Friday, January 29, 2016

Feature Friday with Melissa Hines Photography!

Melissa is the talent behind Melissa Hines Photography, as well as the driving force behind the Cities in Color Project.  Melissa won the 'little things' challenge last week, and has given us a peek into her camera bag as well as her advice for newbie photogs!

1. Please tell us about yourself...

Hi! I’m Melissa from Melissa Hines Photography. I live in Kansas City with my husband and our three boys (6, 3, 1). I love to read, eat yummy food, drink coffee, and explore this city that we live in!

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

Honest- I’m a documentary photographer. I capture something because it caught my attention and I want to remember it. I rarely get ideas for a specific shot I want to get. And even when I do, it isn’t a really detailed idea.

Shadows- Oh, how I love using shadows to emphasize the light! I typically underexpose my images a little bit in order to bring out the shadows a bit more. And when I’m keeping an eye out for light, I’m really looking for shadows.

Color- I’m a rare documentary photographer in that I almost always leave my images in color. I really think it adds to the story. I’m not just capturing a subject, but I’m capturing a subject in part of a scene to tell my story. I think color is amazing for that purpose. I seriously love color so much that I started the Cities in Color Project!

3. What sparked your passion for photography?

Just like most of the photographers I know, my passion for photography started because I became a mom. But more specifically, my passion for documenting started with my middle. He has sensory issues and developmental delays. As a result, he just isn’t a kid that is going to sit or stand for a portrait. I would go for months without capturing an image of him that I didn’t hate because of how forced it was. So I had to learn how to meet him where he was at if I wanted any photos of him. Through that process, I realized how much I love it. He’s in a ton more photos now!

4. What's in your camera bag right now?

Well, since my camera bag is also my diaper bag, I have some wipes, an extra outfit for the one year old, some cloth diapers, a wet bag, my wallet, keys, chapstick, a granola bar, padding for my camera, and some toy cars.

5. What is your dream shoot or project?

My dream shoot is simply to do a day in the life. Both shooting one for someone and having someone shoot one for my family so I can be in the photos. I also want to start documenting some couples on dates in the city because these are still important memories worthy of being captured. And I want to work with some more businesses documenting what they do. I recently documented a local tattoo artist at work and I am hooked!

6. What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?

I used to think that the equipment made the photographer. So not true. Yes, good equipment makes some things easier, but I shoot regularly with my iPhone now and sometimes don’t even miss my Nikon. It’s the photographer and the hours upon hours of practice they put into understanding light, angles, story, composition, etc.

I also used to think that there was no way I could ever capture images. But I wasn’t getting what I wanted because I was stuck on Aperture mode and hadn’t learned how to meter. When I finally decided to learn manual and how to meter, I became more confident with capturing images. And that allowed me to move onto finding my own voice instead of wishing I could capture something like someone else.

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

My advice is to read your camera manual. Learn how to use your camera. Be in control of your settings and how you want to expose for the light. Practice the technical side and overtime, you’ll start to learn what you love and what is unique to you.

The advice I wish I’d been given at the beginning was to turn off the pop up flash. It just wasn’t a good look at all because I had no idea how to use it. Still don’t, but I’ve since learned how to use what light I have available.

Find more of Melissa's beautiful work here:

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