Instagram Takeover: John Lloyd

This week on the Instagram, we’re featuring the stunning work of John Lloyd, a Colorado-based photographer. We caught up with Lloyd earlier this month to find out more about what inspired him to become a professional photographer, where his favorite place to go outside and play is, and what’s next on the agenda. Follow us on Instagram at @elevationout to see more of Lloyd’s beautiful photos.

About John:

While the seed of adventure may have been planted in him while on the east coast, the Rocky Mountains are where John Lloyd has grown to love adventuring and multimedia. Living as an independent media maker, John works on photo, video and motion graphic projects for companies focused in the outdoor industry and beyond.

“While I really enjoy the video and motion graphic projects I work on, my heart is in photography. It’s the medium I enjoy working in the most because of the process and the way I can incorporate my personal style and lifestyle into that workflow.”

John spends his time in the mountains of Colorado, the deserts of the American Southwest and beyond, with a camera and a cup of coffee finding their way into every excursion possible. Follow along on the adventure: @johnlloydphoto

1. What made you want to be a professional photographer?

Photography came into my life as a means to communicate my experience to family and friends. I started going on adventures that were atypical for many of the people in my life in the Philadelphia area, and words could only do so much. Images bridged that gap.

Moving to Colorado 8 years ago shifted my perspective on photography. It enabled me to see photography as a potential lifestyle career instead of a hobby, so I took the plunge, got some gear and started shooting more of the things I loved, which mostly consisted of climbing and the associated adventures.

A little over 2 years ago I stepped away from my job as a full-time multimedia creator to pursue photography, video production and motion graphics on my own. The quote, “My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from” sums it up pretty well. It’s making a living doing what I loved to do before money was even a consideration. It’s an on-going process, but I am aligning myself more and more with the types of projects and clients I truly want to pursue and having that passion behind my thoughts and actions makes each day more fulfilling for me.

2. Where is your favorite place to go outside and play?

Joshua Tree is hands down my favorite place to be. Every trip down there is great. From the people I meet, to all the bouldering, mix that with perfectly temperate, sunny winter days, and it’s no wonder I keep going back. Joshua Tree is also the place I first traveled to with a serious camera, it’s where I spent my 21st birthday, it’s one of those places I want to get to every winter I can.

3. Where is the most majestic place you’ve ever been?

It’s a tough choice, but I would have to say that Yosemite National Park is the most majestic place I’ve ever been. The scale of everything there is so immense and every day (and night) has a magical energy to it. That’s a feeling I don’t get in many places. Those visits were quite memorable and impactful.

4. How do you prepare for a photo shoot?

Preparation for a shoot varies depending on what I’m shooting. If we’re out in the field just adventuring around, I like to leave things fairly unscripted. If I’m planning for a client shoot, I usually write up a shot list so I have some goals in mind and then of course I forget to take it with me. The thing with that is those shots on the list are really just starting points for different scenes. Once you’re out there you have to be flexible because things never unfold exactly how you would expect.

I like bringing as many lenses as possible, though sometimes it’s just too much to lug around for a few extra shots. That’s where the shot list really helps me make decisions. Packing, repacking, repacking again. No matter the size pack I’m using, I seem to have a knack for filling it to the max.

5. Tell us about your most surprising successful shot.

Those moments of astonishment with what you are able to capture are so great. A lot of the time I only check the back of my camera for exposure and don’t look at all the shots until I’m back home. Putting that sort of trust in my process means pleasant surprises when I do get to look through everything, and greater focus on what I’m photographing.

Since I seem to do this with frequency, one of my more recent surprisingly successful shots was in Chautauqua Park right here in Boulder. I went out in the middle of the night just looking to capture the stars under the clearing night sky. After a couple of test frames I realized that I was also seeing the Milky Way standing upright, gushing into the sky from right behind the mountains. Didn’t expect to find that, and it was much more clearly visible than I thought possible for being in town.

6. What can we look forward to seeing from you next?

Coming down the line you can expect to see more imagery from the Southwest for sure, especially as things start to cool off I’ll be back out there. Winter in the desert is pretty great. For some of the companies I work with, the environment really compliments the feel of their brand.

Be on the look out for my first image scooped up by Patagonia, set for publication sometime this autumn. I bet you can’t guess where it’s from. Video projects with Liberty Sport/Switch Sunglasses, a print piece here and there.

I’ve done a fair amount of domestic travel so I’m looking forward to planning an international trip focused on exploring the climbing in a location that has seen little to no international traffic in a good while. We’ve got some good ideas of places we want to consider, it’s just a matter of working out the details. A trip like that should push me out of my comfort zone in a healthy way.

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