Hannah Harley Young is a portrait and event photographer. The go-to girl on the party scene, Hannah shoots parties around London and internationally. Turning heads as the only female photographer amongst an abundance of men, she has made her mark documenting the glitz and glamour of the rich and famous around the city and at events such as Glastonbury, the Cash & Rocket car tour, A list private events, and fashion parties.
Alongside shooting the hottest celebrity parties, she also shoots commissioned portraits for private clients, websites and editorial platforms. She has worked with high-end corporates on projects spanning from fashion to architecture. Her attention to detail when capturing moments transpire in her imagery. Hannah creates photos that evoke a sense of ease from the subject together with a sense of place.
Born and bred in West London, a thriving hub of culture and creativity, it’s no surprise that Hannah showed an early interest in photography. Her father, acclaimed celebrity photographer Richard Young, guided and inspired her until she was ready to settle behind the lens of her own camera.
Already trusted as an insider, Hannah shoots both commissioned and syndicated work for a wide range of clients. In 2017 Hannah had her debut exhibition Out of the Shadow at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, London.
Welcome Hannah, thank you for coming on board with us, can you introduce yourself to us?
Thank you for having me! It’s always wonderful meeting likeminded females in the industry who are creating exciting brands and businesses. The hustle is real!
So, I am a portrait and lifestyle photographer, as well as event photographer, based in London. I shoot with a lot of brands branching over the fashion, food, art, music and celebrity industries. I have been shooting for 8 years now and have to say I love what I do! No 2 days are the same.
Can you talk us through the path you have pathed to where you are now as a photographer?
Growing up I never saw photography as a route for me. I actually wanted to be a fashion designer! During my Art Foundation at Chelsea College Of Art, I started specialising in fashion photography and then went to the London College of Communication to study my BA in Photography. Not to go into too much detail, but the university wasn’t for me – and so when I graduated, I spent a while doing very little photography and started to get into the TV presenting world. I was co-presenting an online chat show and I had written a documentary that was gaining some traction but after 18 months things weren’t moving and I was becoming impatient so I started shooting some content for people’s websites and assisting on some jobs and next thing we know I am covering private, celebrity events. My career has gone from strength to strength and 3 years ago I branched into portrait and lifestyle photography too.
Having built up an incredible client base and working with the likes of Stormzy Hailey Baldwin and Alexa Chung, can you share with us 3 tips for aspiring photographers who are looking to get their foot in the door within the industry?
- There’s no doubt that it’s an incredibly competitive industry these days. Three tips I can offer are: be versatile and open-minded; you may want to specialise in portrait or fashion but be able to shoot events or lifestyle to keep yourself marketable. Be organised; freelance life requires you to be on the ball.
- Keep up a weekly routine, keep your diary organised, your accounts in order, spend free time updating your platforms and networking with clients and people who may be able to help.
- Lastly, and this tends to fall to the sidelines a lot (!), be nice! It’s a tough world out there, we’re all stressed and working towards our goals, but just be nice. It costs nothing and I can guarantee you it will help so much in the long run. Don’t get ahead of yourself, arrogance doesn’t have a place in the industry!
- How are you working towards your own personal development?
It’s easy to get caught up in the mix of things. I have always been about work-life balance, which doesn’t actually exist when you’re self-employed! But I try really hard to switch off when I need to. I exercise every day, first thing in the morning, and this really sets me up for the day. I keep a very organised schedule so I am on top of meetings, jobs, admin and then I can filter in a social life.
I am naturally quite an anxious person so I counteract that through meditation and positive thinking.
Number one rule in business you stick by?
Self-belief. I spent many years when I first became a photographer, doubting my abilities, thinking I wasn’t good enough, I had imposter syndrome. Over time I have built up a really thick skin and remind myself of why I am here doing what I am doing. I am by no means the best (yet!) and I still have my days of self-doubt, but I’ve worked hard to get to where I am. There is a reason I have been booked for a job, so go in and smash it!
You have previously covered many A-list celeb parties, Glastonbury and the Cash & Rocket car tour, what areas/projects can you see yourself expanding into next and what steps are you taking to see them come to fruition?
I’d love to have another exhibition. My debut one at The H Club in Covent Garden was a huge success and I’d love to follow it up with my new material. I’d also love to focus more on editorial portrait photography. Long term… who knows?! I want to try and keep an open mind for the future. I’d love to use my creative eye to eventually collaborate with brands as a creative director.
What are your preferred marketing methods for showcasing your portfolio?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media, but you can’t get away from the fact that is really is the marketing platform of our generation but we are losing the essence of private life. I’m on the cusp of the millennial generation so still, put time into my physical portfolios (commissioners and editors still love seeing and feeling a physical book!) and my website, but I keep my Instagram updated showcasing new and old work.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
I will always champion other women making a mark on this world with incredible visions and creative ideas. It’s a crazy world out there, we’re all striving to make our mark, and in the creative and media industries I believe this works through collaboration, support, and kindness. #BEYOUROWN to me means to take charge of your journey, work towards your goals – it doesn’t matter how long it takes, or what others think, you do you. Life is too short not to do what you love and makes you happy. As a brand, #BEYOUROWN really strives to push this message and advocates women doing incredible things – this needs to be celebrated!
Finally, what are you working on throughout 2019?
This year I am continuing to work hard on my day to day projects, I am starting to put the wheels in motion to do another exhibition and I may have a few secret plans in the pipeline too!