Photographer Larry Pena is Proof Dreams Come True in the Hill Country

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San Antonio native Larry Pena is proof that Hill Country dreams do come true. With a blossoming wedding/event photography business and a sweet gig as an official photographer for Texas Country artist Jon Wolfe, there’s no telling where Pena’s path may lead. But if his past tells us anything, it’s that his future is destined for phenomenal things. We just hope we’re lucky enough to capture it.

First Steps

Hill Country photographer Larry Pena's first photo in Denver Colorado with snow covered trees and river

Photo: Larry Pena

Born and raised on the west side of San Antonio, Pena claims, “I always saw things differently. I would just see something and think, ‘That needs to be captured.’” It wasn’t until a trip to Colorado in 2005, though, that he finally put that thought into action. Crossing over a bridge in Denver, he caught a glimpse of a landscape he just knew had to be shot.  A quick trip to Best Buy and one Olympus Stylus 600 later, he snapped the perfect postcard picture (above). Without a single photography class to his name, Larry continued to hone his trade while growing his clientele back home in the Hill Country. With the help of a friend, he expanded his portfolio by snagging a motorcycle magazine gig and officially became a published photographer.

Making Strides

Hill Country photographer Larry Pena's shot of a wedding couple in Las Vegas

Photo: Larry Pena

In 2012, while at his very own wedding in Missouri, Larry found himself picking the brain of the wedding photographer. A friendship was quickly forged with Jared Hoffpauir of J Design Studios. In Jared, Larry found a critic, a mentor, and a friend. Pena would frequently send snapshots to Jared for his honest opinion and welcomed the feedback. He absorbed the information and began to model his style after the company’s unique take on lifestyle photography. His hard work and dedication all paid off when, in 2015, Jared called and asked him to join the team. “It was such an honor to be given this opportunity from someone I looked up to, someone I respected,” Larry says. He humbly accepted and now is the managing partner of J Design Studio’s South Texas branch based in San Antonio.

Unchartered Territory

Hill Country Photographer Larry Pena's black and white photo of Jon Wolfe toasting the crowd at John T. Floore's Country Store in Helotes Texas
Photo: Larry Pena

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