Louisa Wells is an NYC-based photographer with an eye for making everyday moments magical. She has cultivated her own style of photography and has made a name for herself in the world of fashion and lifestyle photography. We're honored to feature Louisa on the blog to discuss her passion for shooting images and what she's learned along the way. Whether you're a photographer or not, there is inspiration to be gained from reading about Louisa's journey.
Hi, Louisa! Tell us about yourself, how you got into photography and what you love most about being a photographer.
Truth be told, I sort of fell into photography. When I was in high school, a friend's mom owned her own studio, and my friend's prom and homecoming photos were always gorgeous. I wanted that for myself, so I asked for a camera for my 16th birthday. I continued shooting when I went on to college in Nashville and ended up attending/working at Nashville Fashion Week and interning as a photo assistant for Nashville Lifestyles Magazine. When I moved to New York, I kept it up. I was able to attend NYFW, shoot for various bloggers, and work with brands on social media and digital content to help build their presence. I also work with agencies and "new face" models to make both their book and my own.
Describe your style of photography. What is your favorite thing to shoot?
I like to call my style a "no frills" approach to photography. I love clean lines and open spaces where you can focus on the main subject of the photo. My absolute favorite things to shoot are people in their spaces (more of that lifestyle aspect) and models in beautiful clothing (because when you get a full, talented team together, there's always the chance to create beautiful art).
In your opinion, what makes a photo beautiful?
To me, a photo is beautiful when the viewer truly feels inspired or drawn to the image. Perhaps there isn't one thing they can put their finger on, but it's a combination of the subject and the "mood"/color of the image. That's why it's so important to have a talented team to work with; it makes things so much easier.
"To me, a photo is beautiful when the viewer truly feels inspired or drawn to the image."
What do you try to capture from your subjects when taking photos?
Life. I want to capture life. Even though I have a cleaner aesthetic, I find that my inspiration for images always has a sense of momentum and life to them – people running, laughing, going about their day. It's that feeling that the image isn't just a static visual but that it can be so much more --- that's what I want to pull out from whoever I'm shooting.
We adore your Instagram grid! How do you decide what content to share and how do you stay organized with it?
Thank you so much! Since the algorithm change of last summer, I've been waiting to see how things would pan out. Now, the word on everyone's mind is engagement, not follower count. As of this summer, I've recommitted to posting beautiful imagery that inspires but also committing to share more about who I am as a photographer and my process. Using that as a guide, I decide what to post and what to save in my camera roll. I love using PLANOLY. Ever since I first heard about it in a meeting with Brandy, I loved the concept. It has helped me plan everything out, so I don't stress about getting a post up. I run every image through PLANOLY before posting.
"I love using PLANOLY. It has helped me plan everything out, so I don't stress about getting a post up. I run every image through PLANOLY before posting."
What are your top tips when it comes to photography?
- Plan, plan, plan. Planning and prepping helps before any big shoot – especially when things go wrong, and they will.
- Try to find your own style as early as possible. It's great to see what else is out there but at the end of the day, think about what sets your photography work apart.
What has been one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest challenges has been comparison. Especially with Instagram being a significant source of photographers picking up work, I've found it hard not to sit there and mope when I see that so-and-so was working with Vogue or this guy got his photos published in an editorial. I have to take a step back and tell myself that we're all on different paths and the jobs that are reserved for me will be there. When I get down about this, I always like to write down what I've accomplished and achieved to this point. As a Christian, I like to recount all of the ways God has provided for me in the past and how he will provide in the future. It's a nice reminder to see how far you've come.
Why is it important to observe?
Observing life and people around you is so important. For one thing, I think it's fair to say that we all may use our phones too much. When we're sucked into this digital world, sometimes we forget that life is happening all around us. I like to make a point to get outside and just walk around and notice my surroundings. It helps me reset, and it also helps inspire my photography.
What is the best advice you've received? What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
The best advice I've ever received was: "Keep shooting and don't be afraid to call yourself a photographer." My advice to aspiring photographers is: There is always a solution or a way through a problem, don't get discouraged if things don't happen overnight. Finally, make friends with other photographers.