Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Henry Hakulandaba of Henry Oliver Photography through a friend of mine. I had been following his work on Facebook ever since I took up photography two years ago. I was impressed with his style and so was pleasantly surprised and excited when i got to meet him in person. He is a very humble guy and very down to earth. He is very willing to give hints and tips for and up coming photographers like myself. It so happened that he was one of the first people on my list when I decided to start this online photography magazine and he gladly obliged to give me an interview and if you are like me, seeking knowledge from people in the industry who are better than you it’s an opportunity not to miss. Here goes…
Q1.When did you get into photography and what inspired you to take it up?
A: As far as I can remember it was back in 1992 my father took a picture of me holding a camera, and my Uncle Innocent Hakulandaba sparked the passion in 2007 and haven’t stopped since then, my inspiration being the need to document everything that happens
Q2. What kind of gear do you use?
- Camera body – Canon 7D and a Panasonic Lumix GH4
- Lens – 50mm, 24-105, 24-70
- Tripod –SOTA
- Filters – anything from Sunglasses big enough to cover lens
- Flash – Canon 430 mark 2 and Neewer
- Camera bag – Lowepro 250
Q3. Which is your favorite lens? Why?
A: I bet the 45mm Olympus on my GH4 Lumix is the best lens ever, very fast and supported by the body it works wonders
Q4. When you go in one of your travels, what will you take with you? Why?
A: I don’t leave behind the GH4 lumix, it’s a very light mirrorless camera that has great image quality and can shoot 4k and I don’t get lots of attention from people, feels like a good toy but with amazing capabilities
Q5. Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
A: I guess it’s the cheap tripods and 2nd hand ones because my cameras have fallen several times and it dampens the creative process during a shoot
Q6. In the field, what are your settings?
- Aperture – vary with time of day, from F5.6 to F 11
- Shutter Speed – 200 has always been safe
- ISO – 320 iso
- White Balance – Auto will sort it out in post proscess
- Focus – Manual/Auto – Both depends with situation, if I am shooting wildlife or Children its Shutter priority, Aperture priority
- Image Format – RAW/JPEG – RAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
Q7. What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your work flow.
A: I use Photoshop CC and Lightroom CC , my workflow Is generally simple, I have an inbox folder then import to lightroom for colour correction and basic editing , then if they Is need for a heavy retouch I export into Photoshop and then in my final output in the Retouched folder which is then backup on cloud and external harddrive
Q8. How would you define your style of photography or rather whats your favourite type of photography and why?
A: My favourite styles are dramatic & documentary but in real time, if its landscape I have to wait for the right moment to shoot, even a year of waiting so the sun sets at a particular spot on a hill or sky scraper. If its weddings and events I am the invisible type but watching out for the artistic shot
Q9. How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
A: I like making mistakes so I learn from the million mistakes to celebrate one good one, but mostly I am always looking for tuts online and other photographers asking a million questions and getting to know the craft
Q10. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
A: I don’t have a favourite hey, unless if you say one that has given me more financial leverage, I would say the Harare Westside. It has been bought more than 200 times. But there is one I always ask myself and always look at is when I took a picture of my wife walking down the isle I have never taken an image with so much emotion and so much joy, so I guess its one I can say I can hold dear to me.
Q11. Whose work has influenced you most?
A: in Zimbabwe it was that of Greg Robson, we covered a wedding together and he asked to see my images and said “you can be of great importance in our industry and you have a great eye, please up your wedding prices and you will never work for anyone” . then they is Eric Almas & Scott Kelby,
Q11.What was your career path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it full time, for a living?
A: I have a BSc in Environmental Health and a diploma in water & Sanitation and worked for city of Harare and World Bank, then I managed to document the cholera era and backed the images with my reports and earned a good income with just the images. So that’s when I decided I will one day be a full time photographer
Q12.What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
A: its still a mystery to me but I guess it’s the love of exploration of ideas and the freedom to express myself
Q13. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
A: that you can start photography with what you have and express your thoughts with the simplest gadget
Q14. What advice would you give enthusiasts who would want to take up this profession full time?
A: photography is an addiction and be ready to get high on it, your clients need to see the passion and consistency in your work, it might take years to build those relationships but it will eventually pay off and also there is more to photography than the click, build as many relationships as possible with the supporting structure in the services industry and other full time photographers as they will link you with the everyday jobs and hence build your profile.