Many people dream of turning a much loved hobby into a business, though few ever dare to try. One local man is doing just that. Richard Lau is capturing his love of photography and putting it towards creating a business, one that can fulfill his decades’ long passion.
Born in Canton, China; Lau, immigrated to Hawaii in 1965 along with his mother and four siblings to live with his grandmother.
Richard Lau remembers the moment he picked up his first camera and became an amateur photographer.
After graduating high school, Lau joined the United States Air Force where he worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for 22 years. During his time in the Air Force, Lau traveled the world seeing amazing people and place.
A young man of 21, Lau was stationed in Germany where he purchased his first camera.
“It was a Fuji Film F100,” said Lau, “since then I haven’t put a camera down.”
Over the years Lau has had many cameras and has honed his craft, everything from scenery shots to people.
Having no official training, Lau credits his photographic talent to ‘hands on learning’.
Currently Lau uses a Sony Professional Series, Alpha 850.
In 2000, Lau retired from the Air Force and continued his career a commercial airline as a professional fight engineer.
“I have been fortunate to travel to travel around the world,” said Lau, “I have been to over 44 different countries.”
On a daily basis, Lau posts a “travel picture of the day” on his photography Facebook Page, sharing his experiences and travels from around the world.
“I remember exactly where I took each picture, and why I took it,” said Lau.
Lau moved to Williams in 2001 and quickly fell in love with community and its people.
Serving as a Volunteer Firefighter, Lau found new opportunities for his photography subjects.
From fighting grass fires, to forest fires, Lau has been recognized in the California Service Firefighters Association Magazine for his fire photography work.
Growing increasingly popular on the home front, Lau has expanded from photographing mostly landscapes, to offering portrait services, graduation photos, maternity photos and more.
Shooting photos primarily on location, Lau chooses sceneries that fit the subjects and add to the composure of the image.
Lau prides himself as being unique in his photographic style, “I am not a typical pose photographer,” said Lau, “I like to have fun and capture the realness of the subject.”
Recently winning ‘best of show’ at the Colusa County Fair, Lau has also been featured in the Airline Union Magazine. Lau is also a photography contributor in the Williams Pioneer Review.
Some of the most memorable moments for Lau is when he walked down to “Ground Zero” a year after the terror attacks in 2001.
“I am also honored that I was asked to photograph PFC Ruben ‘Boy’ Lopez’s memorial service,” said Lau, “It was an experience that I will never forget.”
Most recently Lau has been mentoring a Colusa High School Senior as she works on her Senior Project on the topic of photography.
“For any person starting out in photography, I would have to tell them to not be afraid,” said Lau, “and practice, practice, practice.”
Lau recommends almost any digital camera to anyone wanting to start in photography.
“Today, it’s not about the camera, they all take great photos,” said Lau, “it comes down to editing and having fun.”
When Lau isn’t acting as a Volunteer Firefighter, or meeting with photography clients, he continues going on long drives. Lau has recently taken helicopter rides taking aerial shots of Colusa County and its agricultural bounty.
Booking appointments for senior photos, family portraits, baby or maternity photos, Lau can be reached by calling (707) 479-0046. Lau can also be found on face book via his business page Laus Photography. ■