Hannah Dimmitt started her year with blowing up on Instagram. Within 30 days, the 25-year-old Dallas native garnered 1.5 million views on her Reels, taking her from 6,000 to 21,000 followers. Dimmitt has crafted a nostalgic, dreamlike aesthetic across her product photography and portrait work, making her images ideal for both the digital world and a printed photo.
Modern Luxury caught up with Dimmitt to learn more about her photography business’ success and the secret to making a viral Reel.
You started doing product photography during the pandemic. What was it like to take that on?
Product photography is now my new favorite. I started during the pandemic because obviously portrait work was kind of out of the equation immediately.
So I found a really cool product at Sprouts that I liked. It was actually called Poppy and they're based in Dallas. There's just a really fun prebiotic soda with the coolest packaging, and so I photographed it in my backyard and kind of built my portfolio up. And that was just unpaid fun work for me that I was like, “I'm going to use this and pitch to brands.” And it blew up.
At first, I was trying to do what I thought everybody wanted and just do product photography. And then my partner was like, “Hannah, you're really good. You should show them they don't know what they want. Put your style into everything you do and create a new genre of product photography.”
Can you tell us more about why you’ve honed in on a dreamy-retro style?
I don't know. I kind of question that too. I think even as a kid I love that retro style, and I love the stories and the characters. And there's just something fascinating about being able to tap into this feeling. I get this one comment that people say all the time and from complete strangers. They say it in different ways every time, but they told me my work brings them memories that don't exist or it's nostalgic or it's for times in places that they’ve never experienced, but it brings them the sense of nostalgia and I think that is so crazy that my work can do that.
It's a lot of toying around. I wish I had a method to my madness because that would make things a lot easier on myself, but I go in and see the vibe of the shoot if we are going through more of a ‘60s look, ‘70s or ‘80s. Do we want vibrant colors or muted colors?... I try to just visually match the colors to what that era or mood would make me feel.
Your “hard flash moments” reel has a million views. Why do you think it went viral?
I knew reels were the way to get seen because as you're scrolling through reels, everything that you're seeing is people you don't follow. And then if you really like something, you'll click on them and check them out. So there was kind of this science, not science to reels, but essentially trying to figure out how to capture somebody's attention long enough or fast enough and if the video loops people will play it more, you don't want it super long, you want it high quality. There's all these different things to why reels do really well. So I just started making a bunch of reels.
Like this is the way to grow. This is how I need to get my work seen. Let me make a bunch. And there's different tips and tricks, like trending audio is really, really helpful. As I was scrolling, I was loving seeing these videos that would flash really fast with photos.
I don’t know why that reel specifically took off… They're beautiful photos. It's fun characters and they're all from different shoots. It's just this whole crazy, cool world.
What are important basic tips for capturing a good photo?
Lighting would be my top answer. Lighting is very, very important. Even as you're scrolling through reels, you can tell if somebody is in a dark room filming, you kind of scroll past it.
One of my favorite, favorite favorite tips ever is to put your hand in front of you and see how the lighting is. So if you're outside, the sun is going to hit your hand full. Or if you angle it, it's going to have all these crazy harsh shadows on it.
It's the quickest and easiest way to ensure you have that perfect lighting. I think editing helps a lot too with colors, like bringing up that contrast or lowering the contrast if you want more pastel. Even if you're brand new and just use your iPhone, playing with editing apps and experimenting.
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This interview has been edited and condensed.