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Storytelling With One of Wedding Photography’s Rising Stars – Caroline Tran

By Hanssie on July 10th 2014

Named one of the 30 Rising Stars in Wedding Photography by Rangefinder Magazine in 2012, Los Angeles based photographer Caroline Tran is a storyteller. She loved to tell stories, but writing them, not so much. And then she discovered photography and discovered a way to tell her stories with each photo shoot. Now, Caroline has a large following on Facebook and this year will be launching her Propel workshop where she will be mentoring other photographers, perfectly melding two of her loves, teaching (she was once a high school physics teacher) and photography.

Caroline describes herself as a photographer who loves to travel and eat…preferably at the same time. And when she is not working, Caroline spends as much time with her kids, husband and family as possible – “I really don’t care what we’re doing, I just want to be together.  Simple walks, beach, parks, museums, and especially dining together.  I love food.”

Caroline was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule and family time to answer a few quick questions for our readers.



Your style is truly unique.  I see aspects of lifestyle photography, photojournalism, and fashion, but I’m curious to hear how you would define your photography style?

 I’m a story teller.  I like to document life for myself and my clients.  My photographs are a mix of fine art and lifestyle, and timeless in style.

Where do you draw photography inspiration?  

From life.  Getting out and experiencing life rejuvenates me and gives me new perspective.

Where’s the most beautiful place you have ever seen?  

Probably Bali… or Chiang Mai.  I love nature.  

caroline-tran-napa-engagement-photos (1)

 What do you think you would have been if you weren’t a photographer?

 Something with design… maybe clothing.  Maybe kid’s clothing.

Along the same lines, what do you think you will do after you decide to stop shooting weddings?

 I love food photography; it combines my 2 passions – food and photography.

What is your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?

Gosh, they’re all so special.  Hard to choose just one favorite… and every wedding is different.  I would probably have to say any time there is amazing light.  Light might just be the most inspirational element for me, so when there’s especially beautiful light, I’m like a kid in a candy store.


What’s the best part about your job?

My clients.  I love the relationships I get to build with them.  I love being invited to share a part of their lives with them, and especially love that most continue to share future milestones with me.  I love becoming their lifelong photographer, documenting them from engagement, to wedding, to first, second, third and even fourth children!

What’s the worst part about your job?

 The administrative side… I hate being on the computer.

 If you were stuck using one lens for the rest of your life, what would it be?

 My Contax 645 with the 80mm f/2 lens.  I do most sessions with just that.


For the aspiring wedding photographers with limited money to spend, what advice might you give them to grow their studio and build their brand?  

Shoot as much as you can.  Make as many mistakes as you can now (while you are still finding yourself and risk is low so you can learn from them.  Experiment and find your voice.

In your early career, what forms or marketing worked and what didn’t?  

Blogging and social media, especially Facebook, really worked for me.  Word of mouth was also great – I shot as much as I could to spread my name as far as I could.


Tell us a little bit more about your Propel Workshop. When will it be and what do attendees have to look forward to?

October 2014!  I’m really excited to be planning my one and only workshop for this year.  It’s going to be a retreat where we spend 3 nights together immersed in photography, styling, business… We will all leave inspired with new ways to improve our businesses.  More info at

Thank you Caroline for sharing with us. If you want to see more of Caroline’s work, visit her website or Facebook.



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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Peter-Jon Harding

    I wanted to know more about what was in her camera bag

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  2. Nick Viton

    I’ll be shooting my first wedding in August, and have read and been advised by pros to take the storytelling angle. (I’ve also been advised that I’ll need a second camera body, at least. Off to the camera store!…)

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    Inspiring work indeed

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  4. Christopher

    Amazing photographer and an inspiration! Love her work.

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  5. Tyler Friesen

    Awesome work!

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  6. Anthony McFarlane

    Her images are beautiful. Her love shoots gallery is really nice.

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  7. Jim Johnson

    Not to diminish her talent, but is that a real bride, or a model?

    The reason I ask is because I beginning to get really tired of seeing portrait and wedding photographers marketing themselves without showing an average shoot with real clients. I understand the reason for it, but as an experienced shooter with an upcoming wedding, I wouldn’t even consider a photographer if I didn’t readily see photos with subjects who… well… look more like me. It just feels deceptive.

    I wish Ms. Tran the best, but sincerely hope she doesn’t go the “guru” route. I admire photography educators, but the “star photographer” label can end up being toxic.

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  8. Kevin Nguyen

    Caroline is inspirational indeed!!!

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