Hey friends! This is the beginning of a new series where I'll be answering all of your burning questions about photography, our business, life on the road, and pretty much anything else we are asked about frequently! Feel free to comment if you have additional questions, and I'll be sure to link the other FAQ posts in this one as they are written. Enjoy!
How did you start doing photography?
I have always been drawn to photography. I remember taking photos of my beanie babies with a disposable camera in Elementary school, and one time I got a photo of a beanie bear I was so proud of, I carried it around school to show my friends (once it was developed at Walgreens, of course). I was always the friend at camp or sleepovers with the camera. My best friend Katie and I used to stay up “all night” making videos and taking goofy photos in my room on weekends. Fast forward to college, I bought my first DSLR camera on a whim, it was a used Canon Rebel XSi for $200 and I couldn’t have been more psyched. After learning to use it on Manual (a very frustrating and challenging process!), I bought a $120 prime lens, the Canon 50 1.8 and the second I took a photo of Charlie that was blurry in the background I was convinced I was a real photographer. I brought my camera with me everywhere and took photos of everything, from city scapes to flowers, and especially my favorite subject ever, Charlie :) One summer, I worked as the photographer for a mission-based church camp in San Antonio, and while I fulfilled my role of photographing campers, my favorite part of the job was photographing the stray dogs around town!
How can I start doing photography? What camera do you suggest for beginners?
There are so many amazing options and it’s been years since I bought my first camera, but a used Canon Rebel was perfect for me. If you’re serious about photography, I suggest learning to shoot on Manual in all conditions as soon as possible, buy a prime lens (this 50mm was perfect for me!), and practice, practice, practice! Once you feel confident in your shooting, learning to edit RAW photos in Lightroom is a game-changer! It’s very intimidating at first, but Youtube is your friend and again, practice as much as possible!
How did you start your photography business?
After a few years of photography being a hobby, friends started asking me to take photos of them. My first official gig was a family session (shoutout to Alison Broussard!) that I believe I charged $50 for, and shot at noon in a little park after church. I learned more every time I shot photos, but my growth into a business was a little different than most. I never intended to start a photography business. Throughout college, I loved photography and was psyched when I would book a little session here and there with friends, but I didn’t advertise it until after college, which brings me to my next question/answer.
How did you book your first wedding?
I interned with a wedding photographer when I was in college (she was a friend, and when she posted about hiring an intern I jumped on it!) and second shot probably 10-15 weddings with her over the course of a couple of years. A friend of mine had reached out to her to shoot their wedding, but she was unavailable so she referred them to me. I was actually pretty hesitant to book it, I wasn’t so sure about shooting my own weddings, but the friend was super encouraging and wanted me to shoot it, so I booked it! We had a blast with their engagement session and I was really encouraged to make this photography business a real thing. I didn’t want to hire a random second shooter for their wedding, so I told Callen he was going to join me and he learned to shoot manual via Youtube videos a week before :) We crushed it had SO much fun and have shot every wedding but one (that I flew to last summer) together since. After that, most bookings were from friends or friends of friends for the first year. You can look through the blog post for that first wedding here.
How did you go full time with photography?
We shot a lot of different types of weddings around Texas (where we lived) for about a year, taking any booking that would come our way. In the meantime, I was working a retail job at BHLDN (I was psyched on weddings) and Callen was working as a contract musician at our church and retail at REI during the week. I want to note, we lived as cheaply as possible. Cheap apartment, cheap food, Callen was VERY frugal, so we were doing fine with just these jobs. Soon after booking our second wedding, I quit my job to try and make the photography thing happen full time. We were in a place where any money we made from photography felt like bonus, which I realize isn’t the case for everyone, but it was our situation. That being said, I probably wasn’t making a “living wage” with photography until a year or so after our first wedding.
Next blog post I'll be talking more about how we transitioned to adventure weddings and eventually life on the road! Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions you want me to cover.
The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.