ARTIST OF THE MONTH – RYAN LEAROYD
February has nearly come to an end as you know it is time to reveal our Artist of the Month. Those of you, who are regularly following our feed in the LLF group or on our Instagram channels have definitely seen his incredible work before. Today we want to take a closer look at Ryan Learoyd‘s beautiful images and get to know him a little better!
If you want to meet Ryan in person and to learn more about his way of photographing, join the LOOKSLIKEFILM UK MEETUP in Leeds on March 15th! There are only a few spots left!
How old are you and where are you from?
I’m 3 & a fifth decades young & from Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Home of the Hobbits, land of the free.
Tell us a little bit about your life in the moment?
I live a rock star lifestyle of drugs, sexiness, crispy creme doughnuts & shooting unicorns just for fun. I’m pretty sure when most people go on Instagram & look at all the uber rockstar photographers curated feeds thats what they think. In reality I’m sat at my desk doing what I adore. When I’m not here I’m outside been given the insane opportunity to tell incredible humans stories the way I want.
Outside of wedding photography I get to spend all my time with my incredible wife Hannah & my little black cat called Gatsby. I’d make up a load of stuff about all my friends & wild nights out but in reality I’m binge watching every season of friends while eating too many crisps in my pants. I can’t emphasise enough that how much I don’t take it for granted to be living the life I live & to have found a job & lifestyle that is pefectly in tune with every fibre of my being. Make no mistake it has taken a huge amount of work to get here. But every second has been worth it.
How did you end up being a photographer?
Shutter Go Click was created probably in a similar way to how a ton of you guys got started. I got out of Uni bleary eyed with a heart full of dreams ready to take on the world. & so I did what all ambitious post grads do. I found a dead end job in a call centre as a ‘temporary’ thing & got stuck there for 7 frickin years.
In a gadget lust haze of semi adulthood I was perving on a Canon 450D for an age. My wife Hannah convinced me to buy it (She’s good like that) 2 years of monthly payments for that bad boy. & a bit later I got the urge to upgrade. I craved more resolution in which to capture that illusive rare Sparrow in my garden. I switched to Nikon & my friend asked me to shoot their wedding. She used the words “If you can make baboons look that good then I can’t even imagine our wedding pics” & I thought you know what Love my baboons are fucking epic.
I shot the Wedding & charged £250. I felt like Kanye West making it rain. I shot that Wedding & realised holy shit that was awesome. People are what I want to photograph & nothing else. No matter how fine the sparrow. Of course looking back now they look like they were taken by a fingerless blind tosser. No I’m not showing you any.
I followed photographers that inspired me & made me realise that Wedding Photography in its traditional form which truly wasn’t for me was not the only way to do it. With a couple of Love struck strangers you could make art, you could be the story teller in any way you wanted.
So I was working full time in a call centre alongside shooting 20+ Weddings a year for 4 years. I kept that up until May 2015 when I got in one day and finally broke. I told my boss to fuck himself put on my sunglasses, lit up a cigarette and strolled out like a badass into the sunset… Ok ok I was on my lunch break & called Hannah and told her I was broken, I couldn’t be there any more & she said. “ So quit” & I did…
I needed the fear. & here I am 3 years later shooting 40 Weddings a year & loving every frickin moment.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Probably in a hole in the ground the way I smoke & eat. haha. Seriously though I don’t know or want to know. If we all knew what was at the end of the road then we wouldn’t enjoy the journey. I don’t want my rotations on this blue marble through space to feel like a commute to the inevitable. I want to feel the wind in my hair, the wheels turning & turn that metaphorical sat nav off. All I hope is that in 20 years I can still feed the cat, the wife & have a quality of life that not many are fortunate enough to have. Above all else I want to still think I’m a good man.
What gear are you currently using?
I use two Nikon D750’S & unusually for a lot of pro photographers only Tamron lenses. The 35mm F1.8 VC & the 85 F1.8 VC. I’m not a massive gear nerd to be honest. I used to be way more tech orientated & always want to have the latest & greatest but now it’s the opposite. They’re just tools that are there to materialise a vision. I think after a while of doing this they become a bizzare extension of sense & sight. Especially when using just two focal lengths. You begin to see a scene before even lifting a camera.
The Tamron lenses also get a bit of a bad rep with a lot of peeps who haven’t even used them. I’m not a pixel peeper by any stretch. But they have taken a beating, reliably focus, have Vibration compensation for those darker bits of the day & are fuly weather sealed. I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again. The only bad thing about Tamron lenses is they’re one letter away from Tampon.
What advice could you give out to a new starting photographer?
Don’t get bogged down with finding your own style early on & worrying that you aren’t good enough. Emulate & create & you will find your own voice naturally. There is no point in doing something you love for a living if you are not happy shooting what you shoot. I would also tell them never ever underestimate the amount of work that you have to do to achieve what you want.
There’s a mentality within the industry at the moment where I think people just starting out are looking for fast ways to success. But from the beginning to now 6 years later, have always wanted to be known for working hard, for putting my all into every element of my business, brand & client experience.
You can be the best photographer in the world but if you don’t learn the other strings of the bow you will never succeed. I know photographers who will openly admit they are the worst photographers in the world & don’t even care about the creative side. But because they know how to run a business they are successful. There are no short cuts. Yes you can learn from others, get advice & emulate to create. But it’s your individual journey, learning, passion & hard work that will build you all that you desire.
Did the LLF community changed the way you see or shoot weddings, couples etc.?
I have absolutely found inspiration that has transcended into my own work. Sometimes even without knowing. There are some incredible artists within this community & in my opinion it has probably been one of the most fulfilling & motivating groups/online experiences I’ve been a part of. It has given me confidence, faith in my own vision & the drive to not only keep learning but strive to push the boundaries of storytelling.
What plans do you have for 2018?
I plan on building death star 3, hunting the sasquatch & proving without a shadow of a doubt that the Earth is actually a triangle in shape. Other than that it’s all weddings, hard work & continuing to learn & grow as a camera toteing finger wizard. I’ve also been given the awesome chance to speak at the LOOKSLIKEFILM UK Meet Up in my home town of Leeds in March. I can’t believe someone has actually let me out of my cave to speak to real life human beings. Oh they are in for a treat haha