Location: Los Angeles, CA
Laura Taylor is a self-taught photographer living in Los Angeles, Calif. Her specialty is natural lighting and portraits.
I taught myself. I got my first camera when I was 16. It was a 2-megapixel digital point-and-shoot. I started taking photos of bugs and flowers that inhabited my yard in Georgia, and just expanded from there. When I was 18, I moved to New York City and eventually got a job assisting a photographer. That experience propelled me to choose photography as a career.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
Save everything onto external hard drives! It’s best not to learn this lesson the hard way.
What was your first photography job?
I did some freelance photography work for a local paper in Augusta, Ga., when I was 17.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
Take photos as often as possible. The more you shoot, the more perceptive you become.
What inspires you about photography?
The idea that within seconds of viewing an image a person’s emotional state can be altered is incredible to me. I’m fascinated by how we’re affected by aesthetics and how photographs can feel like memories from moments we never experienced. The intimacy photography can create is exciting.
What makes you go out and shoot?
The hope of creating something beautiful.
What do you like best about the whole process?
The actual shooting is always the most euphoric part of the process for me. I feel a huge sense of peace when I’m taking photos. My brain goes quiet, and all I’m concerned with is what’s in the frame. It’s very therapeutic.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.4L USM, Canon EF 24-70mm ƒ/2.8L USM, Polaroid SX-70.
What do you think it takes to be successful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
A distinct style, perseverance and confidence in your work. Photography has never been so accessible and easy to share, so setting yourself apart is crucial. It also takes business sense, which perhaps a lot of artists aren’t naturally equipped with. It’s not always comfortable promoting your art or networking, but it seems to be a major part of getting work.
To see more of Laura Taylor’s work, go to www.thedarlinglife.com.