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Conversations with the Inspiring Holly Freeman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Holly Freeman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Holly. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was originally drawn to photography in high school. My first camera was a film camera and the most expensive thing I had purchased, but the passion petered out when my brother showed a natural gift for photography. My jealousy won out, I stuck my camera in the closet and moved on.

My second camera came along not because I had a passion for photography but because I had a passion for photo albums. I was frustrated by our point-and-shoot camera and even more so by fuzzy cellphone shots. Our kids were growing and changing so fast, and I wanted to capture it. I got a new DSLR camera, and this time the passion stuck.

Photography became an obsession. The clarity of the subject and the creamy background were enchanting. I read every book I could find at the library, in all the libraries, nothing but photography for a solid year (ok, plus a few Dr. Seuss books for the kids). I took some classes, took a lot of pictures, made everyone I knew—plus a few I didn’t know—sit in front of my camera. Also, a few amazing and kind photographers met with me, encouraged me and gave me some great direction.

Then, I took the plunge and started a business, and it has been such a fun, wild and empowering ride. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, a group always scheming ways to turn their hobbies, passions and inventions into profits, but that was never me. I studied theatre, worked in social work, had a knack for creativity but no real direction for it. But photography, especially lifestyle photography, has turned out to be this fabulous intersection of art director, co-creator and businesswoman, and I have found it so satisfying.

There is something so energizing about photographing people, creating a work of art together that I know they will want in the end. I feel especially drawn to photographing families: I love capturing the relationships, the joy in those relationships and finding ways to elicit honest emotions from the subjects in front of my camera.

Has it been a smooth road?
I would say my biggest struggles have had less to do with starting a business and more to do with finding my passion. Life can sometimes drag you around, and you wonder where you are going and why you are enduring certain challenges. You have to trust that those challenges have a purpose and are preparing you for the next moment. It’s usually in retrospect, though, that you can look back and say, “Ah, that’s why…”

I’ve been privileged to stay home with my kids, and it is both a beautiful gift and an incredible challenge. There are days you think you might lose your mind from the minutia that consumes your life. My camera was a godsend because it allowed me to engage with my children but still pursue my own creativity, and then creativity and passion just kept growing.

I haven’t been on the journey long enough to offer great wisdom on owning a business or pursuing a dream. I can only encourage others who are seeking their passion to keep open, searching, and trusting that what you are experiencing is somehow preparing you for the next steps.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Holly Freeman Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
Family photos can be a painful thing. I always ask my families to tell me how each member feels about being photographed, and what I hear most often is that the kids will do fine because they’ve been promised a special treat and that Dad does not want to do it. What I love is when we get done and Dad says, “Thank you, that was actually fun.”

Family photos don’t have to be a painful thing. I try to keep our photo sessions fast-paced with moving, interacting, snuggling, laughing. I try to elicit real emotions with gentle prompts to help capture those beautiful dynamics within families that can kind of freeze up when the camera comes out. I am learning to strike a balance between lifestyle photography and the traditional family portrait where everyone is looking at the camera because I find that families want both. Sometimes you have to do the silly movements to get to the genuine smiles.
I also try to take really good care of my families before and after the shoot. I help them prepare with clear directions about where we’ll be and why (it’s all about capturing the best light). I help them think about what to wear—this can make a huge difference in the final product and can be a source of stress for Mom. And I try to stay on top of communication so they feel heard and important and know what to expect.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
After I finished all the photography books in the library, I was bumbling around YouTube when an experienced and successful photographer pointed me toward Creative Live, a source for online education. It made all the difference. I found classes I could afford that provided exactly the education I needed. They not only helped hone my photography skills at a technical level but also addressed marketing and workflow, and provided an avenue to a Facebook Group that has been a great source of community and ongoing education from others experiencing the same issues of running a photography business.

Pricing:

  • Family Portrait sessions: $200
  • Maternity sessions: $200
  • Newborn sessions: $200

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The photograph of me and my son was done by Kathy Spanski Photography
All the other photos are Holly Freeman Photography.

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