We will be interviewing and featuring photographers here on our blog!  Today, we want to share our interview with Justin Haugen, a Tucson, Arizona based wedding photographer!  Please read along to see what Justin has to share with us!


Tell us about yourself (your studio, things you like, etc).

I live in Tucson, Arizona and together with my partner Birdie Fyffe, we run a co-op photography studio with a small group of members who use our space regularly. I think early in our photography, the idea of working in studio can be very intimidating and that this can be barrier to access for those who might otherwise thrive in this setting. We really wanted to provide a welcoming studio experience that photographers could access to grow their skills and offer their clients a greater range of services. It has also grown into a way for us to interact with our local photography community to host meetings and teaching events.

I really love the city I live in. I enjoy it’s familiarity and sense of home to me now that I’ve lived here almost half of my life. The sights, sounds, smells, food, people, community. It’s all become an influence on my life and my art and I’m happy to call this place home and have the support of so many people, especially my family. There is a rich culture in this place and interesting people, and I want to photograph as many of them as I can.

How many years have you been doing photography?

14 years.

What kind of photography do you do?

The bulk of my business is supported by wedding photography, but I also do some commercial and editorial work as well. I’m really driven to photograph portraits. I love photographing people with a talent or story, and showing them in their place of work, rest, or play.

What do you shoot with, and what is your ideal setup?

When I shoot weddings, I use the Nikon D850 and a D750. Primarily, I use the Nikon 35 1.8G and 85 1.4G lenses for almost the entire wedding day. After using a number of zooms and longer telephotos, I found that committing to prime lenses really engaged my entire body in the act of photography.

I really enjoy the 35mm focal length for capturing intimate moments. It really draws me into the space of my subjects and makes the viewer a participant in the memory instead of an observer. I use the 85 for more conventional portrait images and headshots, while also closing the distance for a closer look during the ceremony. Over time though, I feel wired to close that gap with my feet and get closer to moments with the 35.

What inspires your photography style?

I’m inspired by many of the talented photographers I’ve come to know over the years. There is just so much amazing photography and I really believe in terms of photographic style, we’re experiencing a wealth of inspiration around the world. Spending time with other photographers, learning about their process and seeing how they approach their craft and express their creativity, it all influences my style and my workflow.

What makes your work unique?

That’s a tough question. I feel like to have your work considered unique, you really have to have reached a place in proficiency and talent that few are occupying. I’m not sure I’ve reached that place and I’m still striving to be better at my craft. I suppose if I put myself in the shoes of an outside observer or someone who is looking to book me for their wedding, I’d like to think my knowledge and use of off-camera flash is an asset that makes me the person for the job, especially in adverse lighting conditions. I also think my desire to get closer and closer and to involve the camera in the most intimate of moments is why someone would select my photography to help them document their memories.

Do you have a photographer or an influential figure that inspires you?

I’m going to go with a quick list of people who not just inspire me with their photography, but in how they conduct their businesses and the kinds of people they are in how they treat others and uplift the people around them.

In no particular order, Charmi Patel, Jason and Joanne Marino,  Trevor Dayley, Andy and Amii Kauth, Easton and Laura Reynolds. Really though, this list is much bigger, but these are just a few people who have shared their time, friendship, and influence with me. I value the work they do and the way in which they do it.

What advice would you give to an aspiring photographer starting out?

You are the sum of all your influences, bad and good. Don’t ever be afraid to make mistakes in your photography, because it’s through those mistakes that you learn and correct your process and refine it into the best possible version it can be. Everything I do now is the culmination of every mistake I’ve corrected over 14 years.

Be the biggest critic of your own work. Learn to fall out of love with your own photos as quickly as you can. It doesn’t serve your growth to fawn over your own images. Just as quickly as I fall in love with my photos, I’m looking to improve that experience and deliver even greater work. I can critique my own work before I even share it with others, because I’m my harshest critic.

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