We’d like you to meet Liv Hefner of Liv Hefner Photography. Liv is one awesome chick, and Clutch MOV’s first sponsor! We could not have been more thrilled that she chose to partner with us for our first event. So much so, in fact, that we couldn’t wait until the event to introduce her.
I’m a recent college grad in Public Relations and Journalism with a background in photography. I’ve been running Liv Hefner Photography, my baby, for several years now and absolutely love my job. I also teach a photography and journalism class at WVU Parkersburg.
Disney is my home away from home and I dream of retiring to Cinderella’s Castle. Although my photography work has been featured in several different locations, I still consider becoming a Galactic Hero on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin one of my greatest accomplishments.
When I’m not working, I battle a serious Pinterest addiction, give private concerts in my car and try to maintain the little bit of French I learned in high school. I’m engaged to a wonderful man, come from a fantastic family and have the world’s sweetest little dog. Overall, it’s a great life.
How did you transition from journalism to photography?
I can’t really think of when it happened exactly– to me they go hand in hand. I love telling stories and documenting things; I’m blessed to have two mediums to do that. I started journalism in junior high and continued through high school. In high school my journalism teacher really pushed me to develop and hone both crafts. I continued working on both through college as well with the guidance of another great teacher. I’m currently pursuing a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communication while still being heavily involved in my business. I really just can’t imagine one without the other.
How would you best describe your body of work?
For my wedding photography, it’s definitely a photojournalistic style. I like to capture the moment as it happens – the real laughter, tears and joy. Of course I have to pose people occasionally, but even then I want a natural feel from the final images. I think when it becomes too rigid, there’s no emotional tie left to it. Photography should be an experience (hopefully and enjoyable one), not just something you show up to while someone aims a camera at you.
What is your weapon (camera) of choice?
Oh, I’m a Nikon user all the way.
With all of the developments in digital photography, iphone-ography, and software like photoshop, photography has increased in popularity as a hobby — do you think this detracts from the art, or enables it?
This is such a hot topic in the field right now. One of the biggest issues is that it’s becoming so much more affordable to access entry level DSLRs. It seems that at Christmas, everyone suddenly becomes a photographer. It doesn’t bother me though. We all have to start somewhere and it’s not my style to be rude or unsupportive of new people in the business as long as they’re honest. I always keep in mind that anyone can capture the moment anymore, but I can create an experience for my clients to remember.
There are so many. Off the top of my head, Dorothea Lange did some amazing work in her time and in the advancements of women in the field. Also, Lynn Johnson who works for National Geographic has some amazingly powerful images. I love what they captured in a true photojournalistic style.
I was actually able to learn from Lynn Johnson last year with National Geographic. It was an amazing experience in Tucson, Arizona. I was able to photograph the Catalina Mountains at sunrise, real cowgirls and a Native American hoop dancer among other wonderful experiences.
How has teaching photography helped you hone in on your own skills and develop as an artist?
I think to teach something you have to know it, technically, like the back of your hand. It’s really caused me to dig back to my roots in photography and perfect a more technical aspect of my images when often I’m only worrying about the creative aspect. I preach to my students about Photoshop not being a crutch and to “get it right in camera.” I think it’s really made me practice what I preach and I’m better for it.
Plus, they’re brutally honest. I had forgotten what it felt like to have a group of people look at your work and go, “eh.” It cracks me up sometimes, but again, it makes me better. I need a healthy amount of judgment and critique to keep the drive going.
What types of subjects are your favorite to shoot?
I love love. Seriously, there is nothing more amazing than capturing two people who are crazy about each other and then handing them back photos that say, “this is us and we love each other.”
On a completely different spectrum, I love shooting styled food. I want to make food look delicious on camera and it’s a fun way to get creative without involving other models (broccoli never worries about the camera adding 10 pounds).
What is a favorite story you’ve told through one of your photographs, or series of photographs?
Aside from telling love stories through wedding photography, this sounds ridiculous, but I love to photograph my dog. He’s a Boston Terrier and Pug mix named Henry. I feel that lots of people love their animals, but often aren’t left with much when they’re gone and I can’t have that. I’ve loved documenting him through the years – watching the grey patch grown in on his chin, his growth – it means the world to me. I’m starting to photograph clients’ pets as well. I’m currently working on launching a charity that would benefit a few shelters that I could hopefully fund through the pet portrait side of my business.
Are you excited for spring and the approach of “Wedding Season?”
Yes! I’m extremely excited about spring – I’ve had enough snow for ten life times. As for wedding season, I’m always excited to meet two people in love and attend awesome parties.
For more information on Liv and her beautiful work, you can visit her website!