You’ve been reading their articles for months or years, have you ever wondered “Who are the photographers who write for dPS”? Today meet photographer Darlene Hildebrandt from Alberta, Canada.
1. How long have you been shooting?
I graduated from a 2 year photography program in 1988! So over 25 years now, mostly as a professional. I’ve been in the industry in many forms including: doing commercial studio work; had my own portrait/wedding studio for 12 years; was a trade rep for an album company and coached my photographer clients on business; some editorial work; travel photography; and the odd image sale for stock. I’ve also done tons of art shows and sell my work in local galleries.
2. Do you have a full time job or are you a full time photographer?
I have a part-time job at a camera store, in the accounting department of all things. Mostly because I’ve done my own accounting for years and I needed something to get me out of the house after a 6 month extended RV trip around Canada and the US. Camera discounts are also a bonus, and it has connected me with teaching photography classes which I do here at the store as well as with two other local photography schools.
The photography that I do now is mostly for myself and my articles and classes. I make most of my living teaching classes, doing private tutoring (in person and virtually using skype), leading workshops and photo tours.
3. If you had to limit yourself to one genre of photography, what would it be and why?
Tough question. I’d have to say travel photography, which to me encompasses fine art, urban, landscape, HDR, night photography, and people. I find joy in all those areas so I’d find it hard to pick among those. If I had to I’d say travel photography with people. Those are the images I find I want to see first when I download after a long trip. But I also love night photography and HDR, both of which I teach. Okay I can’t pick, so can I say I’d pick – “general”!
4. When did you start writing for dPS and why?
May 2012 was the date my first article was published with DPS. I wanted to teach to a wider audience than I currently had on my own site and share my knowledge with more people. DPS allows me to do that in a big way. I love hearing the comments from readers who have enjoyed my articles. Seeing their resulting images after applying my tips, and hearing how excited they are about photography is why I do this.
5. What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens?
I’m a Canon shooter, I have a 5D MarkIII. However, not to get into a flame war here, I believe the camera is just a tool and whatever you use is just fine, be it Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony or something else. It’s about learning how to use it and this is the right place to do that! Not sure I have a favorite lens, but I’d say the extremes. I love either really wide angle images, or long lens tight shots. I tend to live in the 17-20mm and 150-200 range more so than I do in the middle. My wide is a Tamron 17-35mm. I also really love my 85 f1.8 for portraits.
6. What would be your number one tip to any new photographer?
Invest in education before you invest in gear. I’ve had several students want to jump from an entry level DSLR into a full frame one, thinking that it will magically make all their photos better. While there are some advantages of full frame (better at higher ISO, can get better shallow depth of field, etc) in my personal opinion mastering some of the other aspects of photography first will take you further. Things like getting the right exposure; what IS the right exposure; metering; controlling contrast; composition; lighting; choosing the right lens for the job; white balance; lighting; working with people; confidence; shooting in manual and RAW modes, and more. A full frame SLR is a big investment, but I suggest you invest in yourself first. An experienced, great photographer can do more with a crappy camera, than an inexperienced photographer can do with great camera – in my opinion.
7. What’s your next big project?
I have two projects in the works right now. First is a virtual photography class I’m collaborating on with another photographer, still hammering out the details as I write this but by the time this is published it will likely be available. It will be an 11 week (first one is free so you can try it out with no obligations, no money down), 15+ hour, live class which will incorporate lecture, Q&A, image reviews, and weekly assignments. The topic is two fold – Lightroom mastery and Image mastery, so a marriage of technical (image processing) and artistic (shooting and processing).
The second is an ebook that I’ve had in my mind for a while. It’s 75% written, now I just need to find time to finish it and process all the images. It will feature photo tips, things I learned along the way on my 6 month RV journey to reinventing myself as a photographer, as well as inspirational images.
8. Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
My main hub is my website Her View Photography, where you can get my FREE ebook “10 Challenges to Help you Take Better Pictures Without Buying More Gear” and find out more about my upcoming photo tours, workshops and photography tutoring – both in person and virtual using Skype or Google Hangouts.