Tell me about your work. What kinds of photography do you do?
I am a professional fine-art maternity, newborn, wedding and portrait photographer based in Jacksonville. I have a luxury photography studio in the heart of San Marco near downtown.
Are there some subjects you especially enjoy photographing?
I enjoy the fine-art couture maternity sessions in the studio. There’s just something about capturing the glow and beauty of motherhood. I have a couture closet full of huge dresses and clothing for my clients. We dance and play dress up for a few hours. It’s so much fun! I’m just there to hype you up so much that you leave my studio conceited. Ha! But for real. I get told all the time by potential clients that they are “not models” like what I post or what’s on my website. My answer is, “That’s exactly what the client in the picture said before her session. Now, let’s make some magic.”
What do you think is the most important thing for people to consider when hiring a photographer?
That’s a great question! Because most people only look at the photographer’s style and that’s a great start. But no matter if you’re hiring a wedding or a portrait photographer, you need to make sure you are comfortable with them! It allows you to show real emotion and it changes the dynamic from a stranger taking your picture to a best friend documenting your moment.
Your work has a strong artistic element to it. This seems to elevate your portrait photography to an art form. Can you tell me a bit about your approach?
That is the nicest thing you could say! Thank you so much. I am always out to separate myself and elevate my work. That comes during the session and afterward while editing. Sometimes I spend hours editing one picture. I want to make sure it’s perfect. My goal during every session is for clients to have a work of art that they can not only appreciate online but print and hang on their walls to see every day! Seriously, how often do you look at digital images if you aren’t on social media? So, print your images, people! When you go to your grandparent’s home, most have older prints on their walls for everyone to appreciate. That’s what I want people to have now. You can walk by it daily and think, “Dang, I am gorgeous!” Who can have a bad day after that?
What is your background? When did you first realize that you wanted to pursue this line of work?
I’ve always been the one with a camera. Whether it was with my family or friends, I’ve always tried to capture life moments when they happen! It was about 13 years ago that I realized I wanted better equipment and wanted to learn the true art of editing pictures to bring the best out of every shot. I can remember the moment I realized what professional pictures can mean to people.
There was a young lady I loved named Catie; she was 15 years old and was battling cancer. Well, Catie and I had an impromptu photo shoot one day in my backyard. A few months later, Catie lost her battle with cancer. Those pictures meant so much to me and her family. I knew I had to keep furthering my career in photography and continue to give back to families facing such difficult situations.
After working in medical device sales for 13 years, I went full-time into photography in 2016. Since then, I have been named the Best Photographer in Jax for the past four years. I have a luxury studio in San Marco, and I’m so honored to continue capturing the essence of people and documenting their lives in the most loving, joyful, authentic and creative way.
If people are interested in learning more about your work or in contacting you about having some photographs taken, how would they do so?
They can check out my website: sarahhedden.com or find me under Sarah Hedden Photography on Instagram and Facebook.
Are you from this area or did you move here from somewhere else? What do you like best about living on The First Coast?
I moved here in 2002. I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years! I grew up north of Tampa in Brooksville. I went to college at the University of Florida. Jacksonville has been very good to me. My life is very diverse and I’m so thankful that I’m able to bring that representation into my business and represent Jacksonville in that way.
What do I think is the best thing about living on the First Coast? I live downtown on the river, so even though the beach is amazing, there’s something about the Main Street bridge skyline on the St. Johns that everyone who ever visits Jacksonville remembers most.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Free time? What’s that? Ha! I enjoy learning new things, especially regarding my photography. I also love to travel and visit other countries and cultures. I have many pins on my travel map, and I can’t wait to get back out there after being home for the past few years.
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