Karen Hatch is a professional photographer with 25 years of experience. She shoots Interiors, Events, PR Launches, Catwalk Shows, Portraits, Backstage, Beauty / Hair, Awards Ceremonies, conferences, and Parties.
I asked her if she agrees to answer a few questions.
K: I have all the time in the world at present as similar to many other photographers all of my work has been canceled.
E: Thank you so much for accepting answering my questions. (...) I don't want to press you with too many questions, so if you want to add anything, please, feel free to talk about anything related to your work.
K: OK so just a couple of things about me before I answer the questions.
I have worked in the business since graduating in 1991 as an assistant and photographer.
I have, up until 2 months ago lived all of my life in London. I studied there and worked there for my whole career to date.
E: Why did you choose to pursue a career as a photographer?
K: I grew up in the 70s and 80s loving TV and film and decided I wanted to work in one of those areas when I left school.
I did apply for a TV course after school but didn't get in so decided to choose a course through Clearings. I found a degree course in Photographic Sciences at what is now The University of Westminster and as I had studied physics and chemistry 'A'Levels decided I would do this. During the course, I still planned to switch to TV/film after my degree but as with most of my career coincidence guided my path!
E: What makes a good picture stand out from the average?
K: Well this is a very subjective question. Personally I think composition is the key factor. Obviously it has to be technically good in regards to focus, exposure, and color/tone ( including deliberately out of focus/deliberate color cast, etc which should be an obvious effect. With images of people or animals expression also comes in to play but it still has to be great composition.
E: How do you educate yourself to take better photos?
K: I think my own way of educating myself to take better images has come naturally through working. As an assistant I learned technical skills, dealing with clients, ways of shooting, different film and processing effects, etc and then as a photographer one often has to learn on the job when receiving a brief so you have to push yourself to learn new aspects of photography. Moving to digital was a steep learning curve for me. I got advice from photographer friends, practice, advice from photography rental shops, Nikon, AOP, etc.
In the end to all comes down to practice and experimentation and with digital, this is obviously so much easier.
E: When you go to one of your travels, what is all you take with you and why?
K: I presume you mean holidays when you say travel? I NEVER take a camera on holiday! I shoot all my snaps on my iPhone.
For me to take a camera away would be a busman's holiday!
E: What is your favorite lens?
K: My favorite lens is my Nikon 28-70mm 2.8 silent wave lens which I have had for, I think, 20 years. I used to shoot with it when I still shot film on my F100s. It's perfect and versatile. I also like really like my Nikon 17-35mm 2.8 lenses as I shoot a lot of interiors and this is perfect for that use.
E: What is the most difficult part of being a photographer for you?
K: The most difficult part of being a photographer has always been uncertainty though up until the current pandemic I have always managed to keep my head above water work-wise and had some real feast times as well as a few downtimes - mainly after the 2008 recession. That answer is obviously money/work-related rather than just being about photography. On a purely photographic level, I have sometimes had issues with having constantly to upgrade cameras to get higher quality images and dealing with the huge variations in color in each subsequent camera I have bought. Also as someone who has had to learn post-production for myself - I use Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop - I am not very good at experimenting with new skills in this area.
E: What is the one thing you wish to knew when you started taking photos?
K: I am not sure that I know. I haven't really given that much thought to it so not sure I can give you an answer.
E: How did you choose the niche and when did you know what area is best for you?
K: As I mentioned at the beginning I originally want to do TV and Film so when I graduated (into another recession!) I took whatever jobs I could get and the happened to be in photography rather than in moving images so that really set my path to photography. In the early-mid 90s, I loved fashion photography and would tear out pages from The Face and other magazines with images by Nick Knight, Craig McDean, Paolo Roversi, etc. I worked for 2 years for a still life photographer and I could use the studio to do test shots for students at The Royal College of Art who was doing MAs in fashion design so that was what I wanted to do. I freelance assisted many fashion photographers and did more test shots. However, when it came to me going out on my own and becoming a photographer I found it so hard to break into that field that I ended up working for magazines doing beauty makeovers and portraits, interiors, and reportage. I then worked for PR companies and ended up having a contact go to L'Oreal. I have now worked in the hair and beauty industry for many years which I suppose is a niche. I also shoot for a couple of universities and many different types of corporate companies. So basically what I do is a consequence of meeting someone, being recommended by someone, or having a working connection with someone. Obviously, at the moment my whole career is on hold as the majority of my work is in events so I may have to find another niche that works in the current situation.
K: I hope these answer your questions!
E: Thank you so much for taking the time for me! I very much appreciate it!
K: I don't know what to suggest at the moment as we are in such an odd situation but I hope that you can complete your course and that there will be work in the future for you.
Whatever you choose and whatever happens I hope you do well!