Have You Met Hali Ryan?
Have You  Met Hali Ryan?

Excited about our Have You Met series where I showcase YOU, the photographers of our community. We had over 400 photographers apply for the series in less than a week. I can’t wait to showcase the talented photographers. There is a mix of hobbyist and business owners as well as full-frame and crop sensor users. This may be my new favorite part of the site.

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for supporting Click it Up a Notch. I am not longer accepting applications for this series.

  • No.
    Tell us a little about yourself and your photography journey.

    Hey Guys! I’m Hali. I live in NJ with my hubby, spunky 2.5 year old boy, our newborn baby girl and 2 fluffy kitties. It’s been a beautiful 8 years of adventure with my 5 loveable characters and I enjoy documenting our everyday lives together through photos and video.
    Photography has been a part of me since I was a little girl flipping through my grandma’s perfectly numbered photo albums. It would amaze me to see pictures of my mom as a teenager and my grandfather who had long passed. She would always give me a photo or two out of an album, to add to my own “#1” album (which I still have). As I grew as an artist, photography was always front and center of everything. After our son was born I took the leap from auto to manual, practiced day in and day out and honed my skills. Drawn to a more natural journalist style, I knew what I wanted to focus on: Family, Connection, Life & Love… I want our future generations to have the same joy I did looking at beloved memories.

    50mm | f/3.5 | SS 1/60 | ISO 1600

  • No.
    What is the best advice you received so far on your photography journey?

    Not to be so afraid to share simple snapshots of my life. It’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to take the perfect photo that you forget it’s also about sharing a part of your not so perfect self with your friends and fans. 

  • No.
    Where do you find your inspiration?

    My inspiration naturally comes from my family by watching them grow, interact and love. But I also find a great deal of inspiration from my fellow photographers. There is so much talent out there and with so many different genres and styles I find myself in awe of everyone’s unique vision.

    28mm | f/2.2 | SS 1/800 | ISO 100

  • No.
    What type of background do you have? Self taught? Formal training? Mentor?

    I’m self-taught. Once I found Click it Up a Notch and Clickin Moms I spent months reading every blog, every forum and every tutorial (Yes, everything. It took a loooong time!) I was determined to create photos that would make people smile. While self taught I do have a mentor. I met Nick Abadilla when I was in search of a photographer to document our Trash the Dress series. We quickly became friends and I found myself looking up to him as one of the greats in the industry and as someone I can turn to with questions, for feed-back, for advice… someone who I admire greatly. 

  • No.
    Are you currently doing any photography projects? If so, what?

    This year’s project is as simple as being a mommy and being present with my children. These days I may not capture all their “firsts” on camera, but when my baby girl first smiled— it was me she was looking at! It’s engrained in my memory and I’m glad I wasn’t behind a lens when it happened. But of course immediately after I grabbed my camera and captured that beautiful smile. ;)

    50mm | F3.2 | SS 1/160 | ISO 1000

  • No.
    If you could only use one lens for a year, which would you choose?

    If I could live outdoors for a year it would have to be my 135mm F/2L. It’s quick, sharp and not as heavy as other longer focal lengths. 

  • No.
    Share links to 3 of your favorite photography tutorials and tell us why.

    11 Tips for what to wear in family photos – This is a great link I send to my clients to begin the process of choosing their wardrobe. I always encourage them to ask me questions and send me photos of their outfits.
    How to capture your own birth experience – I was about to have a baby via C-section when my friend Elizabeth Blank wrote this beautiful tutorial. This is a must read for those of you who can’t hire a photographer to document your birth.
    Zone System: The Basics – When I first started in manual I was so confused about the Ansel Adams Zone System. This tutorial really broke it down for me.

  • No.
    What is your favorite image right now?

    It’s so hard to choose just one! But this photo of my son during his first trip to the Jersey Shore ranks up there. He was playing with the sand and the hubs was behind me showing him how to “sprinkle it”. He started to swipe the sand in a rainbow motion. The light was gorgeous, the beach was empty, the motion was frozen yet shows movement, and his expression was that of true joy. I aim for magic in my photos, and this was it. After I took this photo he ate the sand and we called it a day! HA.  

    50mm | F2.5 | SS 1/5000 | ISO 200

  • No.
    What type of camera and lenses do you shoot with?

    I started out with a Canon 60D and loved it for many years until I upgraded to my Canon Mark 5D III. I have a great variety of lenses: Canon 28mm F/1.8, Canon 24-70mm F/2.8L II, Canon 85 F/1.8, Canon 135mm F/2L and the Canon 50mm F/1.4. They all have a place in my style and vision and I happily use them all!

  • No.
    Let’s light someone else’s candle, who is a photographer you think we should check out?

    I had been a fan of Lisa Rappa’s work for a while before I met her at Click Away. I took her Focused on Family class and walked away with an even greater understanding on how to connect with little ones and the industry we work in. There’s a reason she is a family/child photographer. You have to pair a great personality with great talent. She has both and I’m lucky to call her a friend and an inspiration.

  • No.
    What is your biggest challenge when it comes to photography?

    My biggest challenge is culling my images for my clients and myself. Moments are fleeting and kids grow up fast and I want to remember every single expression they make. So I tend to have 20 images that may appear the same, but to a mom… are so very different.

    85mm | F2.5 | SS 1/6400 | ISO 125

  • No.
    What's the strangest thing you carry in your camera bag, and why is it in there?

    A rattle. I guess it’s not that strange since I work with little ones, but it gets their attention really fast when I need it.

  • No.
    What is next on your list of things to learn this year in photography?

    This year I have been stepping out of my comfort zone to focus on Kelvin and take my camera off Automatic White Balance. I shoot in RAW, so it’s something I often just would edit in Lightroom, but now I’m focusing on getting it right in camera.

    135mm | f/2.0 | SS 1/2500 | ISO 320

  • No.
    If people want to follow more of your work where should they go?

    To keep up with my daily/weekly work you can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/haliryanphotography or check out a varierty of work on my website at www.haliryanphotography.com, under the “Moments” tab!

    24-70mm | f/2.8 | SS 1/1000 | ISO 200

  • Brandi Williamson
    April 20, 2015 at 11:05 AM

    I can’t wait to read more of this series!

  • Tricia
    April 20, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    Hi Hali,

    Thanks for sharing your talents! Your photos are lovely. I wanted to ask, after upgrading from the 60D to the Mark III, did you find the image quality better? I noticed that your images are razor sharp, did that improve after switching to the Mark III?

    Thanks much,


  • Hali Ryan
    April 20, 2015 at 2:43 PM

    Hi Tricia!!

    Thank you so much! I find both the 60D and the Mark 5DIII to be excellent cameras. A few of them in the post were taken with the 60D :) The 5D definitely has a more powerful focus system, but I am more in love with the ISO capabilities. With my 60D I never went above 600….with the 5D I go as high as 2000. Both of those things, along with never opening up wider than 2.0 for my running little ones, will help to create really tack sharp images. Check out this post I read when I first started to obsess over sharp images :)….http://clickitupanotch.com/2012/01/tips-to-achieve-sharp-focus-guest-post-by-jaymi-mcclusky/

  • rachel
    April 20, 2015 at 3:55 PM

    these father/son photos are to die for!!! love :). thank you for sharing.

    • Hali Ryan
      April 20, 2015 at 8:04 PM

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  • Kristal
    April 20, 2015 at 8:37 PM

    Wonderful to meet you! Gorgeous pictures. I am so enjoying reading about all the photographers.

    • Hali Ryan
      April 21, 2015 at 10:09 PM

      Thank you so much!! xo

  • Lacey Meyers
    April 22, 2015 at 1:14 AM

    Hi Hali! It’s great to see you featured here! Congrats on all you’ve accomplished. :) <3 Your work is just beautiful!

    • Hali Ryan
      April 22, 2015 at 10:23 PM

      Aww thank you Lacey Meyers! I always love seeing your boys in my newsfeed!

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