Looking For Light: Tracy Layne


My job is all about light; it’s about understanding it in all it’s forms, and knowing how to make that light work.  Make it beautiful.  As a professional photographer specializing in families and children, having light is essential.  Most people don’t understand just how much the light plays a role in the end result of their session.  They often look at an image and love it so much and see something in it that makes it feel extra magical, but they often don’t know exactly what it is.  I do.  It’s the light.

Outside of my work, I am constantly looking for and admiring light.  I look for it everywhere.  And when I see it—that really magical light—I have to stop and admire.  I’ve pulled off many a freeways to stop and admire a stunning sunset.

But it goes beyond simply looking at and admiring beautiful light.  I feel it.  I feel it so deep down in my soul that it becomes much more than just the way the sun is shining through the trees and glittering on my face; it becomes a feeling that lights my soul and fills me with a kind of joy, peace, and love that can only come from one place: My Savior.  His love.  His joy.  His peace.  And I know that light is His gift to me.  It’s the segue He has given me to feel His presence.  But it’s not only the light from the sun, it’s the light in people, in connection.  The kind of light between people that love one another, be it a mother and child, friends, or two total strangers that recognize that they are brothers and sisters (and we all are).  Light shines through kindness and love, through treating everyone around us with the same love our Savior would, by being as the light of Christ.  I see this kind of light and feel it in the exact same way I do the light from the sun and I’m fortunate that it is a part of my job to capture that light for other people to see.


Sometimes light is so easy to find, and sometimes there is just so much darkness.  Something I often teach other photographers is how little light you need to make a beautiful image: how powerful the tiniest bit of light is, even in the darkest of darkness.  How, in fact, those situations sometimes create the most beautiful images.  Because the darker it is, the more the light stands out.  And that is where your attention goes.  To the light.  Always to the light.  And so we learn that no matter how much darkness encircles us, the tiniest light will shine through it and turn all of the darkness into a piece of the picture that only makes the light stand out even more.

I once went adventuring with friends (in fact, with the man I would one day marry) to a cave in our hometown in southern Utah.  As we entered, I rememberer being surprised at the darkness—it was unlike anything I had ever seen—or not seen, I should say.  We had many flashlights, but at one point my future husband decided to turn off the light we were sharing, and leave me in total darkness in the large space.  And immediately I felt the overwhelming fear of being in complete darkness.  Unlike any darkness I had ever been in.  Unable to see anything at all and afraid to move in any way, it was paralyzing.  And then he turned on his little light.  And in the huge, dark room that completely encompassed me seconds before, that tiny little flashlight eliminated all of those fears.  One tiny light.  One tiny light is all we need be to outshine darkness.  So be the light.  Be the light even when it seems there is just too much darkness for your little light to make a difference.  Because it will make a difference.  Be the light by spreading kindness and encouragement all around you.  When you see opportunity to lift someone, lift them.  A kind word may be the difference for someone.  It may be the very light they need.

When you need light, let it be given to you.  Even greater than the gift of receiving light when you need it most is the opportunity to be the giver of that light.  Humble yourself enough to give someone else that gift.  Let the people that love you give you whatever light they have to give.  They need to give it as much as you need to receive it.


tracy layne

Tracy is a photographer, teacher and studio owner based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves light and admires the magic it can create in the most unexpected of places. She loves people—especially the little ones. The spirit and fun, the unpredictable behavior and the uniqueness each child possesses. She can be found at tracylaynephotography.com and on Instagram at @tracylaynephotography.

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tracy layne