We are so excited to welcome the super talented Lea Hartman to the Pretty Forum blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful family and child photography and be sure to visit her website Lea Hartman Photography. Thank you Lea for taking the time to share your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
The first time I remember becoming interested in photography was during my short foray as a model back in my teen years. I was 17 and on a day long magazine shoot, honestly bored to death. I had been sitting around for hours while someone did my hair, makeup and dressed me, and then dressed me again. When I finally got in front of the camera, I distinctly remember being much more interested in what the photographer, Kurt Markus was doing than what I was doing. It was many years before I actively pursued photography but I have some prints from that shoot framed in my house to remind myself of that initial spark.
How would you describe your photography style?
Clean, classic, and connected are my three branding words. I focus on genuine interactions and keep my editing pretty minimal. Most of the final images from my portrait or lifestyle sessions are in-between shots where my clients weren’t “ready” for the camera or didn’t even know I was shooting.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am completely self taught thanks to the internet and my young children who were too small to get away from my camera!
What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
Last year I switched from full frame to a cropped sensor and I haven’t regretted it once! I shoot primarily with a Fuji X-T1 and occasionally use my Canon 5D as a backup. I’m also old school and still shoot film with my Canon EOS 3 and my Canon AE-1. My favorite lens on my X-T1 is the 23mm f/1.4 (roughly a 35mm equivalent on a full frame).
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I think finding good light is a learned skill. We have to train ourselves to recognize it. Nothing beats experience so I think the best way to do this is simply to take a lot of pictures. All the time, everywhere you go, with your DSLR, with your phone. Some will turn out great, some won’t, but eventually, you’ll find that you’re drawn to beautiful light. And then it’s like riding a bike…you never forget.
What is your favorite subject to photograph?
Women, hands down. I’m getting teary eyed thinking about it because the world is just so mean. The standard of beauty that has been set for women is unrealistic and unattainable at best. It has crushed our spirit and made us doubt our worth. It breaks my heart, honestly, especially being the mother of a little girl. If I can use my talent and skill to create a portrait that makes a woman feel beautiful and radiant and comfortable in her own skin, that is the absolute highest compliment I could receive.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
You should never stop pushing yourself to learn something new and be more creative. Take a workshop, challenge yourself to begin a personal project, do something to continue to move forward. Yes, you may be on the right track already, but you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Be patient with yourself. Trust me.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I most love the idea that I’m contributing to a historical record. That the images I capture will live longer than I will and that 100 years from now, someone will look back on my photographs the way I look back on photographs from days long past.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
As a military spouse, I have a hard time planning years in advance. I rarely see past our current duty station. The army has a habit of asking for things we hadn’t planned on giving and I prefer not to set myself up for disappointment. When my husband retires and we finally settle in one location, I would like to open a natural light studio. Five years ago that inability to make a plan and stick to it would really have bothered me but thanks to my awesome husband, I’m learning to roll with the punches.
Hi, I’m Lea! (Think Leah, but without the “h.”) I’m a self-taught natural light photographer based out of North Carolina. Though I have been told I should specialize in something, I photograph whatever interests me. I’ve tried to narrow it down but I get bored too fast. Lover Boy and I have been married for 14 years and are the proud parents of three crazy kids. I’ve yet to travel but dream of visiting the Mediterranean. I made sure to get a passport, just in case. I have a weakness for Vera Bradley and a full blown addiction to Jamberry. I believe that any time of the day is the perfect time for coffee and can’t resist buying a cute mug. I have too many. It’s becoming a problem. I hate mustard, washing dishes and anything low fat. I love dogs, movies and lemon flavored desserts. Yum.