Austin Living: Magic of a Moment
Published 6:18 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Hannah Rosholt develops a day of love through the lens
Area professional photographer Hannah Rosholt lives to capture emotion through the lens of her camera. Those moments of intimacy that make a wedding day.
Often it comes from a glance between bride and groom; a silent message of love that floats between newlyweds.
Or the look a father gives his daughter as they walk down the aisle. All of it contributes to the euphoria Rosholt feels at getting that perfect shot to reflect the moment.
“I love when there are emotional aspects to a reception,” she said, looking over her coffee at the Coffee House on Main one fall afternoon. “First dance, people get really welled up. When dad is talking to his daughter. Those are just amazing things to witness and capture. You just see this room full of people who love these two people.”
As she talks about the process of capturing perfect wedding moments, the light in Rosholt’s eyes shine as bright as if she were in that very moment.
It’s not unfamiliar and she knows it. It’s the anticipation of finding that perfect shot or knowing the shoot is magic. It shows in her own expressions.
“My clients will tell you too, when I’m getting good stuff I get louder and I get really excited,” Rosholt said. “I’m like the total hype woman. That’s just the best feeling.”
Weddings are just the tip of the iceberg of what Rosholt shoots through her business — Hannah Rosholt Photography. Her work spans weddings, senior portraits, family portraits and product shoots.
It’s a wide range that has carried her through from when she was going to school at Austin High School to her business today.
“It was so fascinating to me,” Rosholt said, thinking back to her high school days. “I would spend as much time as I could after school in the dark room. It was just like, I loved it.”
This love of photography was nearly derailed when questions began coming to the surface. Questions that almost led her to something else entirely.
“So I went with a biology major and all of that, but then I realized this isn’t for me,” Rosholt said. “I think I needed to shift focus and really do what my heart is calling me to, which is art and photography.”
During her time at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa, Rosholt threw herself completely into the world of photography, taking any opportunity she could to pick up a camera.
While she answered many of her own questions, there were still others dogging her. Could she even make it as a photographer?
“Once I graduated [I thought] what am I going to do with an art degree?” Rosholt said. “I wanted to do a photography business, but I was super nervous to take that leap into the business world because I just kept thinking. Is there room for me here in this community?”
As it turns out, yes and as she took more and more jobs she found herself becoming swept up in the opportunity to turn moment to art.
But taking so many jobs also had a practical side. It gave her greater clarity in figuring out what she really wanted to focus on in terms of jobs. While today she mainly takes jobs of senior and product portraits, she still finds time to be part of a couple’s special day.
She still remembers the feeling of her first shoot with friends and how it took off from there.
“They fully trusted me,” she said of her friends. “When you first post about one, it’s like ‘oh, she shoots weddings.’ It just takes off from there. As much as it’s exhausting, I still like to be part of people’s day.”
Rosholt’s days can be long and taxing, as she works to stick as close to established time tables as much as possible. She shows up early to scout locations and sets aside time to just sit and talk with the brides and bridesmaids to establish a bond and a comfort.
The day can become a blur, but there are moments that can establish themselves in fond memories.
“Sunset portraits are amazing,” Rosholt said. “I feel we can collectively catch our breath and the couple can be together.”
“I’m the professional third wheel,” she continued. “They definitely get some dedicated time to themselves, with gorgeous romantic sunset lighting and that’s always a lot of fun for them to be together.”
With each snap of the shutter, Rosholt can see the image as plain as if it were on her computer screen. A flash of a moment to be sure, but enough of a moment to get Rosholt excited by what she’s shooting.
It’s something she experiences at home as she looks through each photo she’s toning.
“My husband has said when I’m editing, ‘why are you smiling? What’s so funny?’” Rosholt said. “You mirror what you see. If somebody is smiling, you’re going to want to smile.”
That’s not to say that Rosholt is perfect. No photographer will ever claim to be perfect, and Rosholt is okay with this. While her first goal is creating the perfect image in each portrait, she doesn’t shy away from the mistakes either.
Some pictures aren’t perfect, but as she point out, neither is life.
“I definitely have those images,” Rosholt said. “Get it pulled up on the big screen, it’s just a little soft. If the emotion is there and I still think it’s a strong enough image, I’ll still deliver it. I want my clients to have the not-so-perfect. I want them to have the real as well. Life isn’t all these perfect images. It’s messy, wonderful. It reminds them the emotion is there. It might not be picture perfect … it’s still meaningful.”
The goal never changes, however. The goal remains to create still-life reminders of a day full of love and commitment.
And so when her clients see the images and fall in love with the moment all over again, it’s all Rosholt wants to hear.
“It is the excitement that all couples feel about their images when they get them and I get a text right away. ‘Oh my gosh, we love these. These are amazing.’ And when they write me such kind reviews. It makes the stress worthwhile, knowing they love these images.”
“Music to my ears. I love it,” she added.