Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BEHIND THE LENS: Laura Evans, Kaiserslautern, Germany

Your Name: Laura Evans
Your studio/business name: love.laugh.believe
Location: Kaiserslautern, Germany

Your Style

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography?
3 magic words … “that’s totally us” … I want my portraits to capture the clients personalities, to show you who they are inside & out. Yes I know clichéd but that’s what photography is to me, about the individual behind the camera & the individual on the other side of the lens.

Are you self-taught or classroom trained?
Classroom trained I guess … I started doing photography in school when I was 17, & eventually got my degree in photography when I was 25. Since then I’ve taken workshops but much of what I’ve learnt is through trial & error, finding myself in my photography & creating my own style.

How many years have you been a professional photographer?
I worked in the industry since I was 22 doing a whole variety of jobs from photographing the British Superbikes to teaching … so 8 years now ,but I’m not sure I would call myself a “professional” simple because it hasn’t been until now that I have actually been doing photography full time. I’ve always had other “full time” jobs with photography on the side. Now I’m a stay at home mum who happens to be a photographer!

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years?
I want to do be doing my photography full time. No second job (lets ignore the mum part for a moment), just me a portrait business & an expanding fine art business. My true photographic passion is my fine art photography unfortunately where we live it’s hard for me to push that as much as I would like but one day I would love to see more shops selling my work, a thriving etsy store & maybe the chance to exhibit.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be?
Over the years my style & changed & evolved so much & it’s been inspired by so many artists … Richard Avedon in his simplicity, Martin Parr for capturing life in the random & ordinary & more recently some wonderful photographers I have met on etsy who have helped me to push my own boundaries & of course the Boudoir Divas who gave me the confidence to explore boudoir photography & ultimately fall in love with it.

Favorite location to take photos?
I honestly don’t have a favourite … I love traveling & exploring new places. Finding something different & then challenging myself to show the world how I see it. I love to have fun & be creative in my work both fine art & portraits. & ultimately I want others to love it as much as I do so for that I need to seek out new & make everything a little bit more personal & a little bit more special.

Favorite vacation spot?
Hmmmmm again I’m not sure … possible the south of France, it’s my home away from home or Lake Isabella, California where my husband’s from because it’s the total opposite of where I grew up in little old England. It’s harsh & rugged & dry … I love it!

Your Business

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer?
Having a teacher who believed in me at 17 & was all about me the student & helping me to find myself (shout out to Bob Seymore) … & then more recently my husband’s deployment in 2008. For the first time since my marriage my life didn’t revolve around my husband’s job & I got the chance to focus on myself & I started exploring photography again in more than just a tourist way.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you?
Word of mouth … seriously women talk! Especially military spouses. Plus it’s free.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you?
I’m trying to think but pregnancy seems to have destroyed my memory! I’m not sure it’s surprising but the thing that always gets me is when people come to you to do portraits but then ask you to change your style. No offence but doesn’t that kind of defeat the point of coming to me in the first place?

Favorite print lab?
WHCC … amazing product & customer service

Your Gear

Are you Canon or Nikon (or – other):
Nikon baby … for the simple reason that Nikon was the first camera I bought after my Olympus OM1-n (I love that thing) so I’ve stuck with them ever since.

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be?
Currently it would be my 24-70mm … I love that lens. But I go through phases with lenses & obviously it depends on what I am shooting which lens I turn to.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in?
A north face back pack … I hate regular camera bags & through my pregnancy it was more comfortable than an over the shoulder bag especially when out exploring a city or travelling. I do have a vintage green leather school bag that I put inserts (removed from my old lo pro bag) that I love it’s just not as practical on long days out.

What gear would we find in your camera bag?
My Nikon D300 … Nikkor 24-70mm, Nikkor 105mm macro & my Tokina 11-16mm ultra wide. I also have a large camera collection both vintage & Lomo which I want to explore more but developing film over here is so expensive but one day!!

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan?
Natural light every time though I’m learning to use strobes in my studio, nature of the business kinda thing!

Are you PC or Mac?
Mac (though I had to use my husband’s PC to write this as I don’t have word on my Mac)

Your Tips and Tricks

What post processing tools do you use?
Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop. Love them both for totally different reasons.

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg?

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self?
You’ll find your way eventually & when you do everything that happened in between will make it worthwhile & you didn’t turn out half bad so enjoy it.

Best advice you would give a new photographer?
Find yourself in your photography. You need to feel passionate about what you’re photographing to produce a great image. Don’t be afraid to step out the box & look stupid doing so. & most of all have fun, how can you love something you don’t enjoy doing?

What site do you use for your photography and why?
I sell my fine art on etsy because well I’m addicted to the site … I’ve probably spent more there than actually made but I honestly believe in supporting handmade & people like me who are starting out in the world, trying to find their way doing what they love. Plus you find so much unique & original items for sale. 

What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience?
I’ve had some bad ones but looking back they’ve all taught me something new … showing up at a portrait shoot 8 months pregnant with just my macro was interesting. But anything that teaches a photographer to think on their feet is a great experience & thankfully the photos came out fine I just had to stand a really long way back!

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not?
A lot of people here in Germany are surprised to learn I’m English (the accent is disappearing in a world surrounded by Americans) … that I played rugby (& miss it) … that my photography teacher was the first person to believe in me as a student & for that I will always be grateful.

Tell us something else you’d like us to know:
Every day I feel blessed to have my son here beside me & a man who would give the world for me!

And Just Because we want to know you, kindly fill in the blanks – thanks!

Three things I can’t live without….
My son … My husband … & my friends! … & I’m taking a forth ... my camera (go figure).

I wish I had more…..
time for the people I love …

The best thing about being a photographer is…
creating a new memory or knowing your photograph brings back an old one!

The most important lesson I ever learned was….
don’t worry about the thing you can’t change.

My favorite time of day is…
lying in bed with my son in the morning … & summers afternoons! I am totally not decisive.


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