Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Burke.
Laura, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my Headshot Business in 1989 when I moved back to Los Angeles from Santa Fe, New Mexico. The original plan was to shoot for a couple of years and move back to Santa Fe and start a Bed and Breakfast. Well obviously that didn’t happen but it turned out to be the best decision since I love working with aspiring actors and helping them accomplish their goals.
I worked in NYC as a Talent Agent and it was the most fun for me to match my client’s talents to the different acting roles. Sometimes I feel more like a teacher than just a photographer since I love to help guide my clients to owning their uniqueness because that is the most empowering way to convey what their talents are to a total stranger looking at hundreds of thumbnail images.
When I first started shooting, I made the mistake of trying to emulate what my competitors were doing and found I only got mediocre results. So I decided to explore what excited me and it turned out to be capturing characters like in movie stills. So I brought that element into my Headshot Photography and boom, it radiated to all the characters out there! What I found was that if I do what I like, like-minded people will be attracted to it which showcases their talents and then they started getting more auditions because of it. So moral of the story, do what you do best and everyone benefits! At least that’s my experience!
Of course being in business for almost 30 years means evolving your style and choices which I prefer. Looking at my style from then to now has drastically changed and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is about challenging yourself and sometimes it’s scary but what are the options? Stagnation? Nah!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Oh, it’s never been a smooth road! But how dull would that be for everything to work out immediately? Certainly, Hollywood is based on DRAMA and an interesting story always has conflicts. It’s the mistakes and life experience that make you learn and dig deep which as an artist is the only way to thrive.
My struggles along the way are just like all our struggles of doubt and insecurity, thinking you’re a fraud. Business slows down, more talented people enter the marketplace and you wonder if you’re still relevant. I’ve certainly had all those thoughts. I found the best thing to do during those times are to let all that negativity go, as best you can and just change your environment for a bit to shake things loose. Then you have that moment of a great idea or realization that isn’t clouded. Then you take action with excitement. And when you’re excited other people gravitate towards you and viola, a new wonderful chapter begins!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Laura Burke Photography – what should we know?
Shooting Actors Headshots is the bulk of my business but I’ve worked with Musicians, Writers, Directors, Producers and now I’m starting to work with a lot of Business Professionals. Everyone needs a good photo for all the Social Media sites so my client base is certainly expanding and changing. Which again is wonderful. One of the things I love most about what I do is meeting new people and getting to know them.
I guess that’s what makes me a bit different than a lot of other photographers in that I put their objectives before my need to have a style recognition. It’s a team effort for sure. I stress the need for knowing what my clients want to convey so they can prepare accordingly.
So many clients admit they have never had such an in-depth consultation before the shoot and they are usually quite happy about since it explains to them what they need instead of it always being a mystery. When the mystery is defined into simple preparation action, the stress factor goes way down and in turn makes for a more relaxed session where they can just be themselves or other characters of their choice!
I’ve also been told I’m pretty easy to be around which I love to hear. I can be a bit quirky to be sure which tends to disarm most nervous clients and I want to have fun too! Why else are we doing this if isn’t a lot of fun right??
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Well, on the one hand, everyone that has ever worked with me has made me and my business what it is. We’re all in this together and I couldn’t do this without all the wonderful aspiring artists. On the other hand, that is the only hand! Every person and experience has created this for me and I thank them all!
In the early 90’s, I was hired to shoot at a Commercial Acting School in Beverly Hills by the always entertaining and talented Bob Bancroft who for some reason thought I could really capture a person’s personality, The next 2 years I shot over 5000 aspiring actors between the ages of 5 to 35 in quick 5 minute shoots which were such a great learning experience albeit exhausting but amazing. And I was lucky to have Bob cheering for me. So THANK YOU BOB!
- Address: The Lot at 1041 N. Formosa Ave, West Hollywood 90046
- Website: www.lauraburkephotography.com
- Phone: 818-749-4422
- Email: email@example.com
Jennifer Joseph – personal photo