An Interview with Lara Jade
Briefly, how and when did you get involved with photography.
I started photography at a very early age – fourteen to be exact! My inspiration to start came
from early experimentation with art and not being able to find the ‘right’ media to express my
artistic skill. During my art exams at high school I came across some inspiration during my
research and realized you could be creative with photography so I decided to give it a go. I
haven’t stopped ever since!
When did you decide to seriously pursue photography as a business?
When I first started I was interested in producing highly artistic fine-art photographs that relied
on a conceptual theme, I also shot a lot of self-portraits [which] enabled me to hone my skills and
practice without the use of models.
At the age of seventeen I was starting to receive a lot of bookings through other creative –
models, dancers, actors etc, they would all request me to shoot their portfolios after seeing
my websites such as DeviantART, Flickr or Myspace. This made me realize that this wasn’t
just a hobby anymore – this was also my job!
As a young woman in this field, what are some of the barriers that you have faced or still
There’s always going to be barriers to face as a young photographer – I have found that
being a female in a male orientated business is hard, but it’s not something impossible
to overcome. You obviously get certain people in work meetings that judge you on first
impression and then as soon as I talk and show how much [passionate] I am about my work they
suddenly change their minds – some people I’ve met have even mentioned this!
Over the last few years I’ve learnt to develop a thicker skin, take constructive criticism and
move forward, don’t listen to comments that aren’t going to help you move forward and keep
climbing the ladder!
Do you handle the business stuff or do you leave that to your agency now?
I think any photographer that is represented under an agency understands that the agency
isn’t going to do everything. You still need to put just as much effort in yourself – working on
personal projects, making connections and creating a buzz around your work, if not more! An
agency is a fantastic way to [make] links between higher end publications and clients, but
they are not going to handle every part of your business.
How did you end up with the current company that represents you? Do you have multiple
businesses that represent you? If so why?
I am currently represented by a few different agencies – some have found me through
recommendations and some of which I e-mailed a few years ago and they have followed my
journey and decided to take a chance on me.
As my business is now located in the US and the UK I think it’s important to have help from
both sides. The fashion and advertising industry is very different on both sides of the Atlantic
so my choice of different agencies purely comes down to the expertise of the agent and they
can offer in terms of helping me improve my work and what connections they can help me
How important is it for you to diversify your business with commercial, editorial, and
I think [diversification] is healthy for any artist but to a point. I try not to do too many things because
it can confuse my clientele. I try and mix my commercial and fashion/editorial work together
but sometimes I show them separately (depending on who I am sharing it with). My workshop
projects are purely the business side to my photography and give me the opportunity to share
my knowledge and experience with others.
Based on you’re social media activity, it seems like you’re jet setting all over the world.
How often are you traveling for work?
You’ll be surprised to know a lot of the traveling I do is self-funded and for my own projects.
I tend to travel back to London a lot because of my agency meetings but I also mix in other
projects as I go – workshops, editorial shoots etc. I am lucky that my job doesn’t require
me to be in a set place, I can work from anywhere!
I would recommend any photographer to travel to places to find inspiration – it is refreshing
and makes you realize how much inspiration there is out there!
Why did you relocate to New York?
New York offered a new life and inspiration that I could not find in London. As an artistic
person I have to live in a place that’s a constant inspiration for me and enables me to improve
personally and artistically. The NY lifestyle suited my ideal of a lifestyle – busy, fast-paced
and a constant challenge. Although I do enjoy getting away and relaxing sometimes!
How would you characterize the different markets for fashion photography? How are they
different? For example, Europe vs US.
I find the US (especially NY) is built on the commercial industry and so offers more in the
direction of business for artists. My work in NY is slightly more relaxed in style where as my
London work relies on a creative aesthetic and appeals more to the independent magazines.
Having both styles of work in my portfolio (and also mixing both styles together) is beneficial
for the business and creative side of my profession.
You have managed to grow an almost cult like following online. What do you think has
contributed to this?
Being from a small town in the West Midlands in England I had no choice but to outsource
my business marketing elsewhere. There wasn’t enough connections or contacts to improve
my portfolio where I lived so the only way of doing this was online. Originally I used social
media as a way of gaining constructive criticism and inspiration for my own work and now I
use it as a way of marketing my work and services and meeting new contacts to further my
connections. The constant flow of attention to my work from people around the world is due to
the effort I put into advertising my services and sharing my work online – I am always sharing
Many people in the creative industries who begin to achieve success always come to
a point where they see their creativity levels being brought down, because they are always
working and doing what their client needs. Are you starting to see this?
I see a lot of artists get to this stage and I think it’s mostly down to them no longer being
inspired by what they do. As an artist you need to have a passion for what you do – clients
can see this in my work because I am always self-investing in new projects and new material
for the portfolio purely because I love doing it and not because of monetary gain. At the end
of the day everyone needs to make a living but by limiting yourself to work only clients want
you’re going to feel drained of any inspiration. The only solution is to keep being inspired and
setting yourself new challenges.
How do you keep your creative juices going?
Travelling, constantly [searching] for new inspiration, setting myself new challenges, expanding
my knowledge of the industry and my technical skill, setting new project ideas, meeting new
people and networking with other creative!
Do you have any new ventures or projects in the works? (photography related or not?)
I am bringing out a collaborative DVD with photographer Joey L (www.joeyl.com) which will
be out this month (November). It’s an educational photography DVD that features shoots from
us both as well as interviews and Photoshop tutorials.
I have known Joey since the age of seventeen when I first decided I wanted to be a fashion
photographer and Joey was already working on large commercial projects in London. It only
made sense that as we grew we’d decide to collaborate on something!
I am also writing a book called ‘Fashion Photography 101’ right now which will be distributed
throughout the UK, US and other locations worldwide. The release will be 2012 but there’s no
clear date just yet!
What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?
I am very happy with where I am right now in life but I’d like to be able to travel more and
expand my workflow and connections even more so than now. I feel that my journey has only
just started and I am excited to see where it will take me!