For the last 10 years, Idaho-based outdoor lifestyle photographer Hillary Maybery had been shooting weddings (very beautifully and successfully, might I add). However, she recently made the decision to push her work to the next level and came to WM for the development of her commercial site.
Just months later, she has taken her wedding site down and is completely focused on her commercial lifestyle, fashion and kids work. Here at WM, we’ve been thrilled to see her kick it up a notch, and a large part of this is due to her focus and exploration through personal work:
Personal work is my favorite! I wish I could just create the shoots I want, but I need to pay bills and take other types of jobs. It’s so important to create test shoots. It pushes me creatively, shows what I love, and provides new images for my portfolio. I recently quit weddings after 10 years, scary! I took down my wedding site and had WM build a commercial website, which I love! Personal work has shown me what I want to photograph for the next decade as well as reach potential clients.
One of her recent personal projects has been exceptionally popular on social media, for good reason: it focuses on a 15-year-old girl who elk hunts. Living in Idaho where hunting is so common, Hillary knew a shoot like this would be sure to gain attention.
Hillary came across Harlee (pictured above) when she was browsing Facebook for a teen model. She then saw a photo of Harlee standing over her first 6×6 point elk with her dad, Bryan. She had made a clean, 350-yard shot, hit the elk right behind the shoulder and it dropped. Hillary contacted Harlee, got the okay from her and her dad, and set out before sunrise for the shoot.
Not only was this shoot good for Hillary’s personal exploration; she also learned a little something about the culture of hunting:
I am totally a so California girl, I thought hunters were barbaric, blood thirsty, gun lovers. What Ive learned moving to Idaho is hunting has nothing to do with violence or aggression. It’s a little like farming or gardening. People protect and care for their chickens and their vegetable plants, only to end up using them for food. Also, hunters support conservation of wild places and laws that protect wildlife populations What I learned with Harlee’s family is that they want to know where their food comes from, have clean lean meat, they eat the whole animal, and share the meat with friends and family. I still would never be a hunter, but my perspective has shifted and learned hunters are more knowledgeable and thoughtful about animals and nature. It was a great morning!