Photographers are a rare breed because, with the use of a camera, they can document a moment, capture an emotion, and create something from their mind's eye and then turn around and share it with the world. Grace of Photography by Grace Hill learned this at an early age and over the years, has honed her craft into one of visual perfection.
What is your name?
Where are you from?
Colchester, Essex in the United Kingdom.
Please describe your business.
For the last two years I have studied a Foundation Degree in Creative and Editorial Photography, which I have just graduated from. Throughout my time studying, I have been establishing myself as a freelance natural light photographer based in my town of Colchester. You can find me by searching 'Photography by Grace Hill.'
How did you "find" photography and at what point did it become your passion?
Ever since I can remember, I've had a creative side - I have always had a pen or pencil in my hand, whether it was writing or drawing. I can remember being as young as maybe six or seven and asking my Grandma for a pen so I could doodle on napkins at restaurants! However, it was when I was about ten years old that I really discovered photography. Photography had always been in my family - my dad had owned DSLR cameras and took lots of rolls of film of me as a child, and upon buying our first Leonberger dog, who we sadly lost this year, photography really came as another way to express myself and to document the things I loved. I found it fun, accessible, and best of all, I liked seeing my family's happiness at seeing the photos I had taken. I would say that when it came to my GCSE's (the exams you take when you're 16 in the UK), and I studied art, I really began to identify photography as a passion, more so than drawing. Now, nearly 4 years later, I already have a large hard drive of memories, and I think that's really why photography became so important to me. We live our lives on a day to day basis, but time passes so quickly, so it's nice to have photos of things to remind you of the good times.
What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
When I was younger, my favourite subject was anything natural - from flowers, to insects and animals, and even the landscapes around the beautiful seaside area in which I lived. However, as I've become older, I've found that I don't have a particular favourite subject as such, I really enjoy natural light photography, and have found that it is becoming my direction. I love lifestyle photography right through to fashion and editorial photography. I really do love photographing babies and couples though, even if the former aren't too co-operative ;) I love seeing the faces of parents who are so proud of their little ones, and I love seeing the faces of couples who are about to embark on the rest of their lives together. I think I just love to make people happy, and that's probably why photography is so important, in being able to document memories for people to keep for years to come.
Has social media made a positive impact on your business?
Social media has absolutely been a driving force behind my photography. At only 19 years old, I have just reached over 500 likes, simply through word of mouth! It has probably been a dominant feature for most businesses because of the ever-dependant technological world we live in, but it really is a brilliant feature. I primarily use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which have definitely helped, as well as photo sharing sites such as 500px and Flickr. You're able to get your work out there to a wider audience, whilst also having the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other creative minds. Facebook has become a little slow recently because of the way that it filters your posts within fan's newsfeeds, but it just encourages me to work harder to get my work into the wider public eye.
What makes your style unique?
I would say that what makes style is my constant drive to find new perspectives and not to be the same as every other photographer in my field. From a young age I was told that I 'have the eye' for photography, and I think it is as I get older, that I realise that this is developing. I try to be different from other photographers in that I don't limit myself to the confines of a studio. I like to work with nature, with natural light - I like pure, raw imagery. I aim to present myself as someone who although quite young, is level-headed and business minded. I offer a very one-to-one experience, and I feel that everything from the photos that I take right through to the way that the client receives the photos is all a very personal experience. I really try to make every customer feel like they are my first. (:
What are 3 things most people don't know about you?
1) I am a vegetarian 2) I play guitar (and occasionally sing, but not very often!) 3) I have never dyed my hair
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
In the next year, I really want to strive to do things that I haven't done before and I want to establish myself and dedicate my full time to my photography business. I am not an unconfident person, but this year, I have and continue to strive to improve upon my confidence and I continue to complete new goals. This year I aimed to gain more exposure for my business, take more bookings (ideally a few over the summer and also a wedding) and graduate from my degree. So far I have already completed many shoots with new subject matter, taken bookings for upcoming shoots, worked with new people, established myself in my area (which although my hometown, I have not been living in for the past few years), improved at my photography skills, worked on my branding, switched to a new camera system and completed a degree. There is no rest for the wicked ;)