Photography Business Interview Series: Laura Pinckard
Laura Pinckard is an elopement and intimate wedding photographer based in Adirondack, along with her husband Dan as a back-up photographer who handles most of the business-related responsibilities.
Laura grew up traveling in Europe, where she experienced different cultures and lifestyles, which directly impacts her work as a photographer. Dan moved from Chicago to the Adirondacks about five years ago, and he fell in love with everything the mountains had to offer.
They’ve been featured in The Knot, The Beloved Stories, and Dirty Boots and Messy Hair. | instagram
— photos in this interview are taken by + belong to The Pinckards —
Hi Laura! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hey! Im Laura! I’m 23 years old, married to the love of my life (Dan), and am a proud mother to a giant Chocolate Lab, a Carolina Dog, and a cat that thinks he’s a dog. We live in the Adirondack Mountains, but we are always traveling to new places! In our free time, my husband and I love hiking, and we have aspirations of completing the Adirondack 46er challenge (hiking all 46 high peaks in the Adirondack Mountains).
I am a fully self-taught photographer, and I mainly focus on adventurous elopements and intimate weddings. I quit my job to run my photography business full-time about a year and a half ago and it’s the best decision I ever made! Earlier this year, my husband also joined me full-time, which has been such an amazing addition as my business continues to grow.
How did you get into photography, and when did you know you wanted to start a photography business?
My love for photography stems all the way back to my childhood, but I didn’t take it seriously until 2016. I started intentionally learning my settings and slowly taught myself how to shoot and edit. About a year and a half ago, I quit my job to do photography full-time!
Your adventurous elopement photography is absolutely beautiful and full of love. What piece of advice would you give to those who are starting out and working on creating their own style?
Practice, practice, practice! The more you shoot, the more comfortable and familiar you become with your camera. The more you edit, the more you become aware of what style you prefer or veer towards. Consistency is one of my main priorities when it comes to how I shoot and edit, and the only reason I can stay consistent is because I’ve had countless hours of practice.
How did you first get into the industry and do you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Dan bought me a camera right before he was going to propose to me (so my sister could take photos of the proposal). That camera is what first got me into shooting on a more professional level. I also did a lot of free couples shoots initially, attended a styled wedding shoot for content, and second shot a few weddings before booking my first solo wedding.
My advice to those just starting out would be to offer free shoots to build your portfolio. Shoot for free the kind of sessions you want to get paid to shoot in the future.
Why do your photography clients come to you specifically?
My clients usually reach out to me because they love my unique editing style and because they love that I am always down for an adventure. Most, if not all, of my clients have noted how unposed and comfortable my couples feel in their pictures, which is a huge reason why people book me.
Do you have a favorite thing to shoot?
I absolutely LOVE shooting adventurous elopements. I love how intimate, raw, and real elopements are. The couple is almost always stress-free and solely focused on marrying each other. If I had to choose one thing to photograph for the rest of my life, that would be it!
How has starting your own photography business and being your own boss changed your life?
Oh man. I honestly cannot share enough how much this job has changed me. Working for myself has been incredible. I love that I get to choose when and where I want to work. It has also been a huge boost to my mental health. Even just thinking about going to work each day to my old office job made me so anxious. Knowing that I get to do what I love and am passionate about every day makes work never feel like work.
What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to being your own boss?
I have to constantly tell myself (and be nagged by Dan) to keep myself organized and motivated. It’s great to be organized, but without motivation, you will get nothing done. It’s good to be motivated, but without being organized, you will also get nothing done. I constantly have to balance both to get anything done.
A lot of creatives struggle in the beginning. Was there ever a time in your photography business when you questioned if it was the right path for you? If so, how did you deal with it?
I am lucky enough to say that I have not questioned this path. Ever since I quit my old job, I knew that this was what I was going to do for the rest of my life. To be able to do what I am so passionate about as my job is truly a blessing. I cannot imagine enjoying a job as much as I enjoy this one.