For those of you who are not familiar or do not know her, I would like to introduce you to the lovely miss Hannah Nicole! I stumbled upon her blog, Hannah Nicole//Aspire, about three years ago and have been hooked ever since. Hannah is a pretty awesome photographer and is passionate about taking photos that tell a story.
I know you all will be head over heels for her work and hope you enjoy this little feature!
(all photo credit goes to Hannah)
Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Hannah. I have freckles in the summer and eat more chocolate than is good for me. I love summer, fresh berries, going barefoot, homemade dinners + impromptu gatherings with friends and family, lake sunrises, light and shadows, and good art (music, design, words, photography). I'm a photographer, writer, and sometimes musician (with a kinda-sorta-not-really band), and I'm passionate about celebrating the good in the midst of the hard things and showing people the beauty of who they are, wherever they are, as they are. Traditions and history are important to me, and I love telling true and raw stories of real life. I'm inspired by simple things and simple life and people living a life that they're passionate about, with people they love. It is my heart to live simply, love extravagantly, give generously, create passionately, and laugh more. And someday, I want to live on acres of land, with trees, plains, and a garden grown rich and green, with my family. And chickens.
When did photography begin interesting you and how?
My photography journey started when I saw an image of a daisy on a blog of a photographer I followed and thought, in my ignorance, "why! I could do that!" I quickly found out I couldn't. Through the wonderful world wide web, I discovered there was more to photography than snapping a photo. Slowly, I learned the technical side and found out that the images I was making weren't satisfactory. I was discouraged, to say the least. For the past year and a half, I've been discovering my unique voice as an artist and have been focused on the heart, on soul-shooting, on the stories. It's involved stepping back from what I thought photography should be, and instead, focusing on what it could be. I've had to learn to step away from what other people are doing, and to start doing what I want to do. It's been wonderful to create art that resonates with me, and that matters to me, and that is authentic. Of course, I'll sometimes end up feeling upset and discouraged with my work, but I love watching myself grow, and looking back to see where I started and how far I've come. The only photographer I want to compare myself with is the one who I once was. And I'm proud of where I've come from and excited about where I'm going...so, I'm glad to be here.
Who or what is your inspiration for your photos?
I'm inspired by so many things. Words inspire me. The way light falls so differently every day. The sky. Family and traditions and stories. Homegrown and homemade food, cooked and shared with people you love, over laughter and in the falling twilight. Simple life. Music and playing at the piano and singing on dusky summer evenings. The sound of rain and the smell of the sea, salty and sandy and with a touch of sky mixed in it. Writing in journals and poetry and the way people in love look at each other. True, real, raw, love. People passionate about the life they're living, with the people they love. Ballet and long hair and freckles and wind. I love the smell of fall and being splashed with lake water and the way a shared memory seems like a secret. Barefeet and grins and watermelon juice dripping down faces on sticky days. Wrinkles and laugh lines make me smile and I'm in love with b&w. So, I guess you could say, life and people living fiercely and loving deeply inspire me.
Do you find the photo industry to be quite competitive?
As I just started shooting professionally, I'm not sure that I can give an accurate assessment of the entire industry. However, I've had the wonderful pleasure to chat and work with many wonderful photographers from all around the world who have all being extremely helpful, encouraging, edifying, and not at all competitive. It all comes down to valuing your work and knowing your voice as an artist -- once you know who you are and are fairly established as a photographer, you don't have to worry about competing, because you'll be (hopefully) attracting clients who love you and your work. And that's the beauty of the industry, because, each photographer has their own unique voice and style and so there will always be someone who doesn't love your work but there will always be someone who does. I'm not the photographer for everyone, and that's okay. I don't want to have to compete, because I want to shoot people who love my work and who resonate with my photos and want to be friends. People who trust me completely and want me to be their photographer...because they connect and click with me, as I am. So, I'm sure that the photo industry can be quite competitive, but all the photographers I've worked know who they are and know their client base and shoot what inspires them, and in turn, they have people who love their work and choose them not because they're competitive, but because they resonate with their photos.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
People. Hands down. I love their stories. You can see glimpses of history in the way they stand, how their face moves when they smile, the crinkles of their eyes, and the way they talk. People are rich with their stories and I want to not only hear them, but help celebrate them. I am fascinated by history and traditions are important to me and I love people and their beautiful, varied, authentic, passionate lives.
What tricks do you have for working with your clients and posing them?
I keep talking. I'm not a huge poser -- I direct my clients, chat with them, and let them relax. I'll take a few shots, but then wait for the moments after they've relaxed into the pose and they're natural and them. I keep talking and say things like, "that looks fabulous! could you move your elbow a bit...perfect!" and laugh a lot and say things to make them smile and laugh and be relaxed. And with couples, I ask them to talk about each other and watch their faces as they do so. We have a good time and I take pictures of them. So, it's basically crazy wonderful. :)
If you could sum up your style in one word, what would it be?
In say, five years, where do you see yourself in the photo industry?
I see myself making images that I'm proud of. I see myself more in tune with my voice. I see myself creating art and celebrating life and telling true stories. I see myself as a photographer who is doing what I love. In five years, I would like to be shooting weddings, families, and people. Also, I would love to be married, living on a farm somewhere in Minnesota or Colorado, traveling, and hopefully having a little one soon. :)
So you recently photographed your first wedding, what was the experience like?
I wouldn't be lying if I said it was exhausting, but I put my heart and soul into that wedding, so I understand. ;) It was wonderful -- pushed me and stretched me as an artist, and really helped to solidify my vision. I had such a wonderful time and was so blessed to be there, and I'm beyond excited for what lies next on the horizon. At the end of the day, I curled up with sore feet and frizzy hair and smiled, because it was such a good day for me and my heart. Plus, I love Tom and Camila like crazy, so to be able to be present (and the photographer!) for their wedding, was amazing.
What piece of advice would you give an aspiring photographer?
Keep shooting, keep practicing. Examine your photos and figure out what you like about them and what you dislike, and use that knowledge for every photo you take. Step away from blogs and start getting inspired by real life. Don't focus on what photography "should be" but wonder about what it could be. Make art that inspires you, create photos that move you, and take images that matter. Start looking at the heart. Be yourself and shoot like you and love it.
Thank you so much for being a part of this, Hannah!
Want to get to know her a little better? Find her here: Blog | Facebook | Twitter