Photographers Who Inspire: Getting to Know Holly Larson Grams
I am so excited to feature yet another amazing artist this week! This photog is phenomenal and completely self taught! I am so inspried by her work. Her imagery is deeply emotive anf full of such rich tones and glorious contrast! ( I LOVE me some contrast) she is also a MASTER of BNW, literally one of THE best!! Let's just say that when I grow up, I wanna be just like her! hahah! So grab yourself a cup of coffee or wine ( or both, lol! ) sit back and enjoy getting to know, Holly Larson Grams.
What got you started in photography?
I've always loved "taking pictures" and have carried around some sort of cheapo camera for as long as I can remember. I really never identified that it was a passion/hobby or even love until I had my first son. I bought a DSLR after getting frustrated with not being able to capture a decent photo of my son when he was just a babe due to his incredibly fast movements. I remember the excitement when I brought my first DSLR home; I started clicking away in auto and was so disappointed in the quality of the photos as they hardly looked any better than the results of my point and shoot at the time. That's when I started pouring myself into learning about my camera and really started to learn how to use it. That was 7 years ago and I've taught myself lots of little things here and there along the way.
What three words describe your photographic style?
Oh goodness...I struggle with this! I love so many different styles and am inspired by so many different types of photographers. I think I'd say lifestyle, high contrast, minimalistic??? I think...
What’s your favorite compositional technique?
I love negative space. Give me all of that blank space and I'm happy as a little lark.
Tell me a bit about your biz! Are you only personal work, or a mix of personal and client?
My work is mostly personal. I do bits of work for family and close friends. I'd love to venture out of my comfort zone someday and take on clients...but for now...my two little boys are the heart and soul of all of it.
How would you describe your ultimate dream shoot or personal project?
Oooooh dream projects...this is fun!!! One of my big dreams is to be able to document some sort of big political event or movement. I'm so, so inspired by documentary photography which is so different than what I currently do. I'm very passionate about social justice and getting involved in photography that allows for me to be a piece of history would be incredible. Also, taking my kids somewhere really exotic and beautiful with camera in tow would be just spectacular. See, I'm kind of all over the place...I just like so many things.
What’s one of the most interesting experiences you’ve ever had in a session or personal project?
One of the biggest privileges I've had is photographing one of my closest friend's births. Her unborn baby had a terminal diagnosis and she knew she would've have much time with him after his birth. She asked me to photograph his birth and his life. I documented him coming into this world and the four hours and eleven minutes of his beautiful, but way too short, life. I photographed almost every minute of the time he was in this world. It was one of the most painful and beautiful things I've ever done.
What’s your favourite image you’ve ever taken (please share, and tell me the story behind the image)?
This image is of my youngest son ( above) It was one of those accidental captures that actually almost got scrapped. This was taken this summer while he was playing outside. There was something about him that day that was just particularly beautiful. His cheeks were extra rosy and his eyes were extra big. I remember staring at him all day thinking he was extra...adorable...ever have those moments with your kids? Anyway, I loved the expression he was making but didn't love the location and background (he was sitting on a toy John Deer Gator) as it didn't fit the mood. He was telling me about how tired he was from being a "worker guy all day long". I cropped everything I didn't love about the photo out and was left with just his beautiful eye and that little mouth...I loved how there was just enough expression left to tell a story. My husband makes this same face when he's concentrating and it's always stolen my heart. Any photo that captures my kids' real emotions usually become quick favorites for me.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to get started in photography?
Don't be afraid to just go for it! No one has to see all of the mistakes and cheesy images you make along the way. I'm all self taught and am not a technical shooter. A part of me wishes I was professionally trained but a part of me loves that I am not. I don't get overly critical with my own work because I honestly don't know all the rules! I'm perfectionistic and self critical by nature and having something like photography where I can just let it all go has been really, really good for my soul. I'd also say to be patient with yourself and to not compare yourself to others. You'll grow quickly with practice but it doesn't happen overnight. It took me a good year to feel good getting out of auto and feeling comfortable with a DSLR in my hands. I'd say just have fun and be patient with yourself.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
I'm still deciding??? Actually, I'm a full time School Psychologist in real life and in a dream world I don't think I could ever actually pick just one thing. I love home design, I'd love to be in marketing, I'd love to be able to stay home with my boys....I'm telling you, I really am all over the place. What is Joanna Gaines actual job description???? I want that job...but with a fraction of the hours.
Light Room or Photoshop?
I use LR and PS. I usually start with a SMAL preset in LR that I end up tweaking quite a bit. I use LR to get it as perfect as I can and then take it into PS for cloning and to get the tones the way I like them. I'd say I end up editing 50% in LR and 50% in PS.
Holly, your work is absolutely phenomenal!! You need to apply to Click Pro, like yesterday! I so much enjoyed getting to know more about you. I am really blown away by what strenght it must have taken to document the beautiful, yet short life of your closest friend's baby boy! What a wonderful gift you have given, I am really just speechless at the beauty of that story... Thank you so much for sharing Holly.