Karen Greenoe

Candice Lanning of the Beautiful Mess Photography

Do you ever wonder if bigger isn’t always better? That maybe there is more to striving for more and more and more? In today’s episode of the Biz Balance Podcast, I’m interviewing Candice Lanning of The Beautiful Mess Photography. Together with her husband Dan, they’ve built a thriving business that supports their family, but doesn’t take them away from precious time with their two little girls. She and Dan both work from home, homeschool their sweet little girls and even grow some of their own food on their 10 acre farm. Welcome to the show, Candice!



Karen: Tell us how The Beautiful Mess started!

Candice: Well, I worked with college students as a volunteer coordinator at a men’s homeless shelter. At that shelter, we worked with a street photographer through the shelter that provided cameras for the residents of the shelter through grants so they could document their lives. I saw the transformation that this creative expression had on those men and I was HOOKED! I knew I wanted to make a difference through photography.


Karen: Tell us how the name “The Beautiful Mess” came to be? Because, let’s face it…our lives are all messy but they are beautiful at the same time.

Candice: We were inspired by one of our favorite artists, Jackson Pollock. Life isn’t perfect, but I love capturing the mess that is real life. Our logo was actually created by a design firm called Brazen by squirting chocolate syrup from standing on a high chair! It was perfectly messy!


“Life isn’t perfect, however much we may want it to look that way!”



Karen: How do you homeschool your kids while working from home?

Candice: For us…it’s teamwork. We decided on this dream together and so we each identified our strengths and decided on our roles for our business and how we homeschool/parent our children. Of course as our children or business grow/change/etc, we adapt–but at the end of the day we have a common goal– Family over everything.


“Kids are the best and the hardest thing we’ve ever done.”


Karen: What have you learned through the process of homeschooling that you didn’t really expect when you started?

Candice: How much I didn’t remember from school! But at the same time, I was surprised how rewarding it was to be there through the learning. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing that and it was worth the sacrifice.


Karen: A few years back, you made a commitment to clean eating. Can you tell us about that?

Candice: Well, when pregnant with first daughter, I definitely ate for two! At the same time, I  experienced a lot of swelling, had some heart issues and even developed Bell’s Palsy which is where part of your face becomes paralyzed. Quite an issue for a photographer!  When I went to my doctors, they were only recommending medicine. I knew there had to be a better way. I ran across a cookbook called 100 Days of Real Food during that time. I started the journey of eating healthy, whole foods. My medical issues all but went away! It was incredible! By changing how we ate, not only did we feel better, but we instilled a love of healthy food to our girls. Eating healthy is a non-negotiable. We are only as good as our weakest link. So our hope it to have a healthy home and that starts with how we treat our bodies. It’s one of the few things we can control. So we try our best to have a clean and whole foods type of lifestyle. One of the unexpected joys of this lifestyle is that we cook most of our meals at home and as a family. In addition to that, we are eating together and talking around the table. Don’t get me wrong–we aren’t the Ingalls family and we don’t have it all figured out. In fact we are constantly adjusting to the ebb & flow of our business and our family. But if we stick to the goal of making family first along with our faith and health–I can’t help but believe we are headed in the right direction.


Karen: Tell me about your relationship that formed after this with the author of 100 Days of Real Food.

Candice: I was introduced to Lisa, the author, through a friend and I totally had a fangirl moment! She was actually looking for a photographer for her second cookbook! That partnership also propelled us into a new segment of the photography industry where we were able to take on more editorial work instead of just weddings and families.


Karen: Talk to me about your relationship with social media, because I know it’s not a huge priority for you! 

Candice: Everywhere you turn, you see people trying to teach you “how to get more likes” and “how to get more followers” and “hustle, hustle, hustle”. There’s this mentality that if you do something, you have to be a rockstar, it has to be visible. But I’ve found this isn’t necessarily the case. We capture the intimate, real moments of the families that we work with and that is what we want to share. We are thankful that we have a job that is creating something meaningful. Our motto is ‘family over everything.’ If we wanted fame or to make more money—we could work all the time, but life is fleeting and we are given such a short time to shepherd the two little souls we’ve been entrusted with. We are so grateful for the way our business has allowed us to live our lives homeschooling while running our business from home. We believe in living life on our own terms and not allowing our industry to completely dictate what our business or lives should look like. The sooner we embraced that–the easier it became.


{All businesses} don’t all have to look the same. There isn’t one size fits all.

Karen: How are we able to accomplish making meals/homeschool/running a business all in one day?
Candice: Grace. A lot of grace for one another. Lists. We love lists to help keep us on track. Trial and error. I know I sound like a broken record…but it really requires teamwork. I am blessed to  have someone that sees and desires the same things from the world that I do. Being on the same page is really important.


Our best advice is to work hard, outdo one another with kindness and cherish your family.


Karen: What are you most excited about right now in your business? 

Candice: How it’s evolving and some of the new clients we are working with. After 13 years of business we are blessed to be doing a lot of the work that we are passionate about. We love photojournalism and editorial work along with what started it all for us with wedding and lifestyle work. There’s a lot of dreams up our sleeves and we can’t wait for you to see what  is coming down the line.


Karen: Where can people follow you online?
Candice: The best place to follow us online is our website {www.thebeautifulmess.com} along with our instagram page @thebeautifulmessphotography


December 30, 2019

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Karen Greenoe