We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Hackett and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heather, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I love what I do, photographing anything and everything. I put my whole heart into every shoot, letting my passion and creativity shine through. I want to capture the moment with feelings and emotions, making each image genuine and unique to my client. I put my best self in every shoot I do! and I am always teaching myself and learning along the way. When you love what you do and you are passionate about it success follows. It is truly a dream come true.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I have had a love for art since I was a little girl growing up in a small town in Iowa. I continued with art throughout my education winning some awards in High School and receiving a scholarship to college. Majoring in Fine Arts in college gave me the opportunity to learn many different aspects or art and I enjoyed them all. I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Greece, Belgium, the Czech Republic and most of Western Europe when I was younger. Experiencing some of the greatest art in the world first hand, seeing where Mozart lived in Austria, going to the Louvre in Paris and walking the stairs of the Acropolis in Greece made the art lover in me come alive. I was photoshop before photoshop existed as a photo retoucher at a photo print lab in college. I would tediously hand pant corrections on prints for hours at a time. This gave such a huge appreciation for technology years later in life.
After I graduated with my Fine Arts degree I didn’t know what I was going to do so I went right back to school and got a second degree in education. My elementary art teacher Mr. French and my high school art teacher Mrs. Gee were two of my biggest influences and supporters throughout my youth so I wanted to be just like them. I moved to Arizona in 1998 and taught elementary art for many years. I loved teaching kids about all of the great artist, believing in a disciplined art education approach which included art aesthetics and art history.
Ten years ago I was asked if I wanted to teach high school. I gladly interviewed and made the switch. I began teaching graphic design, digital photography and ceramics. As I began teaching photography my love of capturing moments in time came back to me. I started photographing anything and everything. Then one day I realized I was pretty good at it and maybe I could supplement my income with my photography skills, being a single mom living on a teachers salary had proved to be difficult. I started off small, photographing my friends kids and my kids sporting events. I would do trades for things I couldn’t afford like my older sons little league football fees. People started noticing my work and more photoshoots were filling up my calendar. It made me happy to see my work make other people happy.
Today, I teach photography and own my own photography business. I found a way to supplement my income while doing what I love. It is a lot of work but I love making people happy and I believe I accomplish this by capturing memories for people to share for a lifetime through my photographs. I’m still that little girl from Iowa who loves art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Arizona so this is a tough question. There are so many amazing places here. When I moved here in 1998 I had to take a History of Arizona class to obtain my Arizona teaching certificate and I was fortunate to have a professor that was a story teller. He told the most amazing stories about Arizona and all of the great places to go and see. My friend and I were young, single and didn’t have kids yet so we took his advice and traveled all over the state, from Potato Lake to Tombstone we did it all. Now as a 22 year veteran of Arizona I love to share my experiences with others by telling them awesome places to go, see, experience and visit. Some of my favorite day trips are The Tonto Natural Bridge, Wine Tasting in Cottonwood on the way to Sedona, 4 wheeling in Prescott, Bearizona and of coarse the train to the Grand Canyon.
Locally I love to try new places. I have been in to trying all of the local breweries that are popping up, top on my list is the Beer Research Institute and The Shop Beer Co. Downtown Chandler is also a great place to stay and visit because there are so many choices when deciding what to eat and drink. Stay at San Marcos and you can walk to San Tan Brewery, The Hidden House, The Perch, Murphy’s and other great local places to try. Phoenix also offers great sporting events and concerts. One of my favorite shows was Snoop Dog at the Van Buren. Oh and how could I forget First Friday in Phoenix, I guess because of covid I haven’t really ventured back there but I need to.
Most of my friends that visit from the midwest always want to eat at Oregano’s but I take them all to Joe’s Farm Grill. My grandma’s favorite place was Organ Stop Pizza, what an Arizona Classic. They also love all of the great golf courses here as well as hiking. Papago park is my favorite place to hike and see the sunset. And nothing better than a staycation at one of our many awesome resorts like the Phoenician, Arizona Grand, or Royal Palms. Taking in the Arizona sunshine at the pool with a drink in hand and good friends all around.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I recently lost both of my parents in 2021, they were my biggest cheerleaders and always supported my dreams and interests. My dad had a dark room in our basement growing up and loved landscape photography and my mom was a designer by nature. Their creative influence in my life helped me have the confidence I needed in the competitive world of photography.