Featured Photog: Heidi Haden

Meet this week’s Featured Photog…

Heidi Haden

Velvet Owl Photography

Fan Page : Site

Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences and include a picture of yourself.

I am a wife, a momma of 3 beautiful & crazy little girls- one 5 yr old and twin 3.5 yr olds…. I am happy, and care free-perfectionist haha…. if that makes sense.  I have the outlook that life is for living….and try not to take what I love for granted.

What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens and why?

I love my Nikon D700. I use my 50mm1.4 on my camera most often for portrait sessions, but I love my 24-70mm 2.8 & my 70-200mm 2.8 for weddings…but recently my new favorite lens has been my 45mm TiltShift ~ I am loving the results!

When did you start shooting for fun and then move to shooting professionally?

I’ve been doing this professionally for about 4 years, although I am much more comfortable where I am today than where I was even 2 years ago.

Are you formally taught or self taught?

I am self taught! The internet is a wealth of knowledge ~ and practice & experience can only make you better:)

What is your specialty and how did you decide to specialize in that area of photography?

Hmmm… I would say my specialty is capturing true personalities & connections. Whether it be a family lifestyle session, high school senior, corporate events,  or a couples engagement, or the very special wedding day…. I really love it all! I strive to tell a story and capture real emotion. I am thankful that I do have an interest & an eye for all types of genres of photography, because knowing me , I would get probably a tad bit bored of shooting only one type of subject(s) every session.

How many sessions are you shooting a month?

Looks like about 10-13 with maybe a wedding or two thrown in there.

On average how long to do you spend editing each session and do you listen to music while editing or just enjoy the quiet?

I try to have everything edited and uploaded in the clients gallery within a week and a half from their session. I like to keep the turn around pretty fast ~ but I sometimes hop around in my editing of sessions, if I get tired of editing the same session I may bounce around a little. Of course MUSIC is playing!!

What is your favorite part of the process? Shooting, editing, etc.

Shooting is awesome, keeps me on my toes, gets my creative juices flowing…. but delivering that finished polished photo is always a thrill! I usually upload my session right away after a shoot & I always love to get at least one or two of my favorites edited and thrown on FB for a sneak peek!

What is the best marketing tool that works for you or was a total waste of time?  Do you advertise in print?  Do you offer referral bonuses?  If yes, please share a little.

Facebook….tagging…. it is brilliant. Friends of friends of clients get reached and get to SEE your work first hand ~ it is a phenomenal marketing tool. If you have a business, you should have a business facebook page for sure!

What do you do to “stand out” from surrounding photographers that you’re competing with?

My work is me.  I feel like you can see me through my work. My work has a happy- laid back vibe…It’s also a bit quirky at times…. with an artsy approach to love and emotion. My clients feel comfortable and not forced ~ and hopefully my work speaks to people and tells that story… hopefully people see more than just a beautiful photograph.
Competition?? What competition!:)There is plenty for everyone, and everyone has their own style ~ so I love catering to my clients who already know they love my style and look, and aren’t just website shopping by price…. my clients trust me, they know what they are going to get & I love that!!

What do you do to help a client come out of their “shell” during a session?

I am WAY out of mine before we even start shooting. I love talking to people, so it’s easy for me to make conversation…. and I can laugh at myself, so if all else fails I can make fun of myself. If I ask them to do a certain pose, I will demonstrate if for them…. If I ask them to get in the river, I am right there with them…. I won’t ask them to do anything that I wouldn’t do….THAT comforts them RIIIGHT?? haha. Oh come on, it’s all in the name of art, haha!

What do you struggle with the most?

Trying to do EVERYTHING. I know I am only one person, and my family comes first…. but I always wish I could have more time to do more personal shoots or just probably time management would be a good thing that I need to work on.

How did you find your style? Any advice to new photographers on how to find their own style?

I think you style finds you in a way….. I think the more you shoot, the more comfortable you are and know what stands out and speaks to you as an artist. So just keep on shooting and experimenting!

Please share your favorite image and tell us what makes this your favorite?

I’m not sure I could narrow it down to one favorite image!! Shoot that is a toughie…

Can you show us your shooting space?  If you are shooting inside can you show a simple pull back shot or lots of images if you have a large studio.  If you shoot on location please share an image of you favorite location.

Well I am attaching my studio ~ but it is out of commission now:(The county is widening the road, and my building will be knocked down this year. I’m not sure if I need a studio at this point ~ but living in the northwest it is a nice thing to have for the amount of rain we get!

Is there anything you would like to promote?  Maybe a mentoring you offer or any side projects.

I have had lots of inquires towards mentoring, and I am still holding off at this time of my life…. goes back to I am only one person and how much can I handle:)Probably once all of my babies are in school, I will look into mentoring other photographers….

Please share an image of your Prop stash!  This doesn’t have to be an organized space just an image showing off your addiction.

Funny thing is, I don’t have too many stashed props!! I like spur of the moment finds, or props that I use on locations (flowers, grass, sticks… I do have some fun crates and a couple essentials) But actually I have a limited # of props, and always encourage my clients to bring one or two of their OWN items that actually mean something to them, so that I can better tell their stories!

What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new photographer?

A. Know your camera, know what settings you should be on in ANY situation. Practice. With the high quality cameras these days, even a monkey could shoot and get lucky once in a while…but it’s about consistency. Consistently delivering the goods. You can get there…but don’t be surprised if it takes a couple of falls before you do. Show the world how YOU see the scene.


More of Heidi’s beautiful work:

Thank you for sharing with us, Heidi!

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Heather M - September 7, 2012 - 10:54 am

Every single image is AMAZING!!! I can’t even pick one out of the lot. Beautiful! I enjoyed reading about you too – I’m am mom of a 7 year and 5 year old twins :) Can’t help but feel the bond there!

Amanda Berube - September 7, 2012 - 5:18 pm

I follow her work & LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEE her! Shes a super hero in the photography community (in my opinion) and a beautiful inspiration.

Katherine Vargas - September 7, 2012 - 6:25 pm

amazing post she is a very talented photographer.

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