Paul Hoelen: The power of collaboration
Paul Hoelen is a Master of Photography in the AIPP and Fellow of the NZIPP, two-time Overseas Photographer of the Year in New Zealand, three-time Tasmanian Professional Photographer of the Year, and current and seven-time Tasmanian Landscape Photographer of the Year.
A member of the progressive modern landscape photography collaborative, The Light Collective, he judges regularly at a state, national, and international level, runs photo workshops worldwide, and writes for numerous publications and magazines. We’re thrilled to have him as one of our presenters for Foto Live 2018.
Capture: When it comes to creativity, what techniques do you rely on to help you produce engaging images?
Paul Hoelen: Ideally, creating the space and time to really connect with my subject on a deeper, more authentic level and allow myself to be fully present - then building enough breathing room into the process to be able to explore and reflect on the best path to follow for the imagery.
Seeking inspiration from and allowing regular time to immerse in works from other masters at their craft – be it impresssionist painters, progressive thinkers, designers or other photographers – can really enhance my enthusiasm and drive towards greater creativity in my own work.
Capture: How can a creative approach to business help you run a more productive and efficient operation, and get more clients?
Paul Hoelen: Our true brilliance comes to light in doing what we love. You will find the greatest energy, inspiration, and creative potential in whatever that realm is for you. So if you keep working on the self-awareness and courage to explore, find and follow that path, and then work to translate that into a commercially viable practice, and you are onto a winner!
Creative approaches that think outside the box can keep you fresh and inspired and feeling like you have room to grow, as well as providing a greater appeal to clients with the added innovation and uniqueness such an approach may present. There are so many ways this can manifest itself – be it your marketing, work methodology, or shooting style. It can help you stand out from the pack, keep ahead of the curve and increase your longevity in the industry.
Capture: What distinguishes good landscape photography from great work?
Paul Hoelen: Solid camera craft, and understanding of exposure and composition. Also, presenting a depth of knowledge of subject and place by choosing the best time of year and lighting conditions are of course the necessary building blocks of a good landscape image.
Some of the qualities of a truly great image, in my mind, include: the capacity to evoke genuine and lasting emotional connection; originality – be it through a fresh perspective, new technique, or inciting a new way of interacting and experiencing a subject; strong narrative – an image that allows you to read into and beyond just what you see, into stories and interpretations that ask questions or lead you along various paths of thought and feeling.
Capture: What are your top tips for those planning to have a commercially successful landscape photography business?
Paul Hoelen: It’s one thing to be a great photographer; it’s quite another to run a successful business from it. Getting the necessary training and business skills, being open to mentoring, and delegating certain tasks to those with a better skill set and greater experience than you can all improve your standing from a business point of view.
I would advocate an openness to various income streams, be it fine art prints, workshops, commissions, even stock imagery if you’re organised enough. Lean to understand your strengths, and back yourself. Consider supplementing your income as you are building the business, before launching full time.
Define clear, but realistic goals. Do our research. Know your market. Look to future trends. Get yourself on the front end of the curve in terms of your product and services – it’s a fast evolving industry.
Build your brand and inherent value with blogs, articles, judging, awards, networking, and attending events.
Capture: What impact do you think Instagram has had on the practice of landscape photography?
Paul Hoelen: It has potentially influenced peoples’ styles with lots of emulation of techniques and looks of the big names and hubs as well as the various filtered looks that Instagram has made available.
It can allow you tremendous potential reach to a wider customer base, on many levels, so if used effectively can be a great business asset. It also allows greater communication and connection among the photographic community and a means to reach out to specific image-makers that inspire you, or you wish to meet and collaborate with.
Capture: What will you be speaking about at Foto Live? Why is this topic so important to photographers?
Paul Hoelen: Creative Business Ideas: 'A Collaborative Approach'.
There is an exponential increase in the number of photographers out there and the first instinct can be to feel threatened and weighed down by a sense of increased competition. An alternative approach can be to turn that around and explore collaborative approaches and mindsets that mean we work together with other creatives, leaning on each others combined resources and skills to create a greater outcome than we could ever reach on our own.
From a commercial point of view, I have noticed more and more ‘influencers’ getting tourism-based commissions based on their large social media following, even over more experienced, local photographers who don’t happen to have the same level of social reach.
Join us at Foto Live 2018, and you'll go in the draw to WIN more than $13,000 worth of amazing gear, including a SONY A7II & lens, DJI Mavic Air, ASUS pro monitor, Nisi filters kit, and more.
Find out more about the event at fotolive.com.au
Early bird pricing ends Friday, 29 June at 11:59pm.