Interview with Fashion Photographer Trever Hoehne Part 1 | Photowrk Podcast


Trever Hoehne is a fashion photographer based in LA. In Part 1 of our interview with him he shares;

– His 10 year journey through the industry

– What photographers need to know outside of photography

– How he’s able to collaborate with clients to achieve a fine art look to his images

+ more!

Learn more about Trever Hoehne

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[Applause] welcome to photo work got Shannon here from Island and in today's show we interview fashion photographer out of la Pavoni and in part one of our interview with trevor he shares with us is ten year journey through the industry what photographers need to know outside of photography and how he's able to collaborate with his clients to achieve a finer look to his images so sit back and enjoy welcome to the show we're just really excited to talk to you oh and before we get too too far how do you say your last name correctly well I've been told that I say it incorrectly by Germans it's a German name I say Honi and they say that there's no way that that's how you'd say it I see like Hoonah or Sunna yeah like as the okay back in German but uh yeah okay good to know yeah so I wanted to start out with on your website you mentioned you grew up in an artist's home can you talk about how that impacted you yeah my mom said is very creative artistic and my I have a brother who's also in creative industries an art director we were kind of just supported in that way so like on our weekends we do creative things or we paint or you know and and now comparing my story with other people you know even friends like that's weird you know and we did sports and everything but a lot of what my mom really tried to like push us towards was creativity and both my brother and I loved it and we always you know we had art classes and things like that growing up and I think that really helped I don't know give a different approach to this whole thing yeah and it's funny because my mom does kind of commercial work too and like the landscape design arena now so it was funny seeing her carve through the business side of it growing up like running a creative business while being creative that's a totally different thing you know like it's a you know world to be in but yeah it's interesting that we have a lot of people talk about their parents not even basically knowing what they do how do you make money taking photos yeah totally do it you're coming from the opposite side well hey there's only one way to do this yeah yeah totally and I guess I I didn't pick up on some of those things growing up I didn't care I didn't think I was even gonna I didn't know what I was gonna do but just seeing my mom give time for the business side and then fight for the creative side so if like I was just fun kind of watching her looking back I really actually appreciate it without knowing what I was getting growing up but yeah both my brother and I we were very like supported in the creative fields and then you know how does growing up like that's kind of what you get known for like if you're like the art kid you know like you kind of take the brand on and see I good I won you know from high school to college and major painting because that's what I thought that was what it was he not good I'm gonna do something creative and then I didn't realize how hard that would be to do is make a living so I got to kind of the senior year point I'm like what am I gonna do so that's kind of funny he did painting – yeah art oh yeah yeah the only time I remember dates was our history yeah that's amazing regular history things around the visual arts major but I was I was okay at doing the thing yeah yeah all the art history classes I was like oh man this is getting academic on me right stick to painting you can really see that you I don't know there's something about your work that you can see that you have some sort of a fine art background it's just there's something there yeah the quality to it yeah thank you but yeah I'm sure it's just I think and I know this is bleeding into probably other questions but I think all creative the work it's what you're putting in all the time it's what you're looking at it's what you're researching it's what you're intrigued by or what makes you feel uncomfortable I think those are all good things visually and I think the more that you kind of put that in and somehow that comes out you know I mean it's very like inspired by early California art in college and I loved all the plein air style and of course be in California and everything's beautiful and colorful so I don't know I think even I know we're talking to photographers probably right now but practically you know like when I see like a cyan sky I think my eye gears towards even a certain part of that cyan you know and I'm just referencing probably what recalling things I've been inspired by but yeah so I'm sure the fine art side bleeds in a little bit yeah totally off-base question yeah favorite era of painting that's that's art yeah I'm like a classic kind of guy so I like like the 18th 19th century in like millionaires no just I don't know I'm kind of a sucker for like a landscape on the wall you know yeah so I love risa I've been really into Edgar pain again an early California artist and again most people would probably look at that and it's like they would probably consider it boring landscapes but to me there's just something about his color and everything but yeah okay yeah that's a hard thing to answer because I'm also an art I love all arts right and that's a very hard question yeah is there like there's romaine there's parts of every area yeah yeah I would I would say the thing that I kind of like keep going back to is is you know that slight impressionistic era of like the California Art I just I don't know why I like it it's the reference I mean every time I hold the camera every creative you're referencing something you wait until the crop is right or the light is right to where you're like the obvious looks like the thing that's clicking in my head you know and I think got all creatives that's kind of the Machine behind the you know what we're doing I don't know maybe there's more science into that but I it makes sense to me yeah we're just you yeah you're pulling from within a little bit that's really cool yeah and where did you grow up I grew up in Southern California I always kind of been here out in the desert mm-hm or space yeah and it kind of just slowly poked my way up here so yeah yeah that desert feeling is nice but open yeah yeah we grew up with the courses 7m being obviously immersed in a city and a industry hub you don't you don't get much of that so yeah my wife and I every time we can get out of town we do and go over there space or you know yeah quiet mm-hmm we definitely drawn to that it's romantic yeah yeah can you count walk us through from just from your beginnings to where you are now yeah in the industry yeah I definitely was not expecting to what I'm doing I mean you guys noticed especially since you said you came from a visual arts background Photography sits in a very funny area in visual arts you know I don't know if it's it has its own thing for sure but I think if you were raised in the fine art disciplines I guess I don't know this gets tricky even describe this because of photography it for sure is in art but I think the the snobby eyebrow fine art thing in photography is like the little stepbrother at all you know I mean some point I get it growing up and not to say growing up I did I think more the fine art discipline like just traditional disciplines and I never was really into the tech stuff but you know even in college it just was pretty simple I so you guys know they obviously like I said we you know we had art classes and did the whole spiel growing up and you know through the 90s I like drawing like you know the stupid t-shirt logos we had on our shirts just I was always just kind of making and recreating and things yeah got to college I thought I should do business at first that was a bad idea I started feeling out of things just cuz I thought oh you go to college to be serious and be business and and then I stepped back and said you know I'm gonna do what I love and it's always been our and I just I don't think I ever gave that it's room in my head to be like oh this is what you're gonna spend all this money learning about in college and maybe doing for a living so did that I find our major kind of did the all the painting thing and of course you get to senior year and you're like everyone's getting jobs like so I quickly pivoted that this was of course during the like a little bit of time where photography wasn't as huge and I want to be clear on that too because it's like I think some people I would it's so hard to do it now I think cuz some people of cameras so many people can easily access this industry but for me it was it wasn't as common so I got into graphic design pivoted very quickly and and like we've talked about her we'll talk about the tools to me are just the tools so I learned Photoshop and illustrator as quick as I kind of learned any other program and so it the learning curve wasn't the hard and then of course in the graphic design arena photography is you know people would buy cameras and take pictures of textures to put in their brochures or whatever so I worked for a design agency and learned a ton during that time just about the industry how everything worked and that's when I got to go on a photo shoot and again up till now no pictures I never had a camera this is after college that I had started doing this stuff got to go to a photo shoot that I was helping the design elements for so I can kind of come you know and check the assets and make sure we were getting the stuff we needed for the brochure and the campaign it was the first time I kind of saw the blue in awe of the industry a little bit like I'm like oh this is a cooler thing than I thought this was you know it was like the stylist and the hair and makeup and the models and the lights and it made me kind of respect the craft a little bit more and that was the first like little light bulb thing and I did have friends that were kind of getting into photography and starting to shoot weddings and things like that and so they helped me like get a camera and kind of like the crash course you know here's how to use it and not look like an idiot so I kind of just got obsessed after that and started taking pictures more and like I said it was a little bit before the big boom of everyone had a camera so I got asked to do stuff you know I started shooting friends or I actually started getting to shoot some of the stuff working on at the design agency so yeah it was that was the beginning I think for me specifically compared to what I'm doing now the only photography I really really loved and I was even immersed to because like I said I didn't put myself in that world in the photography world so I'm still catching up on like the history of photography a little bit but I the stuff that definitely caught my eye was the campaigns and the big and I love I've always loved fashion I've loved you know the whole industry of that crazy world so I knew that if I was going to shoot something I wanted to do that you know I was I would always buy magazines and things like that just kind of admiring the content yeah so yeah I quickly kind of pivoted towards that and tried and learn the hard way again I didn't have like what you guys are providing in like how do you get into fashion photography and like what are some steps and I just kind of like I can learn the hard way which ironically is kind of like it'll reiterate a lot of people that you've interviewed before it's a it's a similar path you know either fight your way through or do these away but it's it's a similar path no yeah no I'm here but I feel like fashion as far as like its commercial photography goes lends itself better to the fine art ish sides of things yes along the way I and they still get hired for some content like this of course it's all based off of my fashion work but I get to do some like I guess be commercial photography it's not for fashion but it's more a product for something and those yeah it's a those are a little bit more stringent and here's what we're going for the ad the mock-ups are there for you I think the fashion industry when it's just pure fashion is yeah that you're working with a lot of creatives and they're fine with this the wild concoction of creatives and how something comes together and I love that so yes in the commercial industry we're selling something you know you're some clothes or some jewelry whatever field you're in but you get to play while you do it and I think that's I love that a little bit structure but a little there's there's and you'll hear this obviously from every photographer there's a Wild West to ever shoot you know where it's like oh yeah uncharted territory I like know I thought the light was gonna be different or like we talked about it's raining it's raining know you can only plan so much and I kind of like that we're still gonna make an image today creative and my pivot you know so I was gonna segue into how are you able to work with your clients like the advertising fashion and in part like the creativity like the fine art like how are you and the feeling and the emotion because sometimes advertising gets like soul-crushing like the images it gets so sterile so how are you able to make that work with your clients I it's an awesome question and there's so much to that and there's a lot of things we probably won't be able to cover in such a short answer but I think there's a couple things people hire you for what kind of stuff you show I think and I think if you show those you know you guys talk a lot about narrative and you've asked a lot of photographers about that I think when you fight for a little narrative in your campaigns and a lot of times that comes down from like the art directors and they're like oh here's our campaigners this story or you know whatever five they're going for you I think I'll speak personally I fight for those in-between moments and I think that's where a lot of those a little magical kind of you know oh that's at least interesting and not like here's a watch and we're selling this thing and on a pretty person you know yeah I think we need five for those in betweens and you show those things that's the kind of stuff that I think clients are gonna hire you for they're like oh we like how this doesn't look like we're explaining right now it doesn't look too sterile so I think that's part of it too I I don't know if it's luck or if the industry is changing but I've gotten to work with really great art directors that are fighting for that too and they don't want ya to canned of an image they want something special and I guess point towards how this industry is changing I mean we're even seeing I think there's a lot of companies I work with where they're researching like what does well even on social media and like will they spend all this money on this giant campaign and I think we're used to seeing that concept we're used to seeing this high gloss I produce things so I think a lot of clients are fighting to tame that back in a weird way and like we just want it to look more real so that is on the photographer I think and there's tricks with that I mean one personal ad I do is if I feel like I would it depends on casting a lot you'll hear that a lot from a lot of photographers you know you you find something that gives some you know the models place is such a huge part of what we do in a lot of ways I feel like a cheater because I'm in some ways just capturing it but they're doing so much the work in providing I guess things for us the captures photographers and if they're there's so many models that I love working with that where they're good at creating those in-betweens or those a little bit of narrative or emotion is probably people like would read it and that's that's challenging but one tool obviously that we get the benefit of nowadays is we can shoot a lot you know a lot of Kyle of shooting film but a lot of the content isn't needed so quickly and they need the assets like right away so if we're gonna shoot on a digital format we get to shoot the heck out of it you know mean like we're gonna blast the thing and then it comes down to the Edit which i think is a skill obviously is picking okay I'll are set right here what's what's the image when a la Vegas we can't elevate them all so yeah that's part of it but I would say the overall to get back to the answer the question a lot of it is I get to work with some great people that see the same thing I see and I learn a lot from them too so even didn't shoot to shoot I'm still learning a ton and a lot of great art directors will pull out the same things I would pull out from a set so that's a luxury I think when you get to work with a team you know rather than just you but even if I'm doing test shoots yeah I'm always fighting for something a little bit more interesting and that's a challenge for me like that's I think I'm busy because I can make it image work but I fight for it okay I should pull a I should be doing something to you know grab an image that's maybe a little bit more off or doesn't show the products and you know still understand what we're going for you know so that's a I'm always fighting for that it's time learning too so yeah that's really know he said be fighting for it yes I didn't get it yeah and I think you guys have covered this in I think a lot of photographers would answer this to you you know this is I think this is my tenth or eleventh 11th year just photography just doing solo you know in this industry and I think I think it's funny because when people get into fashion or when they look at fashion imagery there's so many people that just say oh that's like the weird stuff and I in some ways I kind of agree because I think a lot of artists obviously if they're in the photography industry I have friends that still love working commercially and they love perfecting lighting and really going after kind of like the one image they're using for a campaign but what I like about fashion is obviously you're collecting more than one look usually per shoot and I you get tired of making the perfect pretty thing so you do push it you you go you spin it off a little bit and that's what I think a lot of people look at fashion and just think it's like that's an odd thing and it is because it makes you stop and think or look or takes you back a second you know that's no one I used to threaten and that's what I love about this industry is like everybody's trying to go for that you know and even in a commercial setting they're still trying to sell something but we can be creative on how to do that so what are some mistakes that you made that you would want other up-and-coming photographers you got to make yeah totally gosh there's so many layers that because I'm seeing a lot of like I get a lot of emails on like how do I break into this industry or you know what lights did you use like there's a lot of questions and I think people are searching for just like a formula or something to get them going and it's hard like I said before it there's so and so many more photographers I think now or people just creating content and like I also said especially fashion the content is different now it's like it's the industry's changing a little bit so I don't even some of the answers I don't know how to answer that because I just know what worked for me and even I am learning the changes now so it's almost like a real-time answer to that question but if I I guess one mistake or things I'm seeing photographers do will always speak to fashion there's a typical grid on what people would say that they're here's how you get into fashion and it's true you know you start by testing with modeling agencies and those kind of things I think a lot of people a lot of I don't say new photographers but people that are fighting to get into this arena they kind of get stuck there with tests and and I don't know the answer I guess to break people out of testing and into work and commercial clients and then something that probably pay your bills which I'm guessing is what people are trying to figure out but I think a lot of people's just test to test and then I go cool I'm testing I that's a big thing and it is a big thing because there's a lot of competition and agencies only have so much time and they don't want to send their talent out to everyone but I something I did specifically was I used I learned this late but I used tests to do what I needed to and to fulfill my needs like for my book or something that I was literally testing like a new camera or a light or whatever and then I moved on so if I had stuff that was like that I didn't spend as much time testing it in it and the other side of this is obviously Shu Shu Shu you'll hear every photographer say you don't you're not gonna get anywhere if you're not shooting so if I'm if I have downtime I'm always shooting I'll do personal work or things like that just to keep on learning but I would say my the biggest thing is I you you get hired for where you show people are going to assume because you shoot this that they'd be great at this and I think because there's more photographers and more images out there now you have to be really specific we shoot yeah so don't get stuck in testing and move on fight side to work towards doing stuff for you know client work or things like that that's that's the thing I would say cuz I think a lot of people that ask me that question they've been testing for years and and that's a hard that I get it it's a hard thing to break out of and how do you turn it into work but start creating content that's different and not just like cool I'd made a pretty person look good with lighting and good processing and things like that like we've seen that see I think you just have to fight for something new and something creative and always kind of just do that thing yeah fight for something what are some key things outside of photography that photographers need to know yeah no I don't think that's are done in I don't even know if I really surrounds the service in the last question either like what how to do it or what mistakes to avoid or whatever outside of photography I think is similar to the art question I'll answer this for me so much of an artist that works you're going to either have to focus a little bit more business than you want to or the art side then you want to I think some people are teeter one way or the other I've had to learn the business side and thank goodness I'm not doing all that stuff for my own stuff or I'd be probably working for free because I don't care about you know the business side as much as I should but outside of photography the actual discipline I would say learn business I am always fascinated with what I do comes down from a huge umbrella kind of like okay so this company is getting paid so much for like this dress or this jewelry or whatever it is that we're shooting and I have to provide value to that too and it's just interesting thinking about like what's what do they need what are they what should they avoid and so the business of fashion is interesting and is changing so I think the best the business side and learning a little bit about that is good I have some photographers they won't like focus on certain things like I don't think there's money in that I don't you know I don't I don't know a lot of people that are shooting that stuff so I would say just a you know kind of focusing on on your wheelhouse a little bit and learning about your industry is crucial the second thing is similar to the fine art conversation i if I'm not shooting I'm looking a ton I'm always feeding with my mind with something that challenges me and I know a lot of people say you should get out of the image world if you're in the image world to refresh and maybe find a different thing you know exercise her you know nature or whatever it is and I love that set too but I do spend a lot of time focusing on images and I'm learning and seeing accept change you know even a day this is a techie thing which I'm sure there's a lot of viewers they like that kind of stuff but I'm even noticing the you know back when I started it was like the vogue thing was like the dream right you you want to shoot like the huge Testino that kind of thing and now fashions in such a unique spot where it's a little bit more kind of going back to what we said about just content being more believable even the aesthetics are changing towards something that's more believable you know and more real looking at raw and I think we've seen the supermodel with all the lights and the glam and I think there's always a space for that and I love that my naturally love that stuff but I'm learning that some of even the aesthetics are like cool maybe we shouldn't light this you know like let's just fight for natural light on this and that's against my grain because I'm used to this big commercial thing and we have to do you have to prove it or something and I've learned a lot over the last few years to just I don't know create something that's a little bit more real and that's working so all that to say I think I'm learning that because I'm looking a lot so yeah well you know I spend a lot of time on the road or on airplanes so I'm always just feeding my mind with some in challenge me like I said it might be paintings or something or like man I miss you know hitting how much color into an image or you know maybe it's like a really challenging fashion image where I'm like wow that really irks me or that's uncomfortable because of the content I think those are good things so yeah that's what I'm outside of my actual discipline I'm always feeding myself with images yeah references inspiration yep you mentioned that there's some photographers that they go to in a path that's not you said viable or money-making or something can you explain that a little yeah and not that it's about money no it's rank all of us are in this because we lecture you love doing this thing but I think I think what a lot of people are even subscribing to things like this for is like how do I do it like how do I you know it's it's I'd love to say that being a full-time photographer isn't awesome but it is awesome you know it's amazing it's it you get to create for a living and you're working with the great people so I think a lot of people want to figure that out for me like I said I issued a lot of women's fashion and the biggest fashion industry is geared towards women and so it's like I just it makes sense to me that there's a lot of work out there for that you know so even from when I was testing that was what a lot of my stuff was I would look at things big campaigns I just reverse engineered it so I would look at big campaigns and be like I love everything about that it looks amazing the light the color the balance the narrative the challenge through the image and I would just you know even when I first got my first camera and had no clue about lighting it's any of that stuff I would just take little stabs at picking apart things and being like how did they get that sky in there why is mine blown out and there's I learned so for me and of course you gotta shoot what you love I hate I don't want to point this towards they follow the money but for people that want to do the thing and make a living at it you do have to care about the business side so at least for fashion I I've kind of geared towards things that are you know I'm not shooting a ton of like t-shirt jeans kind of stuff some of this stuff I've been gearing towards is a little bit more elevated as far as a price point of the actual thing we're selling or the content to the image so I don't know if that makes sense but that's in mind but I'm creating test shoots or things like that I always want to have all my stuff point towards a certain way and then the same with testing if I keep on if I'm on a grind with campaign to campaign that's great in theory but I'm also not creating any personal work during that time and it's hard because I have to wait a year for the images to come out and you're always on the cycle of the fashion industry so I will pick and I'll fight for it I mean I'm busy and I have a family and travel and stuff so I'll fight for I need to do a shoot that's very just simple garments in a studio that's just classic timeless that kind of stuff because maybe in my campaign run that I've been on is not shooting that kind of stuff and I know that I won't have that stuff in my upcoming assets that I'm gonna show on my portfolio so I don't know if that answers a question but I get a lot of yeah people that I want to shoot landscapes and said I don't know how I don't know I would love to know how then I don't think there's a huge industry in that unless you're really really you know dogs and I'm sure the process is similar you know you just keep creating that content and over time you're known for that content people will say I had no person that shoots that kind of stuff so yeah yeah that all the blabs I'm so sorry no I mean I'm mad I always do this you look at how many people in the world are commercial photographers yeah and I bet a majority that's gonna be in the fashion world or EECOM or something like that the landscape photographers are gonna be a fraction of that fraction of that phrase yeah yeah it's so same thing with we were talking on to another photographer you talked about nude or scantily clad yeah there's you can make money there's Victoria's Secret out there sure but again that's all my new part of a fraction yeah yeah it makes sense you know there's a few photographers that are known for that and you have to kind of prove that that's what you shoot all the time and you have to keep shooting that stuff and you can't get distracted so going back to what people want to do to get along the road with even starting testing you have to just kind of a vision of what you want to do that could pivot that could change and you're gone old simile again the the bigger conversation is use an artist so I want to again make it well success or the the Paycheck part you've to shoot what's kind of like what your natural interest is so I have a lot of people also that are faking it because they think they want to be a big photographer and they don't actually care about it like I love I'm watching I'm always on my phone right now watching what's gonna in Paris right now for Fashion Week I love I have an interest in what I do and so I think that reverses and it trickles down into my work and it's yeah it leads the conversation so I my interest is in that so if you have to shoot what you love absolutely I don't think he could fake it in the long run so if you don't love if you don't love it get out now find something else okay I couldn't stop and it's not an easy industry so it's gonna eat you alive if you don't love it 100% yep and there's a lot nope not a lot of people talk about the harder parts yeah and there there are some very hard parts it's especially the era we live in right now you're forced with comparison mm-hm more than anything so it's just like it's probably anxiety levels higher than it's ever been because you'll see I don't know it's just easier to compare yourself to other isn't that there's always a hinderance to creativity I think heroes yeah you'd then at that point you're gonna start mimicking things and that doesn't really help you there yeah you just lining up so you have to just somehow carve through this hard industry lion creatives like blinders or eight yeah yeah totally you see with successful and the fortune have good access to seeing what's accessible all the time and it's not you get lucky Briggs I'm sure and everyone talk prize the stories but the long-term career goal well that's part one of our interview with fashion photographer out of LA Trevor honey stay tuned for part two of the episode where Trevor shares with us travel tips marketing advice and how he's able to balance his very busy work schedule with his family life all right we'll see you next time

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