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{low down, throw down with shannon hollman}

What could I possibly say that hasn't already been said about our adorable Shannon. When I think about the women I am associated with here on The Maternal Lens I can't help but feel that not only are they my friends, but they are my sisters, and Shannon is that sister who finds the happy in every single thing she does. From her cup of starbucks to her precious sons she is one big ball of energy. Shannon's photography is truly a breath of fresh air and every image she creates emulates happiness, joy and emotion. It's true. You can't help but feel it. Shannon also makes all us other photogs look bad - she's fast like lightening - her blog is always changing, she's amazing, it's hard to keep up with that! We are so proud of all her accomplishments - her editorial pieces published in magazines and newspapers and on too many blogs to mention. I think she single handedly has made Montana THE wedding destination. Everyone wants Shannon to shoot their wedding. Even I do!! (oh yeah I'm already married - darn) I predict this time next year Shannon's work will be published in some major magazines - she's a force to be reckoned with, and the world will know who this gal from Montana is. And besides all that, she is a wonderful friend, mentor, wife, mother and sister - to me and all our TML'rs. I am blessed to have you in my life, I adore you more than words can say, you make me want to be a better photographer, a better mother and a better person. You inspire me on a daily basis. We love you Shannon. xo

Name: shannon hollman
Business name: thousand words photography by shannon hollman
Location: kalispell, montana

Tell us one sentence to describe your photography:

I think my photography is natural, clean and crisp...with a splash of color and happiness :)

What's one thing that everyone should know about you?:
I want to be a kick butt hip hop dancer....and I'm not gonna lie, deep (deeeeep) down inside, I totally think I could do it! With massive training of course. I always wanted to do that 'made' show on MTV and have them make me into one! Ha ha.
Not sure if that's something you SHOULD know about me, but now you do :)

How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
Full time about 2 years. I have the classic start up story- I really became interested in it when my first son was born. My husband is a photographer, so I started by picking his brain and then it grew from there.

If they made a movie about your life, what would it be titled and who would play you?
It would be called "I just want to dance!'. Totally kidding. Hmmmm, I think it would be called 'livin on love' and It would of course have to be a romantic comedy. I would love for drew barrymore to play me. We don't look alike, I just dig her.
(a close runner up movie would be a documentary about a starbucks addict)

What is your best post processing tip?:
less is more. Nail it in camera. Only use Photoshop to make is shine, not to change the photo. I'm a pretty minimalist when it comes to editing. A little contrast (sometimes more than others), a little sharpening and voila!

What is your best tip for getting great lighting in photos?

I'm inspired by light!! My clients often laugh at me because I become giddy during sessions when we hit a spot with good light. Yes, I've even been known to jump up and down. Haha! Open shade, backlight, the golden hour before sunset....sometimes you have to search and get creative, but it's usually there.

What does beautiful mean to you?:

something that makes your heart smile. Be it a person, a jester, a note.....beautiful is a feeling. When your heart smiles and your eyes have that twinkle...you've found it.

What is your best marketing tool?

My blog and facebook. I'm kinda a freak about my blog. I will get sneak peeks up the next day 90% of the time....the day after at the latest. That in combination with facebook is huge. Tagging, sharing...it's all word of mouth. And I think word of mouth advertisement is priceless!

Explain to us your dream vacation?:

Me. My husband. Bora Bora. Margaritas in hand. The end.

Do you give free or discounted sessions to your friends or charge them the same as clients? Eek! I don't do them free. Does that make me sound bad?? I probably should, but I consider all my clients friends! Haha. I know, cheesy, right? I guess I don't just to keep it fair. Although I'm sure most of my friends would pay the full price anyway because they rock!!

What type of sessions are your favorite (children family newborns weddings....) and why?: this is a tough one!! If I had to pick, it would be anything involving love...so engagement, weddings, "one last time" sessions. I love to photograph love. It inspires me, it makes my heart smile :) something about capturing the connection between two people is something that I never get sick of doing. A CLOSE runner up would be seniors.

What equipment do you use and if you had only one lens to use...what would it be?:
I'm a canon girl. I use a 5d. Yep, the old school one. I actually prefer it over the mark ii (which I also have). My main go to lens would be the 50mm....that would be the one I couldn't live without. It's a constant on my camera and used 90% of the time.

What is your must have favorite action?

This is a question I don't have an answer to. i own hundreds of actions, but use none. I have little actions that I have made myself (contrast, sharpen, exposure) that I use just to speed up work flow. I know there are thousands out there and we have seen some amazing ones right here on this blog (florabella comes to mind first)....and I think they are gorgeous, they just don't fit my photo style. I'm sure it's just because I don't know how to use them right. Haha!

As a mom and photographer how do you balance your life?:
I don't! I'm like a chicken with my head cut off :) when you figure it out, let me know!!

Do you ever have to say "no" to potential clients because of work load?
all the time. Daily. It makes my stomach sick to tell people no. I don't like it at all. I wish I could photograph every single person that contacts me, but I can't. I'm not good at saying no, but I'm learning that I have to. I actually just wrote a blog post about this very thing. I guess it goes back to trying to balance life, work and family....

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?:

happy and content. Hoping I'm blessed enough to still be doing what I'm doing now.
Okay, wait!...I just added it up in my head and I might not be so happy. In 10 years, my oldest will probably have moved out. So, in 10 years, depending on the day, I might be a puddle on the floor!!

What song inspires you? You know the one that can lift your spirits no matter what:
well, I'm a huge top 40 junkie! I have to be, how else can I practice my dancing skillz!! So, the songs I love change all the time. But my go-tos are Jason Mraz and the entire Eddie Vedder soundtrack from 'into the wild'. They all inspire me.

What is your take on "everyone thinks they are a photographer because they have a nice camera?" you know, my take is....you do your thing and i'll do mine. i can't worry about what other people are doing. they need to do what's best for them and i need to do what's best for me. there is such a huge battle over price and talent and pictures and so on and so on....all i know is that i do what works for me, what fits my lifestyle and what i need to do to support a happy, healthy family. i just assume that they do to.

What is the all time best book you've ever read?
Okay. I'm not a reader. I try to be, but I fail. I get about half way through and I give up. Even if I really like it. So, the last book that I actually read the whole thing of was Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. Is it my all time favorite? I don't know....but it is one I finished!! :)

If we surprised you at your house today, what would be the first thing we would notice?
Um, that it's a mess. There would be happy kids running around, but it would be a mess. Hey, I'm honest :)


  1. Melanie9/15/2010

    Oh my gosh! I have followed her work on her blog forever and I have never put it together that she is the Shannon of TML. How funny! Love her work so much!

  2. Shannon is my ebff. Love her!

  3. You know I love you Shannon. Your outlook, positivity, simplicity and the beauty you capture and share with us daily is so refreshing. Keep doing what you're doing, because it's serving you so well. Love ya!

  4. Rachel9/15/2010

    LOL!! I love your sense of humor. Your photography is amazing and by the sound of your interview, I can see why they all love you so much. Thanks for sharing.

  5. i love shannon. she's one of the most fabulous photogs i know! and yes, i agree, she always makes the rest of us look bad with her "here is my shoot from tonight" posts on her blog! i won't be surprised the day she posts "i just wanted to post this gorgeous shot of the bride and groom as i travel back to their reception." lol
    seriously, though, she's FAST and AWESOME and her clients are so lucky to have her! i still get teary looking at our shots from our desert session. they are my most favorite shots of us EVER. and yes that is a BOLD statement! :)

  6. You're the BEST, Shannon. I remember finding you on flickr with your amazing macro shots! You have emerged so quickly and I'm so proud of all that you have accomplished.

  7. great interview! what the 5d over the 5d 2?

  8. Shannon...you are crazy awesome...and you have always made me laugh...your photos make me feel that happy you speak of!!!

  9. Shelly W.9/15/2010

    Shannon, you are amazing! I am a blog stalker of yours. Your work is incredible. It was fun to read a little more about you!

  10. Thank you for sharing your talent.

  11. <3

    big love for Shannon, always willing to answer any question, even if you didn't remember you already asked it.

    she rocks the light, she makes her clients sparkle, and in so many words,

    i want to be like shannon.


  12. Tiffany Richmond9/15/2010

    She is Amazing!! Her photos are so sharp and clear. Very very talented.

  13. Shannon is my inspiration. So honest, and such clean and beautiful original photos. I love the minimal photoshop approach! I've spent hours looking over her photography, and plan on continuing to do so. I feel very blessed that she's photographed my family, and hope to continue getting my family portraits done by her. Thanks Shannon for being so awesome!

  14. Shannon I adore you!! So fun to get to know you better and hope to meet you some day!

  15. Anonymous9/15/2010

    Shannon, you are amazing and we are so lucky that we got our kids photographed before you hit the big time and busy schedule. Thank you!

  16. these are amazing!!
    love the bride and groom with the beautiful sky!

  17. So truly blessed to have met Shannon, even if it is not yet in person. Some day.

  18. wow!!! thank you all so, so much for your kind words and lovin'!! you made my day, week...heck, year!! xoxo

  19. Loved reading this. Shannon, you are a huge inspiration to me. I love your work! I have no doubt you will be know nationwide very soon.

  20. As much as I love Shannon's work, and as much more I have learned about her, I'm still wanting more!!! My biggest concern at the moment is finding that "spot with great light" in every location I go to, and I am always amazed at how Shannon has SOOO MANY SPOTS. I swear, I'm moving to Montana. I've already informed my husband. I just have SOOOOO many questions, I want to totally pick her brain!!

    In other words, thanks for sharing, Shannon. :)


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