Hello! I'm Lauren Westra, a Philadelphia-born, short (although genetically Dutch) blonde, and I love chocolate and diet coke almost as much as I hate fish and coffee.
My other half is a Chip Gaines doppleganger and his dairy farming career keeps this city girl on her toes! Our 2-year-old daughter Willemina is a super social, blue-eyed, white-blonde, and her sister Ellie (just 13 months younger) seems to be doing her best to be the twin Mina never had. In our spare time, we are working on our latest small business - a wedding venue we're making at some of the barns on our dairy.
I didn't always know I wanted to be a photographer. Many creatives have stories dating back to childhood that signal the early start of their career, but my story is a little less romantic.
Before my last semester of college, I bought an SLR camera (a "big camera") because I was so intrigued by photographer friends' photos. Why did they look so good? And how did they do it? Why can't I? Then two days before my study abroad semester of college (in Australia!), I broke my trusty point-and-shoot camera and was left with only my new, entry-level "big camera" to play with in a country full of beautiful new things. Necessity and determined curiosity fueled my learning - and when I landed back in the States, an encouraging friend started pitching me to his friends as a photographer for hire. Nervous as all get out, I photographed my first paid gig (a 2nd birthday party) in 2011, and haven't looked back. I'm so thankful for those first clients for trusting me, and I live to improve: to learn how to better capture the best moments of life, how to find that perfect light in any scenario, how to grab moments you never want to forget.
Five years later, I've found my favorite sessions are engagements, I cry during almost every father-daughter dance, I am obsessed with bridal bouquets, and I love that this job lets me be a part of the happiest parts of life. So whether it's your wedding day, a family session, or a Saturday morning at home you'd like to document, if you're happy, I just might be your girl.
"Callie is simply the greatest photographer of all time! She is so sweet, kind, generous, and gifted! We are so grateful to have worked together!"