September 16, 2014

#MobileMonth: Laura Austin

A passionate creative, Laura Austin‘s strong foundation in both graphic design and journalism led her to a now full-time career in photography. Combining these talents, she is dedicated to telling visual stories that inspire others to go out and experience the world around them. Whether it’s through her Instagram feed, the various online publications she contributes to or her Stocksy collection — we’re consistently inspired and in awe of her talent. Below, Laura talks about the power of social media, operating on passion and why she shoots for Stocksy!

// What was your path to becoming a professional photographer?

I think I was most drawn to photography as a way to combine all of my interests into one career. I started as a graphic designer, then worked as a journalist for a few years — all the while shooting photos for fun. Photography combined my eye for composition learned as a designer, knack for storytelling developed as a journalist, and general interest in aesthetics. It became the thing I was most passionate about. I operate on passion, so I networked and developed my skills to the point where I felt that I could make it my full time career and haven’t looked back since.

// How has the Instagram community impacted your experiences as a photographer?

Instagram has had a large impact on my career, as it has with many photographers I know. First of all it always keeps me looking for moments I want to capture and share. It has become a fun creative challenge that keeps me on my toes. But beyond that, Instagram has exposed me to so many other inspiring photographers, whom I might not have come across otherwise. It has also become my main marketing tool. The majority of clients I work with find me through Instagram. Oh, the power of social media!

// How often are you shooting with your phone versus a DSLR?

Due to the bulk, I mainly reserve my DSLR for jobs or travels where I know I’ll want to shoot. I used to always carry around a point-n-shoot with me to capture those spontaneous moments that might come up, but that camera has been replaced by my phone. It’s so wild that a phone has become so important in not only my photography career but that of so many others.

// In the stock industry, what are the benefits of being a mobile photographer?

I guess the fact that people always have their phones on them gives an advantage to mobile photographers. They will always have a tool to capture an unexpected moment that could be a great stock image or image in general.

// In what ways has travel impacted your work and style?

Travel has been something I have been very enthusiastic about for as long as I remember. As I said before, I operate on passion so my subject matter tends to be based around what I personally am interested in at the time and not necessarily what I think other people would like best. I think that keeps my work feeling genuine. Going some place new is what inspires me most to pick up a camera and shoot. I’m very attracted to nature, so landscapes have become a large focus in my work, though I normally prefer to have a person in the mix to make the image relatable and give it some sort of context. The goal is to make people want to and feel like they can explore these places for themselves.

// Where do you call home?

The word “home” can refer to three different places for me. Normally it means Los Angeles where I have lived for a few years now. It definitely feels like home due to the community I have become apart of here. But before California, I spent my teenage years in Vermont. When I think of the nostalgic idea of home, Vermont is what I think of… it will always have a special place in my heart. However, I was born in Colorado and my dad and siblings still live there, so there is a feeling of home there too. I feel lucky to be able to go to three very different places and have a sense of home while I’m there.

// Why Stocksy?

I like how personal Stocky feels. Having the curated section was a huge attraction to me because I was able to see the images Stocksy was most proud of, and felt like it was very much in line with my aesthetic. I also love the communication between the staff and contributors. It isn’t some automated message; you get real/genuine feedback from a person with a name. It feels much more like a community than some machine us photographers are feeding images into.

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