Inverview with Jordan Loyd

May 27th 2013

I believe life is an open book which we can write ourselves. We have the power to pursue whatever life we want and live in whatever way makes us happy. I love it when I find people who are making amazing work because they are living out their dream. Jordan Loyd is one such person. Artists he has photographed include David Guetta, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Tommy Lee, and Snoop Dogg. He is currently working often with 3lau and Tiësto. He is young, his photos are epic, and he was open to letting me interview him. Be sure to check out more of his work at jordanloydphotography.com.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Jordan Loyd.

1) Anyone can take a photo of an event or a crowd, but you have done an incredible job of making events into art. To you personally, what makes a photo cross the line from documentation to art?

Jordan: This is one the aspects of my photography I focus on the most. People can go to events and take pictures and document their experience - but rarely do you see photos that make you feel like you are a part of the picture. I think that's where I am able to make events into art. If I hear someone say that picture makes them feel like they're there - I've done my job. Before I take a photograph - I think about what it will look like in my head. Is everything I want out of the photo going to be captured? How are the colors going to work together? With how many shows and places I've photographed - I know what the photo will look like before I take it. I know what lights will work and what colors look the best. All of this leads people to have a feeling after looking at one of my photos - and that's the difference between event photography and art.

2) What's more important, documenting life, or turning life into art?

Jordan: I think that they're both equally important and similar. If I had to pick one, I'd say that turning life into art is more important to me. My photography gives people a new and unique perspective on something that they have already experienced first hand. After the show, people look back at my photos and see things they never saw. This goes along with your previous question about transcending event photography. I love being able to show people how I see life, how I see an show.

3)You have achieved so much at such a young age. Its impossible to know the future, but with so much potential, where do you hope your photography leads you? What goals does a person like you have? 

Jordan: It has been a wild ride! I just graduated college a few weeks ago and, currently, I'm touring with Lau across North America. We’ve done something like 20-25 shows over April – I’ve seen a lot of airports, to say the least. This past week I photographed Tiësto’s opening weekend for his residency at Hakkasan in Las Vegas. I have a lot of projects coming up that I’m really excited to work on and see where they take me. I also work in Beatport’s marketing department, which is great - I love everyone there with and couldn't ask for anything else. I'm doing what I enjoy right now and I'm just really happy. I hope I'm able to keep up photography throughout my life, probably focusing on singular artists like I am with Justin (3Lau). I have no aspirations of being labeled the ‘top’ photographer out there - when you tell yourself you've reached the top, you get complacent. There is no way to perfect art, so I can always do something different, something better. 

4) No one knows the meaning of life, but to you personally, what gives life meaning?

Jordan: Deep question! Being happy is what gives meaning to my life. My family, friends, and job all give my life purpose and I enjoy each moment. Life passes by too quickly to settle for something you're not happy with. That's why I love photography - it genuinely makes me happy to do what I do. Hearing people who are excited about my work makes me so ecstatic, it's a feeling unmatched by anything else. 

5) Who is another young photographer who's work you admire? If you could say something face to face right now, what would you tell them?

Jordan: Honestly, there are so many great, young, photographers out there I wouldn't want to single out some and leave out others. I do keep up with other people's work all the time. I use 500px, Tumblr, and blogs to fill my inspiration tank. If I could say one thing to a young photographer - I'd advise them to learn how to value himself or herself as a photographer. Too many people are taken advantage of in the artistic world, especially those who are young. 

6) What is your photography weakness?

Jordan: My weakness is probably one of my strengths, but I'm rarely ever completely satisfied with a shoot. There's always something I could of done better or changed a little to strengthen an image. This leads me to work even harder, but sometimes, I need to just be happy with what I've captured.

7) You have commented before that you use business skills as much or more as a photographer than perhaps even photography skills. Where did you learn your business skills? Or perhaps a better question is, why did you decide that you wanted to make your photography into a business.

Jordan:Yes. By far the most important aspect of running a successful photography business is the business itself. There are so many great artists out there, but rarely do people have the business sense to complement their artistic abilities. I actually started my photography company from a business perspective rather than just a photographic aim. Setting up a company structure, how you're going to bill clients, run ads, build your website, your insurance, everything that ‘behind the scene’ is the most important. You can take the best photos, but if you don't know how to run a business (or have someone run it for you) you'll never be successful. Everything I've done with my company has been self-taught through trial, error, and research. I studied marketing in college, however, most of what I learned in class, I had already been doing for years with my company. I decided to make my business because I love the feeling of personal success. There is nothing more rewarding than starting something from the ground up, and making something out of it. 

8) What is in your camera bag and what piece of equipment are you looking at buying next?

Jordan:There are quite a few things in the camera bag. I do have to say that one of my favorite pieces of gear is my custom TrekPak setup. I use Pelican cases with their inserts everywhere I go; it's nice to know my gear is safe – especially when you’re on a flight every single day. I also love my BlackRapid straps – when you’re using two cameras at once, there’s no better way than those straps. As for the camera gear:

Nikon D4
2 Nikon D3 Bodies 
14-24 f/2.8
24-70 f/2.8
70-200 f/2.8
35 f/2
50 f/1.4
85 f/1.4
SB-800 Speedlights
A couple GoPros
Seagate / LaCie HDs
Macbook Pro Retina 
Macbook Pro 15in
Apple Thunderbolt Monitors

I also use an Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS kit for remote lighting. 

As for what I'm looking at next? I'll probably look at a second D4 and the 24 f/1.4 and 35 f/1.4 primes.