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Jill’s interest in photography began in high school and continued into college. Taking elective photography classes soon led to picking up photography as a hobby, which has since turned into her career. This is her story:
After college, I travelled around the world for seven months before returning home to San Francisco to find a ‘real job.’ I took photos with a point-and-shoot camera to chronicle my time abroad. The positive feedback that I received from my photographs when I returned home encouraged me to submit my work to a variety of photography exhibitions, invest in a better camera, and figure out a way to continue traveling while improving my portfolio. Eventually, I decided to enroll in the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to pursue a master’s in Fine Arts degree in photography. For my Master’s thesis project, I chose to spend nine months documenting life in the Himalayas. I travelled throughout Nepal, India, Kashmir, Bhutan and Tibet, working with a variety of non-profit agencies. In 2009, I won a National Geographic YourShot photography contest, and I had my first photograph published in National Geographic Magazine. This was the opening that I needed to move my photography career to the next level. Since 2011, my photography has been represented by National Geographic Creative. In 2012, I received my first assignment from National Geographic Books and was sent to Sydney, Australia for five weeks to photograph the National Geographic Traveler: Sydney Guidebook. Following that, I became an intern and then freelance photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Since 2011, I have been spending my summers teaching photography to high school students in countries all over the world for National Geographic Student Expeditions.
At home in San Francisco, I photograph events, editorial, lifestyle, architectural and food-related shoots. I also provide private/group and corporate photography workshops, mentoring and portfolio reviews.
My style is my own personal vision of stories I am drawn to, that are unique to me. I photograph issues and iconic places which I find compelling. My goal is to create a visual of places in the world many people may not have seen while exposing them to the beauty and reality of cultures they may not have experienced.
Check out more of Jill’s recent work on her liveBooks8 site at: www.jillhsphotography.com.
Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your website in three words?
JS: Bright, colorful, exotic
Q: How often do you typically update your website?
JS: I typically update my website every few months, after any trip that I take, or whenever I have new work to show.
Q: How do you choose the photos that you display on your homepage?
JS: For my homepage, I typically pick photos that I am particularly drawn to. No specific formula. I choose photos that are vibrant, colorful, thought provoking or unique moments.
Q: What is your favorite new feature of liveBooks8?
JS: I love the new liveBooks8 platform! It is very user friendly. I particularly like all of the new design features. It has a very clean and modern feel. There are more options for easier search optimization, as well. Now, I am anxiously awaiting the capability to sell my images from my website.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d offer to someone designing their website?
JS: Take your time and have patience. It took me a couple of weeks to design my website. If you have questions, call the liveBooks customer service, as they are very helpful. Show your best work…quality over quantity. A editor once told me: “you are only as good as your worst photograph on your website,” and while this may sound harsh, it always stuck with me. Try to leave people wanting to see more of your work, rather than getting bored and moving on from your site.
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