Meet the lo­cal pho­tog­ra­pher who worked with a Vogue model


Highfields' Own - - Contents - BY CLARE STAND­FAST

AVogue model is in your out­door stu­dio, ready to be pho­tographed by you. To men­tion a few, she’s been in The New York Times, Peo­ple mag­a­zine, Cos­mopoli­tan, The Huff­in­g­ton Post, The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, Woman’s Day, CNN and ABC.

She is in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed model Made­line Stu­art, an ad­vo­cate for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion in the in­dus­try and the first pro­fes­sional model with Down Syn­drome.

The pho­tog­ra­pher, how­ever, is High­fields woman April Hil­dred of Must Be April Pho­tog­ra­phy.

“When I was a lit­tle girl, my fa­ther lent me his film SLR and showed me how to use it,” April says.

“I would spend hours out­side look­ing at na­ture and choos­ing the per­fect an­gle be­fore tak­ing a pre­cious shot.

“I love that no two im­ages can be ex­actly the same, that each pho­to­graph tells a story and it is up to the pho­tog­ra­pher to re­lay that story told through the eyes of the sub­ject.” And April cer­tainly built on that. April grew up in High­fields and, while she moved to Bris­bane and Toowoomba, she even­tu­ally re­turned to High­fields, where Must Be April Pho­tog­ra­phy grew.

“I love the cul­ture that Toowoomba and High­fields has de­vel­oped over the last decade,” she says.

“The colour and vi­brancy of the cre­ative dis­trict, mixed with the beauty

‘‘ I love that no two im­ages can be ex­actly the same, that each pho­to­graph tells a story and it is up to the pho­tog­ra­pher to re­lay that story told through the eyes of the sub­ject.” APRIL HIL­DRED

of the land­scape and the his­toric build­ings, makes for a lovely place to live and work.”

April’s shoot with model Made­line Stu­art was one that in­flu­enced her greatly, both in a cre­ative and de­vel­op­men­tal sense.

“I have been an ad­mirer of Made­line’s work for quite some time, and I fol­lowed her on Face­book back in the early days of her ca­reer,” April says.

“My beau­ti­ful cousin had the op­por­tu­nity to work along­side Made­line’s mother and men­tioned my lit­tle stu­dio here in Queens­land and how much she knew I ad­mired Made­line.

“We got in touch, and dis­cussed do­ing some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent for her port­fo­lio – a milk bath, which was an idea she in­stantly took to, and she came from Bris­bane to my High­fields stu­dio for the por­trait.”

Made­line’s por­trait was one of April’s first milk bath por­traits, and was the very first in her new out­door stu­dio in High­fields.

“I re­ally en­joyed the pho­to­shoot with Made­line,” April says.

“It was a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence which has helped grow my con­fi­dence and ad­mi­ra­tion for those who step up and speak out in an oth­er­wise very type­cast in­dus­try.

“The pho­to­shoot with Made­line was my first leap into the fash­ion and mod­el­ling in­dus­try and I look for­ward to do­ing sim­i­lar shoots in the fu­ture, how­ever, I do not cur­rently have any planned.”

It was April’s fa­ther, grand­fa­ther and close fam­ily friend Graham Burstow who in­spired her to be­come a pho­tog­ra­pher.

“Graham Burstow, a well-renowned and award-win­ning pho­tog­ra­pher, took the time to teach me about com­po­si­tion, light and, most im­por­tantly, the pas­sion re­quired to pro­duce a pho­to­graph,” April says.

“Many years later, I re­vis­ited my pas­sion for pho­tog­ra­phy and de­cided it was time to stretch my­self by pho­tograph­ing dif­fer­ent sub­jects and peo­ple.”

April stud­ied a Diploma of Vis­ual Arts at the Univer­sity of South­ern Queens­land in Toowoomba, and fur­thered her por­trai­ture stud­ies with in­ten­sive hands-on work­shops and men­tor­ship over the years.

Work­ing pre­dom­i­nantly in ma­ter­nity and new­born milk bath por­trai­ture, fam­ily por­trai­ture and wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phy, April loves the cre­ativ­ity and va­ri­ety of her work.

“I al­ways like to try and do some­thing dif­fer­ent, and cre­ate an ex­pe­ri­ence for my clients,” April says.

“I love the say­ing, why be a copy when you can be an orig­i­nal?”

There are, how­ever, par­tic­u­lar things that April al­ways has at ev­ery pho­to­shoot.

“My trusty cam­era and back-up sec­ond cam­era, a va­ri­ety of prime and zoom lenses to cre­ate dif­fer­ent ef­fects, a re­flec­tor shield to bounce light, a smile, and a few lame jokes to keep my sub­jects at ease and most them­selves,” April says.

April be­lieves that all of her work has con­trib­uted to the de­vel­op­ment of her ca­reer, with it con­tin­u­ing to grow.

“I am proud of the jour­ney that has led me to this point in my busi­ness – ev­ery por­trait, ev­ery wed­ding has helped shape the pho­tog­ra­pher that I am,” April says.

“I al­ways strive to do the best I can each and ev­ery time, so I’ll have to be cliché and say that my favourite work would have to be the one I am work­ing on at that time.”

April places a high im­por­tance on giv­ing your­self the space to cre­ate.

“Give your­self the time to de­velop and en­joy the cre­ative process – per­fect­ing a skill takes prac­tice and it is im­por­tant to take that time to find your own voice and style,” she says.

For now, April is en­joy­ing liv­ing and work­ing in the High­fields re­gion at Must Be April Pho­tog­ra­phy.

“I love that High­fields val­ues their land­scape, with larger blocks, beau­ti­ful parks and lovely cafes and bou­tique spa­ces,” she says.

As for her fu­ture as­pi­ra­tions, April has some things in the pipeline.

“I am al­ways look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to help shape my style of work. I have a few ideas in the works be­hind the scenes at the mo­ment … stay tuned.” Just one ques­tion re­mains for April. “My muse?” she says. “That would have to be na­ture and light.

“The way that nat­u­ral light can del­i­cately or dras­ti­cally change a scene.

“I spend a lot of time re­search­ing and de­vel­op­ing my skills and style, how­ever sit­ting and ob­serv­ing is the best way to learn.”


Owner-op­er­a­tor of Must Be April Pho­tog­ra­phy April Hil­dred.

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