Student Success: Student Success: Conny Holm
1. When did you realize that photography was the field you wanted to pursue?
I was always very interested in arts, the first time I picked up the camera was in art class. It quickly grew into a good hobby especially as digital cameras became widely available. Years later a friend talked me into starting my own business as he had already got me my first assignment. It was a good experience, I really enjoyed working together with a client for a project and it gave me the courage to do photography as a business.
2. When did you enroll at NYIP?
I enrolled at NYIP in the beginning of 2015 and graduated in just a few months of intense studying. At the time I worked in news paper printing, until the facility was closed down due to financial decisions. Thanks to some good negotiations by our local union branch all members got the funding for re-educating. I invested in developing as a photographer, attending workshops in Stockholm and of course enrolling at the NYIP.
3. What was your coursework like?
The course material was extensive and very inspiring, each section of studies followed by a different photo project to be reviewed by my mentor Neville Elder. I was always very excited to start the next project and get evaluated!
4. Was your mentor helpful during the process?
My mentor was very helpful and dedicated, the feedback I got was highly constructive and encouraging. Having someone with a lot experience in photography review your work is invaluable. Thank you mr Elder!
5. What type of work are you doing now?
Currently the bread and butter of my business is architecture and real estate photography, a field I had not even tried before NYIP. It´s fun and challenging, always very different subjects to capture and requires quite some knowledge in both the technical and artistic fields. If it wasn´t for NYIP I would not know how much fun architectural photography is!
6. Tell us about the business you launched!
I run my photo business from my home in Norrtälje, a small city by the east coast of Sweden. Doing both portraiture and architecture I have figured out, that marketing the two separately, almost like two different businesses, is the most effective and client-friendly. For the real estate photography I have a wide base of returning clients in the agents I work with. Portraits, which I do both on-location and in my home studio have more new clients, much thanks to word-of-mouth and a customized website.
7. How do you find new clients and advertise the work you do with corporate portraiture?
I use the classic method of direct calls and emails. Since I meet a lot of new people in the real estate business, I can get a lot of good contacts and referrals. A good balance between being genuinely friendly and doing business is key.
8. What qualities do you think a successful, aspiring photographer needs?
Curiosity, patience and an open mind. With a strong will to constantly learn and improve you will get a long way. Photography is about exploring and telling a story, expressing yourself and evoking emotions. People will forget how technically perfect your photo was, but they will always remember how it made them feel.
9. What do you always carry with you in your camera bag?
A model release and a business card. Which camera to bring depends on the occasion - sometimes it´s the big DSLR and speedlights, sometimes a small mirrorless and sometimes an old Rolleiflex. And a bottle of water – stay hydrated!
10. What’s the most interesting thing you learned at NYIP?
For me learning about architecture photography was simply amazing. I had previously researched, read and practiced quite a lot of landscapes and portraits, but this field was something totally new to me.
11. If you had to pick one, what was the most memorable photography project you’ve ever completed?
I was called in to shoot a drag racing event at an old air field re-purposed as a racing stadium. Halfway through the day I´m called to report to the pilot. “What pilot?” I ask slightly confused. “The pilot of the helicopter of course”. I had never been in a helicopter before, especially not one with the doors hooked off. It was a very memorable experience and the photos turned out great.
12. Describe a workday in your life as a photographer.
In real estate I can schedule up to five sessions per day and it requires a well trimmed workflow. Once I arrive I scout the location for shooting angles together with the agent if he or she has any special requests. When I start shooting the first room I mentally plan the photos of the next one; if minor rearrangement of furniture is needed and so on. The editing is out sourced and I just send the raw files at the end of the day.
High end architecture shoots require a very different workflow, fine tuning lighting and stacking several frames per scene and the job could take several days to finish, including the editing which I do myself.
13. What’s the most rewarding part of studying photography?
Photography is for me the perfect combination of technology and art, or the brain and the heart so to say. The most rewarding part of studying photography is how it opens my eyes, not just when looking through the viewfinder but also noticing more details around you even when not using a camera.
14. What subject is usually your favorite to shoot?
I really like on-location portraits of people in their right element, being either professionals surrounded by their familiar tools or hobbyists in the environment that inspires them the most.
15. If you could give one piece of advice to our current and prospective students, what would it be?
Never stop being curious.
If you want to see some of my work you can find it at my website: https://www.studioholm.se/ as well as my Instagram feeds: https://www.instagram.com/studioholm/ and https://www.instagram.com/interiorfoto.se/
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