Charles Hildreth is a portrait, fashion and beauty photographer based in Denver, Colorado. Charles visual goal is two-fold by combining his love for writing with the passion to capture stunning photographs. His artistic style, focused in this collection on masterfully composed portraits, delivers beauty, elegance and charm.
Feel free to discover the secrets of capturing those miraculous photographs directly from the photographer, Charles Hildreth, below.
Tell us about something about Charles Hildreth Photography?
My photography is hard for me to define, because there was no expectation when picking up a camera originally. All I wanted to do was make art and show people how I viewed the world. In fact, the purchase of my camera happened only because I won money gambling on my birthday, and needed to photograph my sister’s graduation the following summer. I had originally thought my passion was drawing and painting, but I became too frustrated with the amount of time it took to make a finished piece. With photography, I’ve realized I can capture a rough sketch of what my vision is, and then further the production of it with Photoshop. I’d like to think my photographs tell stories and sometimes even look more like paintings, rather than a digital image.
How did you get into Photography?
My father was into film photography back in his Navy days. I never really understood it then, but was always curious. He lived in Seattle, so his focus was mainly on submarines emerging from the Pugent Sound near his home. His father, my grandfather, took a lot of pictures of me with his camera, but nothing artistic in any sense. I’d say some of my influence came from them, but it was nothing major. My main push into photography was after I snapped a few portraits of my little cousin at one of our family events. Seeing the response the art community DeviantArt gave me on my first portrait on August 9th, 2009, it really got me thinking about pursuing it more.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your photography creative, inspiring and fresh?
I’m constantly looking at images across various photography sites. I purchase books of old and new photographers to support the continuation of art and to find new inspiration. I am strongly influenced by composition, lighting, and storytelling in movies. I like to study a variety of films from Stanley Kubrick to Wes Andersen. If I feel like I’m getting stuck, I start trying to find new sources of light, new models, or techniques of post-production.
What is typically in your camera bag?
I have one full-frame camera and one crop-sensor camera, two prime lenses (85mm, 50mm), and a few cleaning cloths. I mainly use natural light for everything except beauty and fashion, but even then, I feel it is a very strong if used right.
How has your shooting style and work ethic changed in time?
My earliest work was bringing friends from my bartending job out into an open field and having them bare the brightest light. It’s sort of funny to look back on it now. After I purchased a prime lens with a 1.4 aperture, I’ve been able to keep models in darker areas, working with creative natural lighting methods indoors as well as out. I also hired Jaime Ibarra to teach me post-production techniques once I felt I hit my limit in Photoshop. It really brought my work into another dimension for me.
What are some tips you could give to people that really like your work?
I’d say, concern yourself less with what camera I use, and figure out the story you want to tell the world. Think about what it is your vision of the world does to enhance your art. Learn how to do the most basic functions and create real, crisp, and clean images. Then figure out how to manipulate them from that foundation.
Can you name some photographers that inspires you with their works and why?
Annie Leibovitz is a huge influence, especially after reading her “At Work” introduction. She started with a Nikon, prime lenses, and natural light. I like her photojournalistic style and her professional lighting techniques, which are still beyond my level of knowledge currently. I was highly interested in Jaime Ibarra‘s photography when I first came across it on DeviantArt.
Dear Mr. Charles, thank you very much for this great collaborations. Your portraits are elegant, simple & stunning. Thanks for sharing your story and good luck in pursuing your dream and also to create remarkable portraits.