Bad Bitch Alert: Chatting With Lauren Engel

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We recently caught up with NYC and Boston based photographer and C-Heads Magazine editor, Lauren Engel for quick chat about her eye for photography and her time with the influential women’s magazine. Spending most of her time in Boston getting through school, Lauren often takes trips down The Big Apple to do what she does best, fashion photography. Make sure you head to to check out all of Lauren’s stunning work.


Lauren got together with photographer @sougphoto and sent us some images of  the quintessential Bad Gyal repping’ Hellz out in NYC. We’ll be posting more from them soon  so stay tuned.

How did you get into photography and how has your style changed over the years? When did you decide fashion photography was your calling?
I started photography when I was 15, a photographer I knew from another high school in Hong Kong named Wendy Liu was capturing such stunning portraits. I read interviews about Wendy and found out she was inspired by a photographer in Australia named Nirrimi. I was captivated by Nirrimi’s work through her images and blog and felt that I wanted to get into photography. On my birthday I think I shared the cost of a DSLR with my parents and started shooting. When I started I did mostly close up portraits, inspired by Nirrimi for a few years. After a year or so I got into fashion photography and shooting with a high fashion aesthetic. For the past few years I became obsessed with Ted Emmons and Zoey Grossman’s work and found my happy equilibrium. I love styled shoots but still casual and lifestyle looking. I’ve been told a few times that my work looks like ‘LA’ style even though I haven’t been there yet.

What is your current set-up and which lens do always keep on you?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II that I’ve had for a few years. For my fashion work I use a Canon 50mm f/1.4 and for my events and flash work I use a Canon 35mm f/2.0. I might get a zoom lens in the future but I don’t have specific plans for it yet.


What is your favorite shoot to date?

Nothing in particular jumps to mind. I just had a look back on my site and facebook page haha. Overall I feel that my time in Sydney this year had me really solidify my photography aesthetic. The shoots I did there were some of my favourites. I was able to shoot in the most luxurious hotel in all of Sydney and the most serene beaches. The models in Australia, as you probably know, are stunning and fun to photograph.


Any plans to move back home to Hong Kong? or is it safe to say you’ll be calling New York home?
Not at the moment, I feel like I want something new after growing up and living there for 18 years. My family is there and I love the food haha. I don’t think I have settled yet to find a place that is fully myself. I studied in Boston but there isn’t much of a fashion photography scene there or brands located there. I am curious to try out Los Angeles as most of the models I photograph in NYC are traveling from there.

Other than New York, are there any cities across the globe that you have been keeping your eye on as far as being fashion-forward over the last year?
I would say Israel, I’ve met a number of musicians, models and bloggers who are from there and they have a great sense of style and potential around the globe.

It’s no secret that everyone at the HLZ office are big music heads. Do you find yourself gaining inspiration through music in the direction of your shoots? and who are some you’re favorite artists right now that we might be missing out on?
Music is a huge part of my life, my bf and friends are mostly musicians. Being with them I learn a lot about the music industry and am curious to read about it myself. I am also a music editor for C-Heads Magazine. Right now I’m loving Kill J.


We LOVE C-Heads. We’ve always been about youth culture and of course, strong females. How has your time working with Christine and Sigrun helped you grow your craft? Is there any advice they’ve given you over the years that can help aspiring young women looking to get in the industry?
Thanks for the kind words! Christine and Sigrun interviewed me when I just started around 5 years ago. I don’t think it’s up anymore but I still have screenshots of it on my facebook haha. Since the interview, I’ve been doing fashion editorials for them here and there. C-Heads has been around for ten years now but the main boost has been in the last couple of years. Christine and Sigrun are great, I haven’t actually met them because they’re based in Vienna, Austria, but one day we will! My advice would be that young women should know their specific style it is, whether it’s photography, music, and writing. We get a number of shoots that don’t fit C-Heads’ image or songs sent to us that aren’t our style. So I’d say know exactly what you are pitching and who you are pitching to to really get the right fit.

Can you give a quick breakdown on your view of C-Heads Magazine for those that might now be familiar with it?
C-Heads Magazine has a number of parts to it–fashion, culture, events, music, thought-provoking. We celebrate individuality, people’s journeys, people’s achievements, beauty and our love for the world. We are most known for our female articles but we interview some of the hottest musicians and culture from around the world. We have event/festival photographers based in Australia, London, Brazil, New York, etc.

Being that C-Heads is worldwide, are you ever surprised when people recognize you or commend you for your work with the magazine? I still get taken aback sometimes when I find out certain people read whatthehellz on the regular.
Yes for sure I find it really sweet when people know C-Heads. We haven’t had an issue launch before in the States so it’s nice that people go to our site online. I find this IRL to URL transition amusing so it’s really nice to meet someone who loves C-Heads. I adore whatthehellz so this is very exciting for me!


I’m sure you get bombarded with emails all day long from models and companies asking you to shoot for them or get them featured in C-Heads. How do filter through them and ultimately decide who makes the cut?
That’s true haha. Christine and Sigrun handle more of the fashion submissions but in general we look for the ones that capture our style, maybe some with an interview that allows us to know the model better, or unique articles. For music submissions, we don’t mind how big or small an artist is, we care about the mood of the music, the thoughts behind the lyrics, etc.

And to wrap it up all. Who is one person would absolutely love to shoot?
It’s interesting because every year I give a different answer! I would say Charlotte Free, I would freak out if I were able to photograph her!