Steven Hanna is a wedding and landscape photographer based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Here, Steven discusses a career InFocus.
When did you first lift a camera?
About ten or 11 years ago, I was bought a Samsung point and shoot digital camera by my parents as a gift for Christmas. My passion grew as I explored landscape photography
When did you realise that photography might be the vocation for you?
I had been shooting landscapes and road racing as a hobby for a few years when a friend asked if I would be interested in shooting her wedding. When I saw her response to the images I produced, I realised that photography was something I could pursue.
What camera do you use today?
I’m currently shooting with a Canon 5D MkIII, alongside their range of Canon L series prime lenses. I’ve also recently purchased a Fuji XT1, which has been my first play with a mirrorless setup.
What has photography given to you?
I’ve been able to leave a 9-to-5 desk job and pursue something that I’m really passionate about. I can honestly say that photography does not feel like a job to me, and for that, I’m very thankful.
What advice would you have for anyone interested in taking up wedding photography?
Develop your own style and be yourself. If you can, try and second shoot or assist another wedding photographer who’s style you admire. Personality and how you handle people goes a long way in wedding photography.
You’ve won various awards during your career – are they important to you?
Awards are great when they come along. They certainly give you a feel good factor and also help to encourage you to keep improving and developing as a photographer. It’s also been great to have had three books published of my landscape work, Chasing The Light, The Glens Of Antrim and also A Boot Up The Mournes.
How long have you been producing landscape work?
Landscapes were the first subject I started shooting almost ten or 11 years ago. Back then, however, I soon realised that a point and shoot camera was very limiting, so I slowly began upgrading and adding to my kit until I had a decent SLR setup with a selection of filters et cetera.
What does Northern Ireland offer to the landscape photographer?
Do you want the long or short answer? Seriously, there is so much natural beauty in our tiny island, a lot of which goes unnoticed. That is what I found along the Causeway Coast, for example. I’ve spent around eight years or so shooting seascapes along the Causeway Coast and I can honestly say that most of my favourite spots are actually away from the usual tourist hotspots. There are so many little hidden nooks and coves and bays along that stretch of coastline. As well as the stunning coastline, we have the beautiful Glens of Antrim, Mourne Mountains, Sperrin Mountains and the Fermanagh lakes, just to name but a few incredible landmarks.
Landscape photography perhaps not as lucrative as other forms of photography – why should people take it up?
Even if you never sell an image, just being out and about enjoying the scenery is a welcome break from the busyness of life. There have been many trips that I’ve returned home from and haven’t even shot one exposure because the light was so poor, yet I still felt refreshed from having been out. Shooting landscapes gives me time to relax, breath and enjoy creation. It’s a very different experience from the stress and excitement of a typical wedding day.