“Wedding.” (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

Today, nearly everyone has a camera on their phone and takes some photos, perhaps many, many photos! We are all “photographers” in a basic, definitional sense. But there are a few who don’t just take photos – they “make” great photos through professional preparation of the site and subject, knowing how to adjust high-end cameras for the best result and manipulating the raw photo image after the shoot.

Yancey Hughes is one of those few, a professional photographer making beautiful, professional-quality photographs. He shoots weddings, milestone anniversaries, special occasions and corporate events, and also produces actor/actress comp cards.

Yancey Hughes’ studio in the Noyes Cultural Center. (Photo by Yancy Hughes)

Hughes works at his large studio in the Noyes Cultural Art Center, where he has natural light and equipment to produce a range of artificial light. He has materials to create backgrounds of various colors and styles as well as several props. He also makes commercial product still-life, fashion accessory and artist display photos used in catalogs and websites, and other places. He has space for large family or social group shoots and can create an environment for model or graduation photo shoots. Hughes also offers off-site shoots for a variety of occasions when a special ambiance is desired.

Most of Hughes’ photographs are for commissions, but when not “working” he creates photographic art. His art photos are typically a series of black and white images using a consistent photographic theme. For example, one series is based on uncropped images of public settings using the same camera. Each image has a message that he brings out by his framing, use of camera speed and lens adjustment.

“Street Photography.” (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

Hughes begins a commission project with a client discussion of the purpose, location and desired theme to determine a location. For instance, if the client desires a Lake Michigan scene, Hughes will suggest a location that he has experience with. Also, he will make need-based suggestions concerning style, clothing or any props. Once a time and location are set, the next step is to meet for the shoot.

“Generations.” (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

Not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera. To get a better shot when the subject is posing, Hughes will make spontaneous suggestions and banter with the client to reduce any stress: step closer, hold hands, chin down or jump in the air. On the other hand, if the subject is active and not posing, he will judge the timing of the shot to avoid an undesired facial expression when possible.

After the shoot, Hughes reviews and, when needed, edits the photos for lighting, color and size. This expertise is critical to making a great photograph. He will ultimately delete many photos and retain the ones that best fit the commission.

Next, he shares the photographs with the client and makes selections. Lastly, he and the client decide how to provide the images. Does the client want them as a digital file, in prints, bound in a book or in another medium? After the project, Hughes stores the finished files digitally for many years so the clients can re-order as needed.

“Fashion (Designer).” (Photo by Yancey Hughes)

When you want to have a special set of photographs made, you must do much more than click a button. Luckily for Hughes’ clients, he has the experience, expertise and many examples to help them decide which kinds of images will create the best lasting memory.

If you would like to know more about Yancey Hughes, visit his website at yanceyhughesphotography.com, his Instagram at #yanceyfoto, his Evanston Made web page or on Facebook at Yancey Hughes Photography.

Jean Cunningham

Jean Cunningham retired from the business world and is now enjoying the next phase, including writing about local artists to increase awareness of Evanston’s amazing art community.

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  1. Jean
    What a wonderful interview & experience speaking with you. Your ease of manner & questions revealed some things I don’t often consider as they are automatically part of the creative process. The article looks great on the page. Thanks so much for your time & interest. And the EvanstonRoundTable for the space to present local artist.