20 Under 40: Emily Lester

Emily Lester, 31

Owner, Emily Lester Photography; 2017 and 2018 top 3 "Best of the Best" Chattanooga photographers, Chattanooga Times Free Press; 2018 and 2019 Couple's Choice Award, Wedding Wire; Honorable mention, Washington Post Travel Photo Contest

Who's your favorite "Game of Thrones" character?

Sadly, I don't watch GOT.

Last book you read and/or show you binge-watched?

"Building a StoryBrand" by Donald Miller. And the last show I binge-watched: "Stranger Things," prepping for the new season to come out in July!

If you ruled the world (or Chattanooga), what would you change?

There would be equality for every single person. No one would be treated differently.

Who would be on your advisory council?

Dolly Parton. She has been so successful in life and it seems to be because of how she has treated others. Here's what she said about being a leader: "If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader."

Is ruler a position you'd even want?

No. I believe in a democracy and that people should have a voice. They should be able to have an opinion about things that matter to them and affect them.

What drives you professionally and/or personally?

My passion for documenting life moments drives me professionally. To be a part of someone's life for just a snippet of time is something I never take for granted. I want time to stand still for families and couples so they can have tangible memories that will last a lifetime. Personally, nature drives me. I love combining my personal and professional life, though. Hiking, camping, backpacking, kayaking, sunsets and sunrises all drive me. When I get to combine that with photography, my world feels complete. Couples who elope in the mountains and take me with them is certainly one of my dream jobs. However, I love all of my weddings and couples regardless of what they choose to do with one of the most important days of their lives.

What's one thing you'd really like to accomplish?

Has that goal changed over the years? One year ago, I left my school counseling job to pursue photography full time. That was a goal of mine for many years and the goal finally became reality. I'm searching for my next goal. Stay tuned!

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