We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Hein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I believe that strong communication is the key to success. I put emphasis on communication with my clients before, during, and after their photoshoot. I strive to make sure that everyone is happy along every step of the photographic process. This has helped me develop great relationships with clients where I am proud of the work that I do and the connections that I sustain.
Photography is not an exact science (in fact, it’s the opposite–an abstract art). I recognize that everyone has different expectations and my goal with every client is to meet and exceed those expectations. I ask my clients important questions such as, “What are you looking to get out of this shoot?” and during my shoots, I often ask “What do you like and not like so far?” This keeps the line of communication open between myself and my clients.
In a more personal sense, I keep communication open between myself and my past photography camp students as well. Every student who has taken my photography summer camp (dividevisuals.com/summer-camp) has my contact information, and I get questions weekly even from students that I had more than a year ago. As a photographer, I love teaching my passion to younger students and it is incredible what younger generations are capable of! I hope that my students continue to contact me far into the future–as a mentor and a friend.
I often say that being a photographer is less than 25% knowing how to work a camera. The rest is a combination of communication, social skills, artistic practice, and attention to detail. Communication is my number one priority when working with clients, and will greatly help me as I continue my photography practice far into the future.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Photography has gotten me out of the house and into the world more than anything else. Although I’ve only really taken one photography class, I have learned so much by practicing photography with friends, family, and often just by myself.
I’ve loved cameras since I was very young, and pretty much every video that my parents have of me as toddler ends in me screaming “I want to see! I want to see!” I was more fascinated by the camera than anything I was doing as a kid. I guess the same thing might be true today.
In fifth grade, I saved up enough money to purchase my first DSLR camera. I used it on vacations and around Boulder until I knew what pretty much every button did. I started my company, Divide Visuals, in 2018 at the end of my freshman year of high school. I began working for free to build my portfolio, and there was a lot to learn. I learned (the hard way) how to get everyone in-focus in a family photograph, how to pose portrait subjects, how to use Lightroom, Photoshop, and so much more. I was honest with my clients, and they took a chance in trusting a new, young professional photographer to do work for them.
I have so much fun behind a camera. I love talking with people, making them laugh, and meeting all sorts of different personalities. I know that it’s my job to make everyone feel comfortable in my shoots, and I’ve learned so many ways to do so.
Photography is a social activity for me, too. Some of my best friends are those I met through photography club, a common interest, and journalistic photography. In short, photography is so much more than just pressing a button on a camera. I’ve worked hard to learn what I know now, and I will continue to learn as long as I am a photographer in this ever-changing world.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In Boulder, eat at Bartaco, Black Cat, Spruce Confections coffee shop, and Sweet Cow for dessert. Drive up Flagstaff Mountain at night for great views, and eat at the Flagstaff House for a much fancier meal. In the summer, hang out by Boulder Creek or Boulder Reservoir. Go for a hike up Sanitas early in the morning. Drive up to Nederland and walk around the cute downtown area.
In Denver, eat at Linger, Odyssey Italian, Farmhouse Thai, and Mercantile. D Bar has great desserts (especially crème brulée). Walk around the Union Station area, explore the Botanic Gardens, and don’t miss the 16th Street Mall. Bring a camera — there are so many interesting scenes!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents deserve a shoutout for always being supportive of my latest photography project, idea, or adventure. Before I could drive, my dad drove me to the top of a dark mountain pass around midnight just so that I could grab a few photos of the Milky Way. My mom taught me a lot of what I know about emailing clients and setting up photography displays. I am forever grateful to my parents for their love and support of my photography career.