Lara Jade spoke at the 2016 Photography Show in the NEC in the UK and was awesome. She held about 1000 people spellbound for an hour. Outstanding portfolio, works out of London and New York and only 27!
In her own words “Lara Jade is a fashion photographer who currently resides in New York City. She grew up in Staffordshire, England where she discovered her interest in photography at an early age. She later moved to London to pursue fashion photography full-time before making NYC her home in 2011. Through her ever-growing business Lara has had the opportunity to travel the world to share her vision and experiences with an international audience… Influenced by playful narratives, color and elegance, Lara enjoys creating stories with a cinematic approach. She is inspired by elements of old masters in painting, romantiscm and untouched beauty. As well as working on her personal work, she also tutors fashion photography workshops worldwide.”
Her work can be found here http://larajade.co.uk and many other places.
She opened her presentation saying she started taking pictures at 14 and built a presence on deviant art. She was a shy teenager so self portraiture was her way of disguising herself and reducing reliance on others although she did shoot her friends.
Her first studio was her mom’s bedroom (don’t let lack of gear get in the way) and she built her network and started her business at 17. She went to Sutton Coldfield college for a diploma and started a degree but left after a year because work had taken over. People were booking her from her portfolio and wanted similar port, feminine, contra-jour fashion images on location.
Creative team is crucial
Wardrobe from eBay
Did whatever it took to be creative
Building confidence as she went
….ran to London to work – good and bad experience. Shot out of a tiny apartment in central London.
Don’t let the creative team overwhelm you / control you.
Developed a grunge port, fine art port and editorial port (distinctly different ports for different prospective clients).
Focusses now on fashion, soft feminine, girly work on location, backlit.
In studio / indoors uses modelling light wide open aperture, soft lighting.
8-10 pages for an editorial
likes shooting more than one girl
Has marketing monday – sends 200 emails to prospective clients – targeted styling proposals
Huge added value in better models and better creatives
Introduced cinematic theme to her work; wide shots (double page…)
portfolio is your proof you can do
Advertising is where the money is rather than editorial but editorial gets you there.
Port is like advertising
Quirky models get attention
Always take an opportunity to shoot after shoots done for the day!
emails… here is my new work… keep fresh
Shoot editorials in difficult places and lighting. Shows you can do it and sets you apart
Shoots 2000 pics a day and selects 1-2 picks for each look!
Colour grading so important in post
Always use a scrim outside
First two years are an investment and experimentation
Develop a personal taste
educate browse feed on what you like
infuse your work with your personality
taste changes over time
Who are your top three clients you want to work for and how are you gonna get there? (Question form a picture editor)
embrace change; team, eye develops
Dont ‘samey’ compete… innovate differentiation
Have a structured week (Monday I do, Tuesday I do…)
think outside the box
build network (emphasis on work, it takes work!)
mistakes happen – each shoot is a lesson – learn from it – if not learning – not improving
Don’t be arrogant / entitled – pay your dues – what goes around comes around
be honest and professional – no back chat / talking behind backs
nurture professional relationships
honesty and trust is key
credit everyone/everything from shoes to hair and all creatives
You are your own brand (re)present yourself
be authentic on-line – do not overstate
keep finger on the pulse
market changes / social media changes
look busy even when not – post once a day
reality check – not everyone likes your work!
its ok to say no to a shoot or whatever – only take work that adds some aspect
This is only fashion !!!! Not saving lives – get real!
And to end a quote from Ira Glass
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”