Creative Q+A: Hannah Minkner/ lifestyle photographer

Talk about your photography style. My photography style has emerged from working with very little. I would describe it as slow and deliberate. Last year when I began my brand Minkmade, I was shooting with my college photography class camera, a 2007 Nikon D60. I still have it! With this camera and the lenses I owned, my image quality was lacking. I would rent the best quality lenses I could find, and I shot manual focus. This forced me to slow down and make sure I was in focus! Today, I shoot with a new camera and an assortment of vintage and manual focus lenses that again, force me to slow down. I also have begun enjoying film photography, which helps me to embrace imperfection and surprise. My advice to aspiring photographers is to take time to study your gear, to see if any of the problems you have experienced can be solved through careful shooting rather than in purchasing a new camera. Perhaps this year you can travel with that money you have saved, and photograph places, people and events that inspire you.

Hannah Minkner / photography Hannah Minkner / photography

Describe a typical day. One of my current challenges is that I do not have a typical day – I would love to have a typical day! I work from my home office and sketch photoshoot ideas in my sketchbook, keep up with social media, and edit. I enjoy shooting portraits in my own midcenture-modern 1960’s neighborhood, and I also enjoy traveling with my photographer friends to the amazing ghost towns, deserts, and forests that my lovely home state Arizona has to offer. I like to say that we have everything but an ocean.

Two constants:  One – my local coffee shop, Buzzbberry, which has a drive through and is dog friendly. Back in the day I used to rollerblade through the drive through window!! It has an amazing 90’s, anything-goes eclectic charm. I have worked many hours at this place, sitting at the window and watching the sunset as I drink my coffee. Two – My puppy love, Waffles. She is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and my favorite fluff-butt.

Tell us about some of your achievements and challenges as a photographer + creative. It takes a long time to develop a style! It really is about becoming confident in your abilities, and then collaborating with the right people so that you can consistently create compelling content. I think that if you shoot regularly, and that if you are shooting things that inspire you, you are doing ok. I feel that getting to that point is one of my biggest accomplishments. When you are just beginning, people may not trust you because you cannot show them an impressive portfolio. Getting past that point was my biggest challenge.

Other than that, I am very excited to have had an article in Hearth Magazine Volume Three, and to have been able to travel out of state for weddings and editorial shoots. Last year, this was just a dream.

Hannah Minkner / photography

Talk about one of your favorite shoots to date. I loved being able to shoot with Pura Vida, Kore Swim and liveFAST mag this June with model Madeleine Browning and liveFAST writer Gabrielle Nelson. This road trip took us from Phoenix to Los Angeles to Joshua Tree, and we had a blast. Rocking to 90’s jams in our packed car, sitting up to my neck in luggage, we stopped for instagram photos whenever we felt like it. We got our breakfast on LA style with the out-of-this-world locali badass breakfast sandwich, and shopped at vintages stores such as classic, dangerous-for-your-wallet Wasteland. Photography was unplanned and in the moment. Styled by Madeleine and Gabi themselves, we simply traveled and let the photo opportunities reveal themselves. Photos at Santa Monica Pier, The Original Farmers Market, in the car, around the stylish Mojave Sands motel (which we had all to ourselves), and out in the hot, hot desert next to Papi and Harriet’s.

What types of projects do you enjoy the most? I love small collaborative shoots. I enjoy being able to share my creative vision without restriction.

Hannah Minkner / photography Hannah Minkner / photography

What are you currently working on? I’ve started a new photo-video series with my models called “Girls in my neighborhood”. It is very personal to me, since I grew up in this area when I was very young, and made the decision to move back here now that I am grown up. I love the quirky nostalgia of these winding old neighborhood streets.

Where do you find your inspiration? I’m inspired by my grandparents treasured possessions from the 1950’s 1960’s 1970’s. I grew up admiring these objects curiously. I love educational shows from that era as well, and field guides. Which of course means that I am obsessed with Wes Anderson. I have always loved looking out the window during road trip and flights, and being inspired by scenery.

Hannah Minkner / photography

When it comes to the creative world, where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? I’m so nervous to say! I tried this five years ago and it came true ;) So much pressure! I’m joking though, I do hope to bring my film making to a higher level over the next few years. Aside from that, I am very open to most creative endeavors. We will see!

Lastly, any life advice? Take care of yourself, and allow yourself to say yes to opportunities that you know you can handle and enjoy. Also allow yourself to say no when you need to sleep, focus on your health, or create your own personal work. Never be afraid to ask for help, and offer help to others whenever you can.