We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Keuning and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lauren, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
When I was younger, I never thought I’d be in a “creative career”. The starving-artist stigma was stuck in my head, and with parents who had great success in the safer avenues of business, such as insurance and real estate, a creative career path didn’t seem realistic for the lifestyle I wanted. It wasn’t until college that I realized a creative business pursuit didn’t have to mean being a broke, starving artist.

My passions have always been writing and photography, so the rise of social media became a natural creative outlet for me. I quickly learned how to leverage my skills into services and began managing Instagram accounts for the restaurants I worked at in my early 20’s. It was a dream come true, so I made it my full-time reality. I now run a creative agency managing social media accounts for businesses with an emphasis on digital branding and creative strategy. My younger self would be so siked to know this was the future.

After starting my agency in January 2021, I realized there was a need in the creative community to have a centrally located visual studio that offered a modern look for photographers and videographers to experiment with. Midway Studios opened shortly after in June 2021 with 1,600 square feet of staged and flex spaces optimized for natural-light photography. Our clients capture anything from editorial to family lifestyle images. The space has also been a perfect location for intimate, private events such as gender reveals, bridal showers, birthday parties, and more.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
There is a lot of competition on social media, and it can be a challenge to come across authentically when you’re marketing for brands on these platforms. Your goal as a social media marketer is to steal the attention away from the noise and entertainment of other creators and direct it to your brand. Not to mention, that attention span is fleeting.

It’s a lot more than just photos, videos and words. Your messaging needs to align with your customer. You need to incite an emotion that will drive a conversion in every action you do. This strategic approach is integrated into all of our client brands and campaigns.

Another practice we execute with clients is brand values. Customers are fired up about social issues and human interest in today’s landscape, and they want to buy from brands that hold similar values. While historically, it may have been frowned upon for businesses to express their social views, now it is a critical component of a brand story. It is what makes a brand go from a cold, disconnected entity to a personal connection that consumers are proud to be a part of.

Even as a new business owner, I am always looking for ways to give back to the community and help others. This is the reasoning for starting the Client-Facing Collaborative, a group and resource for creative entrepreneurs to connect and support one another. You can join the group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/thecfcollab

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Touring people around Dallas is one of my favorite hobbies. There are so many fun areas to explore, and the food options are vastly underrated.

If I had to pick a handful of restaurants that excel in food and atmosphere, I’d say:
Kenny’s Woodfire Grill (Addison)
Vidorra (Deep Ellum)
Jaxon Beer Garden (Downtown)
Neighborhood Services (Lovers)

The AT&T Discovery District Downtown is a great spot to take visitors. They get to see what Downtown Dallas is all about while experiencing some of the best local chefs at the Exchange Food Hall. I may be a little bias as I was on the branding team for most of these restaurants back in 2020, but it really is an impressive place to visit and often where I bring my own family out while visiting.

But ultimately, I get all of my Dallas to-do guidance from Courtney Stensland of @stensinthecity. Give her a follow to stay in-the-know on all things Dallas.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
A few people come to mind when I think about where I am today. To put things chronologically, I’d have to start with my parents. I am blessed to have such a strong support team in my family. They believed I would achieve everything I wanted and encouraged me to pursue my dreams, even when I put them through an unfair share of trouble. My dad always told me to be independent and create my own financial stability, which I think is crucial in a father-daughter relationship.

In high school, my AP English teacher, Greg Schemper, told me I would make a career with my writing. I wasn’t the best student and often found myself getting served pink slips, so having someone who was rooting for me helped a lot.

Additionally, my college professor, Daniel Rodrigue, helped me make lifelong connections that were invaluable. Those connections landed my first writing internship, which turned into my first job in marketing at White Pants Agency. All of which I learned the skills I use in my business today.

I’ve met many more who have inspired me along the way including peers, colleges, and friends, all of whom I couldn’t have made it this far without. A special shoutout to my partner in both business and life, Tyler Oliver, for being my number one fan through the good times and the bad.

Website: www.winterpinecreative.com

Instagram: @laurenkeuning

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/lauren-keuning/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lauren.keuning/

Other: Midway Studio Accounts – Website: www.midway-studios.com Instagram: @midway_studios Facebook: @bookmidwaystudios

Image Credits
Priscilla DaSilva (@positivepriphotos) Trista McCormick (@tristaphotog) Client Feature: Nebula Mat: Revolutionizing The Doormat www.nebulamat.com

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.