Our interview today is with Taylor Lord, who was recently a bride herself and knows exactly what to capture within the whirlwind of the wedding day. From traditional portraits to a veil catching in the wind, her photos draw inspiration from nature and fashion and are full of soft, oh-so-pretty light. Taylor Lord Photography is based in Austin, Texas but lucky for couples all over the world, she loves to travel, both near and far!
Why photography? What draws you to it? I love photography for many reasons – the documentation aspect, the ability to take something mundane and turn it into something beautiful, the immediacy of it as an art form, the mind-bending manipulation of light…and the list goes on.
How did you get into wedding photography? I took a B&W film class my spring semester of senior year of college (like many people do). It was a perfect fit from the beginning – I loved the energy and excitement of shooting juxtaposed with the calm and meditative aspect of the darkroom. I love that with weddings, you are creating art with something that a bride and groom have brought to you. I consider it my responsibility as a wedding photographer to capture love and weddings in a beautiful way that the bride and groom will be happy to show their grandchildren 50 years from now.
Your style is so specific and lovely. Can you describe it a bit and what are you inspired by? First and foremost, I’m inspired by light, and how it can make ordinary things magical. If you’ve seen any recent Terrence Malick movies, it would be the best insight into how I see light and nature. I’m also strongly inspired by the world of fashion. And color theory – super important to me and my work.
Describe your dream destination wedding? Probably an outdoor wedding somewhere in the countryside of Europe. Something simple and organic to the location, but elegant and timeless.
What gives you ideas or inspiration? Fashion, light, and nature.
Besides weddings, what/who/where would you love to be able to photograph? I would love to jump into the world of fashion photography at some point. I’ve been admiring the ads in InStyle and Vogue since I was 10 or 11. I literally know zero about that industry, but I know I connect with it.
Favorite trick to capture images of reluctant subjects? I have become (in)famous for doing this REALLY obnoxious and dorky sounding fake laugh to get people to loosen up. I never mind looking like a huge dinkus to make my clients feel more comfortable.
Describe an average day for you. WAY less glamorous than you would think! A typical Monday: Wake up, answer emails. Maybe edit or blog if I have time. Take film to the post office. Answer more emails. Networking lunch with colleagues. Get back home, answer more emails. Edit. Leave for a shoot while answering emails from my phone. Shoot and come back home and you guessed it! Answer emails and hit the hay!
Do you have a favorite camera or lens? The Contax 645 with the 80mm and Fuji 400H for film – if it was the only camera and film I could use for the rest of my life, I would be a happy camper.
Who has influenced your photography? I am in love with the work of Patrick Demarchelier – he’s a fashion photographer and his B&W and color work is really really inspiring to me. He also tells such a story through his portraiture. In the actual wedding industry, Jose Villa (I attended his workshop last November and fell in love with medium format) and Erich McVey. Their work is so thoughtful and consistently good.
Any advice for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer? I recommend always having at the very least, a phone meeting with your photographer to see if you connect personality-wise. I would recommend hiring someone for your wedding photographer that you could easily see yourselves being friends with outside of the wedding day.
Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives. Romantic, Airy, Thoughtful, Artistic.
Describe your workspace/studio? I love it – it has two huge windows with plantation shutters so lots of natural light, and the overall feel is a mixture of the Southwest, white minimalism, and metals. I wanted to love going into where I worked everyday, especially since it is in my house!
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? I taught middle school art for about 6 months, right before my business took off and I went full-time. I quit in the middle of the school year. I just knew it wasn’t for me and I was doing the kids a disservice by sticking around. Everyone told me I was crazy, but that leap of faith has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
Do you have any advice for beginning photographers? For aspiring wedding photographers – this can be a wild ride. It’s important to not only believe in yourself and your work, but understand that you will have to make sacrifices. Be a “yes” person and be generous, and it will take you far!
What changes/improvements have you observed within your photography over the years? I’m pretty sure that I will never master light. I felt like I finally got the hang of it with digital, and then shooting film has been a totally different experience. I love that once I think I’ve mastered it, I learn that I’ve really had no idea.
What makes you give yourself a mental high five? When I get scans in from Photovision, my lab, and am super excited about them. It’s like a three way high-five between me, Photovision, and the Contax. It’s always a group effort!
Best advice you’ve ever received about being a business person? I will never forget this! We were looking at a loft to rent and the owner found out I was an entrepreneur. He said, “Don’t ever let your client experience start to dwindle as you start to rise. Treat every customer as if he or she was your first ever.” Humbling and unexpected advice. So that’s always my goal now!
Best advice you’ve ever received about being a happy human? Always take a Sabbath, once a week. I cannot recommend this ENOUGH!