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Interview with Lisa Holloway – The Winner of NEWBORNS 2016 Photo Competition – Professional Photographer Category

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Q: Hey Lisa! We are enormously happy to have you here! You won before and you did it again! How does it feel to be The Winner of NEWBORNS PHOTO COMPETITION for 2 years in a row?

A:  Thank you so, so much!  I will say that I am completely shocked at winning again this year, and very honored and humbled as well.  Thank you for this great honor!

Q: Can you tell us more about your winning photograph “Damien & Sylvie the Great”?

A:  I did Sylvie’s newborn photos myself, and one of my goals was to photograph her with each of her 10 older siblings.  This particular portrait of Sylvie and Damien is very special to me.  Sylvie was born with a critical congenital heart defect called total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) and had to have corrective open heart surgery when she was 3 months old.  2016 was the scariest year of my life, but also one of the most rewarding.  For the past 4 years, Damien has been telling us that he wants to be a pediatric heart surgeon when he grows up.  It was such a crazy coincidence that he would gain a baby sister who needed the services of such a doctor.  You can clearly see the love he has for his little sister in this photo, and she has wisdom beyond her days in her eyes.  I believe her to be an old soul.  I have it framed on my wall now as it is so special to me.


Q: Last year was big for you in so many ways and we can only guess, but the biggest miracle that happened last year is little Sylvie? How is Sylvie? How did your life change since her arrival?

A:  Sylvie is doing well – thank you for asking about her!  She is still tiny, but mighty.  She is such a strong girl!  She is meeting all of her developmental milestones on time, so we really just need to work with her on gaining weight.  That said, none of my kids are big, and my girls in particular are especially petite, so I think some of that is just genetics.  She is such a blessing to all of us.  She has really made us appreciate LIFE and taught us to not take the day to day for granted.  Her strength is inspiring to many.

Newborn photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: Can you give us any hint how does it feel to be a professional photographer, a mother of so many children, educator, a wife? How do you manage all this?

A:  I definitely have a lot on my plate – there is no denying that.  Trying to find that elusive balance between family life and work is an ongoing struggle.  I get a lot of help from my husband and my kids.  I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.

Kids of Lisa Holloway

Q: What is your life story? Where are you born and raised? Why photography?

A:  I grew up in Olympia, Washington with my mother, father and younger sister.  We had a pretty typical 1980’s childhood – we played outside until the street lights came on, rode our bikes with the neighborhood kids, swam all day at the pool in the summer, read books, played with our toys, and used our imaginations.  In some ways I feel like it was a better childhood than kids these days have, unspoiled by electronic gadgets.  In fact, it was this childhood that cultured my love for art.  I would spend hours painting and drawing and was pretty good at it!  Photography is a natural extension of that love of art for me, and a way to stay imaginative and inspired as an adult.  I initially picked up a camera because I longed to document my children and their daily lives.  It has grown bigger than that now, but photographing my own children is still at the heart of my love for photography.  It’s been a much needed creative outlet for me.

1st Place at the NEWBORNS 2015 Photo Competition

1st Place at the NEWBORNS 2015 Photo Competition

Q: What’s in your camera bag and what lenses you love the most?

A:  Oh boy, that is a loaded question!  I am a bit of a lens hoarder.  Rather than listing them all here, you can check out all of my gear on my WEBSITE.  I set up a page specifically for this as it does get asked often.  I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark IV, and my favorite lenses are my 200L, 85L, and Sigma 50mm Art Lens.  Which lens I ultimately select totally depends on what I am trying to achieve for a particular portrait or session.

Newborn and baby photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: Do you have any personal favorites from the NEWBORNS 2016 PHOTO COMPETITION? If you hadn’t won, who would have won?

A:  I LOVE ‘Smile’ by Marta Obiegla.  What a precious, heartwarming portrait!  I also adore ‘In His Hands’ by David & Lissette.  I am really draw to newborn images that show a relationship to a parent or sibling.  There were so many gorgeous entries!

Q: Since you teach photography, what is the thing you always say to your young students?

A:  I have two bits of advice that I offer to everyone.  The first is to ALWAYS stay true to yourself.  You cannot please everyone, and that is okay.  Shoot what you love, and without apology.  Secondly, never stop practicing and learning!  Always strive to keep growing in your art.  If you feel like you are stagnating or uninspired, set up a creative shoot and have fun with it!  Try something new, go for a drive and look for new locations, or collaborate with a photography buddy and feed off of each other’s creativity.

Artistic newborn photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: How do you know that you took the perfect shot. Is that the inner feeling or something else?

A:  I usually just know – it’s definitely an inner feeling.  Sometimes I see it on my LCD on the back of my camera and cannot wait to get home and edit!

Baby photography by Lisa Holloway

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A:  I find inspiration everywhere.  The colors and textures in nature throughout the different seasons, gorgeous light filtering through the trees, or pouring in through a window, going for a drive or a road trip.  Other photographers inspire me.  The artwork of old masters, movies, and paintings.  Inspiration is everywhere!

Lisa Holloway photography

Q: Who are your favorite photographers?

A:  There are so, so many!  To name a few, I love Elena Shumilova’s environmental portrait work with children and animals.  I love Sally Mann and Alain Laboile’s raw lifestyle portraits.  I love Peter Coskun’s gorgeous, colorful landscapes.  Jessica Drossin does beautiful, fine art portraits.  I love Magdalena Berny’s dramatic portraits of children.  I could go on and on, there are so many inspiring artists out there that it is impossible to list them all.

Baby portraits by Lisa Holloway

Q: Do you have any quote that leads you through life?

A: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Smiling baby captured by Lisa Holloway

Q: It seems like entire world knows who Lisa Holloway is! Can you tell us how did you get over 607,000 followers on Facebook??

A:  I started my Facebook page in 2010 I believe.  It’s taken a LOT of hard work to grow my following on that page.  I try to regularly post fresh and inspiring content, and strive to keep my work visible on multiple platforms – social media and otherwise.

Lisa Holloway won Newborns 2016 Photo Cometition

Lisa Holloway - The best photographer on Newborns 2016 Photo competition

Q: How does it feel to be a celebrity? Is it more a painful experience or do you enjoy it? Is there a balance when entire industry knows about you?

A:  I really don’t feel like a celebrity, and am also a HUGE introvert.  I have a tiny circle of friends and spend the majority of my time at home with my family.  It makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable to be honest.  I feel like my every move is watched and that is a little bit awkward and unnerving.

The best photographer at Newborns 2016 photo competition

Q: You are well known for amazing post production of your work! What’s your favorite tool in Photoshop? Curves or some other magic ingredient you care to share with us?

A:  I have a lot of tools in Photoshop that I love, but I’d say my favorite or most used tool is the Levels adjustment layer.  It is a very powerful way to alter the light, contrast, and even the color in your images.  I think every one of my edited images has at least one or two levels layers in the final mix – sometimes more.

Interview with Lisa Holloway

Q: Older, wiser, more experienced and definitely multiple times awarded-photographer. What would be your message to other photographers?

A:  Work hard, stay fresh and inspired, and always be true to yourself and your art.

Interview with famous child photographer Lisa Holloway


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