May 19, 2019 • 17M

Ep 05 On a Call With Photographer Bobbi Lane

Lee Schneider
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500 Words is a podcast about living a creative life. Short-form interviews with creative people from film, music, design, multi-media and more. Conducted by Lee Schneider.

This week's interview is with Bobbi Lane, who has said memorably, "If you don’t have a concept then you don’t have a picture." What she means is that all the photographic technique in the world isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t have an idea for your image. 

Bobbi is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits on location and in the studio. Her corporate and editorial work includes corporate websites, annual reports, and hundreds of environmental portraits for a wide variety of magazines. She's also an amazing teacher of photography and was once my teacher. 

It’s easy to shoot a million pictures in digital but that doesn’t mean that you have to.  -- Bobbi Lane

Photographs nowadays live amid a vast ocean of their fellow images. We consume them like potato chips, quickly flipping to the next set on Instagram. This has changed the way we consume images but not the way we make good ones. As Bobbi explains to her students, the path to making a memorable image is to be aware of everything in the frame. Don't rely on post-production too much -- get the image you want when you snap the shutter. 

You have to love your project. If you don't love it, why shoot it?

Bobbi is a Fujifilm X Photographer and does presentations for Fuji around the country. She teaches at the International Center for Photography in New York City, Los Angeles Center of Photography, and the Light Factory in North Carolina. With her husband, Lee Varis, she teaches daylong workshops at Hunts Camera just outside of Boston four or five times a year.

On the call, Bobbi and I talk about her trips to Venice for Carnival -- this year was her eighth trip. She does a regular series of photo travel tours. This summer she's taking a small group to Tanzania during the wildebeest migration. In September she's headed back to Iceland for her second photo trip. Next January she will be returning to Myanmar for her second trip. In February, she'll be back in Venice.

She and Lee have a website ( and it lists all their upcoming workshops and events, and has a variety of image galleries about places they've been. Her Instagram is worth a look. It has a pretty rad icon of her holding a falcon. 

Thanks for listening,