It comes to you as no surprise that I spend a fair amount of time looking through Flickr streams. Last year, on one of those late nights, a photograph stopped me in my tracks. It expressed a feeling of serenity, and if you have ever tried snapping any kind of picture in SL you know that it is one of the harder aspects of SL photography – to capture a moment, a feeling. As you might have already guessed, I marked the stream and started following the photographer who is no other than the lady of spunk: Lara Ubert.
Recently, I called on Lara to request her joining our Meet SL Photographer Series. She could not have been more kind and gracious. You won’t be surprised to know that she, like most artists, has an avatar that stands out – not just because she is beautiful (which she is) but because the beauty is hers and has her own voice. You can pick her out from a crowd. She asked me what kind of portrait we should aim for, and I told her she has free reign. This is the only way this series would make sense to me: to be a free creative outlet for the artist.
I showed up to the appointment wearing the hair I most often wear – yes, if you have ever run into me in-world, you know what I am talking about. This hair is a photographer’s nightmare; it has a mind of its own, it is everywhere, and I love it. I told Lara that we could drop the hair, since no one ever wants to photograph me with it, and that I would understand. Lara laughed and said she would take on the challenge.
Leda Carter: It is great to meet you, Lara. Your pictures are always simple, sexy, with a touch of mysterious. How long have you been an SL Photographer?
Lara Ubert: I found out about SL by searching online. I saw some pictures and decided to join in 2009. I started photography in October of 2009, which was a few months after joining SL. I wanted to discover something new in SL. At first, it was just for fun. I would take snaps for myself and for friends with a little edit. After a while, I decided to take it to the next level and start earning some lindens. I searched for a photography studio, and got a job immediately.
Leda: Were you already familiar with editing tools?
Lara: I did not know what Photoshop was, until after I was exploring in SL. 9 months after joining second life, I decided to get Photoshop and learn the magic. Tutorials are very helpful. Now, I’ve been learning PS by myself for years. I always practice, and still am learning new techniques. The best way is to try and never give up!
Leda: What was that first job you got?
Lara: It was the only job I have had in SL. I t was right after I learned Photoshop and got used to how SL works. I found a job in a studio called Touch Of Glamor. I started there with very little experience in PS, but later I became a lead, and a well known photographer. After that job, I decided to work alone.
Leda: What are some of the challenges of being a photographer, and working alone?
Lara: One of the challenges is to make sure that you understand your client and their taste in pictures. Their personality must be the hero in the picture that I’ll be working on. Another challenge is to be unique, creative and to give the picture its own identity.
Leda: Could you give our readers a few tips on how they can take better pictures?
Lara: What I would start with is, when you are in SL snapping your client, turn your graphics as high as you can and try to take snaps with different angles. Always Practice, watch tutorials, but take a break to load in new ideas & inspirations.
Leda: Where does *your* inspiration come from?
Lara: Everywhere. I love exploring new places in SL. I always end up posing and snapping around. My other inspirations are music, videos, SL/RL experiences, friends and other photographers from flickr, of course!
Leda: I think I am most attracted to your close-ups and romantic photography. I assume that might be typical among your clients?
Lara: Yes, most people say that. *smiles* You know, when I first started photography I hated doing close-ups. I thought that I didn’t do them well, and that those were the worst! I felt that they were too simple, and didn’t need much work. But, now, they are my favorite to do, and I spend around two hours on each.
I still get commissioned to do romantics too. Although, lately I have not had a lot of couple requests, but clients who want profile pictures or half-body shots.
Leda: I notice that often good romance photographers are those who are somewhat romantic themselves.
Lara: Yeah, that’s true. I am very romantic and want the one that I love to share that quality. And, I try very hard to show it in my works. I live in the moment as they say. *laughs*
Leda: Have you always been interested in photography?
Lara: Yes, I’ve always been interested in RL photography, but it has been nothing more than a hobby. I did not know that I could be a photographer in SL, or even exist in it. But, after 9 months of being here, I decided to work on my skills and give PS a chance.
Leda: Has this experience resulted in more RL photography?
Lara: No, less! *laughs* That’s because I spend most of my time in SL, except when I take pictures in parties or for special occasions. I work on some of my RL friend’s pictures now.
Leda: It sounds like your RL profession is not related to photography.
Lara: No, not at all, although I have been involved with computers a lot, mostly on the design side. I work in a kindergarten, with one year old toddlers. The oldest one under my care is 19 months.
Leda: Wow, teeny weeny ones! What attracted you to the job?
Lara: I don’t know. I love kids so much. I found it natural to be around them, and they seem to feel the same. I do get some nice shots from them sometimes, hehe.
Leda: Do you any of your own? Who is Lara’s typist?
Lara: No, not yet. I am engaged though. *smiles*
I’m pretty much the same in SL as in RL – a simple person, far from perfect. I dislike drama everywhere, even in SL and I do my best to avoid it. Lara Ubert is the the same Lara in RL, except with brown hair! *winks*
Leda: What do you enjoy most about SL, besides photography?
Lara: What I love about SL is that it gives us the freedom to express ourselves in many ways, whatever we want to do or become. For example, everybody can dance in SL. This place brings friendship,confidence, and can even teach us life lessons.
Leda: Thank you so much for your time, Lara. It has been a true pleasure to meet you and talk about your work.