Hannah Mann - TAP Photographer Profile

So much of the TAP work posted by photographers is absolutely amazing and one of the photographers that constantly catches our eye with her posing and color is Hannah Mann.  Hannah's color is classic Fuji Pro400H and it's near impossible to tell her film images from her digital images.

We're super excited to start our photographer profiles with Hannah so we can share some of the technical detail, shooting approach and inspiration of someone who consistently does such great work.

Also, head on over to Hannah's page www.hannahmann.com and sign up for her newsletter.  She consistently releases great content for both clients and photographers.

Without further adieu, here is Hannah Mann's photographer profile...

IG Tag: @hannahcmann           Website: hannahmann.com

Where are you based out of: Boise, ID

What camera gear do you use?

Digital: Canon 5D MKIII & 50mm f1.2, film: Pentax 645n & 75mm f2.8, plus a few different Canon EOS models with my Canon 50mm lens

How long have you been shooting?

Since 2014

What inspired you to shoot professionally?

I was a software engineer for several years, but I had no passion for it. When I was about to have my second baby, I knew I needed to find a job that I was excited about, since work meant leaving my family. I started out just wanting to make a little money on the side with minimal time away from my kids - I had zero expectation that I would be doing it eight years later and love it as much as I do now! It went from being a side job intended to help support our family a little, to a career that I am obsessed with.

What is your favorite place to photograph?

I’m pretty easy to please - nature and sunshine make me very happy, and outdoors is always my first choice! Thankfully, Idaho has an abundance of nature and so many amazing places that are very easy for me to access. But I also recently built myself a studio that I am totally in love with. It’s covered with windows and gets gorgeous light all day long, and makes shooting indoors a whole lot more fun for me!

What place would you love to shoot but haven’t had a chance yet?

I am dying to shoot in Banff or one of the other gorgeous national parks in Canada. I actually had a trip planned there for summer of 2020, which was canceled for obvious reasons. But it will happen someday, and I am going to be over the moon when it does!

What do you look for in a session?  (Light, location, interaction, etc.)

I love beautiful light and a great location, but what is even more important than those things is getting my subjects to relax and really enjoy each other in front of my camera. Ultimately, people are what keep me inspired - I love to photograph the way humans connect and love one another, whether it’s babies or families or couples!

What is your Archetype and why?  (Which profile is your go to?) 

My go-to is Fuji 400H +2 Frontier. Fuji 400h film was what got me hooked on film in the first place, and I still miss it. However, Photovision does a fantastic job scanning my Portra 400 for a very similar aesthetic, and I still match my scans with my TAP Fuji pack!

What are some of your editing techniques or tips and tricks?

Always edit with a reference image! It’s really important to have a reference image to create consistent work throughout a session and from one session to the next. 

What are some of your biggest challenges in running your business?

I have four kids at home, from age 10 down to 1.5. I also homeschool them - and like everyone says to me, it is crazy sometimes! Essentially, I have two jobs where the work is never done!

I have worked hard on setting realistic expectations and keeping my priorities in the right order, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Sometimes it means I don’t achieve everything I’d love to in my business, because I have chosen how my hours need to be spent and I can’t give more to my job. Other times it means I don’t get to do something I want to with my kids because I have emails and editing to get through (of course my husband and parents are all very involved with them and they are very well loved and cared for even during my busiest seasons). I have had to accept that I can’t do everything and that my hours in the day are limited, and remind myself often that saying yes to one thing means a no to something else. 

In the end, doing the work to navigate these challenges is well worth it. I am very grateful for my full life at home and my full life at work, and to have the amazing support that I do around me, especially from my husband.

What are some mistakes that helped you to grow as a photographer?

I looked around too much and let myself fall into the comparison trap. I worried about what others thought, focused on my weaknesses, and compared where I was at to someone who was so much further down the road - sadly, I know it held me back.

Over the years, I learned with certainty that I couldn’t afford to get stuck there and that I had to keep my eyes on my own path forward. I realized that my work was for myself and my clients, not to impress other photographers, and that I had to be okay with not being everyone’s taste. I have always believed that the creative world is for all kinds, and that someone’s work isn’t less important or valuable simply because I don’t really like it. As I began to apply that truth to myself and not just to other people, it changed my entire outlook. I saw what I brought to the table, how my voice was unique, and embraced my strengths while appreciating others’ strengths also. It was essential to navigating the photography industry in a healthy way, and I’m so glad for my growth in this area. I would encourage every photographer to stay far away from comparison and to instead lean into the amazing gifts they already have.

What inspires you to stay creative?

I really choose to not spend a lot of time looking around at other photographers’ work. Not because there isn’t absolutely amazing stuff out there - it’s the opposite! I find personally that I am much more inspired when I focus on what’s in front of me, like the locations I have and the clients I work with and the way the sunlight streams through my windows and how my kids live life so fully in the moment. When I am inundated with everything else, it can distract me from my own voice and my own inspiring experiences. 

At the same time, I don’t want to be so tuned out that I don’t grow or that I don’t know what’s going on in the industry. I love to be challenged and I always want to be growing, and I definitely don’t ignore what’s going on around me - it’s more about the balance, and being intentional about how much time I spend looking around versus inward. Looking around can challenge me, but ultimately it’s looking inward that inspires me.

What goals do you hope to achieve this year?

I have a couple pretty fun ones that I can’t mention quite yet, but here’s one that I can definitely share: saying yes to things that scare me. For example, traveling for work has always stressed me out a ton, mainly because I have kids to plan around and I hate the idea of traveling alone. I’ve let it turn me away from some opportunities that I should have stayed open to. Or I’ve felt intimidated by things that I should have felt confident about. However, this year I’ve chosen to approach my fears differently, by facing the things that scare or stress me head-on, and going for them anyway. I feel like there is so much growth to be found in the places that make us anxious, and the more I commit to pushing right on past my fears, the less power they have.

Is there anything you’d like to share about the creative process or editing that you feel would be helpful?

More than anything - learn from others, but remember that you have permission to do things your own way and not at all like anyone else! We can have general approaches or techniques or tricks and tips that are great and really helpful, but in the end there’s no rulebook about how we all need to do things. Treat your clients well, create work you love, and the rest is up to you!

What is something you would have loved to have learned from another photographer early in your career?

What I always wanted more than anything was someone to answer all my questions and identify what I needed to work on and help me figure out how to get to my own next level. I had a lot of good education on the technical aspects of photography, but I never found what I was looking for in the more individual side of things. I also hired a mentor very early on and spent what felt like so much money at the time, and ultimately she really screwed me over by not giving me the time she’d promised and half-assing what she did give me. I felt mistrustful after that and didn’t pursue other coaching for a long time. However, it was also these experiences that developed my own passion for educating others - to me, it’s about equipping others with real skills, and encouraging them about their purpose as well. I really needed that in the beginning of my career, and I didn’t get it - but it’s such a joy to provide that for other photographers now! I think that both knowledge and belief in yourself are essential to lasting long-term in this field, and I genuinely hope to contribute to that.