UVU Photography class

by justin on October 23, 2014

in Learn

I’m teaching another photography class this semester at UVU. Today we all went to a park and I set them off on an assignment. While they were working on it, I went around and made a portrait of each student.
















Provo on a foggy night

by justin on January 16, 2014

in Learn, Provo

Utah photographer Utah photographer Utah photographer

Kent Miles always says, “To make pictures that no one else can, you have to do what no one else will.” What he means by that, is when conditions aren’t ideal, it’s cold, or raining, or stormy, or you may have to climb a long way to get the shot, most people will give up and do something else.

I thought about that last week when I was just about to get in bed. I already had my pajamas and night-cap on. Just kidding about the night-cap. But the part about just about ready to get in bed is accurate. Amy came home and said it sure is foggy outside. I thought, well I’ll bet there’s some great pictures to be made out there. But then I thought, too bad I’m just about ready for bed. And then I thought, ya, but fog, and pictures and that thing Kent Miles always says. And then I thought about sleep and a cozy bed.

I’m glad I chose to go outside and make some photographs.


Announcing a photography workshop!

by justin on March 30, 2013

in Learn


Still using the automatic settings on your DSLR? Wondering how to control aperture and shutter speed for more beautiful photographs? It’s time to say yes to your creative dreams. If you’re an aspiring photographer with a DSLR camera that you wish you knew how to use better, this is the workshop for you.

Through intensive one day instruction, you’ll understand all the functions on your camera and feel comfortable using controls and settings beyond automatic. Take the next step in your photography and discover how to translate your own unique vision into beautiful photographs.

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013, 10am – 5pm
Price: $225

Space is limited. To reserve your spot, email me: justin@justinhackworth.com or click the button below.


Location: Justin Hackworth Photography, 1 East Center Street, Suite 207, Provo, UT

Photography workshop

This workshop is for beginners who’ll learn how to use their DSLR cameras in a fun, helpful, and hands-on atmosphere with an enthusiastic teacher to dispel all the mystery surrounding those knobs and dials. Through class instruction and hands-on photo shoots, photographers will begin to understand how to use their camera as a creative tool. We’ll cover aperture, shutter speed, ISO, lenses, white balance and other tools to help you create beautiful photographs.

Photography workshop

All the basics are packed into this workshop, with plenty of individual attention and hands-on time to practice and implement what you’re learning. This workshop will take place at my studio in downtown Provo, Utah, in the historic Knight Block building.

Justin Hackworth is a nationally recognized photographer based in Utah, working throughout the United States for a variety of wedding, portrait, corporate and editorial clients. He has been working as a photographer since 1999.

Justin is an engaging and inspiring teacher with a passion for helping others develop their unique photographic vision.

His photographs have been featured in Photo District News, Glamour, People, Professional Photographer, Photographer’s Forum, Ladies Home Journal, Parade, and American Photo. Selected pieces have been acquired by the Utah Arts Council and the Millennium Arts Center for their permanent collections.

Photography teacher Justin Hackworth

Quick review-

When: Saturday, April 20, 2013, 10am – 5pm
Price: $$225

Location: Justin Hackworth Photography, 1 East Center Street, suite 207, Provo, UT


Space is limited! Space is limited. To reserve your spot, email me: justin@justinhackworth.com or click the button below.




WPPI in Las Vegas

by justin on March 14, 2013

in Learn


I just got back from spending the week in Las Vegas. Every year in the early spring I head down there for a photography convention called WPPI. 15,000 wedding and portrait photographers gather for a trade show and classes on how to improve their craft and their business. It was worth being there, but like always, it’s nice to be back home.

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How to be a better photographer

by justin on February 15, 2013

in Learn, Photographers

When people ask me how they can become a better photographer, I always have a number of suggestions. And one of the ways I suggest is  to look at the work of other photographers. But not just any photographer–it’s important to look at those folks who are creating work at the highest level of this visual art, people who have shaped the medium of photography.

The best way to see their work is to look at the actual prints because that way you see the finished piece exactly as the artist intended. So, you go to their exhibitions. This isn’t always possible, of course, so the next best thing is to buy their books.

I try to take my own advice in that regard and recently picked up two new books–both beautiful, both inspiring.

First, The Vanities, by Larry Fink. As an event photographer myself, I loved seeing Larry Fink’s approach at fancy parties. It’s so interesting what’s he’s drawn to, what he responds to, and what–for him–is an accurate interpretation of the night’s events.

I love this book and wish I could be at one of those parties–not to see the celebrities–I’d love to watch Mr. Fink do his thing.

Larry-Fink-The-Vanities-01Larry-Fink-The-Vanities-02 Larry-Fink-The-Vanities-03 Larry-Fink-The-Vanities-04

The other book I bought is from the fashion/celebrity/editorial photographer Michael Thompson. The people in this book are all recognizable and you’ve no doubt already seen some of these pictures in Details, Allure, Vanity Fair and the list goes on and on. The work is all highly staged, stylized, and intelligent. Looking at these pictures you get the sense that it’s a heavy collaboration between the photographer and the subject. These images are so different than the kinds of things I shoot, but the clever choices and surprises in these pictures are what inspire me about Michael Thompson’s photography.

Michael-Thompson-portraits-01 Michael-Thompson-portraits-02 Michael-Thompson-portraits-03 Michael-Thompson-portraits-04

What about you? What are some of your favorite photography books?


For the past year, I’ve been teaching online photography classes about once a month for Alt Design Summit. The one I taught last night was sold out, but I’m teaching it again on February 20. It’s called Using Photography To Build Your Blog. If your interested in taking it, you can get all the info and register here.

Using photography to build your blog

Later that night, I saw a few tweet about the class. Here’s a few of them.

@altsummit Fantastic! I think we need a Justin channel.

Got to meet him at the last minute at @altsummit – loved his class too!

@justinhackworth is dishing out some delicious nuggets of advice on this @altsummit video chat class!

Crushing on @justinhackworth! Taking his awesome #altsummit class right now.

I want to go out and take some photos now! Thanks @justinhackworth

@justinhackworth on storytelling with *original* images: “What you leave out is as important as what you put in.”  @altsummit

I’m taking an @altsummit right now from @justinhackworth and it is both useful AND hilarious (my favorite combo).

@justinhackworth is so inspiring! #altsummit


February 20 – and it’s only 15 bones. Sign up here.


Justin Hackworth is a photographer and a teacher of photography and he wants to photograph you, or teach you about photography, or both. Probably both.

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UVU wedding photography class

by justin on January 15, 2013

in Learn

I’m teaching a class at UVU on running a wedding and portrait photography business. I’m lucky, because everyone in there is bright and capable. Well, everyone except for…….just kidding. They’re all great!

Meet the class:

photography students


I’m really happy to be able to teach this class. In addition to talking about wedding photography techniques, we’ll also be spending a lot of time talking about running a business, pricing, marketing, branding, selling, where to get wicker baskets for all your newborn baby portrait sessions….well, probably not that last one.


DSLR Photography 101 – Online class

by justin on December 10, 2012

in Learn

I want to teach you how to use your DSLR camera. This Saturday, December 15, at 12pm PST/3pm Eastern, I’ll do just that.

If you have a DSLR camera and want to know how to use all those buttons and knobs instead of keeping it on automatic the whole time, then this class is just for you. I’ll teach you how to get creative control over the pictures you’re taking. Great works of art, get ready to be created!

The class is online and interactive so you’ll be able to ask questions. The class is one hour and costs $15. Space is limited.

To sign up, go here.

DSLR 101


Online class today: Photography for bloggers

by justin on November 15, 2012

in Learn

Today (November 15) I’m teaching an online class called, “Using Photography to Build Your Blog” and it is packed with so much good information. We’ll be talking about photography tips for fashion, DIY and food blogs, how to use Pinterest to your advantage, some technical questions and even a bit about gear, what you should know about SEO, and how to begin your own stock photo library. I hope your head doesn’t explode from all this valuable information.

The class is taught online, so you don’t even need to get out of your sweat pants for it. It lasts one hour, and only costs 15 bucks.

Here’s where you sign up: https://worldfunction.com/events/using-photography-to-build-your-blog-2/

Class begins at 12pm Pacific time, 1pm Mountain Standard, 3pm Eastern.

See you soon!



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Workshop from A Bryan Photo

by justin on July 19, 2012

in Learn

Earlier this year I headed off to Birmingham, Alabama to take a workshop from Bryan Johnson from the studio A Bryan Photo. Bryan is a photographer whose work I’ve admired for some time. It started when I saw some of his pictures at the Cypress Album booth at WPPI (photography convention) a few years ago and I remember being struck by how Bryan seems to have a style all his own and seems to not be influenced by whatever trend seems to be popular this week. The kind of images he makes are the kind of images I try to make, which is to say, these are pictures that will still stand up in twenty years from now, in fifty years from now. I don’t want my pictures to be dated or tied to any specific era or trend. That’s my goal and what I want to provide for clients. And that’s what I liked about the images I saw from Bryan.

When he and I met a couple years after that, I enjoyed hearing him talk about his approach to photography. So much of what he said resonated with me, and so much of what he said sounded so much like what I’ve heard Kent Miles say. And since I pretty much believe, listen, and internalize anything Kent Miles says, I figured that I could learn a thing or two by listening to Bryan as well. It’s always good to hear new perspectives.

Bryan isn’t the loudest voice in the wedding photography industry. There’s plenty of other photographers that get more attention within the industry, but the attention they get is rarely about the quality of their work, and instead, it’s usually about how loud they can shout about good they are about how telling people how loud they can shout. If that sounds like nonsense, that’s because it is. And it’s another reason I wanted to hear what Bryan had to say. He’s a great photographer, but I also like his business. Bryan is very careful at choosing the clients he wants to work with and that will resonate with his particular style. He’s less interested in convincing people to hire him, and more interested in cultivating an attitude that only a select, distinct group of people can be his clients. It’s not snooty, it’s deliberate. His clients are his first priority, not popularity.

I went to Birmingham to see what his studio looked like, what his day-to-day operations looked like, and to hear as much as I could about his business philosophy. I wanted to see him shoot, too, I guess, but I always feel like a photographer’s shooting style is so personal and hard to teach. Business acumen is something a little more tangible and easier to pass along. That’s what I wanted to learn from Bryan.

We arrived on Sunday night and gathered at his studio to get to know everybody. Bryan and his wife Ashley talked about their journey in this business. The next day, we officially began the workshop. Topics for the next three days included studio management, the history of wedding photography, marketing, and a handful of other topics that were just what I wanted to hear. We also heard from wedding planners Maria and Kelly from Ritzy Bee, and from Branden Lower who is Bryan’s production manager and also shoots super 8 films for the studio, and we heard from Ashley, Brian’s wife.

Studio of Bryan Johnson


A Bryan Photo

A Bryan Photo

Bryan Johnson Birmingham

Bryan Johnson Birmingham

A Bryan Workshop

And it was, after all, a photography workshop, so here are some of the pictures I took while I was there. Styled by Caroline Brewer.

Justin Hackworth PHotography

Birmingham photography



Birmingham photography


Caroline and Clark Brewer

Lisa Maria O’Quinn


Clark Brewer


photography workshop

Caroline Brewer, Lisa Marie, Meredith Montague


A few from one night at dinner

Branden, Kelly, Maria

Bryan and Ashley

Caroline Brewer


Clark Brewer

So glad these two were there – Kelly and Maria from Ritzy Bee

For me, one of the best parts about the workshop was getting me meet the other workshop attendees, Meredith Montague and Lisa Maria O’Quinn, both awesome photographers. There’s a couple pictures of them posted above. Here’s what they posted from the workshop on their blogs.

Meredith – post one and post two
Lisa Maria – post one and post two

You might also want to check out Bryan’s post from the workshop.

Clark, his assistant, is also an amazing photographer and his website is here, and his wife, Caroline, is a fantastic stylist.


Thanks to Bryan and his staff for providing such an enjoyable workshop and for opening up his studio for a few days. I’m so glad to have visited.





Photography for beginners

Tune in tonight, July 16, 2012 for a very fun and informative class on using your DSLR. Learn how to use your camera and start to take control of you photography.

It’s an online class so can join us in the comfort of your own home. This is a one hour class.

When: Tonight! July 16, 2012
What time: 6pm Pacific – 7pm Mountain – 9pm Eastern
Where: Online. Sign up here.
Cost: $15

Sign up now, and then tonight, about 30 minutes before the class, you’ll get an email with a link that will take you to the online class. You’ll be able to see me and my bald head and you’ll hear me talk about important camera stuff. It’s totally interactive, so you’ll be able to ask questions and also chat with other class attendees. I’ve done quite a few of these now, and they’re a big hit. If you want to figure out how all those nobs are your camera function, tonight’s class is a great place to start.

I’d love to help you figure out how to take great pictures.

You can watch Wheel of Fortune another night. Tonight, let’s talk photography. Sign up now.

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A Bryan Photo workshop in Birmingham

by justin on April 15, 2012

in Learn, Photographers

Birmingham photography

Birmingham photography

At the beginning of April I had a great opportunity to be in Birmingham for Bryan Johnson’s workshop. Bryan is a photographer whose work I admire and I love the way he runs his business, the brand he has built, and his philosophy about photography. I took the workshop hoping to fine-tune some of my own ideas about photography and see first hand what goes on in his studio. It was everything I hoped it would be.

I shot a few rolls of film while I was there and once I get the film back, I’ll post a few of those images and write a little bit more about the specific things that made an impact while I was in Alabama.

In the mean time, enjoy these two images that were made during our afternoon shooting sessions.

Here’s the website for A Bryan Photo.


Ideally, I’d have my camera with me at all times. But that’s not always the case. Like, at church, for example. Who takes a camera to church? So that’s why I’m so darn glad I have a camera on my phone, because I take that sucker with me everywhere I go (including church). Oh, sure, it can’t solve all my artistic problems (or hardly any of them) but when I’m in a pinch, it will do the trick.

Sometimes I use it just to take a picture of something I want to remember later, like the giant banner at the fabric store stating “Not going out of business” (hilarious) and sometimes I use it to see things differently than I would if I was looking through my regular camera’s viewfinder.

So here you go. All of these were taken with my camera phone and this slide show is just a bit longer than 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Good pictures are made in the head and the heart, not in the camera. If you are interested in improving your camera skills but just aren’t sure how to go about that, or if you’re already making pictures you like, but know there’s room for improvement, or if you just want to shake up what you’re currently doing, then you may be interested in taking an online class I’m teaching on March 27, 2012 called “10 photo workouts to make you a better photographer” as part of the Alt Design Summit’s online channel. You can read more and sign up here. Space is limited.


Art begins with a fascination of the world

by justin on March 5, 2012

in Learn



Online Photography Classes and some other updates

by justin on February 13, 2012

in Learn

Alt Summit

From the Alt Design Summit website: We want to make Alt Summit available to everyone, everywhere, all year long. So we’ve created the Alt Summit Channel.

This week I’m teaching a couple online photography classes for the Alt Summit Channel, but there’s lots of other great classes, too. You can check out all the options and sign up here. And they’re only 15 bucks each. Wowza!

The two classes I’m teaching are Beginning DSLR, which I’ve taught several times and each time it gets better and better and more refined and the other class I’m teaching is 10 Photo Workouts To Make You a Better Photographer. The beginning DSLR class is for beginners (of course) and the Photo Workouts is for anyone at any skill-level.

It’s going to be great fun and I hope you can join us.


In other news, plans are cooking up for 30 Strangers 2012. This will be the fifth year I’ve done this project. I have secured a location for the exhibit, which I’ll mention in more detail at a later time. And by later, I don’t mean around 11:30pm, I mean, later on in a month or so. For the past 3 years I’ve photographed the participants in the month of April, but I’m moving it to June this year so I can shoot outside more often. Last year it seemed like it was about 100 below zero every day of the month in April. Not my style. I like it HOT, see. So, in about a month or so, I’ll be making an full announcement about the exhibit/project and how you can be in the running to be a 30 Stranger. I’m so excited to do it again.


This weekend I’m going to hit the road and head to Vegas. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Vegas? That town is so gross and fake and just a cheap copy of some place else.” Or maybe that’s just what I was thinking. In any regard, I’m headed to Vegas to go to WPPI, a trade show I’ve been attending for the past few years. All the vendors I use to run my business are there, so I get to talk to them and see what’s new and chat with photographers I always enjoy seeing. Plus, there’s an Eiffel Tower in that town! An honest-to-goodness, real-life, fake Eiffel Tower!


Meaning, not beauty, is what we are after

by justin on February 6, 2012

in Learn

“…We see a haystack by Monet, an iris by Van Gogh, or an asparagus spear by Manet and marvel at their presence and spirit and think that these works were about haystacks, irises, and asparagus. Not at all! Monet, Van Gogh, Manet employed haystacks, irises, asparagus to speak of the symphonies of light, the glory of God’s creations, the life force residing in all forms. We care about those paintings more than we care about stacks of hay, flowers, and vegetables because we care more about light, God and life than we do about any of their particular manifestations. Meaning, not beauty, is what we are after. Big, deep, wide meaning.”

Peter London, from the book No More Secondhand Art


My favorite photograph

by justin on June 8, 2011

in Learn, Travel

This could be one of my favorite photographs I’ve ever taken. It was taken in 1999 (1998?) just outside New Orleans on a cross-country trip with my friend Brooke. There’s a long story about what we were doing there in the first place and Brooke and I both count our lucky stars that we are alive to tell about it, and that’s part of why I connect emotionally to the picture. But the reason it just be my favorite picture of all time is because there’s some mystery in this picture. What is he pointing at? What could her expression mean and why is she looking at him like that? What happened in the few seconds before this picture was taken and what is going to happen after the shutter has clicked? And why is he wearing baseball pants? Those are the kind of questions that may instinctively run through your head when you look at this picture.

When I talk to people about ways to improve their photography, I suggest adding an element of mystery as one way to do that. By purposely not answering all the questions within the image, you add visual interest which causes the viewer to spend more time looking at the picture. For me, that’s what makes this image successful.


Interesting side-note from 12 years later. Last month, Brooke, who was with me in the boat, was watching a show on the History Chanel called Swamp People about swamps in Louisiana, and this fellow, this exact same guy, was profiled in their piece. How fun, that she happened to come across that.


Three exercises to improve your photography

by justin on May 28, 2011

in Learn

Last week I went on Studio 5 to talk about three exercises you can do to improve your photography. Amy came with me to make sure they powdered my bald head so it wasn’t too shiny.

I met Brooke and Darin before the show started and they were so very pleasant. Everyone there was very friendly, and everything seemed so calm and casual — very different from what I pictured happened behind the scenes, an idea that comes from everything I’ve seen on TV about TV. I thought there would be shouting (“We’re on in five minutes people!!!”) and people running up and down corridors with stacks of paper flying this way and that, and maybe there would even be a guy with his pants on fire. None of that happened. I was probably at the wrong show for that sort of behavior. On Studio 5 they talk about cooking and weight loss and how to get better at photography. Calm. Casual. And friendly.

Camera phone picture seconds before I went on

Here’s how things went on the show:



How a posing guide can ruin your photography

by justin on March 28, 2011

in Learn

The other day I saw an ad for a posing guide. You know, it lists different ways photographers should have your subject stand, place their hands just so, and the right angle for them to have their head. It got me thinking about how using a posing guide will ruin your portrait photography.

Now I get the idea of a posing guide–that is, that you want to flatter your subject, and there are certain ways to shape their body that is more flattering than others. I get that, and in theory, it’s smart. But there are at least two problems with those guides. First, all your pictures will start to look the exact same from person to person and what’s worse, they’ll start to look exactly like the dude that sold you the posing guide.

For me, I want to make a portrait that suggests something about the person I’m photographing. The key to making pictures like that is to pay attention to gestures and expressions. There’s some nuance with that method, so being observant and picking up on subtle details is a good skill to develop. When I’m working, I want to let my subjects sit or stand they way they normally would whether I was there or not. If that happens, then a little bit of that person is revealed in the pictures I take. And that’s the other problem with a posing guide. You start paying attention to whether or not their arm is how you remembered it from a picture that someone else said your pictures should look like, instead of paying attention to what the person’s body language is revealing to you.

Learning a handful of standard poses is the easy way. It’s the factory versus hand-crafted. Trying to make something surprising and unique to each subject is the hard way, but for my money, the road to making portraits that are memorable and meaningful. You think Irving Penn ever bought a posing guide?

Salvador Dalí portrait by Irving Penn

So that’s my approach. If you have a different opinion, feel free to share it.


The value of a life cannot be assessed chronologically, sequentially. If that were the case then the only bit that matters – like the closing instants of a race – would be how you felt in the seconds before your death. The moments or phases that make a life worthwhile can come early or late. For athletes, and women dependent solely on their beauty, they always come early. For writers, artists and everyone else they can come at any time. If you are unlucky they do not come at all.

Sometimes these moments are preserved in photographs.

From the book The Ongoing Moment, by Geoff Dyer

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