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Bobbi Lane ( is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits on location and in the studio. Lane’s multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 35 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Her clients include GE, Warner Bros., PricewaterhouseCoopers, Samsung, Brandweek Magazine, Neutrogena, Charles Schwab, Mattel, Sears’ Tower Skydeck, Fujifilm, Sekonic Meters and the Morro Bay Natural History Museum. Lane shoots primarily “real” people for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts. Her corporate and editorial work includes corporate identity, business websites and annual reports. As a dedicated photo educator, she brings insight and enthusiasm to her students in workshops held worldwide. Bobbi is known for teaching lighting techniques for portraits: natural, studio strobes and speedlights. Bobbi’s excellent rapport and communication with her students inspires and motivates, while her straight-forward teaching style reaches students of many different skill levels. She teaches at LACP, ICP, Santa Fe, Maine Media, and the Center of Photography in Woodstock. Her dynamic workshops are always educational and fun! Combining her love of travel, photography and teaching, Bobbi also leads international photo travel workshops. In the past few years, she has been to Ethiopia, Myanmar, Turkey, Oman, Venice Carnival, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bobbi is the author of two books: Creative Techniques for Color Photography and Advertising Photography: A Straightforward Guide to a Complex Industry, with Lou Lesko. She currently has a class called The Essential Guide to Posing, and she teaches online workshops for– Portraits Unplugged and Posing and Directing. Bobbi is a featured speaker at many photo conventions around the country and also for Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai. Bobbi offers custom mentoring programs for emerging photographers, designed to help business development and improve photography techniques. Bobbi is a strong advocate for business education and at APA National’s 25th Anniversary, she was honored with a Special Recognition Award for Education. Photo District News named Bobbi one of 13 of the Top Workshop Instructors.


LACP Interviews Bobbi Lane

LACP asks Bobbi Lane ten questions about her background, career in and beliefs about photography

Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?

Bobbi Lane: I’m a commercial people photographer, both studio and environmental portraits on location. I shoot for corporations, magazines, etc. I started as a product photographer and still shoot products occasionally; along with anything else the client needs such as interiors, people working, and details. I’ve always been attracted to landscape and nature photography, which I do for myself. I’m also a dedicated photo educator, and I’m passionate about teaching. I teach workshops on people and lighting, both natural and flash, and lead travel trips around the world.

LACP: How long have you been shooting?

BL: Ha! Over 40 years professionally! I always say that I started when I was five!

LACP: Where did you get your training?

BL: I fell in love with photography in high school in Massachusetts, and then went to Emerson College for a couple years before finding New England School of Photography. From there I started assisting one of the top photographers in Boston, Bill Sumner. We shot everything from 8 x 10 product to fashion on location to furniture to annual reports. It was an amazing experience and I learned so much from Bill, especially about crafting light to tell the story of the subject.

LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?

BL: In photography school I still had a part time job selling clothes. I was constantly rearranging my schedule because of my classes and assignments and my boss, who really was very kind and tolerant, finally gave me the choice: did I want to work for him or not? At that moment I had an epiphany- from that moment on I was going to earn money by doing what I wanted to do, photography or creative arts, and I’ve stuck to it.

LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?

BL: NO! I’ve had some hard times, but I never even considered giving it up. How could I?

LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?

BL: LOL! Of course! Stability and security from a regular paycheck, never knowing when the next job comes in, any kind of a regular life. But I never wanted a “regular” life.

LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?

BL: I’ve gained a much richer understanding of people, cultures, the environment, the world, discovery, unique experiences. I have a very rich life. I’ve met people, seen things, helped people, learned things, and traveled, because photography brought me there. I’m a very curious person so I’m never bored!

LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?

BL: Mostly I teach lighting techniques for people. A wide variety of topics: natural light, studio lighting, portable flash, and posing and directing. Lee Varis and I have a “Real People Portraits” workshop that talks about how to work with “regular” people, not models, to make a wonderful portrait of them. We cover lighting, posing, communicating, corrective techniques as well as workflow and retouching.

LACP: What do you love most about teaching?

BL: Watching my students understand and then put to use the information I’ve taught them, allowing them to make fabulous photos and advance their vision and creativity. It’s always and amazing and surprising process!

LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?

BL: Shoot as much as you possibly can and get qualified feedback to help you grow. Practice and determination will get you further than just sheer creativity. Of course technique is important, but concepts and ideas are the heart of the image. Actively look at images from photographers you admire, follow their careers, watch how they change and grow. Very important to get business help! Learn about running a small business including: marketing and business plans, accounting, budgeting, complying with local-state-federal laws, advertising and selling, staying organized. A self employed person wears many hats!
Finally, look for inspiration from music, literature, the arts, theater and nature. Creative people put out a lot and need to be replenished and inspired. Oh, and have fun!