Studio Visit with Helen Whittle
I'm visiting local photographer Helen Whittle today at her lovely property just outside Molong NSW. It's about 37 degrees and it's only 9am, you can see the heat radiating off the landscape. I'm going to follow Helen around in the sun this morning on a "photo shoot". I feel somewhat inadequate next to the 2016 Australian Photography Magazine's photographer of the year (see image below). Helen tells me a little about her process and her love of photo editing. She shows me some behind-the-scenes tricks and how she used natural light from her windows to capture those moody and evocative portraits she is so well known for.
How long have you been taking photos? When did photography change into something more than a hobby for you?
I think i got my first camera when i was about 7/8 years old in the good old days when you took your film in to be processed and waited patiently for 48 hours to get them back. I’ve always enjoyed photography but it wasn’t until my first child was born in 2008 that I decided to upgrade to a DSLR and thought it would be fun to learn how it works!
It was only when i did a 365 project in 2014, where you take a photo every day, i really started to take my photography more seriously and learn what made a good photograph and what i most liked to take pictures of. Three years later and i’m still taking a photo everyday!
What are your favourite subjects to photographs and why?
My favourite subjects are my children. I love interacting with them and the camera and i love documenting our lives. I really love taking animal and nature shots too.
Would you describe your process as spontaneous or thought-out?
Sometimes my photography process is spontaneous, i might see a pocket of light, or my kids might be doing something I love, so i’ll get them to pause whilst i grab my camera. But more recently I have an image in my head that I want to create, so i go about persuading my children, usually with bribes :) that it would be a great idea to come and have their photos taken!!
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my kids, and the nature thats around me, but I also spend hours looking through other photographers images to see what I like. Instagram is a fantastic tool for looking at other peoples amazing work!
How does living in regional NSW affect your work?
I love living in regional NSW, although we’ve only been here just over a year. I’ve incorporated more nature and landscape scenes into my work since living here, so lucky to have such a beautiful backdrop!
Can you explain to our readers the concept behind you?
Em (Emily Ellis) came up with the idea of Wild and Precious. We have very different styles and wanted a theme that ties in both of our work and Wild and Precious is just perfect!
What is your most essential piece of equipment and why?
My essential bit of equipment is my camera body, Nikon D750 and my 24-70mm lens. This lens is such a good all rounder, I love the wide angle to take in a whole scene, but you can also take great portraits with it.