Auburn Family

Behind The Lens of a Former Auburn Art Student

Equipped with her unique name and a Canon 5d Mark III, Laura Jett Walker, has taken her love for photography and turned it into her own brand.  Walker is a 2012 graduate of Auburn's fine arts program and a well established wedding and lifestyle photographer from Birmingham.  Walker's company is called Jett Walker Photography.

Walker did not discover her love for photography until her senior year of high school.  Her grandfather gifted her with her first DSLR camera for her first photography class.

"My grandfather has always been a wonderful photographer so it was very inspiring for him to have such confidence in me," said Walker.

When Walker began her degree in fine arts at Auburn,  she took a photography class that made her fall in love with film photography. She credits Professor Hemard for helping her discover her creative voice.

"There is such a diverse group of professors and students in the art department.  I never felt pressured or swayed to create in a certain way, because everyone was so encouraging when it came to me being myself as an artist," said Walker. "I love to create and my time at Auburn truly prepared me for my career in more ways than I could have ever imagined."

While earning a degree in fine arts at Auburn, Walker took drawing, painting, sculpting, ceramics, printmaking, design and photography as part of the curriculum.

The summer before her last semester at Auburn, Walker did an internship with David Bley at David Bley Storytellers.  After graduating, David Bley became Walker's first boss and mentor in photography.  Walker worked alongside Bley as a second shooter for three years before she started Jett Walker Photography.

"The way David encounters people is so unique and inspiring. From working with him I learned that every couple has a special connection and everyone shows their love in different ways," said Walker. "I am now able to hone in on the different connections people have and capture those intimate and unique moments that people share." 

A shift in direction for David Bley Storytellers brought on the opportunity for Walker to start her own company. After a lot of encouragement and a couple asking Walker to photograph their summer wedding, Jett Walker Photography was born. 

"If you had asked me this time last year if I was going to start a business anytime in the future I would have said 'no,'  but the Lord had a different plan for me," said Walker.

Walker does all her own branding and advertising using drawing and design.  She prides herself on her photo editing and color correcting skills, thanks to her former teacher, Professor Hemard.  Along with photography, Walker has built multiple installation style pieces for wedding shows.

Walker is thankful for a family that fuels her fire. "They are constantly encouraging, loving and inspiring me. My parents have never once discouraged me from being an artist, if anything they have driven me more," said Walker. 

Walker's biggest fan and husband, Michael, an Auburn alumnus with a degree in supply chain management, assists Walker with the business and accounting aspects of Jett Walker Photography.

When asked her favorite part about her job, Walker insisted it was the clients.  

"I get to go on this amazing journey with these couples.  I love hearing their stories and laughing with them at their engagement sessions when I ask them to do something ridiculous or silly," said Walker. "By the time their wedding day rolls around I feel like part of the family."

Walker said that her goal is to capture each couple as beautifully and uniquely as they are.  She wants people to look at the images and feel exactly how they feel when they are with the client.

"So many photographers get in a formulaic rut and tend to use the same poses and style everything the same way. I want to stay as far away from that as possible," said Walker.  "Every couple has a different dynamic and I want that to drive how I photograph and edit their day."

"My work is inspired by my clients, therefore every photo shoot should be different and unique to the client," said Walker. 

A unique part of the Jett Walker Photography brand is that after every shoot Walker will immediately upload the images and pick three or four favorite shots and send them to the client as a sneak peek. 

Walker suggests that aspiring photographers should take photos all the time, but to do it with purpose. "I honestly am not one of those people that always has a camera. I rarely bring one with me when I am traveling, because I want to experience things as they are happening and not worry about if I got a good shot of it," she says.

Walker suggest that networking is a huge part of how she got to where she is.  The photography and the wedding industry both require constant networking. A majority of business comes from word of mouth referrals.

To be relevant in the industry, Walker constantly attends events, meets with potential clients, other vendors and fans of her work. She attends at least one event, coffee meeting, creative discussion or dinner a week.  "I work on the computer at home 80 percent of the time, so unless I force it, I will not encounter other potential clients during the week," said Walker.  "While there are always potential clients at weddings, referrals also come from other vendors and creatives." 

Walker has had more referrals from other photographers than anything else so far.  Fellow photographers will refer clients that their styles do not mesh with and vice versa.  Photographers will also refer others if they are booked on a particular day.

"Make friends with people in the industry. It is constantly changing and you will never know everything there is to know, so be willing to learn," said Walker. 

"I do what I do so that couples, families and guests can experience their day fully.  I will be the one to capture the moment so that they can look back at the images and remember how it felt to experience that day, not photograph it," said Walker.

To see more of Walker's work or contact her, visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Photos provided with permission from Laura Jett Walker Photography.

 


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