Featured Creative: Photographer Laurie Search

aurie Search knows the true meaning of “when one door closes, another door opens.” After leaving her job due to health issues, she picked up photography to fill her time, and she hasn’t looked back since.

I’ve heard it said before that a good photo doesn’t need a title, and I agree; it doesn’t.  But even if it doesn’t NEED it, in my opinion a good title can only make a good photo better!

Sometimes Souls Collide

W: How did you get your start in photography?

LS: Growing up, my parents always took lots of family pictures, and they got my sister and me cameras when we were quite young. This is where my interest in photography started, though it was only a hobby back then, and not one I did on a regular basis. Flash forward many, many years, to the age of about 35. I had been working at a job where I did Medicare billing, and so I was on the computer typing all day long every day. I developed carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis in the shoulders and arms, and, worst of all, my neck was just killing me, which turned out to be because I had three herniated discs in my neck, cervical spinal stenosis, bone spurs, and a couple of other problems in my neck. I had continued working through the pain for years, but it finally got to a point where I just couldn’t do it any longer.

So I left my job, and I knew that I had to find something else to take up some of my time, something meaningful to focus on, and something that could bring me some joy as I went through lots of different therapies, appointments, and a couple of surgeries – otherwise I would go insane. I immediately thought about photography, and before too long, I started taking classes, first at a local photography school, and then through New York Institute of Photography, which was a correspondence course. And I just totally and completely fell in love with it and dedicated myself to learning all I could!

I started (nervously) posting photos on a photo website I’d found (jpgmag.com), and was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful encouragement I got there. Before too long, I’d found somewhere online that listed “calls for art,” and eventually decided to submit some photos to one that was looking for photos to include in a small photography show held in a restaurant. And my photos got accepted!! From there I continued getting my work accepted into photography shows and art galleries, won contests, and got published!


I’ve Got Arms to Hold You

W: Have you always been based in San Francisco? Or did you begin shooting in other locations?

LS: I actually live about 40 miles outside of the city, but yes, I’ve always been based here in this area. I also spend a lot of time down in the Southern California desert and have shot there pretty extensively. And I love traveling as much as possible and photographing new places!


Ever Changing

W: Do you have a specific subject matter that you seem to be drawn to?

LS: I most love shooting landscapes and nature. But to narrow it down even further, I am totally in love with oak trees and clouds! A landscape is always more interesting and beautiful if the sky is full of gorgeous clouds! And oak trees….I just love their gnarled branches and amazing character! They so often remind me of people….wise old people full of stories.


But I Still Need You

W: How do you decide whether or not an image will be black and white? 

LS: That is always a tough decision for me! Sometimes an image immediately calls out to be black and white. Certain scenes just seem to be made for it. Definitely if I want to convey a more dramatic or possibly somber mood, I will go for black and white. But a lot of the time, I’m not sure if I’m going to go with color or black and white. And then it simply becomes a matter of trying an image both ways. I do love color, so if the color is particularly pleasing to me in an image, then I have to go with that.  I seem to be pretty selective in what gets done in black and white, though those also tend to be some of my most popular images!


Though the Tides May Turn

W: It says in your bio that you love Photoshop. What tools on Photoshop do you use the most?

LS: The Photoshop tool I probably use the most is the Spot Healing Brush Tool to get rid of the spots that are from sensor dust and dirt!


Enchanted Evening

W: Do you have any special techniques you use either while shooting or during editing?

LS: I don’t really have any special techniques when out shooting. I just always try to remember to get most shots at a couple of different focal lengths, even if I only really “see” it one way. And I always take a LOT of pictures! The more the better! Having more to choose from can only be a good thing! When editing, I love using certain adjustment layers, as well as different Photoshop actions, to tweak the tones and color a bit. I also sometimes really like to layer textures over my images to help bring out a certain mood.


Sit With Me Here

W: Do you have a trademark shot?

LS: Yes, it would have to be “Sheltering Sky.” It’s a black and white image where I was looking up at an oak tree and the sky. That is by far my best selling image! And it’s funny….after I initially took that image, I couldn’t make it work to my liking, and it sat in my files for at least a year, maybe two! Then one day I pulled it back up to see if I could make anything of it, and I actually was able to see it differently that time and was really happy with the outcome! And it became my most popular image!


Sheltering Sky

W: How do you pick the titles for all your images?

LS: A lot of thought goes into most of my titles. I try to really tap into the mood and feeling of the image. Sometimes the way I’m feeling when editing leads me down a certain road. And I often use song lyrics as titles. I really like for the title to complement the image and for both together to tell a story of sorts. I’ve heard it said before that a good photo doesn’t need a title, and I agree; it doesn’t. But even if it doesn’t NEED it, in my opinion, a good title can only make a good photo better!


It Rolls Through

W: What is your inspiration?

LS: Given the right mood, almost anything can inspire me! I get inspiration from nature itself…. I can’t look at beautiful scenery, trees, or clouds without being totally inspired! Strong feelings really make me want to create, too, whether it’s love, heartache, despair, joy, etc. I feel a huge need to share them with the world somehow! Memories, music, movies, and other artists’ and photographers’ work are some other things that can really inspire me.


The Reclining Woman

W: What challenges do you face in the industry?

LS: It’s just an extremely competitive industry! That has to be the biggest challenge! And you need to realize that just because one person may not like your work, that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. It’s just one person’s opinion, and art is very subjective! Tomorrow I may come across five people who absolutely love my work! So you need to keep your head about you as much as possible, have confidence in yourself and what you do, and never give up!

Connect with Laurie here:

Website: http://laurie-search.artistwebsites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurieSearch

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurie-Search-Fine-Art-Photography/592510690851765

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  • James Hennis

    This is a fantastic Laurie..You are truly putting out art work that had feeling and emotion to it.

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