An Interview with Lara Jade
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce the incredibly talented Lara Jade. Lara has worked incredibly hard and has become synonymous with publications such as Vogue , Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia magazine to name just a few. It was a delight to be able ask Lara about her Photography journey and also her move to New York.
RISE: Tell me Lara….why did you choose photography for your chosen career?
I found photography (or should I say photography found me!) at a very young age. I was fourteen when I first picked up a camera – inspired by creative fine art photography and self-portraiture. Creating by myself at first to hone my skills – using myself as the model and doing my own hair, make up & styling.
Growing up in an artistic family (with a father who is self employed) taught me that you could be anything you wanted if you put enough focus and drive into it. I always felt the encouragement from my family and often my mother would assist in some of my early shoots and help with the ideas!
RISE: You come from a small town in Staffordshire in the UK, what was the drive for your move to New York and was it hard to make that happen?
Even from a young age, I’ve always had a desire to travel, so I knew I’d eventually leave my town and venture to a larger city. My early experience in photography and online communities allowed me to see the bigger picture of an international business. At 19, I moved to London – it taught me a lot, but I never felt quite at home there and after a year I couldn’t afford the high cost of living. My mistake was that I didn’t have a good business plan, so I moved back in with my parents for a while. It wasn’t until I visited NY in 2010 that I felt that spark of energy again and a desire to be somewhere else. I moved to NY because of the fast paced energy of the city, the challenge, the people. Learning from my first mistake – I didn’t move right away, I spent time planning how it could possibly happen and built my connections before deciding to make it my home. Shortly after moving I met my husband!
I’ve always felt like I’m in both cities, as I still work in London often. I visit at least 5-6 times a year for work and run a business from there still. As a freelancer in today’s industry – I don’t think you have to stay put and feel like one place is home. If I want to work more in London – I dedicate a few weeks a year to meetings and connecting with creatives there. I’ve always been a big believer that you can create the life you want – with enough drive and passion for what you do!
RISE: What 3 words do you feel best describes your photography?
Timeless, Feminine, Strong
RISE: What made you choose Fashion over any other genre of photography?
On my journey as a photographer, I discovered styling trends and saw the driving force the designers and their collections had on inspiring the rest of the industry. Essentially as a fashion photographer the trends drive your ideas and keep your work current. The more I researched my shoots the more I found myself coming back to styling as a core part of the ideas. I also love the collaborative aspect of fashion photography. As a conceptual artist I felt like I was creating alone.
RISE: The fashion industry is so fast paced, how do you keep focused and motivated to tell the next story?
Keep connected to your work. Why do you create what you do? You can’t just create for others, you have to create for yourself. I’m a big believer in shooting creative / personal projects that keep the creative fire in you alive. As artists, we all want to make money but ultimately – we are artists because we like to be creative! Finding that balance is extremely important because one can’t live without the other.
RISE: How do you choose a team for collaboration?
Personality, compatibility and if they are a good collaborator.
RISE: What is the biggest challenge you have faced in Photography?
Rejection. I think it’s the one thing many artists face. As a young artist I remember I’d be faced with rejection on a daily basis – cold calling, face to face meetings, portfolio reviews, college tutors, fellow peers in the industry. Over the years I’ve learned to have a thicker skin. Not everyone will like your work but often there’s some truth in what people have to say – whether we like it or not. I’ve tried to overcome rejection by focusing on the positives and accomplishments. Not a lot of people talk about fear and rejection due to people thinking they are weak. Every artist I have met and talked to goes through this – it’s part of the process of being a self employed business owner and an artist. We all suffer from imposter syndrome from time to time. There’s been many times I’ve been on a large set and the 17 year old photographer in me speaks out and wonders “Why am I here? Am I good enough to be here? Will I do a good job today?”. Fear makes you stronger.
RISE: 85% of magazine covers are shot by men, so with this in mind, what is it like being a woman in the industry?
Not easy. Being a young artist and female was never going to be easy and I was aware of that when I first started. I faced a lot of rejection by males in the industry – photo editors, fashion editors, art buyers, creative directors. A lot of them told me I was too green or too young, yet I was finding my male peers were getting 10x the opportunities I was. I’ve had to fight for my place in the industry but it has definitely made me stronger.
RISE: Do you feel that being female within the industry has any specific challenges?
I’ve seen a huge change over the past few years – I notice more and more women being chosen for big opportunities such as large ad campaigns and through the grapevine I am hearing that more clients are specifically looking for female photographers. It is possible to be noticed and the time for change is now!
RISE: You have a wonderful newsfeed on Instagram, do you feel social media is essential to your business?
Instagram is part of the marketing spectrum but it’s not the most important – target marketing & having a smart outreach marketing plan is. I think a lot of people feel the pressure of creating for Instagram but that’s not essentially your audience when you’re a commercial photographer. Often your following is going to be other photographers or people who won’t directly buy into your business. I spend time curating my Instagram and give a glimpse of my working life but I try not to focus too much of my time on social media!
RISE: What are your future plans within your photography career?
To keep growing in the commercial industry and building a name for myself. I’d like to see more female photographers be at the forefront of the fashion industry and I like to think I’m a voice for women out there who are facing similar challenges. I’ll also be continuing to educate other photographers through my online and in person workshops!
View more of Lara Jade’s work
Lara also has a fabulous online educational platform