Featured Photographer: Justin Hackworth

Fri, May 27, 2011 How did you get started in photography? Well, I always liked it when I was younger (everyone says that), but it was when I was in my last semester of college when I took a class. Fun, but now what, I thought. So, I kept taking classes and started spending all my free time taking pictures of my friends. We’d go out late at night or go camping and I’d always be photographing them. I spent all my money on film and developing. This is true–all my checks from that time were to Pictureline (where I bought my film) and to Pizza Time (self explanatory). It was about this time that I realized I wouldn’t make a very good college professor, but I could be a good photographer.
Who have been your influences in photography? The Salt Lake photographer Kent Miles has taught me everything I know about photography, but the big guns in photography that I love, inspire me, and that I keep going back to are Elliott Erwitt, Nicholas Nixon, Irving Penn, Harry Callahan, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus and Robert Frank.
How would you define your style of photography? Classic and authentic with a documentary flare.
What is one thing that has helped you grow your business? Networking. I used to think of that as something insincere people did to screw each other over. Silly idea, I know. Because now I realize it’s just making friends and connections with people I want to be friends with anyway, and then finding solutions to help each other out.
What is one thing that has helped you grow as an artist? Personal projects and in particular a fundraiser and portrait project I do every spring called 30 Strangers. I’m also involved in a photo group called Salt Lake Seven. I’ve been going for 14 years to this group and having a community of artists that want to share and give feedback has been extremely rewarding.
What is one failure that helped you grow as a business person/artist? When I first started to take my business seriously, I was not very focused about where money should be spent. I’ve made some mistakes there, which has, in turn, helped me very conscious of where every dollar goes now.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a person that is in the first few years of their photography business? Even though you get into this because you like photography, you’ll be spending a huge amount of time on the business side of things. Pay as much attention to getting good at business as you do at getting good at photography. I can’t stress that enough. And this. Realize that you aren’t selling pictures. You are selling an experience. Lots of fantastic photographers go broke and mediocre photographers make money hand over fist. Because it’s not about the pictures. It’s about the experience. Figure out what you can do to provide a fantastic experience.
Learn more about Justin Hackworth and his photography studio in Utah.

About Timothy John

Timothy John has written 18 articles on this blog.

Tim is the Fundy SOS marketing ninja. He loves life in Hollywood, CA where he enjoys fresh organic foods, running and studying improv comedy every chance he gets.

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