Thursday, February 2, 2012

Photographer Interview with Heather Nan

If you don't know Heather Nan yet, you are missing out. Her picture are incredible. Her style is fun and flirty. Her wisdom far surpasses her age. I love her work and her work ethic.
Get ready to be blown away!

You live in Utah. What 3 words would you use to describe your state?
Diverse, (topographically).
Where else can you ski in the morning and drive a couple hours and rock climb in the red rock desert that afternoon? The Wasatch Mountains, Zion’s National Park & The Salt Flats… a pretty diverse combination in one state.
Have you seen any of the above-mentioned sites? Enough said.
This is the state of recreation. Many people move here based on what the can do in their off time and take full advantage of that.
When did you first pick up a camera and just know this was something you had to pursue?

I took a film class my last semester in college at Utah State University, and fell deeply in love the origins of photography, the history of film and all it’s processes. I continued to shoot film for a few years, but put the camera down for a while until my daughter was born. Classic.

Was your husband supportive or was he a little shocked by the price of cameras and equipment?

Lucky for me, he does understand quality, so my first digital camera was relatively nice a Nikon D200. Little did he know with in a year I would start a company, buy another new camera and spend lots, lots more on equipment… at least it’s a write off now :)

What has been one of your favorite shoots within the last year?

I had the honor to conceive and shoot the fashion editorial for the most recent issue of Utah Bride & Groom Magazine… that was a good one, for sure.
In addition, I shot for a new child’s clothing company, Culdesac Kid and some of the images, (including one of my daughter), ended up on the New York Times fashion blog, woo hoo! (check it out here.)
A look from the latest collection by Culdesac.

Would you say weddings are your specialty?
I would say along with weddings, birth stories are my two main focuses in photography.

Do you have a second shooter when you shoot a wedding?
Not always, but I would say about 90% of the time.  All of my wedding packages include a second shooting except for my smallest.

Are you good at networking?
I have been told I am really good at networking, but I think it just comes down to the fact I really enjoy people and making a connection with them.

How do you promote your photography and your services?
My biggest strength in promoting my photography has been my personal relationships with colleagues, clients and vendors. Referrals have gotten me most of my business. I was recently accepted as a preferred vendor for a local popular wedding blog and did pay money for an ad space. This is the first time I conceded to pay for advertising… we will see if it pays off.
 I am fairly confident it will.
Your Circus Wedding Chic Inspirational shoot was astounding. 
Have you done many events like that?
Thank you! That was the genius of two local Utah vendors that I had the opportunity to participate in, so all the kudos go to them. That was definitely the most theatrical of any collaboration I have participated in.

Who are three of your favorite photographers?
Oh that varies from day to day, but these three are always on my list.
Rodney Smith (his work can be found here)

 Annie Lebowitz (unbelievably, I don't think she has a website. More info on Annie can be found here.)
 Jonas Peterson (his work can be found here)

You love fashion, don't you? If you got a $5,000 gift card in the mail today and you could pick which store it was for, what would you pick?
Probably J Crew, as non-hip as you could be, right? I am sure I could find $5000 worth of clothing and shoes for everyone in the family.

Do you have a favorite set of Photoshop actions or Lightroom presets you can't live without?
I recently received the Visual Supply Co. film presets. Since I commonly have to process Canon files along side with my Nikon files, (second shooters are often Canon kids), it’s been totally lifesaving to get them to match up visually.

Tell us about your daughter. Does she mind modeling?
I have one daughter, Liv who just turned 5 yesterday… crazy that she’s five! She is incredibly smart and so, so sweet. I believe most of the time she doesn’t mind being in front of the camera, but just like every child, she has her limits.

What is your favorite thing about being a Mommy?
Watching a life I was a part of creating unfold, there are so many surprises around every corner… and the unconditional love and endless hugs and kisses aren’t so bad either.

If you could go on a fun vacation this year with all expenses paid AND you would get to take a few pictures while you were there and be featured in a magazine...where would you want to go? 
I was an anthropology major in college, and still have quite a yearning to live among some native folk somewhere and document their lives.  Since that won’t happen, at least not for a while, Bali or India perhaps? Definitely I would visit a country a bit less commercial.
What magazine do you dream of your pictures being in? Glamour? Good Housekeeping? Vogue?
Some fabulous portrait I shot of someone famous in Vanity Fair would be fantastic or a photojournalistic spread in National Geographic.

You did a few birth sessions last year. Did you enjoy that?
Birth stories are the least contrived of any shooting situation I am a part of. Next from being present of the birth of a new life, the photojournalistic approach is the best thing.
What was the most difficult part?
The most difficult part of shooting birth stories is the scheduling, most the time there isn’t any schedule. It seems most of my births recently have been in the middle of the night, not so conducive to sleep :)

Does shooting a birth make you want another baby? 

There are definitely those moments.

You had a gallery this year! The Kids are Alright. Tell us every detail!
I was asked to display a small showing of my choice for a gallery stroll in the town I attended college in.

How did you come up with the idea?
The idea was inspired by some of my favorite images of children and the recognition of their brutal honesty in front of the camera.
Were you nervous?
Yes, I was quite nervous, but that was soon trumped by the excitement to see others reaction to my work in person.
How many images did you display?
I displayed 12 portraits in black frames with white mats… classic gallery style.

Can you tell us your image printer or is that top secret?
I used a local printer, Nichols Photo Lab when I need something same day, but I also use Pro DPI.

When I look at your sessions each one is STUNNING! Could you share with us how many images you would typically present for a family session?
I have an issue editing down my images that I present to clients. I feel like my sessions are best showcased in an album, instead of one image on the wall. I tend to want to tell the story of the relationships with a family, not just take a pretty portrait. I usually deliver between 100-150 images.

I just saw your wedding day questionnaire for brides and grooms. I LOVE that. Does that help you organize your day a great deal better?
Oh yes! I am a visual person, so it gives me a head start in memorizing names for the day. It also reiterates the schedule for the day, provides a shoot list (family groupings), and lets me know of any uncomfortable family situations I should be aware of so I don’t embarrass anyone, especially myself. I also use it as a vendor reference when I submit weddings to blogs and magazines.

How was transitioning from a blogger blog to a new system? Are you tech savvy? A lot of people have no idea how long blog writing takes.
I am not super tech savvy, but have learned a lot along the way in running a blog and a website. Transferring to Wordpress was fairly easy once I actually decided to do it. The commitment to do the work was the hardest part.

How much time would you guess that you spend doing that each week?
I struggle with blogging. It’s a love/hate relationship. I treat it as a journal of my journey, so I spend a lot of time getting each just right.
How much time would you say you spend on twitterfacebooktumblerflickr and pinterest a day?
1 hour or so depending on the day, they are a great part of my business, my education and are really enjoyable too.
Would you say that keeping up with all of the media outlets photographers need to keep up with is one of the hardest parts of being a photographer?
I guess that depends on the day. I mostly enjoy it and if I don’t, I won’t do it.

If someone came to you tomorrow and said "Guess what Heather! I just bought a Canon Rebel! I don't need you to shoot my family any more because now I am a professional!" What would you say?

More power to you… and then wait for them to ask me for a mentor session ;)

I definitely believe what Henri Cartier-Bresson said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst”. Metaphorically speaking, your true voice generally will not show through until you have at least 10,000 images under your belt.
What would you tell someone that is just starting out in this business not to do that you did when you first started?
Don’t compare your journey to another’s. It’s your inner voice shared in each click and that is why your images shouldn’t look like another’s.

Read this advice.
And then wisdom.
And listen to this.

When you have free time, what do you like to do? Do you have a favorite show you watch on TV? Have you read any good books recently?
I love food. I really enjoy cooking and even more so, love to dine at the best eats I can find. 


I also really love going to the movie theater. I find lots of inspiration in cinema.

Can you tell us where you see yourself in five years in regards to photography? What are some of your dreams for your photography future?
In five years, I hope to have better time management program, still pulling that one together. I also hope to shoot a wedding internationally, that would be grand.
You can find Heather here on:


Lolli said...

What incredible photos!! I am stunned. I have never thought about taking birth pictures for someone else, but I have a feeling that might just be a new favorite if I were to get into it. ;)

Manisha said...

I love these interviews that you do, although I have to admit that sometimes they make me feel small. And perhaps that's a good thing because feeling smaller also means it easier to be still. The links were great. Thanks!

Wife, Mother, Goddess said...

What a really great interview. Heather sounds like someone I'd like as a friend. He images are stirring in a warm, spicey way. She's a little curry! Beautiful post!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great interview! her pictures are loved seeing pictures of my old home State's a beautiful place!

Brooke said...

These are all stunning. I love this one!!

georgia b. said...

wow!... just WOW!

Laura D said...

Another great interview. I love her photojournalism still in a lot of her photographs. I love the questions that were asked and the all the answers given. Love her work!

Sarah said...

You weren't joking! Those are absolutely stunning photos. :)

Anonymous said...

She is my favorite photographer. She created beautiful images of my family. We love them and look at them every day. Thank you for sharing this.

Pam D said...

Incredible images, deep wisdom. I love the interview and all of the amazing photos. I can't even pick a favorite. But the birth photography... well, maybe that IS my favorite. To capture that fleeting second when a new soul lands on earth... pure magic.

Sharon said...

Wow. Just wow!

LovinLadyBugs said...

Beautiful work!! Excellent interview!! Loved reading ....

Melinda said...

What a great interview! The artwork is absolutely beautiful!

Christina said...

this is an absolutely beautiful post! love, love this! somehow she makes me love my camera more... and i really didn't think that was possible. ; )

Becca said...

Heather is literally one of the most talented photographers ever. Seriously, her pictures make me gasp :-)

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Heather and her work are simply captivating. While her color photography is amazing, I am completely drawn in to her black and white photos. So inspirational!!!

Photography by Lisa M said...

Love your work Heather.Great interview Becky:)

Sarah said...

Wow. I am Heather's newest fan! Thanks so much for another amazing interview, Becky! Heather's images are AMAZING and I'm thrilled to have found another amazing photographer to follow!!

rarejule said...

Fabulous interview... thanks for sharing such wonderful words and photography!

Wanda said...

Wowza... really knocked it out of the park with this one. Heather is FABULOUS. What an amazing portfolio and range of subjects. I love her quirky style - very original. Really enjoyed this interview Becks.

heather nan said...

SERIOUSLY BECKY, THANK YOU! I completely forgot that this interview was today, and I admit after scrolling through the comments I got a bit emotional. OK, so I teared up... :)

Thank you all for your kind words.

Cecily R said...

Heather is one of my ALL time favorites. She's a HUGE inspiration for me. I love everything she does, but one of her shots made me cry the minute I saw it (it's not here, but it was featured on Moment Junkie and it's amaaaaaaaazing).

Fantastic interview Becky!

Team Lando said...

love love love. that is all.

Sarah Manuel-Johnson said...

Such romance in all of your images!! I couldve looked at them all day!! I wasnt just looking, I felt every single one!! Great interview!!

Jim said...

Becky, I really like the questions you ask in your interviews! We get a good idea of what is important to the interviewee.
Isn't that quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson so true! Actually I believe a whole lot more than 10,000.....every shot is a learning curve for me!
Great interview, blog layout and questions!
Thanks for dropping by today, I really appreciate your input!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

Wow... these are truly amazing photos! Some of the best wedding shots I have seen! They are just gorgeous. You have really captured a whole lotta love in these shots. What a wonderful job that is to have! :) Great interview Becky!

Jade @ Tasting Grace said...

What fantastic photography! A lot of these really have a high, fine art feel to them; not a lot of commercial photographers can boast that. I especially LOVE the circus series. Absolutely fabulous.

A great interview too. I loved hearing about her influences.

Sarah said...

Heather, you are so rad! and so is your work! :)

Tracy P. said...

That is just phenomenal, every bit of it! But I am stuck on the boy with the big eyes and the apple, and just dying to know...his name wouldn't be Adam, would it?

And those mountains with the balloons and circus characters? Wow.

Caroline said... Fab interview and incredible photos!

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

WOW...I have been missing out!

*megan_elzey* said...

These are astounding! I want to be as good as this when I grow up ;)

Nancy Reinke said...

Stunning. What else can I say? Just stunning.

Seow wei said...

After I see your photos, I wan to say that, they are all fantastic.

Joanna Jenkins said...

That was pretty amazing! What a great sys and what great photos. Thank you for this interview. I'm a "point and shoot" rookie but your interviews and all the great photos inspire me to get out there and take more "real life" photos.
Love it!
xo jj

Scobey Photography said...

Such a wonderful interview. Thanks for visiting our blog and for your sweet comment! Much love!

Hil C said...

Heather! I cannot say enough about how amazing your work is. I absolutely LOVED this interview. Very inspiring. Would be nice to meet you someday:)

London Wedding Photographer said...

Beautiful images! :-)

texascampgal said...

Stunning! LOVE L-O-V-E your skies!! You're brilliant.

And also, thanks for the love at my blog

You've just earned a new Facebook Fan!!

Jennifer said...

WOW!!!! Loved looking at these images! So so inspiring!


jlo said...

Now I want to get married again AND have another baby so someone can take pictures!!!!

Susan said...

Oh my...stunning work!!! Great interview. Thanks Becky!

Susan said...

Oh my...stunning work!!! Great interview. Thanks Becky!

Maddy said...

Oh my goodness!! These photos are truly stunning and so artistic!! Her work definitely takes my breath away! Adding her blog to my reader right this instant :)