Laurent started his photographic career as a daguerreotypist in Paris at 3 boulevard Montmarte where he offered images taken with very fast exposures. Though he kept studios in Paris for many years, he moved to Madrid in around 1857, setting up in the same building as Charles Clifford at 39 carrera San Jeronimo. Laurent was by far the most successful photographer in Spain during the 19th century.
Even by 1865, Laurent was offering many hundreds of images for sale, mostly of works of art but included also many portraits of the Spanish Royal Family and other celebrities, costume studies,, instantaneous photographs and many diverse views. Despite his large commercial output, however there were many highly accomplished photographs by Laurent. Particularly appealing are his instantaneous genre portraits "d'apres nature" and his stark studies of suits of armour from museums.