in life. It is a very niche movement, but everyone can relate in one way or another since we have all experienced some form of trauma.
You can find all of the stories and portraits here: bradeneventphotography.zenfolio.com/blog
15. Can you tell me about an upcoming project you’re working on and the idea behind it?
I am finishing up the shooting portion of the Untitled Project and the next phase is putting it into book form. My goal is for it to be a beautiful coffee table book that will be placed in doctor’s offices and burn wards. I would love the families who are sitting in the waiting rooms to have something inspiring to look at.
16. Where can we view more of your work and connect with you?
Facebook: Braden Event Photography
Facebook: The Untitled Project