Photographer Spotlight + Celebrity Mentor: Shannon Hollman

We are so excited to welcome Shannon Hollman to the Rock the Shot Blog today!  Take a moment to learn more about Shannon and visit her website Shannon Hollman Photography! Shannon is featured as our “Celebrity Mentor” in the Rock the Shot Forum for the entire month of  June, so come on over and ask her anything you like.  Thank you so much Shannon for taking the time to share your work with us today!

Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I wish I had an amazing story about how I always wanted to be a photographer from the time I could first walk, but in reality….I have a psychology degree:)

Like so many photographers, my photo journey started when my children were young. My husband is a wildlife/nature photographer and I wanted to know why his photos were always better than mine:)I started with a canon rebel and learned anything and everything I could.

How would you describe your photography style?
I feel my style is clean, natural, colorful and fun. I am not a big editor of my photos. I like them to look true to what they are. I love color, amazing light and a splash of fun and beauty!
I am so blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I definitely use that to my advantage. The area I live in definitely adds to how I photograph.

Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am 100% self taught. When I first became interested in photography I would study/analyze/examine photos. I read blogs, websites, books…..anything I could get my hands on. I made a promise to shoot something everyday. I quickly learned what worked and what didn’t….and then figured out why it worked or why it didn’t. It wasn’t easy and I gave up many times, but I am so happy that I decided to stick with it. Learning photography never stops. I still have so much to learn and I will happily try my best to do so.

Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I am a canon shooter. My husband uses canon, so that was naturally what I started out with. I shoot with the 5D classic and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I LOVE my camera. I also have a mark ii, but it just collects dust. Favorite lens…it’s a toss up between the 50mm and the 85mm. One of these lenses is definitely on my camera at all times. I do have my eye on the 35mm. I have never used one, but I just KNOW as soon as I use it, it will be a favorite of mine. Ha ha!

Do you have any tips for photographers on how to “find the light”?
Ah, light!!! It’s what it’s all about for me. We all have heard over and over again that the magic light is just before sunset and I completely agree. That’s the time when it’s glowing yellow and it truly is magical. How you use that light can be completely different too. Direct light, backlight, open shade….all are great ways to use it, just with different outcomes.

You specialize in High School Senior Photography, what is your favorite aspect of photographing seniors?
They are my favorite part. There is something so special about this age. They are full of life, have so much waiting for them and they are excited to see what it is. I love being able to show seniors how beautiful/handsome they are. My heart sings and smiles to hear “I can’t believe how beautiful I look”. I capture who they truly are. No nipping or tucking, no smoothing skin, no “fixing” them. What they see in their photos are honestly the beauty that everyone sees in them.

What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Saying no. This past year was my first 100% full year of doing seniors and weddings only (plus a few newborns in there b/c I just love them!). I said no to children and family sessions last year and it was such a scary step for me. It is still hard to say no a lot of the time, but it has been the best thing I have ever done for my business and for me. I feel like I found me and who I truly am as a photographer.

If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
To be you! 100% you. It is so so hard to not get caught up in what everyone else is doing. You see someone’s work you love and you may try to shoot like them, do business like them or edit like them. This will get you no where but frustrated fast. The only person you can be is you….so be an amazing you. Once you start shooting from your heart, it will all fall in to place. Those who love what you do will love it 100%. Those who don’t love what you do, well….that’s okay!!!

What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love the people that have been brought into my life. I love the friendships that I have made. I love the memories that I have captured for them. I love that I have given them a gift that means more to them than I will ever know.  I think that I get so much more from photographing my clients than they do from me.  Each and every person or couple will change my heart and mind. They teach me something, inspire me and make me a better person. I truly believe that.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope and pray that I will still be doing what I am now. I’m not looking to get rich or famous or take over the world. I’m just looking for a group of seniors and a few amazing couples to always want to be in front of my lens. In 5 years, I want to be just as happy about what I am doing as I am right now.

About Shannon:  I’m Shannon:)I’m a wife and and a mom to 2 amazing boys. I’m a Starbucks addict and a lover of God.  I am hysterical (this may be self diagnosed, but I firmly believe it) and I secretly want to be a dancer for the black eyed peas!

There isn’t a movie I won’t watch and I am a complete reality TV junkie!!  I prefer a family night at home over a night on the town any day. I’m a simple, small town girl and I wouldn’t have it any other way:)

Visit Shannon at her WEBSITEBLOG, and FACEBOOK page today!

And don’t forget, you can “Ask Shannon” anything you like in the Rock the Shot Forum for the entire month of June!

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Maira Martins - June 1, 2012 - 9:47 am

Thank you, Shannon! Yesterday I realized I was falling into this trap of trying to photograph/edit like some photographers I admire, even if that didn’t represent who I am. Reading your words about it today, it reassures me. Self-honesty is the way to go!

Angela Smith - June 1, 2012 - 2:08 pm

Shannon, you rock!! Loved reading this!!

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