I first noticed Laura Reaney, founder of Reaney Photography, after she took my sister’s senior photos. I can always tell when my sister, Rori, is faking a smile, so when Rori proudly showed me her senior photos, I was floored. Rori is genuinely laughing in virtually every picture. I loved looking through her senior photos because Laura captured who Rori is, naturally. Rori doesn’t laugh at just any old joke, so I thought, Dang. Laura must be one funny girl.
Humor aside, Laura’s work with Reaney Photography is outstanding. Not only did Laura start her own business at a very young age, but she also uses her success to give back to children going through the court system. Laura specializes in travel and weddings, particularly destination weddings. As you’ll soon see, Laura has a gift for utilizing landscape to enhance the beauty of natural moments.
Here’s what Laura shared on what photography means to her, the importance of giving back, and what to do if you haven’t quite found your passion yet:
Photography connects us, takes us back in time
“I loved looking at old pictures of my grandparents, my parents. I always get told that I look just like my dad when he was my age. I can actually look back and see that. It’s a cool way to connect with people. It feels like time traveling. Those photos will last forever and that’s important to me. To preserve a point in time that can last forever. But to also make it really beautiful.”
“My temperament is much more relaxed than some photographers. I’m able to go with the flow, focus more on what the couple is comfortable with or good at. A lot of photographers just follow the rules like ‘tilt your head’. I like to travel and do much more documentary style. That’s what I do in weddings, so it’s much more documentary style. But I still am thinking about, you know, making a pretty picture. Just more about the moment.”
“During the shoot, like I said, I try to be very approachable and relaxed so people look natural in front of me. It’s just kind of easing people into it and loosening them up. Not giving them too much direction because I still like it to feel natural. Finding good light and good backgrounds. And being like ‘Do you want to walk out into the river onto that rock?’ Sometimes people say yes, and that’s when I get the good photos.”
Use your passion to give back
“CASA is an acronym for Court Appointed Special Advocates. They are a group of volunteers, all fully volunteers. A CASA is assigned to a child who is going through the court system for whatever reason. The CASA reports to the judges about the wellbeing of the child and what is going to be in the child’s best interest.”
“For CASA, I photograph their swearing in ceremonies for swearing in volunteers. For the past few years, I photographed their volunteer recognition dinner. I also donate 5% per wedding that I book to CASA. I did it all of last year and I started it in 2015.”
“I started photographing the swearing in ceremonies. I heard personal testaments from adults who were children in the court system who had a CASA, and how important it was to them. How they’re a better human because the CASA helped the right decisions be made for them. Kids don’t have a voice and CASA gives them the voice. That’s so important.”
And if you haven’t found your passion is yet…
“I would say ‘What do you do for a hobby?’ Because that can be your source of income also. That would be my advice. Usually people do have something, like ‘Oh I do really like doing this.’ As far as schooling, they don’t give you any life advice or business advice. I probably should have taken business classes. I think people need more of ‘This is the skill you’ve honed and here’s how to bring it out into the world and to make it a career.’”
“I think that [photography] is something that I always would’ve thought ‘Oh, this would be cool if I could do this.’ But it was more like a dream than a goal. I had odd jobs but I was always doing photography and then I realized ‘Oh, wait, I can make it a career.’”
“I worked harder doing this job than I’ve ever worked at anything else. But it also doesn’t feel like work and that’s why, it’s because I love it. It’s a lot of work. But it doesn’t feel like work. My job is to get people to smile at me all day. Which is really nice. To get them to smile, I have to smile, so I’m just smiling all day.”
“I like that it’s something that I didn’t necessarily think couldn’t be a career. It’s a dream that became reality. That’s the part that’s my favorite I think.”
To book Laura or view more of her work, check out Reaney Photography’s Website. You can also see more of her photography on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. A huge thank you to Laura for sharing her time and insights with me!
Which of Laura’s photos is your favorite? (I like the smiling donkeys). Leave a reply to let me know!
Until next time- Saludos!