Despite Hollywood stereotypes, Texas is not just an expanse of desert and not everyone owns a horse. With sprawling cities like Dallas and Houston, beautiful beaches like South Padre, salt marshes on the eastern Coastal Plains, and the awe-inspiring Guadalupe Mountains near El Paso, the landscape of the Lone Star State is rich and varied. Inspired by both natural and urban beauty, it’s no wonder the creative landscape is equally diverse – especially in the world of photography. Discover more about these Texas-based photographers to watch out for.
A man of many talents, Sauceda describes himself as a “pilot, photographer, chili fanatic” and “professional Texan”. In 2015, he completed an ambitious aerial project for Texas Monthly, capturing the entire 3,822-mile perimeter of the Lone Star State from the sky. An almost week-long endeavor, the project started in Galveston and went to print in April 2017. Read the full story in the print issue or online at Texas Monthly, but be sure to check out Sauceda’s Instagram for an almost daily outpouring of the state’s raw beauty. Follow along and be transported: you’ll see Texas like you’ve never seen it before.
If Jay B Sauceda’s project tempts you to consider a trip to West Texas, Jennifer Boomer’s work will seal the deal. A frequent contributor to Texas Monthly, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, Boomer is based in Marfa, Texas. She was chosen as one of Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50 Photographers and included in the Magenta Foundation’s Flash Forward – Emerging Photographers lists: her colorful portraits and haunting desert landcapes don’t make it hard to guess why.
Ratcliff may be from Texas, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the exotic destinations on his website. According to Forbes Travel Guide, his website, Stuck in Customs, is the number one travel photography blog on the internet. Ratcliff’s portfolio showcases his cinematic style and love for adventure, as well as his penchant for sharing helpful tips and product reviews for even the most amateur photographer. His shots are dramatic, drawing the eye inward; as if to further enhance the drama, Ratcliff likes to play with HDR settings to overlay exposures and moods. The effect is stunning and thanks to his detailed tutorials, his website will have you picking up a camera in no time.
Based in Austin, Jackie Young’s work is both prolific and mesmerizing. Her portraits most recently appeared in the Sunday Times, with other features in Paper Magazine and Billboard. Specializing in music, travel and fashion portraits, Young has a unique ability to capture the souls of musicians, whether mid-performance at a festival or lounging in the green room. Her Instagram feed is a visual feast that will both brighten and inspire your day, including her spellbinding stories.
And speaking of brightening your day, Chelsea Francis is another photographer to add to your list. Her photos are a welcome explosion of color, featuring bright and beautiful products, stunning portraits (like the one below of local florist studio, Bricolage Curated Florals), and dazzling stills. Check out the full portfolio on her newly rebranded website, which features business-savvy tips for other budding photographers and entrepreneurs, plus behind-the-scenes blog posts on some of her recent shoots. And be sure to follow her on Instagram for a daily dose of encouragement, too.
Kayla Barker is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer specializing in destination weddings and on-location portrait sessions. Using an artful approach to create beautiful, light-filled images, Barker’s style evokes a sense of emotion and beauty. She has documented clients across the United States, in Europe, the Caribbean, and many beautiful places in-between. In 2014, she was named the Best Photographer by Mod Wedding, and her work has been featured in countless publications such as Brides, The Knot, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Junebug Weddings, and more.
Kyle Steed is a Dallas-based photographer with a remarkable ability to capture the beauty of ordinary life. His abstract compositions can seem almost other-worldly at first glance: upon closer inspection, the viewer recognizes objects from daily life or a landscape from a national park on a recent adventure. Also an artist, Kyle’s murals are featured around Dallas, and you can watch videos of his process on his website.
Aaron Bates is an outdoor lifestyle and nature photographer based in Texas, but clearly with an eye for travel beyond the Lone Star State. His images celebrate the spectacular scenes in nature that take our breath away, and his mission is to capture those moments in such a way that viewers will be inspired to explore further. Bates is an advocate for conservation, a supporter of national and state parks, a hiking and camping enthusiast, and a lover of all wild places. His work has appeared in Garden&Gun, Men’s Journal, Texas Monthly, and more.
Another multi-talented photographer in the Lone Star State is Houston-based John Dunaway, a merchant mariner who spends about half the year traveling around the world as the captain of large cargo ships. Dunaway catalogs his travels through his Instagram account, AbstractConformity, which will have you debating a career change and a life at sea as soon as you start scrolling. When not traveling by boat, Dunaway spends plenty of time snapping equally stunning shots on land, capturing his family adventures.
Currently based in Houston, Lauren Marek is “inspired by small towns, old friends, and simple moments” – an epithet that aptly sums up her unique style behind the lens. Her landscapes convey a sense of calm: scenes so serene they look like stills from a different era. Her portraits capture the distinctive expressions of her sitters, making the viewer feel they know the subject – even if they’ve never met. From band photos to product advertisements, Marek displays an extraordinary range of talent and this won’t be the last time you see or hear about her work.