Sean Lara is a photographer in Colorado who incorporates Infrared photography into Wedding Portraiture.
1. Welcome, please tell us about yourself and your background
First off, having my work noticed and appreciated is the most humbling experience any photographer can hope for, so thank you so much for asking to interview me, it means the world!
A little about myself – I’m a full-time wedding photographer in Fort Collins, Colorado (about 45min north of Denver). I specialize and market myself as an artistic photojournalist, shooting with a candid, unobtrusive style while putting creative twists on my photographs. I don’t shoot cookie-cutter weddings; I shoot very different – lots of portraits with a fisheye lens, compressing landscapes with a telephoto lens, and of course infrared photography.
I grew up and started my career in Orange County, California, shooting for the Orange County Register on a freelance basis. From this experience I learned a lot about photography and was put in situations where I only had one chance to get the right shot, that one shot the paper specifically hired me to get. I wanted to be more challenged however and do some more artsy stuff, which is why I eventually turned to weddings. After graduating from California State University, Fullerton, I moved to Colorado to be closer to mountains, nature and fantastic photo ops!
2. How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been a photography enthusiast my entire life, I always would steal my parents’ camera on vacations and go through rolls and rolls of film. However I’ve been shooting professionally since I was 19 years old.
3. How long have you been shooting Infrared and IR Weddings?
I’ve been shooting infrared photography since I started my career as a wedding photographer, so back in 2010.
It’s safe to say the majority of my clients love my style of infrared photography, it’s different, it’s unique, and the special twists I personally put on it really make my work stand out from everyone else. But like any type of art, it’s subjective so not everyone is into it.
5. What is the biggest challenge with shooting IR weddings?
Finding the right light. But then again isn’t that always the biggest challenge with photography? For the most part I typically tend to shoot infrared photography in settings with a lot of foliage, it seems to produce the most dramatic images. As a result, if there’s not enough, or the proper quality of light available, it can be challenging to get a good image. Fortunately there’s always ways around this, such as using off-camera strobes or moving my subjects to areas with better quality ambient light.
6. What is your best photography achievement?
There’s really not one moment that sticks out in my head, but if I had to choose one I’d probably choose the time when I was in college as the photo editor of the school newspaper. I competed in a statewide (California) photo competition against the other schools and took a 2nd and 4th place trophy. Other than that, I’d definitely say my overall greatest achievement is being able to be a photographer for a living; it’s amazing!
7. What do like best about IR photography?
Simply put – it’s just different. It allows me to capture the world in a way you can’t see with the naked eye and that is very appealing to me.
8. If you could pass on just one tip about IR, what would it be?
Surprisingly enough, I’ve found that infrared photos come out best a couple hours before or after high noon when the sun is bright and has some direction to it. Most people aren’t very keen to shooting in direct or harsh light but with infrared I’ve found the results are usually quite good. I’d also recommend taking the time to see what types of foliage photograph better in infrared as they all absorb light differently, so take lots of photos any time you see a tree!
9. Do you have any projects currently going you would like to discuss?
I really want to start getting my work featured in art galleries. From what I understand it’s a huge challenge, but when I’m not shooting weddings I absolutely love taking wildlife and nature photos and want to try to get some photography aside from weddings noticed as well.
You can see more of Seans work here.