ARTIST OF THE MONTH – MOLLY GILHOLM
It’s the last week of July and we are proud to present you the amazing work of our latest Artist of the Month – Molly Gilholm. Beside the awesome weddings she is usually shooting, she is an absolutely mastermind in creating stunning and unique portraits. We are happy to show you her latest images and to welcome her in a few weeks back at this year’s CHOO CHOO Camp in Seattle.
How old are you and where are you from?
I am 24 years old, and was born in Santa Cruz, California. I haven’t left- I think it’s the best place on earth!
Tell us a little bit about your life in the moment?
I am currently shooting about 30 weddings per year, while also trying to focus on and build my beauty/portrait/fashion portfolio. I recently opened a community photo studio/creative space, Opal Creative, where we have been hosting craft classes, and renting it out to other photographers. It’s been quite the ride so far, but having my own space to shoot studio work in has been incredible for my growth.
How did you end up being a photographer?
It sounds tacky, but as long as I can remember I have loved taking photos. My first paid portrait session and elopement were both in High School, and I haven’t really considered doing anything else yet!
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I hope to be self employed in one way or another- while photography is a passion of mine, I don’t think it’s necessarily the thing I will be doing forever. I have lots of interests in the design and crafting worlds, and could very easily imagine delving a bit more into that. I think I would always want to incorporate photography into my life somehow though!
What gear are you currently using?
I use Nikon D750s. I love them so much, and will only upgrade when something insanely better pops up. For weddings, I use my 58mm 1.4 lens almost exclusively, and also use my Sigma 35mm 1.4 and Nikon 85mm 1.8 quite a bit on the wedding day as well.
For my studio/beauty work I tend to use my Sigma 105mm Macro lens. I use AlienBees for my studio strobes- they are a great value and super reliable! I love Cactus brand triggers. They are SUPER cheap, but well made, and the packaging is cute (always a plus!)
What advice could you give out to a new starting photographer?
I would advise trying to play around with as many different lenses as possible. Like many people, I got hung up on one focal length (35mm 1.4 of course) for a LONG time. It took lots of practice, review, and time to realize that this is not a flattering portrait lens, no matter what anyone says in facebook groups, it’s just not. It has a place, of course, but my passion is photographing beautiful portraits- both on wedding days, and of models.
So now I switch around lenses like it’s nobodies business. In the same vein, don’t be afraid to try out different apertures/shutter speeds! I also thought wide open must be best (don’t we all want bokeh!?) but then I realized not only was I shorting my clients of crisp photos, I was missing out on being able to shoot in so many different lighting conditions! Bring on the harsh sun! In my studio work I am usually at f/8ish!
Did the LLF community changed the way you see or shoot couples/portraits/weddings etc.?
The LLF community is both inspiring in a positive way, and sometimes in a bad way- because people are SO dang good. It’s really made me realize that moments and emotion are more important than having super stoic, hipster, couples- because if you look through the #LLF1000CLUB- Guess what, the majority of photos are well received because they make you FEEL. I have tried to bring this to both weddings and portrait work!
What plans do you have for this year?
I am hoping to continue building my beauty portfolio. It’s something I have found I REALLY love- the lighting, the retouching, everything. It took me awhile to get to the point of committing to going that direction, because to be totally honest, it’s not the kind of work you see in your average social media feed. It’s kind of a whole new world, new social media circles, which is kind of scary/exciting.
I love it because it’s such a collaboration with your team, from the stylists, to the HMUA, to the model, to the retoucher. It’s also another avenue other than weddings I could see myself actually making money at, (a rarity in the art world) and it combines my two favorite things: being able to be a control freak (which I lose on wedding days) and photographing women’s faces. Win/win!