Self-Taught Photographer Travels the Valley Capturing the Moments that Matter

Photos Courtesy of Lauren Ryder

Sitting on an old Coca-Cola crate in cuffed-up jeans, polka-dot suspenders and a newsboy cap, Jessica Ryder’s son struggles to pick up two glass Coke bottles in his tiny hands. This is Ryder’s favorite moment she’s ever photographed.

“The lighting isn’t perfect by any means,” Ryder said. “But I love it.”

Ryder, a Valley native, bought her first Nikon DSLR after the birth of her son a little over four years ago and has made a business out of it. As her interest in photography grew, she began reading articles online and talking to other photographers about photography techniques, and has used a trial-and-error system of developing her style.

“I just like to grow on what I’ve done the year before and try new things,” she said. “Sometimes I look back at my old stuff and think, ‘I can’t believe I did that!’” Over the years she has photographed numerous weddings, engagements sessions, senior portraits and maternity sessions on top of her job as an X-ray technician. The draw, for her, is being able to capture the simple things that people don’t think of when they’re in the moment, like petite baby feet or the finger foods at a wedding reception.

“My style is really bright and clean,” Ryder said. “I like crisp pictures.” The pictures in the gallery are a testament to her photographic style. They’re full of portraits displaying newlyweds, couples cradling their newborn and intimate embraces of recently-engaged couples. She’s preserved all the details that begin to fade as memories age with a translucent photo.

“I like capturing the moments that people can’t get back,” she said. “You have that memory, but you can’t get that moment back. I like that pictures can freeze it in time.”