Originally from Sweden, photographer Hanna Hervall is a dreamer, an entrepreneur, businesswoman and above all things, a mum. Specialising in wedding, family and portrait photography, Hanna has started her own business and become an Australian Accredited Professional Photographer all within ten years of coming here to study. Starting on a single reflex camera, or SLR, Hanna worked her way up from there and began experimenting with different types of shots and compositions.
Below is our interview with Hanna, talking about things such as parenthood, composition, cameras and what it is like to go out and photograph the Queensland Music Festival.
Hi there Hanna how are you?
Hi, I’m very well, just had a little baby, my second one, so I’m enjoying just being a mum at the moment. With being self-employed however, there are always things that needs to be done so I take it as it comes.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a photographer…
I am originally from Sweden but came to Australia to study at University, learn how to surf, and to get a bit of sunshine. That was ten years ago and I’m still here! I didn’t study photography, but it’s always been something I have been doing a lot of, just for myself. When I was given my first proper SLR that’s when the real interest ignited and I did some evening courses just for fun. After a while people started to ask me if I could photograph their wedding and so on and earlier this year I could actually resign from my job at Volvo to focus full-time on photography, which was like a dream come true! I started taking on everything, I don’t think I have said no to anything yet and that has taught me so much! I accepted to do a studio portrait of an actor without having any studio experience, so I hired one and set it up in my garage and spent the whole weekend exploring with light together with some friends until I felt I could do it!
Having a bachelor and a masters degree in business has helped me a lot in my own business, and also working for a large organisation because what works for large business usually works for small too, but when it’s small you can carry out changes without delay!!
What makes photography interesting for you and what aspect of it draws you back to it everyday?
The fact that it’s a constant learning curve, you get better and better for each shot you take and you have to constantly come up with new and creative ideas. You always have your eyes open and you learn to see beauty in everything. You also get to meet a lot of different people and you never do the same thing twice!
What has been a highlight in your career?
A highlight in my career was probably when I realised that I was living my dream. A few months earlier I was talking to my coach on Skype and she asked me how I wanted my ultimate day to look, and when I realised I was living that I felt very proud! Taking that leap and risking everything is always a good decision because if you fail it will just bring you closer to success. Outside the comfort zone is truly where the magic happens!
What do you enjoy most about photographing events?
The vibe and excitement and that you never really know what is going to happen. Weddings are the same, you just know it’s going to be a fun-filled day.
What is the most rewarding aspect about photographing children in your magic project?
Because children just do what they want to do, it can never be fake. They smile when they are happy and cry when they are sad, the emotions are so real and that is what is so beautiful. I have an idea of what I want to capture and in what order, but it’s the kids who decide what is going to be achievable and it always turns out better than I could have ever asked for.
You also photograph engagement shoots. How do you make their day special when you go out and photograph a couple?
I do engagement shoots as part of my wedding photography package. I do it to get to know the couple so that there are no stiff moments on their wedding day. The engagement shoot for me is to get to know the couple and for them to get to know me. It’s always a bit stiff in the beginning but by the end of the session they are all into it and hardly even know that I’m there! When they just enjoy each other’s company and forget that I am there, I have done my job!
What was the experience like photographing the Queensland Music Festival?
It was amazing, I loved every second of it! With events I try to get the organisers the shots within a day or two so that they can use it for publicity. I focus on the small moments, the experience of each individual and the details that makes the story complete. I was flexible, reliable and quick and I think that was why I got to cover the whole festival. They could sometimes call just a couple of hours before they needed me to cover something and I love that spontaneity.
What are five things you wish you had been told before beginning photography?
1) That 70 to 80% of the work is editing
2) That you have to value your own time and efforts and not be disappointed if someone thinks you are too expensive, never go down in price, the next client will be happy to pay you what you deserve!
3) Always give more than the client expects and be very flexible.
4) Sort and delete your photos straight away, you won’t go back and do it later and back up!
5) Don’t copy what other people are doing, be original. Be different and do it the way you think is right, you will get rewarded eventually.
What do you look for in terms of capturing the ‘right’ or ‘perfect’ shot?
It comes to me as I see it, that is why I always have a camera close as I need to be fast to capture it before the moment passes. The same goes for inspiration. If you don’t act on it immediately it will slip away to someone else.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I want to collaborate more with other businesses and do more creative styled sessions for big fashion houses, museums, authors or publishers etc. I want to travel and show the world what it has never seen before. I want to create magic and happiness for a much larger audience. Be the next Tim Walker or Annie Leibovitz but in my own way; environmentally friendly and educational with soul and a bit of magic!