Zenfolio is my one-stop-shop for my clients and both of my photography businesses

- Laura Grier

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About Laura

Bio

Laura Grier is the Indiana Jones of adventure, travel, and destination wedding photography. A self-proclaimed jet-setter at heart, Laura has been a globe-trotter from an early age having grown up internationally with two parents that worked for the CIA. She graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Photojournalism and Art Photography and in 2003 founded Beautiful Day Photography, based in Los Angeles and specializing in destination weddings and events. Her ability Laura Grier is the Indiana Jones of adventure, travel, and destination wedding photography. A self-proclaimed jet-setter at heart, Laura has been a globe-trotter from an early age having grown up internationally with two parents that worked for the CIA. She graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Photojournalism and Art Photography and in 2003 founded Beautiful Day Photography, based in Los Angeles and specializing in destination weddings and events. Her ability Laura Grier is the Indiana Jones of adventure, travel, and destination wedding photography. A self-proclaimed jet-setter at heart, Laura has been a globe-trotter from an early age having grown up internationally with two parents that worked for the CIA. She graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in Photojournalism and Art Photography and in 2003 founded Beautiful Day Photography, based in Los Angeles and specializing in destination weddings and events.

Interview

Where is your home base?

Venice Beach, California

What is your photography genre/specialty?

Adventure, Travel and Destination Wedding Photography

What is your most memorable image and why?

That is almost an impossible question to answer, but I think it's the one attached to this email. Probably, because of the adventure and story that went along with it more than the image itself. I was inspired after seeing a photo of a petrified sand dune in Utah called “The Wave” and was determined to find this place and do a photo shoot there. I found out that you have to apply for a permit to hike there 9 months in advance, and after doing so was mailed a wilderness map with instructions on how to find it.I drove 12 hours out into the wilderness with a team of artists and a model. Armed only with 40 yards of hot pink tulle, some granola bars, water and a wilderness map, we set on foot with no cell service to find this place. A blizzard hit the night before making the map almost impossible to decipher and we got seriously lost and the sun was starting to set. In 28 degree weather we hiked out for 3 hours, following footsteps in the snow, and praying that we would find our way out before nightfall and freezing to death...but we got the shot!

Why did you become a photographer? What drives you to capture images and has this changed over time?

I think my secret is my pure joy and passion about what I am doing and my extreme curiosity and fearlessness. I don’t just want to take a beautiful photo, I want to give the essence of a place and I want to understand what I am photographing. I also feel like I see light and color in ways that most people don’t. When I am scanning around for photos to take I am looking for light and color more than my subject matter...I look for patterns in human behavior as well as visually. I also think getting in close and personal always gives you more powerful of an image.

Do you have any personal rituals to help you get ready for a shoot?

Yoga, relaxing with coffee in my car before the insanity of a wedding happens. I have to be "ON" on most of my shoots, so it's nice to take quiet time.

What are the top 5 things you can’t live without while on a shoot?

COFFEE. My laptop and Adobe Lightroom. My 5d MarkIII and my favorite lenses. I LOVE my 16-35mm lens for dramatic clouds and landscapes and well as my 50 1.2 lens. It can hoot in candlelight and be crisp...an amazing lens. My portable waterproof travel light, or go pro...Be ready for WATER!

How do you regain your inspiration if you hit a creative rut?

I grab my inspiration from everywhere and anywhere. Usually, I am fueled by hearing about an obscure location or adventure that I would like to go on and then I will conceptualize a shoot there just so I can go. Sometimes I have ripped photos out of magazines and asked locals where I can find that place or sometimes I will think of a story or theme to shoot or a lighting technique that I have never tried before and I will then find a local indigenous family to test it out on. The overall theme to my work is “Adventure” and I think that I embrace the unknown and the whole process of getting to the actual photo taking. I definitely have a plan and a vision going into a shoot, but I love having the “unknown” factor. That is the best part!

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your journey as a photographer?

My mother, The best advice I ever got was from a conversation I had with my mother when I was 13. At that age, I really thought I wanted to be a zoologist. My mother plainly asked me what I was good at. Not what I loved to do, but what I was good at. So I said, I am adventurous and fearless, I am creative, and I am good at talking to people. Then my mother said, “OK, based on this I don’t ever see you being a scientist. I don’t see you sitting in a laboratory for hours on end with a microscope. What is it about zoology that you love?” I said that I wanted to travel the world and be around animals and study them, and that I wanted to experience new people and places. So then my mother said ”Why can’t you be the photographer filming the show instead of the scientist?” And it was like a light bulb went off. It made complete sense. From that point on I decided I was going to study photography and nothing has gotten in my way since. She taught me that I should create my dream job around my strengths, weaknesses, and passions and not try to force something that is not in my nature.

If you could share just one tip with aspiring photographers, what would it be?

I wish someone would have told me... That I had more control over the types of jobs that I took and to brand myself from the beginning. Also, to not compare myself to others and to be OK with being unique. My lack of confidence in the beginning was the only thing that held me back when I was starting out.

What are the top three Zenfolio features essential to helping you run your business?

1. Being able to share my galleries, privately or publicly with clients, magazines, or even my social media assistant.

2. Being very mobile friendly. I find that while traveling when I meet people they are always checking me out on their mobile devices, so it is important to work well in that platform.

3. Being able to sell my images, package and print them and albums, and customer web support from anywhere in the world.

If you could second shoot with any photographer (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Alive, David La Chappelle of course! He was my entire color inspiration in college. I LOVE how he builds and conceives of these elaborate sets and barely uses photoshop! I would love to see him in action making people do really uncomfortable, yet fun shoots.

How has the photography world changed since you turned pro?

Really??? It's not even recognizable anymore. I started and learned on film and I haven't stepped foot in a dark room in over a decade. My idea of editing back then was throwing away the 4x6's that I didn't like. I now have to be proficient on the computer, have to do things instantaneously, be a writer, videographer, social media guru. I use the computer more than I am shooting, but at the same time those things have allowed me to travel and expand my business more than film ever would have let me. It also allowed me to find my super colorful style.

What one piece of software besides Zenfolio do you consider to be vital in your workflow?

ADOBE LIGHTROOM hands down.

For me, Zenfolio is... My best friend