JC: If you were new to photography, would you spend your money on a better body or better lenses?
JH: If I was new to photography I would probably make the mistake of spending money on equipment instead of trying to get ideas and trying to save money for travelling. You’re better off getting less equipment and to travel than spend all your money on the last toy… but as I’m not new to photography, I would definitely spend more on lenses.
JC: Do you shoot in ‘Manual’ or do you allow the camera to do all the work and use automatic modes?
JH: I only shoot ‘Manual’… there’s nothing better than entire control of what you do. No surprises at the end.
JC: What ISO do you use the most?
JH: 200 ISO gives me good results for my needs. It’s a good combination between quality and sensibility.
JC: When you travel do you allow any of your gear to go in the hold?
JH: Not really, except for my water housing and accessories. I keep all my lenses and bodies with me… this is also one of the ‘worst’ parts of the job. Enjoying travelling experiences with lots of carry on luggage.
JC: Can you make money from just shooting windsurfing?
JH: Yes I could in years past, unfortunately not anymore. The windsurfing photography market is getting extremely small. When I got into the market you could make a living out of just windsurfing magazines. This was the way to get known by the brands and then get hired for photo shoots. Today a few windsurfing magazines still buy a small number of pictures for almost nothing. It’s getting ridiculous! Unless you get hired by windsurfing brands for their photo shoots you will not make any money. It’s a shame because windsurfing photography requires skills and a lot of equipment, time, training, and risks sometimes. Who will do that in a few years if there’s no market ? Quality windsurfing photography will disappear? I guess so…
JC: Can you make an average photo look great with Photoshop/processing?
JH: I kind of don’t like Photoshop really… especially when you see that it has been used. I hate those fake colours and contrasts that hide poor content. A good photo, with good lightning, good framing, good action and background doesn’t need Photoshop at all. An average photo will never become a great one.
JC: What is the most you have ever sold one photo for?
JH: You’d be jealous, I had a good deal once with a Robby Naish shot that I sold for a Michelin campaign. It came out on large billboards everywhere in France and Europe, it paid my bills for a little while.
JC: What is your biggest photography disaster?
JH: I’ve been lucky so far actually. I was in Puerto Rico for a windsurf photo trip once. We spent almost three weeks there and did not get one day of wind. I came back without a single good windsurfing shot. But I meet nice people and some became really good friends like Rudy Castorina, Philippe Bru (the organizer of the Defi Wind) and Francky Roguet (PWA judge)… so it was not that bad actually.
JC: How do you stay competitive when every Tom, Dick and Harry has a camera these days?
JH: Ha-ha… experience pays! Seriously competition between photographers never scares me. As long as people respect prices. This is where it is sometimes a bit frustrating. If the client is only there to buy a price, then he should not knock on my door and better go to Tom, Dick and Harry. They usually come back the year after. If you’re looking for the best quality, the best service and the best price, there’s usually one of these that you’ll have to forget… which one is the most important for you? Quality lasts forever, you’ll forget the price. I stay competitive because of my motivation, love of windsurfing and experience. Windsurfing photography needs skills that takes years to get. I’m still learning but I can guarantee that I’ll always give my best to my clients and they’ve been loyal to me for years, that’s a good sign, isn’t it?