CAPTURE EXCELLENCE.

About Us

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Our Story

For over 90 years, we have been a family business dedicated to providing excellent photography and service to both students and universities. In 1929, our studio started in Sioux City, Iowa as Gold Tone Studios. In 1950, we rebranded to Varden Studios, photographing colleges and high school students until closing in 1990. The next year, Paul Bilgore reopened his father’s company as Lauren Studios, with the idea of bringing boutique photography to universities at a large scale. Back then, we served only six clients, three high schools in Albany, Fairfield University, University of Notre Dame, and USC. Since then, our dedication to quality photography has helped us grow steadily, now photographing over 50,000 college graduates across the country each year. Now, Lauren Studios continues to provide the country's most high-end photography service to future leaders who have equally high expectations for their portraits and who want images that will truly stand the test of time.

The Team's Yearbook Portraits

Carnegie Mellon University - Thistle Yearbook (Pittsburgh, PA), Class of 1982, Pages 304 -

PAUL BILGORE

President & CEO

I have worked in the school portrait industry since my graduation from Carnegie Mellon University. I started at Varden Studios, located in Rochester, NY. After 11 years, I opened up Lauren Studios with the vision of providing boutique school photographic services in a volume industry. As its President and CEO, my team and I have grown from only a few customers to now having photographed hundreds of thousands of students. Lauren Studios is now the premier college yearbook photography in the country. Please let one of my extremely talented and experienced Territory Managers chat with you about our program. It will only take about 15-20 minutes and I promise you won’t be sorry!

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JACKIE OSWALT

West Coast Manager

 

After graduating from UC Berkeley, I started at Lauren Studios as a photographer before being promoted to manage our Bay Area operations. I then became the West Coast Operations Manager. I know our company and how hard we work to provide schools like yours with outstanding service and quality. I am proud to represent Lauren Studios and know that I can design the perfect photography program to meet your school’s needs. I am always eager to exceed your expectations!

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MIKE OAKLEY

Director of Photography 

I am a 51 year veteran of the photo industry. My wife, Laura, and I founded North Texas Pics in 2008, a fast growing school and volume photography operation serving elementary, middle school, high schools and youth league sports contracts throughout North Texas. I am a 18 year veteran of Eastman Kodak where I served on of Kodak’s first team of digital imaging specialists integrating digital into school and volume photography companies across the country. I love both the old school and new school photography.

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DIAN BURROUGHS

Sales Representative

I Began my career as a photographer with Classic School Portraits by Alan Eloe in Temecula, CA as well as a Crew Lead for Gerardy Photography in San Diego, CA. I am also one the supervisors who will attend your school during your scheduled portrait session to provide guidance and communication between you and our photography staff on sight. I have a unique perspective of what your school goals and desires require to get you the results you want. I am here to assist in any way that I can to provide you with quality service that you can trust. I am excited and I look forward to working with you.

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MICHAEL STEVENS

Vice President

I have been a professional photographer since I was 16 years old. I started in high school as a yearbook photographer. While still in high school, I was one of two full time photographers on the Fontana Herald Newspaper’s photography staff. I have continued with my photographic career as manager and photographer for Lauren Studios for over 20 years. I took a 5 year break from Lauren Studios to work as a general manager for the software company PhotoLynx. There I was taught valuable skills that I have brought back with me to Lauren Studios. PhotoLynx is the industry leader in creating software that assists school photographers in creating digital services required by schools.

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JESSIE LOPEZ

Central US Manager

 

Headlines and deadlines have been my life for as long as I can remember. I started on my first yearbook at 13-years-old and never stopped. My time in yearbook was the reason I chose the Missouri School of Journalism. Shortly after graduation, Southern Methodist University (SMU) offered me the yearbook adviser and marketing position teaching journalism writing, design, and photography. I have judged yearbooks across the country and spoken at national journalism conventions. I graduated with my MBA in marketing and would love to help you with the conception to completion of your next yearbook.

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SHELBY REILEY

Underclass Production Manager 

Hello! I’m Shelby and I am the Underclass Production Manager here at Lauren Studios. Before working at our amazing studio, I worked with children so I have a strong passion for creating the best experience for the students at our schools. During my time here, I have grown a great relationship with our new accounts, maintained the long standing schools we have worked with over the years, and helped to improve our overall workflow. I am excited to work with you in the future!  I look forward to speaking with you.

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SUSIE BRETTING

Yearbook Specialist

I began my career as a middle school English and art teacher and the yearbook adviser. I began teaching yearbook with no practical knowledge, but a good eye and an extreme desire to learn. I enjoy teaching spring and summer seminars as well as class lessons. Combining my teaching skills, with my artistic talent and yearbook knowledge, I am an asset to any yearbook staff. For the past 30 plus years, I have worked as a yearbook representative for elementary schools and up through colleges. I would enjoy working with you on the production of a quality yearbook that meets your needs.

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PATRICK BALDWIN

IT Manager

 

I have been employed by Lauren Studios for over 15 years starting off as a part-time office employee with little to no responsibility, to becoming the Information Technology Manager. My duties include overseeing all things technical including server management, networking, computer repair as well as software maintenance to name a few. In his time with Lauren Studios not only have I become extremely familiar with the portrait photography business but has used my technical expertise to improve upon Lauren Studios digital photography as well as the day to day operations in increasing efficiency and productivity in the office and on location. 

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LILY BRODSKY

East Coast Manager

 

Hi, my name is Lily, and I am East Coast Regional Manager here at Lauren Studios. A bit about me, I have my B.S. from Syracuse University, my M.P.S from Cornell, and I am a VERY proud Buffalo Bills fan. Some could say that I've worked for Lauren my whole life, but formally, I began in 2020. I was brought on the team to be a local presence here on the East Coast and give my personalized attention and expertise to all the schools in our portfolio. Please reach out to me if you are looking for a program that will exceed expectations or want to chat about your school and how we can be of service.

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JEANETTE IBRAHIM

Office Manager

 

I started with Lauren Studios four Years ago, working in the mailroom stuffing envelopes moving on to a full-time customer service representative then working my way up to Office Manager. I have learned a lot about the school photography business in such a short time and I am eager to learn more. My goal is to make sure that our team of customer service representatives treat every customer as a valued customer and that their experience with Lauren Studios is top notch.

A Few of Our Clients

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