Photographer Q & A
Describe the moment or event that inspired your decision to become a photographer.
A discouraging teacher. During an open house in high school, my photographs were displayed prominently and I overhead some parents telling my teacher how talented I was. To which the teacher retorted, 'Yeah, but she would never make it as a professional or anything.' Ironically, his imposed limits only made me more determined to succeed professionally: I don't like being told what I can't do.
What is your favorite photography tip to share with other photographers?
Shoot, shoot, shoot—then, when you are done with that, shoot some more. It always comes down to practice. You are responsible for truly learning the craft and finding your own style—that can't be taught. It's like learning to speak a language. You can spend a lot of time learning Spanish in a class, but nothing compares with actually being in Spain, fully immersed in the culture.
Favorite photography book and why?
Scott Kelby's Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques is my retouching bible. I learned how to use Photoshop from his earlier books and I continue to evolve through his guidance. He's one of the best educators in the photography industry.
What's the best advice you ever received from a fellow photographer?
"It's often more valuable finding out what you don't want to do," is one of the most important pieces of advice I took away from my internship with Steve McCurry. I was extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to work with one of my idols—still, as a young photographer it can be so frustrating trying to determine which direction to take. That's why Steve's advice was invaluable—you have to try everything, all types of photography, different methods of shooting and retouching, and various approaches. Through the process, you will find out what isn't right for you and you are one step closer to what you really want.
What photography project or assignment has been most meaningful for you and why?
My life changed when I became the host of TWiT Photo six months ago. When Leo Laporte, long-time tech broadcaster and chief of the TWiT (This Week in Tech) network, asked me to be his co-host for a new flagship photography netcast, I was so honored and went into it thinking it would be so much fun. Twenty-six episodes later, TWiT Photo was not only rated the "Best New Technology Podcast" in 2011 by iTunes, it has also changed my life for the better. I'm grateful every day for the opportunity to connect with the most inspiring minds of our industry, talk about their phenomenal work, and be a part of a show that educates, inspires and empowers photographers of all levels.
If you could publish a book on any photographic subject, what would it be?
If you had asked me this question a year ago, I would be filling this reply with a long list of titles. However, new media and its boundless possibilities have opened up my mind to sharing and developing content through more interactive and dynamic ways. I'm very passionate and involved in my various online communities – through my blog, regular Google+ Hangout videocasts, as well as Twitter and Facebook. All these emerging avenues allow me to offer an audience the same type of information, but in a much more dynamic way than a book – they keep a constant dialogue between us. Right now, I'm also developing an iPhone/iPad app that will make the lives of photographers so much better—but shhh, I can't tell you what it actually does until it is released in early 2012. Stay tuned to exciting new developments on my blog.
What's in your camera bag right now?
What do you love about your Lowepro bag?
Lowepro's Pro Roller x300 is a workhorse. Light and easy to maneuver, this bag follows me everywhere. With tough back and side panels, the wide-wheel based x300 has earned a "never tip" reputation. This streamlined little bag also safely packs a ton of gear. My various lenses, camera bodies, speedlights, video lights, a laptop, and additional accessories fit nicely and neatly in the handy carry-all bag.
Catherine Hall's Lowepro gear includes:
Catherine Hall approaches her work with a fine-arts sensibility, technical mastery, and cultivated creativity. Co-host of the premier photography netcast, TWiT Photo, Catherine is regularly featured in leading publications, such as The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. Her adventure-driven projects have spanned over 30 countries and have been exhibited worldwide.