LOCAL PROFILES: Lauren Kara Steinberg (Lauren Kara Photography) (10.18.17)
We love supporting local business at Life Below Canal, and supporting those business owners following their dreams. So, when both of us have major life events to capture (e.g. both of our sons’ first birthday parties), we turn to one of our favorite photographers below Canal Street: Lauren Kara Steinberg.
Tell us about your company...
I am a lifestyle photographer specializing in family and children photography. While I of course can photograph other things, events, people, etc this is where I have the most demand. I work on location, whether that be someone's home, a park, or both! I don't have a studio, but I prefer this. I like to photograph on location so each working day is always different. I spend my weekends doing the photography shoots and weekdays at home (with my pup!) editing all of my jobs. I would describe my style as very candid. While I of course take posed shots, I prefer to catch the "moments." Almost all of my favorite photos that i've taken have been unplanned, spontaneous moments that you would never imagine would turn out the way they did.
How did you get started?
I have been interested in photography since I was little. When it came time for college, I chose my school (Ithaca College) based on the fact that it had multiple schools so I could dabble in a little bit of everything. Photography my was my #1 priority every single semester, and all 4 years, I was unable to ever take it. Nonetheless, I took film photography at Westchester Community College during the summers where my passion for photography grew. I then took various classes at places in Manhattan such as the 92nd Street Y and Photo Manhattan. After spending 9 years in the jewelry industry I decided that it was no longer for me and I did a complete 180. In the summer of 2015, after I left the jewelry world, I decided to pursue photography and attempt to make it a full time job. I started by taking pictures of people for free so I could build a portfolio and then I started with very bottom line pricing to get my feet wet. My business exploded in a way that I could never have imagined. Mostly fueled by Facebook and the recommendations that I was receiving in Mom groups, that is essentially what grew my business, and continues to. I would take a picture of one family, then they would refer me, then the next person would refer me, and so my little company grew! I owe 100% of my success to my friends, family and new customers who post my pictures, write reviews, recommend me in mom groups and spread the word about my business.
I like to tailor each shoot to what each client is looking for. Having a conversation with them prior to the shoot is important to me so we can all be on the same page. Whether we discuss location, style or outfit choice I like people to know that they can always message me to discuss any detail big or small.
How has living below Canal Street impacted your business?
This didn't happen overnight, but I have finally been able to ground myself in a network of great families in Battery Park. It's a tight knit community and I love going to events (i.e. a lot of first birthdays!) and seeing familiar faces. Manhattan can feel like a large place that you can get lost in easily, and I don't feel that way here. Doing shoots within my community makes me the happiest. It means a lot when friends or clients refer me in their downtown mom groups, because that is what fuels my business. I prefer working mostly down here and further grounding myself within this community.
What is your favorite part of owning a business below Canal Street?
I'm obviously very biased to living down here! I love owning a business where I am working with families and children that I tend to see again and again after our shoots. I feel like other parts of Manhattan you can lose your identity and become a face among the masses. I love bumping into clients, seeing them at other events and just generally staying in touch with people. There's also tons of great photo opps between the esplanade in Battery Park, the off the beaten path side streets of Tribeca or cute little parks that don't get much attention with the main focus usually being on Central Park. Lately one of my favorite spots has been behind the Jewish Museum in Battery Park. There are beautiful flowers and have the water as a backdrop to boot.
What is the best part of living below Canal Street? Any favorite spots?
I love being by the water! One of my favorite morning rituals is grabbing a coffee with my dog and sitting by the marina in the early morning before things get too hectic. My favorite restaurant, hands down, is China Blue in Tribeca. I would eat there every night if I could. I was a french major in college so anywhere I can embrace my inner Francophile is up my alley. I love Maison Kayser because I can say that i've been to their Parisian location as well! I go there when I want to feel French. My fiance and I like to visit The Growler on Stone Street for brunch, but mostly to dive into their bloody mary bar. My favorite spot for a GREAT cocktail is The Blackhound, and it's just down the street from my apartment, which can be dangerous. They make the absolute best cocktails I've ever had and the service beats out any other bar I have been too. We also love Max in Tribeca for great Italian food. I'm sure my list could go on and on, but these are the few that stand out in my mind.