Lauren Abi-Hanna

Lauren-Sol+CoI want to introduce you all to the inspiring Lauren Abi-Hanna.

This beautiful women believes that kindness is paramount, that connecting to your true self and showcasing this to the world is one of the most important elements in business. She is here to empower women to feel excited about creating an authentic visual brand, one that they are 100% confident to stand behind. And she believes that a sense of connection is the most desired outcome of all. When you rise, she rises and truly believes that collectively we can make a difference.

SSC: So lets begin with a little bit about you, who is Lauren? How would you describe yourself in three words and what gets you up in the morning?

Lauren: Oh! These questions are always the hardest to answer! Three words to describe myself would be kind, curious and determined. I feel like I was born with these characteristics and they have a lot to do with how I show up in business too. I love learning new things, meeting new people, going on adventures and I try to live everyday with kindness. If you were to ask any of my family members to name a trait of mine, I bet they’d give you determination! In his wedding vows my husband even stated this was something he loved about me [yes, I’m completely aware how lucky I am!] It was this determination and the thought of, “What happens if …” that made me start my business and I’m so, so glad I did.

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SSC: Can you share with us your story; how did you come to launch Sol & Co and become an Intuitive photographer, and why did you choose this name?

Lauren: When I first started my business it was called Lauren Emily Photography and honestly it was a quick decision and at the time I couldn’t think of anything else. As time went by and being a multi passionate entrepreneur there were a lot of areas I wanted to explore and I knew my business was evolving. Things like travel photography, spirituality, art, there were and are so many things I’d like to explore. About 3 years ago, it got to the point where I couldn’t see how Lauren Emily Photography was going to be able to express everything I wanted it to. It just wasn’t the right space for my business goals moving forward. So I begun working with a coach and really honing in on what it was that I wanted to do and how I could best serve.

During this process I realised what actually happens when I photograph women entrepreneurs; I get to provide them with imagery they are proud of. I could see that through the process, we’ve captured stunning images that showcase who they are and images that give them the confidence to share their business with the world.

Sol + Co was an evolution that was born from this concept. The Co part is short for collective I’ve always wanted to build and inspire a community. Sol is the Latin American word for Sun and it was also a bit of a play on the Soul work that I do. Capturing who people REALLY are so that they can showcase their unique self within their business.

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SSC: How would you personally explain the difference between a Photographer and an Intuitive photographer, what sets you a part and why did you choose to go down this path?

Lauren: I started my business as a family portrait photographer, without having a clue about business and along the way I begun to learn more about who I am. I think this is just a by-product of owning your own business! When I started meeting and photographing women for their websites [something that I fell in to simply because I was networking, meeting fabulous ladies and I could take photos] I loved it immediately.

From the very first shoot, I was hooked! I had so much fun, I went home and wondered if I could actually get paid to do this! After a little while I reailsed that a huge part of the shoot was me, relying on the connection I’d built and letting the spontaneity of my intuition take the lead. Often I have no idea what a photo is going to turn out like until I get home and begin editing it.

That’s the difference! It’s in the in between moments, in the connection and the magic of play. After all, no one {not even your brain] knows the difference between a real laugh and a fake laugh! There are lots of fake laughs in my photo shoots because they always lead to real ones.

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SSC: “The essence of who you really are is the key ingredient to how you visually represent yourself to the world, in life and in business” Can you explain this a little further and tell us some tips on bringing our essence into our business?

Lauren: I honestly believe that your visual brand should show people the real you. When you have your own business your clients will see you and experience you at some point, whether that’s in a meeting at a café or over Skype. So if you can show them in pictures who you are, they’ll already have a sense of you, leading to more trust in what you offer. In today’s world when so much of our life and business is online, people really need to trust you before they will invest in you and your business.

It’s the ingredient that will set you apart from the crowd. No one can do what you authentically do. We are so fortunate to have multiple areas within our business where we can showcase this to our audience. I would suggest that you take advantage of social media, things like Facebook live and Instagram stories for example. Share more behind the scenes, share your beliefs and your values and show people what you spend your time doing. It will help them piece together the story of you. When you post a picture of yourself, share a heart felt message along with it. I think that there should always be a space in your marketing strategy to share who you are, the person that is behind the business. Yes, you are your brand but you are not wholly the brand. Once you share this side of you, it will help deepen the connection with your audience and they will begin to see and trust you. Think about it, people buy people! Your ideal client will be more inclined to invest in you and your business after they feel like they know and trust you.

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SSC: What are your top 3 ways to help you connect back to yourself, take time to rest and just be?

Lauren:

  1. The ocean is my life force and I need to be near it to fully feel myself. So my number one thing would be my ocean medicine. In the warmer weather I get in it as much as I can and the days where this swim also includes a walk with my husband by my side are the best days. I am so grateful to live in the place that I do and I feel this gratitude bursting out of me when I’m by the ocean.
  2. Simply switching off and playing with my nieces and nephew grounds me immediately. I feel so much brighter and lighter when I’m playing with them, in their world. Imagination and play, there is nothing better!
  3. Life is sweeter with meditation. I feel in love with meditation when I found Belinda Davidson’s chakra work. Cleansing my chakras, just having this intention when meditating has really helped my practice. I like the fact that my brain has something to focus on and sometimes I can get to a state where I actually feel my chakras buzzing. I love the fact that I can actually feel something working, it helps settle my monkey mind. This meditation work has really opened up my creativity and interest in my spirituality and it sparked my journey into reiki. Next month I’ll be going through level 2. I image myself infusing reiki into all of my images and sending them off to clients charged and ready to enhance their business. It’s so beautiful and I’m excited to see how it evolves

SSC: The word Connection, what does this word mean to you and how does it inspire you on an every day in not only your business but in your life?

Lauren: Connection is one of Sol + Co’s core values and it’s at the heart of everything I desire in business and in life. When I’m travelling, I want to connect to the culture and the people. When I am working with a new client, I take the opportunity to connect with them as soon as I can. It’s important for me to understand who they are and what they want on a personal level. During the photo shoot, I connect with them by asking lots of questions about their life and journey. This has meant that I walk away from a photo shoot having made a new friend and I become really invested in their business.

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SSC: What is the best advice or words of wisdom you have received in your life? And how have you used it over this time to motivate you?

Lauren: “Everything in life is happening for you.”

This fabulous piece of wisdom has helped me get through a whole bunch of ups and downs. There are times when life’s just confusing and it can be really hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This statement enables me to understand that there is a purpose and a message in every situation and even if I don’t know what that is yet or even if I’m not entirely ready to believe the message, it helps me to see the bigger picture and ultimately know that everything will be all right.

SSC: What can we expect to see in the future for you and your business? Do you have any other hopes and dreams for the future that you can share with us?

Lauren: Oh! I always have so many plans! I’ve been dreaming up and working on some very special photographic art pieces that resonate and focus on the chakra system. Each image in the series is related to a specific chakra including all the design elements. I will be using reiki to infuse the artwork with the chakra energy and I’ll hopefully have something to showcase in September. They have been created for women entrepreneurs as an inspirational piece to place in their office or place of work for inspiration. I’m also very excited about a new venture and experience with essential oils. I have become increasingly aware of natural health and I really wanted to create a space for my family to feel more empowered with our health and wellbeing. Along with feeling empowered, I’ve found that my sense of connection has had a huge burst of energy since incorporating these oils and their stunning community into my life. I have been immensely inspired and I am really excited to begin to meet lots and lots of new people and share these amazing little beauties with them. Before I was a photographer, I was a preschool teacher (on and off for 10 years). I actually grew up saying I wanted to be a teacher and I’ve found that this new venture has really enabled me tap into my teacher essence and fulfil a purpose I feel I was born to do.Sol+Co_Kris-112

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