Breaking the Rules with Sarah-Beth Photography

Breaking the Rules with Sarah-Beth Photography

"Learn the rules like a pro so that you can break them like an artist" that's what they say, right? There's nothing more freeing than knowing that you have the option to stray from the herd and do your own thing as an artist and business owner. What other job gives you that option? This "Rule breaking" way can make HUGE waves in your industry - in ANY industry!

I like to think of myself and StrawRev as a "break the rules" or "keep it weird" type business. I have ALWAYS chosen the path less traveled and I have never gone with the grain in any aspect of the business world. I am 100% self taught and my yearning to constantly go against the "rules" keeps us unique I guess. This is why there could not be a better brand to launch a tee collection with than Sarah Hill from Sarah-Beth Photography.

Sarah Hill is internationally known for her unposed family sessions and IMPECCABLE use of the the golden hour. In addition to that, in most recent years she has become a fashion influencer on Instagram. I'm not sure Sarah was one to even follow the rules the first place, but she has taken our industry by storm with her intentionally imperfect brand. She is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Even though we are in different industries, we have very similar business motives. She's got that Lady boss hustle guys! And well, she's my girl crush so - there's that too.

Sarah Beth photography photographer shirt

 I'd like to introduce to you - The Sarah-Beth Photography Collection!

"#RULEBREAKER" <--- Click to buy



These super soft shirts will be your new favorite go to for your spring/summer wardrobe! Grab one or grab 3. They are all so great!

OKAY OKAY, now onto our exclusive interview with the one and only Sarah Hill:

Sarah, please tell us a little bit about your brand and your story...

Ahhh where do I start?? I’m a nurse turned photographer. I hear there are a lot of us out there! I never thought this would be my path, but I’m abundantly grateful for it. I live in a small town outside of Indianapolis with my husband, our three kids and two crazy dogs, and I never ever want to leave here. Indy isn’t necessarily a destination location for many, but it’s home. Pretty early on in my journey, I honed in on family photography. I shot a little bit of everything, but ultimately my heart is with families—all families, and capturing every beautifully crazy dynamic there is. I also love community. I travel and teach other photographers all about my love for family photography and how to draw out that natural, emotional connection.

My brand. My brand is me. I am my brand. It’s liberating and powerful to be transparent on social media, and I’m very “what you see is what you get.” I want others to truly see me, see my work, read about my personal life and struggles and remind them that we’re all in this together, and you can absolutely sit with me. My personal life and my photography are so closely intertwined, and that’s a very intentional move on my part. I want anyone who books me for a session or workshop to feel as if they already know me, and every time I hear “I feel like I already know you!” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’m so grateful I’m able to connect with them on a personal level. I’m messy, imperfect, and embrace the chaos. Those personality and character traits translate to my work, and it’s a very seamless and easy brand to maintain.

In my opinion SB Photography is known for being full of emotion, beautifully styled, and intentionally unposed. In your words, what are three things you'd like your brand to portray?

Connection, emotion, love. Is it ridiculous that I started tearing up while writing that? THERE’S SOMETHING IN MY EYE.

Sarah Hill photography shirt Intentionally imperfect
What does "Intentionally imperfect" mean to you?
Oh, girl. In a world of social media perfection, I go against that mess. We all know balance is as rare as a unicorn, no one “wakes up like dis,” and life is full of heartaches, pain, marital complications, childrearing and raising woes, and just flat out sucky days. I won’t hide from that. I can’t portray my life as perfect, because that’s a lie. Some days are really hard. As I said before, I’m messy. I’m also fully aware of my character flaws, my shortcomings as a wife, mother, and friend, and I’m chaotic. To truly feel as if my personality can unapologetically come out in my work, I embrace and love my truly disastrous self.

During a family session, anything goes. A photo that makes me feel something is perfect, even in its technical imperfection. It may not be in focus. The lighting may be a little off. Hair may be out of place. Clothes get muddy. Snot boils over. Tempers flare. You know how it goes. I’ve used my shirt to wipe boogers, pinch off a nose bleed, and wipe duck poop off a child’s feet. I’ve also taken my own shirt off my back for a client. The shoes off my feet. The unpredictable-ness (I know, probably not a word) of family sessions is what makes them great. It’s what makes them real. It’s what makes them dynamic. Life isn’t perfect, why should photography be? And if we spend too much time trying to make a session perfect, we will never be happy with the art we create. After all, perfection is a myth.

Tell us 2 ways that have you broken the "rules" in our photography industry.

Oh man. Here we goooo! I shoot JPEG, not RAW. Depending on who you ask, I’m either a genius or an idiot--but it works for me. *shrugs shoulders*

And the second one? Hmmm. Probably the amount of photos I provide in a gallery that are either out of focus or don’t follow any rules of composition. When I’m culling and editing a session, if an image makes me feel something, it’s edited and included. No other requirements needed.

We know that Dry shampoo and coffee are your BAE, but what other Sarah Hill "must haves" should we know about?

My phone charger! I run my battery down multiple times a day. I have chargers all over my house.

Netflix while I edit, that’s a huge one. I usually watch reruns of Friday Night Lights (Team Riggins), New Girl (Team Schmidt) and Friends.

Shorts. I know that sounds so weird, but I have about 30 pairs of comfy pajama shorts and probably just as many denim shorts. I can’t go running around this house in just a t-shirt, my kids are way too modest for that. Ha! So, I have to have pants on, and I’m oddly more productive in shorts over pants.

Botox. Does that count?

Sarah Hill Dry Shampoo Coffee Hustle t-shirt - Strawberry Revolution

In every Lady Boss's journey there is typically a certain point or event in your career when you realize it is time to start saying "no" to things that don't make your soul happy? Did you experience this along your journey? If so, tell us about that time and what you started doing differently.

Lucky for me, I realized very early on that I was good at saying no. If it didn’t make me happy, I didn’t do it. If it stopped making me happy, I quit doing it. Just like that. In all the years I spent as a nurse manager, I learned very well to always go with my gut, don’t hesitate, and problem solve as quickly as possible. Those things truly carried me through my early years in this business.

A specific turning point I can think of is back in 2013. My oldest son went through a period of anxiety and turmoil around that time, and that’s what catapulted me into streamlining my work schedule and also cutting back in nursing. It was a really dark and difficult time for both of us, but we are more connected now than ever. Putting him first, saying the “Right No” and “Right Yes” changed everything for me, personally and professionally. Saying no to a session or a workshop or a travel date means I’m saying yes to my kids. That’s how I gage every decision I make. My kids are 12, nearly 10 and nearly 8 years old. They need me more now than they ever did as babies—emotionally and physically. If you’re reading this and you’re not a parent, think about yourself for a minute. Self-care is one of the most important things in the world. Take care of you. Say no to sessions that you don’t need, sessions you don’t love, clients that drain you, a price haggler, or a genre that you don’t love. Saying no to the things that don’t bring you joy means you’re saying yes to some very important self-care.

We {major puffy heart} LOVE seeing you grow into this new role as a fashion and beauty influencer on ig! What would you say are 3 trends that are must haves for this upcoming summer?

Ahhh isn’t that crazy? It’s another thing to stay up with, but I love it! I love clothes, but I’m a simpleton in everything I wear. I rarely dress up, so my favorite thing to do is find a way to make my favorite basics fashion forward.

I don’t pride myself on being a “trendy” dresser, but a few trends I’ve seen and love are:

1. Mules. Backless loafers. Slides. Y’all. For real. I never thought mules would be my love language, but I’m obsessed. They’re so comfy, cute, perfect to slip on when running out the door, and they go with both shorts and denim. I have loved seeing this look come back around!

2. Flashdance shoulder. Lemme let you in on a little secret. I’m not a tiny girl. I have a big ol’ round belly, chubby arms, and back fat for dayyys (and don’t sit there rolling your eyes at me---I’ve seen me naked, you haven’t. At least, I don’t think you have…). Because of this, I’ve been really good at disguising those body parts by showing off other parts of my body I do like. My collar bone or my legs, for example. So, I’ve been fully committed to the “off-the-shoulder” wagon for the last five years. It wasn’t always as popular as it is now, and my youngest son used to get so mad and say “Why do your clothes keep falling off, Mom?” But being able to show a little shoulder without showing my whole chubby upper arm was a win-win for me, and it makes me feel pretty. It’s feminine but hides muh troubles. After telling you all this, I’m pleased to share that this look is all over the place now! Woot! It’s so much easier to find off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, t-shirts and dresses than it was five years ago. I used to rip and shred all to hell my shirts. Not anymore!

3. Graphic tees. I.can.not.get.enough.of.them. The obsession is real. As I said before, what you see is what you get. I’m transparent. I love sharing my life with you. I wore my “No Filter” t-shirt to speak at the Reset Conference this past March and didn’t get booed off stage. I’m all about this life. Graphic tees are everywhere now, and this is why it’s the most perfect time for this SBP/STRAWREV collaboration that I am so damn excited about! Not only do I love Michelle a creepy amount, she inspires me every day with her drive, her work ethic, and her genuine love of what she does. Being able to combine my love for photography and hers together, it’s a complete match made in heaven. And hey---you can wear them off the shoulder, too. With mules. 😉

Wow! Love it so much! Let's end with some questions your fans are dying to have answered!

Have you had moments of feeling like you could give up? If so, how did you overcome that? Honestly, nope! I have days I’m tired or overwhelmed, but never days I want to quit. We all have moments of wanting to take a break from life in general, but I don’t direct that frustration at my business. I love the job, I’m good at setting limits, I love my clients.

What is the best piece of advice you've received? Hmmm, this is TOUGH. I don’t ask for advice often, that could be a downfall of mine. Let’s go with MY best piece of advice – if you want to flourish in this business, only shoot what you love and be the best boss to yourself you can.

How do you get dads/families to relax and act so natural? I tell them to not look at me. Their connection isn’t with me, it’s with their family. I give verbal props and cues. “Look at your wife. Act like you’re sniffing her neck. Whisper a secret in her ear. Grab hands and dance slowly. Put your forehead on her temple, etc. etc. If he still won’t stop looking at me, I’ll be more direct by saying “Don’t look at me at all. Look at anyone in your family, anyone but me. I’ll let you know when I need a shot of everyone smiling my way.” Remember that if you want a genuine connection and look of love out of him, his attention has to be on someone that he loves. Simple as that.

Best tip for getting your name/brand out? Keep plugging away on social media! Facebook, Instagram (hashtag everything!), Twitter. Facebook live, Instagram stories and live. Put yourself out there, remind potential clients that you’re booking, you love to shoot, and that you love to stay busy.

And of course the #1 question - Where do you buy your sweaters? Haha! Love me a good sweater moment. I love Free People and American Eagle. For the best oversized hoodies? Urban Outfitters. 

Holy moly what great depth you've given us! Thank you so much Sarah! Guys, this girl is the real deal! Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this collection and exclusive interview!

If you'd like to grab a tee from Sarah's collection click here and add those babies to your cart!