Interview: Photographer Hannah McKeel
How did you get started in photography? What made you pick up a camera?
I got a laptop and internet access around the age of 12/13. That changed my life. Exposure to the work of other photographers via Tumblr and Flickr lead me to picking up my parents’ point-and-shoot (fully loaded with a wrist strap!). I did a lot of conceptual shoots and explored my style artistically. When I was 16, I received a DSLR for Christmas and via Facebook, I advertised “free” portrait photo shoots in exchange for a monetary donation towards a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m not going to lie, those pictures were the wooooorrrrssstttt hahaha. But praise the Lord, He provided and my entire trip was funded through photography.
What inspires you to capture the subjects you shoot?
What inspires me to capture my subjects is absolute who they are as people. I am so enraptured by the expressions and experiences of humans that I consider it an honor to capture it on camera. I am inspired by reactions to my photos as well. The most lovely thing to hear upon someone seeing my work is that I made them feel beautiful.
What is your best photoshoot experience?
This is a hard question! How can I choose one!? The first thing that popped into my mind is a recent couples session where I went about 2 hours away with a good friend and her fiancé to the top of a mountain and had the most AMAZING session with them at sunset. Following, they bought me Thai food in a local mountain town. So essentially, all of the best things: mountains, roadtrips, Thai food, and good friends. The ironic thing about this shoot is that I ran into an ex-boyfriend on top of the mountain (2 hours away from our home town… during sunset… off trail… I know. So random.) while I was shooting and he was extremely rude about the whole situation. You would think that would make the shoot a bit sour for me , but it actually makes for a really funny story now and brought me closer to my clients!
How would you say your style and technique has evolved?
Continuing my above story, my style went from very conceptual and artistic, to a bit more of what I call, “commercial portraiture”. I took almost all of myself out of the photos and went full business mode- photographing how the market demanded. Financially, it was lucrative and I certainly grew as a business owner and photographer, but I did not grow too much as an artist as I was only doing styled shoots every once in awhile. After about 3.5 years of that way of shooting, I rebranded and “closed” my business. I now shoot as a commissioned artist and I do a lot of collaborations with other artists and brands, focusing on the art of photography, exploring different shooting techniques, and showcasing the subjects natural contour and fashion. My style is still focused mostly on solo portraits and couples, but my subjects are much less posed and much more natural. My editing style is very colorful with emphasis on bright highlights and deep, matte shadows.
How would you describe your vision/style?
It is hard to explain my vision/style because it is constantly changing. I would say that my vision is to capture emotion, angles, colors, and life in an aesthetically pleasing way that makes the viewer of my work feel something.”
How has being a photographer impacted you and your life?
In every way, it has made my life better. It has opened doors for traveling that I would have never otherwise had, introduced me to incredible people, strengthened me as an entrepreneur, improved my people/relations skills, and made me more aware of the beauty of the life around me. Every where I look, in every person I encounter, I see beauty.
What is a quote that speaks to you and inspires you?
Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. — Charles Spurgeon
Every experience we have with Hannah is nothing short of pure sunshine and inspiration. She always brings the mood up with her bubbly responses and ethereal photos. We’re so happy to share her and her words with others, we know she can inspire others! We wish her safe and happy travels, we can’t wait to see what she’s up to next!