24: Wildlife and Nature Photography with Laurie Excell

Pro Photographer Interview Series: Episode 24
Laurie Excell: Wildlife Photographer, Workshop Leader, and Author

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LaurieExcellMeet Laurie Excell, an award-winning, professional nature and wildlife photographer. Her love affair with the camera began at the age of ten when her father handed her an old, beat up Pentax Spotmatic to occupy her attention and keep her out of trouble at a camera club outing in Southern Utah. The rest is history. Since then, she’s won several awards for photographic excellence through the years and for her photographic instruction skills. She’s taught at Photoshop World, has been a guest speaker at many camera club and photo store events, and enjoys working one-on-one with fellow photographers as well.

In the course of our discussion we chat about the mistakes, lessons, and many successes she’s had as a nature and wildlife photographer. We also touch on some practical takeaways that are important for your business, such as being ever-prepared for a great shot, and properly backing up your photos.

I want to give a huge thank you to Laurie for taking the time to chat with us! I consider myself as much a student as the listening audience, and appreciate her sharing her extensive knowledge.

 


“Being ready is the key for getting the shots.”

 


Top 3 Tips From the Interview:

1. Always be ready to get “the” shot.

This is what separates the amateurs from the pros. In the case of nature and wildlife photography, you’ll find that when you’re prepared and ready with the right gear and the right amount of patience, you’ll be ready for that split second when you have a chance to get that awesome shot. And as Laurie mentioned, the more consistently prepared you are, the more opportunities will seem to present themselves to you spontaneously.

You’ll find this true even outside of photography (such as networking, seeking new business opportunities, etc), and it’s a great principle to live by. Always be prepared for that next opportunity.

2. Back up your images in several locations. Seriously.

It’s time to get practical here: it’s absolutely vital that you back up your photos in several locations. Laurie mentioned she’s suffered some unfortunate incidents in her career that resulted in the loss of images…and so have I. So have legions of photographers out there. When it happens, it’s like being punched in the stomach. You never forget it, and you’re forced to quickly learn from it.

Among her arsenal, Laurie utilizes a couple external hard drives immediately after a photo shoot. I back up to a hard drive, and then to a couple locations in the nebulous cloud. Choose what works for you, and then stick to it, doggonit, and save yourself the head ache of explaining to a client that you mysteriously “lost” all of their photos.

3. Get your workflow nailed down.

Laurie mentioned that you should look at other experienced photographers’ workflows, and then adapt it your own business. Good plan. It can be time consuming to reinvent the wheel every time you have a photo shoot, so knowing exactly how you’re going to process your photos — including how you’re going to sort them, where you will put them, which program you’re going to use to process them, and what presets you plan on applying to them — will save you a ton of time in the long run.

 


Laurie Can Be Found At:

» LaurieExcell.com: Laurie’s blog, which links to her Adventures, blog, the equipment she uses, as well as other information.

» EquipmentLady.com: Laurie sells used camera gear on consignment.

» Check out Laurie’s numerous books on Amazon HERE. They cover composition and wildlife photography.

 

Laurie’s Recommended Resources

» Get out in the field and shoot, shoot, shoot! Find a workshop that works for you!

» TheArcanum.com: A magical academy of artistic mastery, and Laurie has become one of the master’s there! The site fosters the master-apprentice relationship amongst an extremely friendly, nurturing environment.