Inspired by Light with Lensbaby
Artist Interview with Holly Awwad
Holly Awwad is a photographer based in the United States who used light, emotion and movement to inspire her gorgeous captures. We had the opportunity to interview her and learn more about her process!
Q: When did you start taking photographs and why did you continue?
A: I started taking photos back when my daughter was born. My mother had cancer, and sending her pictures of my daughter helped life her spirits during treatment. Unfortunately, my mom passed away when my oldest daughter was 8 months old. Having those pictures helped me to understand the importance of capturing everyday moments and finding the beautiful in the ordinary. From that point forward, I have strived to convey authentic emotion and capture genuine moments in my families lives. To this day, 16 years later, my mother is a huge part of my “why”.
Q: Which is your favorite Lensbaby lens?
A: I have 9 Lensbabies and the full Omni system. I love them all for different reasons. However if I had to choose one favorite it would be my Edge 35 and Edge 80 (ok I had to pick 2). I was a die hard free-lenser before I got a Lensbaby, and I’m still drawn to the dreamy slice of focus that you can achieve with the Edges!
Q: What tips do you have for beginners just learning how to use the Edge 35?
A: Oh do I have all the tips! I actually compiled an extensive Course all about shooting with Lensbaby. It covers everything from the technical side of shooting with Lensbaby to the Creative side. It’s a great value with a beautiful e-guide, several learning exercises and 8 videos!
You can find it here: https://hellostoryteller.com/product/language-of-lensbaby-with-holly-awwad/
Q: What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
A: I’ve been shooting for a long time and have been lucky to meet and be inspired by so many talented people in this space. It’s hard to choose just one to give a shout out. But two that have shown me so much kindness and inspiration are Sarah Gupta and Jyo Bhamidipati.
Sarah taught me a lot about artistic tones and nature. Jyo inspires me to see lifestyle and portraiture in a more creative and artistic way. I’m constantly blown away by both of these talented women and I’m grateful for their friendship.
Q: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer?
A: Doubting myself. It’s so hard to get caught up in comparing and second guessing myself. Especially when it comes to images that take risks and break rules.
Holly Awwad with Lensbaby Trio 28
Q: Do you have formal training as a photographer or are you self-taught?
A: I did have some formal training in college on shooting film and developing in a dark room. However, most of my digital photography training has been self taught.
Q: What details do you believe make the best photographs? How do you go about focusing on them in your work?
A: I think that the best photographs have compelling light and tell an authentic story. It’s one that connects with the audience and draws them in. I’ve learned to become a master of light, composition and patient observation so I am ready to capture a moment as it unfolds… no matter what the lighting situation. I’ve learned to expose creatively to create mood and convey emotion to tell a multidimensional story.
Q: What inspires you most?
A: My family and nature inspire me most, and how we interact with our environment and the elements. Finding the beauty in moments that are often overlooked gives me a sense of gratitude with the life I’ve been blessed to lead.
Q: Tell us your favorite quote!
A: "I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." -David Bowie
Holly Awwad with Lensbaby Edge 35
Q: What is your favorite subject to photograph?
A: My children and flowers. Or even better… my children with flowers.
Q: How would you describe your photography style?
A: Creative, emotive, bold, joyful.
Holly Awwad with Lensbaby Twist 60
Q: How do you bring the best out of your models? What tips do you have?
A: I interact with them and make things fun. I get them involved in choosing locations and clothing, and often just sit back and let them do their own thing and let real life happen.
As for the flowers… I water them and give them some light. They tend to be much more cooperative models than my teenagers.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer?
A: Being able to give my children (and occasional clients) images of their lives that they can treasure forever. I also find it very rewarding to treachery and mentor other photographers so they can give the same gift to their families.