Hailley Howard is a fashion and events photographer based in Laguna Beach, California. I first met Hailley in 2015, shortly after launching Novel. I was enraptured by her sunny Cali spirit, pink streaked hair, and knack for capturing a good Laguna sunset.
When I reached out to her on Instagram to see if she would be interested in collaborating, she was game. A couple of weeks later, she took the red eye into New York. She had a quick snooze on my couch while I got ready, we packed up the car, and we were off. Hailley was so open, earnest, and honest. While I drove down the Belt Parkway to Fort Tilden, she popped on a playlist and told stories about life, love, and work. It felt like I had known her for years. When we got to the beach, she got right to work. I’d find her contorted on her back in the sand with the camera lens facing the sky or teetering on the edge of a building railing to get the right shot, and she always did.
Since then, we’ve travelled with Hailley for shoots in the Rockaways, Bushwick, the Hamptons, Palm Springs, and Laguna.
We caught up with Hailley recently to see what she’s been up to:
What are you doing to keep business moving during this crazy time?
During the first week of the pandemic and wave of shutdowns, I had just arrived home from a work trip, per normal pre-Covid life. Little did I know I would be grounded for months. This year has been strange to say the least, but it has made room for me to reflect and give back to both myself and my community. In the first 3 months of quarantine, I shot 30+ families; donating my time to document these unprecedented times and how people were coping. This provided me an opportunity to focus my energy on something purposeful and give through my work. This service helped me maintain a level of normalcy and in many ways it was my therapy.
You radiate with a positive glow. It’s something about you that I’ve always admired. How do you keep the good energy going? Wind chimes? Rose Quartz? What’s your secret?
Ahhhhh ️ Thank you!!!! Honestly, I can be a cynic like everyone else. In fact, I think it can surprise people when they get to know me better. I tend to look at that glass as half full and truly believe in the law of attraction. It doesn't feel good to be a jerk. My dad has always asked me, since I was very little: What is the meaning and purpose of life? I've always had an answer and I can't remember ever stumbling to find it. The answer to that question, for me, is: love. What is life without love? There are constant opportunities to fulfill this outlook. It's my mantra, my core value, my language. Thank you for seeing me.
What’s your favorite thing to shoot?
I love fashion because I love story telling. But I love nudes because I love helping people to see themselves as pieces of art.
How would you describe your photography style?
This question is always hard for me... but I will try. My work is experimental, feminine, emotive and clean.
Tell me about your Pussy Perfect series? What inspired you to do it?
My best friend owns a hair-removal company. She's a genius and we just love each other. We were on a hike for New Year's and I can't remember how it came up. We were hit with inspiration to shoot women; up close and personal, to celebrate them. To normalize the variations in our bodies and to honor how our unique anatomy and loving that uniqueness is sacred and the true definition of beauty. We want women to feel perfect exactly as they are.
We have a second tier to this project... it's just been slow moving getting it off the ground. Eventually, we will form a non-profit to help fund and support women-owned businesses. This project will eventually become a coffee table book and will help to launch the non-profit.
Any other fun projects or trips on the horizon?
Work has picked back up again, for now. Who knows what tomorrow brings, but I still cherish every job that comes my way and the incredible people, like you, that have come into my life because of my career and my art. I am finishing this email and headed to bed for a big job in the morning that I am producing and photographing. Some of the crew is new and some of the crew has been involved in my business since the beginning. All I can say is that I will never forget how lucky I am to both know my passion and be able to call it "work".
For more sunsety Laguna views, airport selfies, and vicarious Summer feels, visit Hailley on Instagram here or at hailley.com.
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