Emma Hughes

Published 1/1/0001

Based on the gorgeous Waiheke Island, Emma creates beautiful, effortless and emotive imagery for her clients. "We photographers are curators of history, not just our own but those we capture as well. We may not be saving lives or anything, but we are preserving them for those that will follow and that's a pretty cool job to have."

Where are you based?
I live and work on beautiful Waiheke Island.
When did you first pick up a camera and what was it?
The family Pentax was the first camera I started seriously playing around on when I was about 15.

Tell us a little about your style of photography.
I often hear from my clients that having a shoot with me is 'effortless'. I think that this comes through in my lifestyle portraiture which is very natural.  On a wedding day I mix this style of natural capture with some quite stylized portraiture that has a bit of glamour/fashion to it.  My personal work has been described as ethereal and evocative, which I hope also plays into my wedding work a little too.


What gear do you use?
When I made the transition from film to digital I had a selection of Canon lenses so I stayed with Canon.  In my bag on a wedding day I have two Canon 5DmkII's, a 70-200mm, 24-105mm, 50mm 1.2 and 85mm 1.8, partnered with some occasional lensbaby action.  I also have flash units when required, although the bulk of my location work is natural light.  I also have a studio which I use on occasion for portraits.
If you had to choose only one lens, what would it be and why?
I love my 85mm at the moment, a perfect portrait lens.


 What is/has been your greatest challenge as a photographer?
Moving from a home based business into a mainstreet gallery with staff was a huge eye-opener for me.
What do you feel has been your greatest photographic achievement to date?
I recently put on an exhibition of studio portraits of 70+ year olds which was accompanied with audio of their voices answering some questions about life, love, advice for the young, etc.  People were really moved by the exhibition and would come in and sit for ages listening and looking at the photos.  I felt really proud to have created something that touched so many people.

If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?
Probably a journalist.  Or maybe a graphic designer.
Could you describe your dream client/job?
Anything where the brief is for me to just do my thing makes me very happy!

What tips or advice do you have for budding photographers?
Practice, practice, practice.  (Oh, and for the sake of our industry please stop under-cutting professionals who actually make their living from photography).


How have you dealt with the rise and demand of videography - have you noticed more clients wanting video coverage as well as stills with there wedding?
Only about 20% of my wedding clients have video coverage of their wedding day, so it hasn't really affected me greatly thus far.  If I am asked, I recommend videographers that I know are good and enjoy working with.


Could you take us through your typical day?
Like most business owners, a typical day for me includes far more 'running of the business' than taking photos (sigh).  Tasks include emails, marketing, post-production, talking to clients, sorting and culling images, dealing with the lab, designing albums, and so on.  I shoot around 25 weddings a year and about 40 portrait sessions a year so those are in there too somewhere.

In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?
Heart.  I'm drawn to images that move me and feel like they step outside of 'day to day' experience of living.  I LOVE motion.  And emotion.
What do enjoy doing to take a break from photography, what recharges you?
Spending time with my family and friends.  I love going out for drinks and stuff like that.  Sitting in the sunshine makes me very happy.  Reading a good book.  I also love kick boxing and have been doing that for several years - that definitely recharges me!

Who motivates or inspires you to keep doing what you do?
Every time I have a client who is moved by what I have captured of them and their family, I realise afresh what a great job this is.  We photographers are curators of history, not just our own but those we capture as well.  We may  not be saving lives or anything, but we are preserving them for those that will follow and that's a pretty cool job to have.
See Emma's Website
or her Facebook page


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