Photography Q&A with Hayley Hay

As part of the Ready Steady Pro Q&A Series we ask photographers from all backgrounds, niches and skill levels to answer 5 questions for the blog. This week, we hear from Hayley Hay of Hayley Hay Photography.

Hayley Hay

About Hayley:

Hayley is a British photographer who recently moved from Brighton to Lausanne, Switzerland. Hayley specialises in children and family portraiture using mostly natural light. Since the move to Switzerland, Hayley has enjoyed discovering the country through photographing families at various beautiful locations, whether is is in the mountains, by the lake or in the vineyards! She works part time as a photographer as she has two small boys who keep her very busy the rest of the time!

Here’s what Hayley had to say when we her asked the 5 questions:

Question 1: What’s the one single thing that has had the largest positive impact on your photography so far?

First and foremost has been the birth of my children, they inspired me to take up photography in the first place as I love capturing them at different stages in their lives and seeing how much they have changed over the years and they are my absolute muses. I get so much enjoyment out of photographing them! The second largest positive impact on my photography, believe it or not, is Facebook! I have found so many photography groups and pages, other photographers to be inspired by and clients etc through Facebook. It was through facebook that I first learnt of the guild of photographers, which for me has been such a huge help to my photography career and of course then through them I learnt of Ready Steady Pro which is such a great resource. I continue to be inspired by so many other photographers and their work that I see through Facebook and I learn so much about various aspects of photography through all the pages that I have joined. It really has opened up so many doors for me. It is by far the most useful marketing media for me. I would say that most of my clients come from facebook in one way or another!

Question 2: If you could start over again from scratch, what would be the one thing you would do differently?

I think I would be better prepared all round. I would ensure that I knew my market before diving in at the deep end and I would have done a bit more research into my pricing structure from the outset rather than having to adjust it along the way! It would have been a great help to me to have been a member of some photography groups before I set up as any questions that I have had could have been easily answered through them rather than trying to work things out for myself. That would be very important to me if I was starting up again…I would say it would be one of the most important things to begin with by asking other photographers questions about how they operate their business and learning from them rather than having to learn from making mistakes!


Question 3: Who is the most influential photographer to you, and why? (Or, Which photographer do you admire the most, and why?)

Now this is a hard one to answer, I admire so many photographers out there and find it hard to choose just one….so I’m going to list a few that I love instead and these photographers really inspire me!

First up and not in any particular order is Cris Stephens, her work is beautifully artful and her images are so dramatic, she adores black and white (which I’m a bit of a sucker for too!) and every image she captures tells such a story.

The second is Carrie Ann Grippo-Pike from Captured by Carrie photography. Her images are just stunning, both portrait and wildlife. I particularly love the simplicity of her nature and wildlife shots, she is wonderfully creative!

Then there is the AMAZING Adriana Varela from I absolutely adore her work. She has all sons like me and the way she captures them is truly magical. There is so much soul in each photo! Having two boys, I know how how hard it can be sometimes to get a good photo of them together…they just don’t stop running around for a minute….I guess this is why she has developed such an authentic, candid style, which is just beautiful!


Question 4: If you able to give just one piece of advice to someone just starting out in their photographic career, what would it be?

One of the biggest struggles I have had is the amount of time I spend on my work and finding the right work/life balance. I have two small children so photography is only part time for me at the moment. I think it’s really important to determine from the outset how much time you plan to spend per customer, on each photo session. This, in turn will help you determine your pricing structure based on the amount of time you put in! Also I highly recommend setting up a spreadsheet from the beginning for your accounting, that has saved me so much time. Oh and one more thing (this is a bit more than one piece of advice..I know!)….get out there and photograph for fun too….it’s important to continue enjoying your passion as a hobby as well as a job!

Question 5: Paint a picture: What is the one thing / place / person you would love to photograph and why? It can be a person or a moment from history. As part of this answer also tell us about what gear you’d use, what lighting, what looks, wardrobes, poses and expressions you’d make use.

I love photographing people, particularly children as they are so unaffected by the camera (usually!), that you can really capture their true essence. I specialise in children and family photography and more recently I’ve been doing more maternity sessions. I’ve enjoyed these shoots a lot, as it gives me the opportunity and time to be a bit more creative. It’s hard to think of a particular place or subject that I would like to photograph but I would love to venture in to fashion photography and to do more styled shoots. I’ve only photographed two weddings in the past and I had so much fun so I’d love to capture more weddings as it’s such a happy event to photograph! Oh and one more thing….I talked about steel wool photography recently with some photographer friends and we’re really keen to give that a go…something completely different but fun and with a fabulous effect….just hope we don’t set ourselves on fire!!! So for this I have researched what we would need, here goes: steel wool, a whisk, steel cable or chain, tripod for camera for a very long exposure, lighter or matches and then protective clothing for skin, hair and eyes…sounds a bit risky but I would love to try it and the best time of night to do it is around 30 minutes after sunset!


Well, thanks so much for taking part in the Q&A Hayley. For more information about Hayley and her work you can find her at all of the following places:


Have a question for Hayley? Simply post in the comments section below, or join the fun over in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook Community

Would you like to take part in photography Q&A? Send us an email with your answers to the 5 questions and it could appear on this blog too! More details can be found on the Q&A Page


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