Catherine Hall: Trusting Your Artistic Vision

Bio: Catherine Hall’s breathtaking images have inspired audiences for over a decade. Her fine-art photography has been exhibited throughout Europe and the United States, and international assignments have taken her to more than thirty countries on five continents. Catherine’s work regularly appears in leading editorial publications like the New York Times, Coastal Living and National Geographic Traveler. Among her prestigious roster of commercial clients are Sephora, Reuters, and John Deere. Her professional sponsorships include Adobe, Epson and SanDisk. She is the former co-host and producer of TWiT Photo which was named “Best New Tech Podcast” in iTunes.


With nearly two million social media followers, industry leaders like Google, Macworld, and WPPI regularly seek her out as a speaker and judge. Catherine is a driven perfectionist, unapologetic tech geek, and charismatic public figure. She loves dancing to electronic music, skiing on Bluebird Days, and singing really loudly when no one is around.


Catherine Hall believes that developing your full potential as a photographer requires that you continually challenge yourself so that you grow within your craft. She encourages her audiences to take risks – to try new techniques, explore different photographic genres, and incorporate new tools into the mix. And she reminds people that, sometimes, the greatest challenge is to believe in – and follow through – on your own creative vision. She follows her own advice with outstanding results.


Behind the Shot: Daughter


A surprising fact about this image is when I was creating it, the model’s mother was having some issues. She was questioning my choice of location, questioning the light – everything that I was doing. This was understandable, considering we were standing in a bunch of weeds. From an outsider’s perspective, it might have looked like we were not necessarily capturing the most compelling image. However, the image you can see here shows a very different story.



The reason I’m sharing, is to emphasize the importance of “trusting your instincts.” In this situation, I stayed strong in my thoughts and my vision because I knew what I was seeing in the frame. I knew that the light was beautiful, and that the isolated background was perfect. Trust your gut and don’t let outside influences impact your shooting approach.



Behind the Shot: John Deere

This is one of my favorite images, not because of the image itself, but because of how we got this image. I was doing a lifestyle campaign for John Deere and there wasn’t an art director on set, meaning that that the talent and locations were all booked by non-artistic people. We got there at 6am with the best light, but the models weren’t working, the locations weren’t working, and when we wrapped up at two o’clock, I knew we hadn’t nailed the shot. Despite that it had already been a full workday, I got my assistant and said, “We have to fix this. We have to drive around and look for people with John Deere tractors so that we can finish this shoot strong.”



So, we did! We drove around and found this man who was on his John Deere tractor. We asked him if we could come back around sunset to take some photos with him and his family, and he was more than happy to assist us. When sunset came, the whole family came dressed to the nines. It was such a beautiful sunset shoot, a real-life experience on the farm. Interestingly, these were the images that John Deere ended up using for their campaign!


The reason why I love this story so much is because as photographers we are not judged by what we are given, we are judged by what we produce. It is really our responsibility to make it work if you are not given the best models or the best location. That is the only way you will retain clients and really build your business.



Behind the Shot: Bride


This image may look like a photo-journalistic capture, but it’s actually quite directed. I positioned the chair there, I picked the background, the lighting, I told the bride how to pose, and I pulled her wedding dress up just-so. There were a lot of meticulous thought-out details that went into this image.



My belief, particularly when it comes to wedding photography, is that you can wait for perfection, or you can create it. I’ve had much better luck by just getting involved, directing and perfecting these images so that they have that ‘wow’ factor. At the same time, you have got to keep it natural and keep the subject relaxed so that it feels like a natural moment.



Q&A with Catherine:


What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?


Weddings and portraits because working with people is where I excel most. I spent an incredible amount of time shooting all genres of photography from landscape to architecture before I discovered that my true talent is people photography.


Who and/or what inspires you most?


Light – always experimenting with light and pushing myself to try new things and playing with new toys (Profoto and California Sunbounce gear being my favorite modifiers).


Why is accurate color important within your workflow?


I spend countless hours capturing and retouching images to create art. If I don’t nail the color, then all that time invested is fruitless. Accurate color is essential to illustrating my vision and delivering a professional product I am proud of. And nothing shines more than an Epson Fine Art Print with perfect color!


See why Catherine Hall uses a SpyderX to ensure she sees accurate color in her images no matter where she is photographing.



You can learn more about SpyderX here: