Meet Dennis Hammond of Hammond Photo Design. Dennis focuses on lifestyle portraits for children and family and uses Canon. He shoots RAW using his left eye in either aperture or shutter priority mode. He uses Totally Rad Actions 1 & 2 and Kubota‘s Actions.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
It was the night of New Years Eve, 2007. After years of encouragement from friends and family about my photography, as I watched the ball drop and welcomed the birth of new year I decided to go for it. I wanted to do something different in the new year, to challenge myself to move in a new direction and begin building a career something that I really loved to do. The rest is history!
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
I’ve learned a lot. But the most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is that even when you’re making a business out of something you love, it’s still a business. As much as I may love the new equipment, shooting and post processing the reality is that the majority of time needs to be spent on marketing the business more than anything else.
What makes you different from everyone else?
There are lots of other photographers but only one me! So what makes me different is ME. No one can “see” the image the way I do, they can’t feel what I feel when I’m composing the shot. If you give the same camera to 10 photogs and ask them to shoot the same subject you’ll get 10 different interpretations. It’s a very unique experience.
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
One item you can’t live without?
You’ll have to pry Adobe Lightroom from my cold dead hands! Then I’ll come back as a zombie to get it back!
Your best bokeh image and why?
I took this image when I was just learning how to get bokeh in my images. It was a great “A-ha!” moment in my understanding of the relationship between aperture and the quality of bokeh.
I read a lot of business books but don’t have a clear favorite. I particularly love reading stuff about marketing and advertising.
Gee, how much time do you have? The Shawshank Redemption is way up there along with the Matrix. Oh, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart of the Iron Giant, one of my daughter’s favorites.
Where do you find inspiration?
My kids helped me fall in love with photography so they inspire me a lot. Children in general inspire me. Also, I get inspired by beautiful light. There’s nothing like the warm glow just before sunset or the light on an overcast day to send me scrambling for my camera. I also draw inspiration from movies, magazines and other photographer’s blogs.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
No awards. I’m a member of PPA
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
To take the leap I had to believe in myself. Yeah, it sounds cliché, but it’s true. The hoops I had to jump through were really the ones I set for myself. I tend to over analyze things sometimes which can lead to “paralysis by analysis”. I’ve had to learn to let things go and not to sweat the small stuff.
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Do it slow and make learning the ins and outs of running a business a priority.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
I can’t say there is one specific thing that really stands out for me except networking and word of mouth.
Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)? If for, who have you had the most success with?
I’m not against free advertising but word of mouth works pretty well so far.
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Just hanging out with fellow photographers and camera geeks and talking shop.
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