Battlefield High School senior and award-winning photographer Hannah Phillips
What photographer would even think of putting flour in a model’s hair and having her flip her head for a movement shot of the flour flying everywhere? Or take action shots of a model being splattered with paint? These are just some of the things high school senior and photographer Hannah Phillips has done for her creative photography portfolio. With a photography business, school, and volunteering with Serve our Willing Warriors in Haymarket, Hannah is quite a busy and accomplished young lady. While maintaining straight A’s in school and volunteering, she still has developed an impressive portfolio of her photography work. She is energetic, determined, and talented, and can’t wait to graduate from high school to see what life has in store for her. Recently, Hannah shared information about her life and aspirations with Piedmont Lifestyle.
Tell me about your photography. When did you start?
I started in 2014, just having fun doing small shoots with friends. As my client base grew, I realized it was more than just a hobby. I began to specialize in portraits with individuals and families. I developed the right techniques such as the perfect setting, lighting, and composition to capture memories and make the photos unique. With the help of YouTube tutorials, my inspiration grew and I developed my own style to enhance my photography. I’ve expanded my interest to collaborate with other creatives and start to capture edgy and elusive fashion lifestyle. One shoot included glass pyramids as the background and I experimented shooting at different angles and being more creative with my photography.
Tell me about your creative photography. Your portfolio is very different.
My creative photography involves photographing movement. I love to conduct fun, eye-opening shoots including flour, smoke bombs, gel lights, splatter paint, and much more. I like to shoot fashion lifestyle of women. I force myself to take risks and do shoots out of my comfort zone. I am inspired by other photographers and I take the best aspects and integrate them into my own work.
Tell me about your life right now. What are your days filled with?
I’m a high school senior, and I typically have at least one or two photoshoots a week. I work out at the gym and love to hang out with friends on the weekends. I am also the official photographer for the Prince William County National League of Junior Cotillions. I enjoy interacting with younger students and creating videos and image slideshows for formal events.
How do you fit in your photography around your school and work?
I always do homework before photography. Daily photoshoots are what I will strive for this spring because spring is the busiest season. High school seniors are graduating and need senior portraits, and families and couples also love to get photos taken in the warm weather. Some of my favorite photo locations are Airlie, Manassas Battlefield, and Burnside farms.
Tell me about the business end.
Not only am I the photographer, I am marketing director, CEO, customer service, website designer, and more. Running a business by myself is hard and it’s important to know all the right things to do as an LLC. I have enjoyed becoming a successful businesswoman. I’ve been learning about the business side for about three years, but there is always more to learn.
How do you market your business?
A lot of my business is repeat business and from referrals. I use social media as marketing, including Facebook and Instagram. In addition, my website contains blogging, newsletter sign-ups, and fun giveaways.
How do people react to your age as a professional photographer?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years has been that clients aren’t only looking for a talented photographer, but a confident one. I am responsible for capturing ideal photos, so I must be fearless at every shoot. I want clients to view me as a mature and serious photographer. I am young, but I always reassure my customers that I will meet all expectations and they will be satisfied with beautiful photos. People just have to give me a chance.
What sort of professional photography do you do?
I specialize in senior portraits, but I also love to photograph families, couples/engagements, headshots, and events. I love doing volunteer work for Serve Our Willing Warriors as a family photographer to capture special moments in disabled veterans’ lives. I’ve experienced everything from photographing newborn babies to wedding photography and I think I have found my strengths and weaknesses.
What makes you unique as a photographer?
I think I have a distinctive style that involves interacting with my customers and making them feel comfortable. I love seeing what develops during a shoot, then enhancing the quality of each image. I create unique iconic images which are both beautiful and completely breathtaking that capture people’s attention.
What’s in your future?
I will be attending James Madison University next year and I hope to pursue a degree in the arts. I will also try to double major in business marketing. I plan on traveling abroad to experience different cultures and capture more creative, diverse photos. I want to continue volunteering for the Serve Our Willing Warriors and explore other clubs at the school.
And I know it’s a long way away, but what are your thoughts on after college?
After college I plan to become a professional photographer, perhaps a destination wedding photographer. My future is bright, and I can see myself becoming very successful. I want to continue taking initiative and develop further into myself and my business.
I’m very excited for my future, I going to take it wherever it goes. I’m ready, I just want to get out there, and take pictures of everything.