There are no words to describe how grateful I am to call Hannah my friend. I’ve known her since high school and she has been someone I looked up to all the while. She always has these amazing ideas rolling around in her head, which is why I was so pumped when she started in photography. I’ve seen her style develop from our backyard photoshoots into a professional, well-rounded business and I couldn’t be more proud! Not to mention her creations in writing, drawing, etc. - I could go on. She’s pretty incredible.
I chatted with her over cabin wifi about her life, aspirations in the years to come and advice to brand new photographers (emphasis: don’t sell yourself short!). Enjoy her wonderful self ;)
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a junior at ye olde John Brown University studying both English and Photography! I'm a 2/6/9 on the enneagram charts, an ENFP according to Myers Briggs (the free one ;), a naturalist (fresh air & sunshine help me love Jesus), as well as a HP/LOTR/Star Wars nerd. In my free time, I'm mostly outside either shooting, reading, writing, drawing, hand lettering, or staring at the trees & clouds.
How did you get your start into photography and how did that transition into a business?
My childhood bestie had a tiny, battered, pink point and shoot that we messed with all the time until I got my own (it was blue) when I was twelve. around the same time, my sister got her first DSLR - a Canon Rebel. I don't really remember my grand entrance into the DSLR world, but I do remember funny photoshoots in alleyways and backyards. I never stopped shooting, especially when the photos were terrible and I didn't know the difference. After my freshman year in college, I was a camp photographer at New Life Ranch, which gave me enough courage to shoot on my own. I started my wee business after I shot my first senior gig to show my work and start putting myself out there as a photographer. It's been a slow start - business-wise - for sure, but I know the only way to get better is to keep shooting.
What inspires your work?
Woooosh there are a lot of different inspiration points. I often draw from what I'm reading (scripture, fiction, poetry, Pinterest quotes), experiencing (LIFE, MAN), looking at Pinterest, others' work, Tumblr, or writing, and they all feed off of each other. My professors challenged me to put more forethought into what I shoot (specifically by drawing from poetry), so I try to plan my personal work around that. Although sometimes, whilst walking around aesthetic places with aesthetic people, photos just happen. when flipping through sporadic pictures, however, I've realized that things mulling around in my head STILL impact unplanned happenings.
What do you look for in an ideal customer?
The ideal customer is someone who's flexible, open to new ideas, and willing to do strange things in public places (good poses can be weiiiirrrrddd). Oh, and explorers are always nice (we gotsta adventure to find the beautiful places). But honestly, I love to work with anyone willing to let me shoot them (funny, terrible pun intended).
What is your style of photography?
Oh dang. Normally my style comes across as minimalistic, nature-y, light-filled, lifestyle-ish, and a bit gauzy.
In your opinion, what makes a good photographer?
In my amateur opinion, a good photographer goes beyond making things look good. You have to know how to do the baseline, technical stuff (like work your camera) to take a decent picture, but an image that holds my attention has nuanced thought behind it and emotion within it. I guess what I'm trying to say that a good photographer is a good storyteller; he/she can weave words within pixels without doing so in an overused, overt way.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I hope to be either traveling the U.S./globe writing & shooting for either a magazine or a nonprofit, teaching high school english and shooting on the side (and maybe working on my doctorate), or doing freelance stuff full time. So much can happen in five years!
Any advice to photographers starting up their business?
Hah this is more of a note-to-self. Don't undersell yourself! A lot of times, people don't understand what all goes into photography: you location scout (1-2 hours), shoot in those few locations (2-4 hours), and editing with around 2-3 different softwares (1-3 per hour shooting). Your time is precious and you are worth the monies! Also, post all the time. Hashtags can help. Collaborate with fellow photographers! Encourage others and make friends; healthy, good competition can and does exist, so don't make it into a scary thing. Shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot. Yeah.
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Please check out Hannah’s Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest pages to see more of her work! You can contact her via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), through Facebook Messenger or on Instagram DM’s. She is a truly wonderful photographer and human being - go say hello!
I’ll be back up and running with more frequent posting later this week once travel and a few photo projects are done. I have much to share :)
Have a great week!