Student Success: Tasha Hall
From developing photos in her high school’s dark room to enrolling at NYIP years later, Tasha Hall has loved taking pictures for as long as she can remember. Throughout her life, she’s taken advantage of any and all opportunities to further her skills and develop her knowledge of camerawork while continuously allowing herself to grow a following by submitting her work to various magazines and entering her shots in photo contests. We recently had the chance to chat with Tasha about her cover photo in Canadian Horse Journal, and about her experience in the field overall. Here’s what we learned:
1. When did you realize that photography was the field you wanted to pursue?
I have been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I had an old film camera back in high school and took a photography class where we got to develop photos in the dark room.
2. How did you first get started once you realized that?
I started out slow, taking photos of friends and family, wild animals etc. Over time people started wanting me to do photo shoots for them, it progressed from there.
3. Do you remember your first legitimate photo shoot?
Hmmm I'm not even sure about that one... I'm thinking it was a family photo shoot quite a few years ago now.
4. Tell us about the Canadian Horse Journal cover.
I have a wonderful friend, Ray, who is an old horse guy. He has been pushing me for a long time to enter photo contests, to get my work out there.... He dropped off an issue of Canadian Horse Journal and told me to enter the photo contest they had running. I finally sat down and entered a few photos. My thought was, if I won, he would see the photos first, as he had a subscription, and he would be over the moon. I never thought I would get first place, and the cover. I also got another 2nd place win as well, which just happened to be a photo of Ray with his old horse Luke. Sure enough, I got a call first thing one morning; it was Ray, so excited he could hardly talk haha.
5. Have you been featured in magazines/ publications in the past?
I have one more magazine publication. My boyfriend recently won a contest for Woodmizer, for building our beautiful house with his own saw mill. The magazine ran an article on him and I took all the photos. I do plan on contributing more in the future for sure.
6. Do you ever enter your work into photography competitions? If so, do you have any advice for amateur photographers who might want to try some themselves?
I have only entered two contests, and amazingly enough, I won both... I guess I am still trying to convince myself that my work is good enough. I think my advice would be "Just Do It". You never know what might happen.
7. What qualities do you think a successful, aspiring photographer needs?
I think you need to be a people person; you have to be able to talk to people, to connect. You need a niche, something that sets you apart from everybody else. I have finally found my niche in a new concept I call "Farm & Family Photography". I have been working with people to create a photo that includes all of their animals (farm and pets) as well as their human family, together in one photo. It seems to be taking off faster than I could ever imagine.
8. What do you always carry with you in your camera bag?
I carry all the usual things, lenses, cleaners, filters etc. I always bring a special little squeaky toy to get the animals attention.
9. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far throughout your career in photography?
You never know what to expect. Sometimes you just have to go for it and see where it leads you. Don't overthink things too much...
10. If you had to pick one, where was your favorite location you’ve worked in the past?
I will have to pick two here... I love working on people's farms, with all their animals, this is what I do for an income, and it is so much fun. The other side of me is a wild-life photographer. I love getting out into nature and capturing the wild ones in their element. I have to say there is nothing better than being face to face with a grizzly bear, and having him accept me into his space...
11. If you had to pick one, what was the most memorable photo you ever took?
There are many, but the one that changed the course of my career would be a photo I created for our family Christmas card. It was the very first "Farm & Family" photo. It came about because I wanted to get all of my animals into the photo with us for our card. After that photo was made public, I had so many people wanting me to come and do a photo for them. It really has been the catalyst for everything I am currently doing.
12. Describe a day in your life as a photographer.
I live in a very small town of 300 people. For me to have a photography career I have to travel. I spend a few days at a time on the road going from farm to farm. I will book a number of photo shoots in any given location, travel to that location, do all of the photos, and then head home. A few days of editing follows that. I can't say that any day is the same as any other.
13. What do you think is the biggest compositional mistake most photographers make?
I'm not sure. I would say trying to follow all the rules. In photography the rules are made to be broken.
14. What’s the most rewarding part of studying photography?
I love learning. I love discovering new ways of doing things, new concepts and ideas. Photography is a vast subject; there are really no set rules. Every photo shoot I do, I learn something new.
15. What advice would you give to aspiring photographers who hope to get a foot in the door to have their work published in magazines?
Get your work out there. Send photos in. Submit photos to contests. Don't worry about the end result, just get it started.
16. If you could give one piece of advice to our current and prospective students, what would it be?
Follow your passion. Do what makes your heart sing. If you are passionate about what you do, the success will follow.
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