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Journalism student turns dream of photography business into reality


Lauren Franco
Lauren Franco

For many students, dreams of running a business are just that, dreams. Students think big but aren’t always sure how to go about the actual execution. But through hard work and many hours of photo shoots and editing, one student in particular has made this dream a reality.
Lauren Franco, a convergence journalism major from Fort Worth, Texas, never knew photography would become such an important part of her life until taking a photography class her sophomore year of high school. It was through the affirmation of teachers and peers that Franco quickly discovered an untapped skill and was encouraged to grow into the photographer she is today.
Now a national award-winning photographer and editor for ACU’s newspaper The Optimist, Franco says she was first inspired to start Lauren Marie Photography when she saw a need for photographers in Abilene.
Whether it is for The Optimist, portraits, families, weddings, events or businesses, Franco always has been intentional about pursuing any opportunity that comes her way.
“I think a good photographer is someone who can shoot anything, shoot anywhere, and love what they’re shooting at all times. … It’s been a huge blessing to be able to branch out and do different things.”
Franco says one of her favorite opportunities was a photo shoot done for a Glamour Magazine photo essay titled “These 22 College Students Will Change Your Perspective on What It’s Like to be a Young Woman in America Right Now.”
Being able to work on a project that directly tied to her mantra of being yourself and embracing what makes you comfortable was definitely a highlight of her college career.
Franco is quick to express her gratitude toward the tight-knit ACU community. “The only reason that I have all of these connections is because my connections are a text away,” she said.
Franco also appreciates the opportunity to mentor others and be mentored herself. “Being a leader and helping my peers has really grown my passion even more,” she said. “It’s not just about having a passion and clicking a button but getting to explain why I click the button, how I click the button, and everything in between.”
Wildcat alumni have also been a wonderful resource, Lauren says. “Having alumni come back and mentor me through the [business side] has definitely helped me,” she said.“I would be so lost without the community that has grown me. Having them to help me through it all has been incredible.”
Learn more about the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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