I am just going to give you a little feast for your eyes for a second.
I think her pictures can introduce Kellie so much better than any words I could ever use.
Couldn't you keep looking all day?
Thank you Kellie for this wonderful chance to learn from you.
We are blessed.
You live in Hawaii! WOW. Have you always lived there?
Only the last year and a half, but I have certainly become accustomed to the weather!
Tell us about yourself.
Wife. Mom of two girls. Fun loving. Grateful. Blunt. Laughs easily. Cries easily. Passionate. Emotional. Hungry. Spontaneous. Adventurous. Crafty.
How long have you been shooting and when did you start your business?
I purchased my first DSLR (Nikon D70) for a wedding gift for myself and my husband in 2004. For a long time I made myself the unofficial photographer at any event I attended, thinking I could catch what the official photographer missed (oh, how annoying that must have been for the person hired).
It wasn't until 2008 when my second daughter was born that I really dedicated myself to learning how to use my camera. I purchased a 50mm 1.8 and started realizing how light affected my images. I shot anyone that would let me practice, friends' children, newborns and any family with the patience. I started my business almost a year later in Sept of 2009.
What do you shoot with now?
I shoot with a Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8, and 50mm f/1.4
Have you had any schooling for photography?
Not really, I have a Bachelors degree in Fine Art, which required some photography classes. I absolutely loved photography during school, but never even considered it for a career. I was much too insecure about the technicality of getting everything right on film (there was no digital) and then the darkroom processing at home just didn't even seem attainable. I have spent most of my freetime in the last few years reading photography forums, blogs, flickring, and pouring over the work of my peers.
I have taken webinars and found anything I wanted to do on Youtube. It hasn't been until the last 8 months or so that I started to lay off on the constant learning and really feel more comfortable with my own process. That was definitely spurred by attending a Wallflower retreat last fall.
You won that Wallflower workshop last year for answering the question: What makes your heart sing, (I will add the link to that post because WOW it is so good) was that your first workshop?
Yes, it was taught by Deb Schwedhelm and Leah Zawadski, and it was amazing.
How vital do you think it is for photographers to go to workshops?
After attending only that one, I can't wait to go to another. There is something about being surrounded with this craft that you love and people that are filled with the same passion. It just fuels you and makes you better.
I am thinking about attending Jonathan Canlas' Film Is Not Dead this fall on Oahu...even though I don't shoot film these days, he is awesome.
I know you like to capture real life moments, just as our interview last week, Molly Flanagan, likes to capture. How do you deal with people that seek your services that specifically want posed pictures? Do you ever turn anyone away because your styles don't mesh?
I think one of the hardest things about being an artist is to find your style. I have tried to shoot like other people, but the outcome never looked as good as the photo I was trying to copy. I want someone to hire me because they love MY work. Someone who gets what I am trying to accomplish. So, when people want something different than what I think I can give them, I gladly help them find someone who can.
I think there are SO many talented people in this business and I am not about to try to sell myself to someone who doesn't want what I'm selling.
You have an amazing preset collection for Lightroom. My friend Susan Keller just ADORES them! What made you decide to start that collection and then market it?
After a year of having people email and ask how I processed my black and white, I decided to bottle them up and put them out there. It has been pretty cool and the feedback has been wonderful.
Have you loved that aspect of your photography business?
It's been really fun and rewarding to donate much of the money I have made from the presets to some really great causes.
Did you ever think you were going to be a business woman when you were in high school?
Wait, am I a business woman now? The tantrum throwing 2 year old and super engergized 4 year old keep me in my place. No, I thought I was going to be a nurse, nutritionist, digital animator and lastly graphic designer (what I graduated in, even though you would never be able to tell).
Do you take a picture every day?
Are you reading any good books right now?
Just finished two fantastic ones! Still Alice by Lisa Genova, excellent read, although I was totally convinced I had Alzheimers by the end of the book. Read it and you will know what I am talking about. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok, I never wanted it to end.
Any great shows that you are totally sucked into?
Ohhh, Friday Night Lights, it makes my heart palpitate just typing it.
Do you ever worry that you will run out of ideas for pictures?
I don't typically start with an idea. I know it sounds weird, but I am totally an observer...I don't think of something until I see the light. And when I say see the light, I don't mean when the heavens open and everything becomes glorious. I am talking about actual light, like the sun. It moves me to shoot what I do.
Do you have a favorite photographer or 2 you can share?
It's funny, I am inspired the most by artists that aren't selling a package, they are true aritists....it's a way I would love to see my work headed in the future. Jessica Todd Harper and the way she uses light and emotion is truly magnificent. Benjamin Krain's photojournalism is truly awesome storytelling. Of course, I also love Sarah Rhoads....who doesn't, right?
When you were learning how to shoot, what was something that helped you become better and grow more?
Shoot. Observe. Look for the light. Shoot. Learn to perfectly expose your image. Try a 365. I only made it through 150 days last year and I learned more in those 150 days than I had in my last 10 sessions.
If you are having problems with exposing correctly, I still play a simple game when I run to get my camera. I say outloud what I think my exposure should be, 400 ISO, f/2.8, 150 s/s, it's always fun to see how close I am with my exposure. Many times, I can tell you where I need to be more accurately than my camera....but I still try to find something nuetral to meter if it's not working. Learn your camera, inside and out....then shoot from your heart.
Do you have a network of photographers you can turn to when you have questions?
I have an awesome group of girls that I communicate with on a daily basis. They are the first people I go to when I have questions about anything.
What song are you listening to right now that you can share with all of us?
I love music, don't get me wrong. But, man I love the quiet more.
For those of you looking for your next fave, try Kalai...he's awesome....I saw him play in a friend's backyard.
What avenue has been the best for helping grow your business? Facebook? Your blog? Flickr?
All of the above. I don't really focus too much on growing and happily take the work that comes my way. I really am no business woman...not until my girls are in school, at least.
Do your girls ever tire of being photographed?
Um, yes, they look my way maybe once a month. But usually, this is great for my style as I am trying not to disrupt whatever they are in the middle of.
Do you have any parting words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out in the photography business?
Be who you are. Don't compare your work to others. Shoot how you love to shoot. Be confident in yourself and your style. Grow.
Kellie Hatcher Photography on facebook