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Conversations with Heather barnes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Barnes.

Hi Heather, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Hello! I’m Heather Barnes and I run a commercial food and product photography business in Austin in my cozy home studio downtown. It all started when I moved away from home to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting and dancing. I studied theater at USC, and immediately after started auditioning for commercials. Somehow, every commercial I booked was for food. First it was IHOP, where I got to eat pancakes all day and talk about how much I loved how fluffy they were, then I booked a Pizza Hut commercial where I was the employee dancing in the kitchen making pizza after pizza. However, if you know the entertainment industry, then you know there is a lot of hurrying up and waiting or just…. waiting. While I waited on set for my take, I intently watched the food stylists at work perfecting the pizzas literally every five minutes. I found it mesmerizing and loved their attention to detail using tweezers and colorful garnishes. I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do. Long story short, my husband and I moved to Austin three years ago and barely knew anyone. I had dabbled in photography in LA, taking portraits of my friends and the occasional flower on my morning walks, but I didn’t know anyone in Austin to photograph. So, I immediately signed up for a food photography course online, and started an instagram account dedicated to food photography. This evolved into a blog, and after a year of practicing almost every day, I started a business doing freelance food and product photography for brands. Austin is such a friendly and welcoming community, that I have connected with so many talented people and have been working nonstop! I absolutely love the energy in this beautiful and very warm city!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest challenge I have faced is maintaining a sense of worth. Because I feel so new at food photography and styling, it’s easy to allow imposter syndrome to set in. When I receive inquiries raving about my work and asking for photos in my “style” – sometimes I question wait, what is my style? Do I even know the answer? I’m constantly evolving, as any artist, and I feel so far away from knowing what my signature look even is. I have always been a perfectionist, and I have learned over the past few years that done is better than perfect and to just keep going and keep practicing. The more I practice, the more confident I feel about my work. I have a long way to go, but having a strong support system, a tight knit community, and journaling and mediating in the morning has helped immensely!

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
My childhood was spent running through the forest, collecting plants and flowers and climbing trees. I grew up in an idyllic town in New England without a phone. Keyword- without. My sister and I had a vast imagination and loved running barefoot all summer long. I fell in love with nature and it has continued to inspire my work since. Any time I am feeling lost or disconnected, I put down all electronics and go hike somewhere beautiful. It brings me back to my childhood and re-centers me instantly. Nature truly is my tonic!

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