Capturing Scenes and Moments That Make People Smile – An Interview with Laura Anne

Laura is an award-winning semi-professional photographer, based in the market town of Calne in rural Wiltshire, on the edge of the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty. Shortlisted for Amateur Photographer of Year and featured in both Amateur Photographer and Digital Photographer magazine, Laura particularly enjoys shooting landscapes, travel and wildlife photography.

bisswood shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Biss Woods’

Laura is also a proud member of the Royal Photographic Society and The Guild of Photographers and in June 2023, Laura was awarded a silver award by The Guild of Photographers for one of her shots of the RAF Red Arrows display team at the Weston Air Show 2022. 

I spoke with Laura to find out more about her work and gorgeous images.

cherhill shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Cherhill’

What got you into photography? 

L: I have always loved taking photographs. My late grandfather, when in his mid 80s, bought a Nikon D5000 that he used to let me borrow, and I then inherited it from him. In 2019, I relocated from South Wales to Wiltshire. I found that my love of landscapes helped me to get to know my new surroundings and has given me a reason to explore the beautiful countryside of Wiltshire. It has also helped me to learn more about the history of photography as I now live about 15 minutes away from Lacock Abbey, which is where William Henry Fox Talbot developed the first negative in the early 19th century! My ‘day job’ is as a secondary school languages teacher and during the school holidays, my partner and I often travel to Europe. I particularly enjoy taking photographs of landscapes when I’m travelling.

honfleur shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Honfleur’

Do you have a favourite genre of photography and why? Tell me a bit more about what you shoot. 

I enjoy shooting landscapes and wildlife. I recently bought a drone and love the different perspective that drone photography gives. One of my drone shots [the Biss Woods photograph at the top of this article] was in the top ten for the Landscapes round of Amateur Photographer of the Year 2023, something which I am really proud of. I am currently trying to improve my portraiture and studio skills in the hope that I can offer portraiture sessions in the near future.

What kind of influences do you draw inspiration from? 

I draw inspiration from what’s around me and I follow a lot of photographers on social media; there are many out there who have outstanding portfolios and I’d love to be as good as them.

puffin portrait1shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Puffin’

Do you have any favourite photographers or creative influences that have informed your photographic style, and why? 

For drone shots, I am a huge fan of Nick Bull of Stonehenge Dronescapes; he is also based here in Wiltshire and his drone shots are amazing, ranging from Astro to crop circles (which are a common occurrence here!). I also love the work of Jack Lodge, a landscape photographer who is also based in the Westcountry. I am a proud member of the Guild of Photographers too, and through that I have got to meet and attend workshops with Gary Hill and Paul Wilkinson. I love their portrait styles. 

What kit do you shoot with and what’s your favourite bit of kit? 

I have a Nikon Z7ii which I bought recently. I love my Sigma Art 24-70 f2.8 and Nikon Z 70-200mm f2.8 as they give me versatility for most situations, but my favourite travel lens is my Tamron 18-400mm as it gives great reach without needing to carry lots of different lenses. For wildlife, the Nikon 500mm PF lens is superb. I also have a DJI Mini 3 Pro.

red arrows shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Red Arrows’

What are you working on at the moment? 

I sell a lot of my landscape photographs on Etsy and locally in craft markets and events. I also sell cards and jigsaws of my photographs which are popular, and for the last 3 years I have produced a calendar of photographs of the town where I live – this has also raised hundreds of pounds for the local food bank. My calendars are a year-round project as I like to get shots through each of the seasons. I am in the process of training and upskilling my portraiture skills, having more recently attended workshops by Paul Wilkinson and Gary Hill. 

What would you say is your goal with your photography? 

My main goal is to capture scenes and moments that make me, and others smile. I hope to be able to continue to build on my portraiture portfolio and skills, and to further build my business. As I am a secondary school teacher, I hope one day to be able to teach photography and to share my love of the subject.

squirreltree shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Red squirrel’

As a female photographer, do you feel that you face any particular challenges? Do you feel that the industry is favourable towards women, or would you like to see any changes? 

Whenever I attend photography workshops or experience days, there are usually more male participants than female, but this does not bother me as after all we are all there for the same goal. Women photographers have more ‘exposure’ (pardon the pun!) now thanks to the internet and social media, and there is a lot of support available. I am a member of the SheClicks group on Facebook which is specifically geared to female photographers, and it is a very supportive group to be in. I think it is important for female photographers, at whatever level, to feel confident to put their work out there – after all, everyone has to start somewhere!

westminster shesnaps
Photo by Laura Anne – ‘Westminster, London’

What advice would you give to budding photographers? 

There are a few things…

“The best camera is the one you have with you.” – many of the shots I have won awards for were taken on my mobile phone, as I didn’t have my main camera with me at the time. When faced with comments such as “oh you must have a really expensive camera to get a shot like that” and when my response is that it is an iPhone shot, it proves that you don’t have to have expensive kit. A lot of my kit is second hand – lenses in particular hold their value well if they are looked after and, using the chef analogy, a Michelin star chef doesn’t need the best quality pans to make a fantastic meal – knowing what do to is the most important part!

Keep practising through the seasons – digital photography is instant and cheap in that you can take hundreds / thousands of photographs on a memory card and if they don’t work out, you can delete and try again. 

Get out there and shoot!

You can view more of Laura’s work on her website, or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.  

Laura Simons 2024 scaled
Photographer Laura Anne. Photo taken by Gary Hill
Now for the first 500 subscribers only...
Copy of Download Free Guide - Pinterest Pin

FREE Photo Challenge Cards

These cards will help challenge and inspire your creativity, so you get out there snappin' and shootin' photos!