Hannah Bernabe – Capturing Emotions and Moments

Say hello to Hannah :


Where are you from?  Where have you been?

I’m originally from Quezon City, Philippines. We moved to Southern California when I was twelve, and I’ve lived in San Diego, California for the past five years. I have been to New Orleans, Northern California, Seattle, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

What’s your favorite place in the world?

I don’t have a favorite place yet, as I unfortunately haven’t traveled a lot. Of the places I’ve been, I would definitely pick New Orleans. There is so much history, vibrancy and  soul in the place, despite the devastation of Hurricane Katrina still rampant. I definitely want to visit again.


How would you describe your visual style?

My style is focused on playing around negative space and the subject. Giving the location an opportunity to shine just as much as the subject that I’m photographing. This creates images that create an overall mood to the photo as a whole.

How do you find your inspiration?

In social media, for sure. I use the Internet to constantly find inspiration and look at new creative trends. I also find inspiration through other artists and photographers. I have a lot of friends and peers who are creatives, and I see their work and become inspired.

Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?

All the time. I think it’s a necessary evil in being a creative to have times where you feel tapped out or lacking. Whenever I have a creative block, I’ve learned to acknowledge what’s happening to me creatively, to investigate what needs to be done. I also received the best advice from a friend that sometimes when you take a break and rest, it lets your mind breathe and give more room to be creative.

Tell us about your career.  How did you get into it?

I have always been into photography since I was very young. My first camera was this old Sony cybershot and I fell in love with it. I didn’t start taking photography seriously until about two years ago taking graduation portraits, and now I’m exploring different avenues to learn other photography styles.

What types of photography do you do?

My main focus are portraits, specifically editorials. Sometimes I do landscapes, and I’m starting to dip my toe into weddings as well. Of these, my favorite are definitely portraits. I love being able to capture emotions and moments of people.

What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?

I think my biggest setback as a photographer is myself and my own sense of self-doubt. We live in a very image saturated world, and there are times where I feel like I get drowned out by the ever-growing talent out there. That manifests my self-doubt in so many ways, and it can be really discouraging.

Of the photos you’ve taken, which three are your favorites?

This was taken during a recent trip to Salton Sea. We were at a photoshoot, and once we saw that the sun was setting, we immediately ran and tried to catch this amazing sunset. It definitely brought me back to my landscape photography days, and it reenergized me creatively, as well.

This is my favorite photo of my friend in my room here in San Diego. The background is actually a photo I took of the Infinity room at The Broad in Los Angeles.

This is one of my most recent photos, taken in Anza Borrego, CA. This marks a growth in my photography, in a way that I feel that I’m comfortable with my style, as well as my craft.

Photography is competitive.  How do you stand out?

I try to put out work that is authentic and real. Photography is such an expressive artform, as well as competitive, and it would be a disservice to the brand or my clients if I don’t put forth work that is authentically mine. I’m constantly learning as well. Photography changes by the minute, and being on your toes, as well as asking for help/resources is so important to keep yourself relevant in photography.

What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?

Your lane is yours to thrive and manifest in. Don’t let anyone belittle your creativity and your craft – especially if that person is yourself.

How do you express yourself through your photography?

I’d like to think that there are parts of me that shows in the photos, whether it be how to create the shot or why I chose to take that candid photo of someone. I can express myself so freely sometimes whenever I have my camera with me.

What will you be doing five years from now?

Five years from now, I would like to have my own photo studio and do photography full-time.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?

I’ve always wanted to take a cross-country train ride from California to the East Coast. Just thinking of the photos and the adventures I’ll have along the way sounds really cool.

For anyone that wants to get in touch with Hannah, here’s some contact information:

FStop: Profile

Website: hannahbernabe.com

Facebook: Profile

Instagram: @hb.photo

Hannah, thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂

If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!

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