Photographer turns hobby into a business

Feb 2019

By: Laura Crawford Williams

What started out as a hobby not only turned into a wildly successful career for one woman, but also a passion for conservation.

“I’ve been doing it for 18 years,” says Laura Crawford Williams.

For Williams, her office is anywhere nature takes her. But photography started out as a hobby.

She says, “It was really a way for me to kind of decompress and recharge my battery, I was completely burned out.”

She moved to a farm in South Dakota and began taking pictures of wildlife full-time.

Williams said, “Within two years, I was being published in national wildlife magazine.”

Followed by international assignments.

“‘Do you mind coming and photographing the blue throated parrot in Bolivia, it’s a very endangered McCaw,'” Williams shared.


Eight years of travel in South America ignited a passion for conservation and the drive to write a book.

“The book is called Wildlife in Wild Lands and it’s photography for conservation in southern South America,” Williams said.

But her success didn’t happen overnight. She says first, take baby steps.

“At least put yourself into situations so you can begin to experience if you like it, if it suits you,” Williams said.

Then take a risk. In her case it was traveling far from home.

“Even if you find that’s not where you want to land, you’re proud of yourself. You feel better about yourself,” she said.

Williams loves inspiring young people and reassuring them their dreams are within their grasp.

“A lot of times they have a desire and a passion that they want to do something, but they don’t see that they can do it,” said Terry Bomar, the founder of Young Adventurers, Inc.

Williams adds when it comes to handling criticism don’t take it personally. Listen, see what you can take from it and moderate your emotion. Her book, which took 10 years to produce, is available on Amazon. All proceeds go to further print more copies of the book and conservation efforts.