All photographers have a certain amount of passion for what they do. However, some really exude that passion the minute you talk to them! Holli True is one of those photographers!
Five minutes into our conversation, I could truly tell that she is a girl who loves what she does!! Talking to her got me so excited for her, for me, for senior portrait photography and for photography in general! It was infectious! She really is someone everyone should have the opportunity to get to know!
Lucky for me and for you, that opportunity is below! I had so much fun interviewing Holli and I am so happy to share it with you! Be sure to check out her awesome website and more of her work here.
Tell me a little about yourself...Where are you from? Eugene, Oregon
Married? Yes, for 12 years to my high school sweetheart!
Kids? Yes, two...Cole is 8 and Addisyn is 5.
How did you get into photography? When I was about 20-years-old, I lost my first baby when I was five months pregnant. My sister felt bad because she had kids and thought being around them would make it harder on me. But I realized being around kids was exactly what I needed. So I got a job at a children's portrait studio. It was very therapeutic for that time in my life.
Any formal training? I spent four years at the portrait studio so I got a lot of hands-on experience with film photography. I also have a background in art and I have always drawn and sculpted people so photography came naturally to me because of that background. When I decided to open my own photography business, I did have to learn digital, so I taught myself that by practicing on my kids. I also asked tons of questions on forums such as Open Source Photo. It really made me feel comfortable enough to ask questions and learn more about photography.
How long have you been in business? Since 2007
How would you describe your photography style? Unique, fashion, modern, stylish and centered around my clients! My style is definitely not cookie-cutter. I try to bring out the individual and I love to bring out their confidence.
Who or what inspires you as a photographer? I love inspiration! To me inspiration, is all about knowing what makes you feel and taking those things and using them to push yourself to create something. I love actresses like Kristen Stewart. She is awkward but beautiful. My goal is to take real girls and help them push through any awkwardness or nervousness to find their confidence! I also love music! Music is my poetry. I write and edit to music. I also look at magazines such as Rolling Stones or Vanity Fair.
Do you have a specific senior season? If so, when? Our senior season usually starts in the late summer and goes through November. Then we have a little break and pick back up again in March.
What is your favorite thing about photographing seniors? I love seeing a senior who starts out unsure of herself, end up exuding confidence. Seeing their faces when they see the images we are getting is priceless.
Can you share some tips for other photographers wanting to get into the senior portrait market? The senior market is changing. People used to want safe but now photographers are allowed to find their voice. So stay true to you and seek out the clients that are like you.
What are your most popular senior products? Books....I use Modera.com. Metallic or metal prints and mini accordion books are also popular.
Do you have a senior rep or model program and how does it work? I changed my senior rep program by getting rid of all cards and printed material and totally use social media for my reps. The reps have to talk about us on their facebook walls and we give them promos to put on their walls. We use Showit plus sites and they let me keep track of who is commenting, etc. The reps get a 45 minute rep session and photos on Facebook. Then they work to get more stuff. If they get 2 sessions booked, then they receive a boutique session free. The levels go up from there. More booked sessions equals more stuff earned. We have 10 reps this year and they are really doing a great job so far!!
You use Lensbaby lenses on your senior shoots. Can you tell us a little about them and how they help you to achieve a certain look? I love Lensbaby lenses! I really feel like they took my business to the next level. Lensbaby helped us carve out our niche in the business a little further and helped brand our photography. They give my senior shoots a unique look. I like fluid motion in photos and these lenses help achieve that.
What tips can you share about using Lensbaby lenses? Start out using higher f-stops like a 4 or 5.6. You have to choose your aperture manually and focus manually. I would suggest taking a few more photos, even when you think you have it. They are sensitive but the pay out is awesome!!
What is in your camera bag? Canon 5D Mark II, 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, 28mm 1.8 and 70-200mm 2.8
What is your favorite lens? Lensbaby Composer Pro with sweet 35 optic and 85mm 1.8
Favorite time of day to shoot? I schedule most of my sessions in the evening!
What is one piece of advice you can share with fellow photographers? Figure out who you are and shoot accordingly! If you are a studio photographer, then shoot in the studio. If you love to shoot on-location, then do that! Shoot what you love!
(Interview by Leslie Kerrigan from Seniorologie.)