Lara Jade's a young, talented photographer who's hungry to succeed. Her portfolio on ePHOTOzine has received no-end of praise and her own photography business she started when she was just 17, is blossoming well. Here she chats to ePHOTOzine about age, her career, challenges and art.
"I remember being in high school, with my favourite subject being art; the thought of being limited to painting and drawing really drained me. I felt really lost with art.
I was good at putting my ideas to paper, but I felt like something was missing. I then discovered creative photography while browsing the internet during my art GCSE and thought 'wow, I want to do this'. I had never realised before how creative photography could be, and that immediately inspired me to want to pick up a camera and give it a go. I could finally see it as my medium to express my art."
Do you find the industry challenging?
"As a young photographer, especially a female one, I must point out, I did get judged - mainly because commercial and fashion photographers are successful by the time they are 30.
Photographers at 25 are classed as young photographers and I am five years younger than that. Meeting large clients face to face is the best way to sell myself because they can see that age doesn't matter but if a client sees my age on paper or in an e-mail they question my experience. It's very understandable but a lot of people find it hard to believe someone has had a lot of experience in the industry being twenty years old.
I left university at the start of my second year studying Visual Communication. I realised the experience of university wasn't for me; I wasn't learning anything new, I did most of my work
in my spare time and was running my business at the same time. It was the best decision I made, the freedom opened a lot of doors for me."
What is it about fashion you enjoy so much?
"I enjoy that the two themes give me freedom to create what I want.
Fashion has to be shot in a 'certain' way depending on what it's for - but my creativity is never limited. I love coming up with ideas then capturing them - that is the beauty of fashion and editorial.
You are creating a story. I couldn't think of anything better to do as a job."
How do you create the images you do, with the 'feel' they have? How did you discover it? Was it intentional?
"Thank you! I am self-taught in photography and retouching, and I think this adds to the unique style of my photography. Everything I have done has been through experience, as well as trial and error.
I truly believe that exploring my own photography this way has created a style - and this wasn't intentional. I will admit I don't know everything about photography. I still prefer shooting with natural light, and I still do everything I did four years ago - except my technical skills have improved and my photographs have a better quality."
Do you have a plan when you go out or do you just take photographs as you go along, work 'in the moment' and pick the best at the end? Do you spend a long time thinking of concepts and the way you can carry them out?
"This depends on the photo shoot. If I am shooting for a large client, it means a lot of planning - ideas need to be sketched, phone calls/e-mails need to be made with art directors, the client(s)
and the creative team.
On magazine photo shoots or fashion submissions, I plan the story first, then go and shoot it. I never try and 'match' the story as it limits what I want to do. I take input from everyone, as well as work in my own ideas.
My personal projects don't always need to be planned. If I'm testing with a model or for a concept I want to try, sometimes I just go and do it and not worry too much about the idea until I'm out on location or in the studio. It's good for artists to do this, because, as an artist you NEED to grow, your personal work is extremely important, and clients judge you on this as much as they do your 'commercial' work."
What equipment do you use? Is this a personal preference or one that makes your professional role easier? What one piece can you not be without and why?
"At the moment I use a Canon EOS 5D (MkI) with two prime lenses. I have always used Canon cameras, with my first being the 350D. I favour the ease of using the Canon and the quality the lenses give.
I use Bowens lighting because I find them quick to set up and use, and I am lucky enough to be sponsored by them. I have two kits - both with travel packs so I can use them on location, or in studio environments."
Are you a fan of post-production? Do you spend as much time on this as you do taking the actual photograph?
"Yes, post-production is a large part of my style and I am not ashamed to say that. I don't retouch as much as I used to; I try to get everything perfect in camera and then limit my retouching later on. I admire skilled retouching, it's an important part of our world today. Retouching takes years to learn - it's an art in itself."
What is it about self portraits you like?
"I haven't had a self-portrait photo shoot in some time. In the beginning, self-portraiture allowed me to practice my skills with lighting and framing, and to express certain emotions or thoughts.
Self portraiture was one of the first bodies of work I produced. Later, when I started my business at 17, I moved on to shooting model portfolios. It was then that I began to realise the skills I learned when I did self-portraiture had made me more confident when working with other people and creative teams."
What's the best thing anyone's ever said to you about your work?
"The best thing for me is when I receive an e-mail from an aspiring photographer or student who say my work has inspired them to do photography or take the first step in becoming a photographer.
Knowing that my work inspires people keeps me going as an artist and makes me want to push my work to the next level. I am never satisfied with what I do. I always want to be doing something new to expand my knowledge and keep my portfolio fresh."