Thursday, April 14, 2011

Photographer Interview: Hayley Johnson

Hayley's pictures are full of light. I love the way she captures people in the light.
I had a fun time learning about her photography and her story as we talked over the past few weeks.

If you don't know her, you must!
This picture of Hayley was taken by her son! Isn't he talented?

What career did you want to have when you were 5 years old?

Believe it or not, from the time I was about 4 I wanted to grow up to become a missionary and volunteer my time in Ethiopia.

What career did you want to have when you were 18?

OK, don’t laugh but when I was 18 I wanted to be a tattooist! Yep, I draw and I was so sure I could do it. I was offered a traineeship when I was 17 to begin after my 18th birthday, but in the end I knew that I couldn’t do it.

It just wasn’t me at all though I loved to draw and was always designing tattoo designs for others. And no, I don’t have tattoos of my own – just not my thing! I rarely draw these days, as I now have photography as my creative outlet!

What is your favorite color to wear?

I wear a lot of neutrals, and I love black and creams.

Tell me about a dream trip you would like to take.

I desperately want the opportunity to photograph the city streets of London, the canals in Venice, the Eiffel tower in Spring with blossoms all around - so a European holiday would be my dream come true!

What is your favorite thing to shoot? Fields and flowers? People? Babies? Puppies?

I truly so love to shoot anything and everything, but I find flowers to be so therapeutic. I love to just sit in a garden and capture the simple beauty of nature.

Tell me about your camera and your favorite lens.

I have a Canon 5d Mk II and a Canon 7d and I love them both to bits! I have a few lenses, but shoot mostly with the Canon 50mm 1.4 which offers AMAZING DOF and clarity.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years with your photography?

I am hoping that in 5 years I will be travelling the world shooting and doing workshops, but most of all I am hoping that I have a stable, successful portrait business here in my own city!

Did you enjoy learning photoshop?

I will be honest, at first I found it incredibly overwhelming. I honestly thought I would never grasp it at all, but before I knew it I was using it like a Pro. I love my CS4 and would be lost without it!

Tell us about your favorite actions.

Its no secret I am a huge Florabella fan, and that I use the actions and textures in all of my work.

Have you met any of your favorite photographers in real life?

No, I haven’t! I am hoping to get to some live workshops in the near future. I would love to meet Jose Villa and Jesh de Rox.

Tell us about someone's photography you admire.

I truly love the work of Jose Villa. It’s so simple and pure. His skin tones are perfection, his colours and clarity are so dreamy and pretty. The fact that he shoots film only, just adds to my photog crush!

Are you reading any good books right now? 

I am reading “The Borgia Bride” which is a fictional novel based on the real Borgia family of the Vatican in the 1400’s. It is an absolute eye opener, but very controversial. I have been so intrigued by this story that I have taken the time to educate myself on the reality of this family, and found the book to be very true to what is allegedly known about the them and the circumstances surrounding their reign. 
You are engaged right now, right? When is your wedding?

We had originally planned our wedding for September 2012, however we have since found a most gorgeous and meaningful location that fits us and our style so perfectly, and we will need to move the wedding to April of 2013 to suit, but we hope it will be worth the wait!

Is it fun to plan?

We haven’t done much planning yet, though we have known exactly what we wanted for years now, it’s just a matter of putting all the ideas into action!
 Can we see your ring?

I am slowly gathering an inspiration journal which is a lot of fun and helps me to see colour palettes and ideas all together to ensure it fits. We want to keep it elegant and vintage inspired, but simple!

Can you tell us your engagent story?

David and I have been together just over 7 years now, and we got engaged in September last year. There is actually no romantic story here for me to share. We have talked about marriage and our wedding for years. I’ve even had a picture of my dream gown on a thumb drive for years now! I am a hopeless romantic and I soon discovered that poor David was feeling a lot of pressure to come up with a most perfect engagement. I reassured him that knowing he wanted to spend his life with me was all I needed. One night we were laying in bed talking and right there and then he said “I am ready, let’s do this, let’s get married” and I was sooo over the moon with excitement! We kept the secret for a few days until we were able to tell our immediate family and then we shared with everyone!

My ring is absolutely stunning and I am a very lucky woman. I am actually scared to wear it very often as I am completely clumsy and prone to losing things.

How did you pick your wedding photographer?

Can you believe we still haven’t settled on a photographer? It’s actually so difficult to decide when I have so many amazing contacts and I wish I could have them all shoot it. I also want someone whose work I adore sooo much that I won’t want to pick up my own camera at all, someone that we trust whole heartedly {for me, as a bride and as a photographer} to capture the moments of our special day! I would love to have Jose Villa if I could choose anyone in the world!

Have you learned anything as you started your business that would be good to share with everyone?

I have learned so much along the way, but I suppose the most important thing I could share is to grow your photography portfolio long before you choose to go into business. You should have a complete and thorough understanding of the technical and artistic attributes of photography and be able to create beautiful, unique, quality portraits/art work that you will still be proud of in one year! Making the mistake of jumping into business before your photography is ready could be a massive mistake down the track. Get critique from people in the industry, do workshops, learn everything you possibly can, and shoot like crazy! Build a strong, consistent portfolio and THEN you can consider going into business. But again, the business side of things can be just as hard to master, so its worth educating yourself in this area also to ensure you run your business in the best way possible right from the very start!

What song are you listening to right now that you just love?

I am a huge fan of Katie Noonan, and I tend to find myself hitting repeat on “Blackbird” a lot lately!

Do you prefer stylized shoots or do you like capturing candid moments?

While I adore candid moments, I prefer to set a beautiful scene and then let the life unfold. It’s really the best of both worlds. Even when I pose couples at a wedding, I find myself asking them to hold one another naturally in a way they normally would so that the moment and connection are real, but I control the environment with styling to make it that little more special!

Have you had fun finding new locations to shoot in?

I usually shoot in very natural environments. I live in a rural area, and there is no shortage of beautiful surroundings, from green fields to golden lit straw and wildflowers. I am very lucky and I am always on the lookout for somewhere new and amazing!

Do you feel like your town has a lot of photographers like you? Do you worry about competition?

When I first started out, I tried to develop a style that is all my own, and I never saw myself as in competition with local photographers, as we are all so unique and appeal to very different markets. That said however, I am seeing more and more emerging photographers emulating the same style which I admit can sometimes feel a little overwhelming, but I will continue to push myself and to grow with each and every session, and hopefully stay ahead of the game!

Where do you get your prints made? Did you have a hard time finding a place that was just perfect for you?

I print with “The Edge Imaging” in Melbourne Australia, and with Nulab in Brisbane. I also ship specialty items from WHCC as they have products that are not yet available in Australia such as mini accordion albums etc. When I was starting out I found it almost impossible to find labs, I suppose that’s one drawback to being self taught – we don’t receive a list of resources along the way. I ended up finding some help through Australian threads on flickr.

Tell me about your business cards. Can you show us a picture? Are you good at handing them out wherever you go?

I just recently redesigned all of my branding, including my business cards and I finally feel like I have something that represents me as both a photographer and as a woman. I adore the femininity and simplicity of my new cards. I am HOPELESS at having cards on me. I always forget to have some in my handbag, and I never leave them around when I go out!

Do you have a cool Australian accent?

I do, though I am not sure how cool it is! Lol

As you have begun marketing your business, what has been the single largest thing that has helped spread your name about and get you bookings?

Facebook and word of mouth. I am not even in the local yellow pages, and yet I am crazy busy, which I am so thankful for! My facebook fan page has been an amazing tool in driving my business, the key is to update regularly and ensure my likers have something new to look at on a daily basis, as like any form of advertising, we need to keep our business in their minds and show them WHY they need to book us!

What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday night?

I am such a homebody. I rarely go out at all, so my Saturday nights are usually spent in front of a good DVD and my laptop!

So there you have it. A little interview with a wonderful photographer. I hope you click away inspired today!

(like her!)

Hayley's New Blog



Lisa said...

Okay, I already liked her on Facebook! and now I just want to say. . .I love these!


The Absence of Alternatives said...

I had the foresight of scrolling down so I was able to listen to Blackbird while looking at the pictures. (WINNING!) These are simply gorgeous. Romantic yet not saccharine. Looking at the pictures, I feel that the photographer has put in her heart and soul in every single picture. Two more things before I shut up: Congratulations! The ring is absolutely stunning. I have never seen anything like it in all honesty. And finally, I sincerely hope that you are able to relax at your wedding and not worry about photography matter. But really, if there is a moment that captures you and you feel like whipping out your camera? why not? A picture of you in full bridal dress with your awesome camera would be a hoot!

Karen Deborah said...

Ditto to the previous comment. My DIL is very good and she shot several pics at her wedding. It's hard to resist and one with you holding your camera and your ring would be wonderful.
I have all kinds of photography terminology to look up now.

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

What a wonderful interview! It is so nice to meet Hayley! You are right about the light, the light in her photos is beautiful. I love the shot of the single tree and the birds. Amazing. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding... how exciting! Her business cards are so pretty! I love your questions Becky. They are always so fun! ♥

Heidi said...

Such a great interview Becky. Her photography is so warm, you know what I mean? :)

Casey Freeland said...

I love it when I see someone's work and it feels like I could pull a story out of it. That shallow water with the stags coming up... that's the one. Beautiful versatile work.



Shey said...

I love the pictures where the dew is on the leaves, I don't know anything about photography but I do love those beautiful pictures. =)

Brooke said...

What a fun interview! I am now an offical fan. I ADORE her use of light - AMAZING stuff. Thanks for sharing :D

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

stunning photographs and a beautiful story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us, Becky!

Kelly @ MillerMix said...

Wow, she had me at that gorgeous spiderweb. I love all the images ... and especially the ones of Hayley herself over on her new blog. Wow!

Caseybumpinalong said...

Really love her work! I was trying to pick out favorites as I was scrolling down, but I couldn't - I love them all! Fun and beautiful photos! Great questions and great interview!

Wanda said...

What an amazing gift. I just melted into each picture, and your interview was outstanding.

MegganB said...

What a great blog!! Thanks for your sweet comment on mine too! We're actually not too far, I'm just outside of Baltimore :)
P.S. Hayley Johnson = AMAZING!!! Thanks for the interview!

The Big Kahuna said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Tomorrow I'll begin sharing a photographic journey I'm embarking on. But, it's not journey as in, pack the bags we're going on vacation.

Be well my fried.

Steve Febbraro said...

Forgot I had a blog here. Oops!

Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud said...

I drooled over all of her photos! What a fantastic photographer. :)

blue elephant photography said...

love her photos! and i feel like i know her more just from your interview. awesome!

the Lola Letters said...

Her still life stuff is total ART.

So many things to love about this post. The trees coming up out of the water? I gasped.

I also LOVED the picture her son took of her. I enjoy learning about a person so much more when I have a face to attach all of that wonderful personality and talent to.

Tracy P. said...

Oh my goodness! I got totally distracted by all of the yummy baby toes. Beautiful!

Rosina said...

Look at you, Hayley!! You have come SO SO far as an artist, I am so so proud of you!! Xoxo

Suki said...

Wow, so very proud of you girl!!! You grew so much in such a short time. I am hooked on her song recommendation too.
Love this lady!

Caroline said...

wowowowowow!!! Love her work...and the way she processes. Just beautiful! What an inspiration!

Linda said...

I love Hayley. Her work is beautiful beyond words. And I adore her friendship as well. Congrats on such wonderful interview.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Amazing talent she has! I love her style!

Beth said...

So many beautiful photographs that are heart felt. Thank you for sharing your world with us!!

debi9kids said...

OH wow. What GORGEOUS photos (esp love the little one hugging her baby doll :)

Fascinating interview. Great questions Becky! Love that you didn't just ask her about photography. Gave me real insight into who she is :)

Chasing Dreams Photography said...

I love love love her work!!! I love how she processes her pictures and captures her subjects....Great interview!!!!!!!

marie said...

I like your post traitement on your pictures. I'm like you thinking that one day I'll make it as a photographer and travel just to do it so keep up the good work. There is some nice pictures here

k8tography said...

What a lovely interview! Love Hayley's work very much. Had to laugh at your question 'have you got a cute Australian accent?' So sweet!

Red Chestnut Photography said...

Hayley, I so enjoyed your chat with Becky! i felt I was right there with you enjoying the conversation! So nicely told! Your work is beautiful! I really loved your style and seeing your variety of portraits, especially the everyday things at home ad the suitcase/guitar along the road. Fabulous! Thank you for taking time to share with us!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Becky, you were right--her vision of light is so beautiful. Another great interview full of insightful questions. I don't know how you do that, but you always come up with the best questions. And I'm left feeling like you introduced me to a new friend who happens to be an amazing photographer. Loved it!

Marvett Smith said...

A beautiful photographer with beautiful images. Love the style, and processing. I'll bet the Australian accent is amazing too! Wonderful, wonderful interview. Thank you so much for sharing who you are Hayley!

Danelle said...

Wow! Amazing! I could hardly choose a favorite, although those beaters with pink stuff did kind of speak to me. :)

Krista Campbell Photography said...

Hayley, your work always amazes and inspires me!!!

Donna said...

Hayley, so nice to "meet" you! I love the interesting angles, little bokeh surprises, bits of color and spontaneous feel of your photographs. You've inspired me to grab my camera and carry it with me on my walk today (I never do that).

Becky, you're an amazing interviewer! xoxo

Our Blog: Double Happiness!

lifebythecreek said...

Wow, wow, wow. Hayley, you shoot the pictures that I see in my mind. I wish I could attach a thumb drive to your vision and copy it into my brain. Amazing! So many of your photos look like what I "see" in my mind and yet cannot get out of my camera. I am going to HAVE to follow you or bookmark you or SOMETHING; I will be visiting you a lot and hoping for words of wisdom. Of course, these are already pretty darn helpful:
"Making the mistake of jumping into business before your photography is ready could be a massive mistake down the track. Get critique from people in the industry, do workshops, learn everything you possibly can, and shoot like crazy! Build a strong, consistent portfolio and THEN you can consider going into business." Points well taken...
Congratulations on your engagment; may blessings fall on your union like gentle rain. :<)

Elaine A. said...

I can imagine it would be hard to choose a wedding photographer when you take such amazing photographs yourself!

I do love the use of LIGHT. Brilliant, in more ways than one! You are an extremely talented lady Hayley!!

p.s. wish I could hear your accent. :)

antoinette marie said...

you know me...i adore the spider web shot!

Elaine at Matters of the Heart) said...

Becky, thank you so much for introducing us to so many wonderful photographers.

Hayley, your work is amazing. Love the use of light and your post processing. Just stunning. I love all the emotion in your work. Beautiful....

Thank you for sharing your story with us, so inspiring. Enjoy your wedding planning, it was one of the most wonderful times in my life. Joining your life with the one that you love, has got to be one of the most special feelings we ever experience.

septembermom said...

These pictures are so creative and inspirational. Thank you for sharing. I love these interviews!

angie said...

This was such a beautiful, lovely interview Becky...what an inspiration her work is!

The Flying Chalupa said...

Wow - amazing photography! Love the eggs in the basket. I'm all ready for Easter now.

ps- Thanks so much for visiting my site!

M said...

Oh the baby feet are my favorites :)

Busy Bee Suz said...

Those photos are all just dreamy....I love the lighting.
Beautiful stuff.

Anita Johnson said...

I did the same thing as another commenter (is that a word?) I had Blackbird playing as I looked at her photos...light, airy, fresh. It has made my dull gray spring day a bit happier! Nice interview!

Timorah said...

Amazing work! Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Holy smokes... gorgeous photos! Total shutter envy!

the monkeys' mama said...

I love her photography! When I remembered she was from AU, i went back and read her answers in an Australian accent. So cool to meet amazing photographers through you, Becky!

Grandma Nina said...

This was a great interview, post and gorgeous pictures! My son and DIL were and are photographers for the U.S. Air Force and I know much more about photography from them. It is truly an art form and those with an artistic eye are the ones that create the most beautiful art through a camera.

Jackie said...

what a wonderful interview! thank you for sharing!

Raymonde said...

Beautiful, inspiring photos all around. Thank you for doing the interview, both of you. xxx

Teachinfourth said...

That guitar photo is probably my favorite...

Love these!

momphotographer said...

Thanks for sharing that interview. I love her photography. So beautiful!
Have a wonderful day!