Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old – Sarah Haley

Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old – Sarah Haley

Out of Focus (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)

Sarah Haley Stewart is quite an extra-ordinary youngster. She excels at what she does, and she does quite an amazing job at it to be honest. Not many 16-year olds’ can boast about being this good at photography and having such a vivid and creative mind.

We definitely wish Sarah the best in her future endeavors. Check more of her work on:

FlickrFacebook Page

And, if you feel like asking her a question regarding photography or so, check out her Ask.Fm account:



Out of Focus (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)


Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself and just how you started off in photography? You are pretty young, so it definitely means you started off at quite an early age

Hi, my name is Sarah, I’m 16 years old, and I live in the southern US! I was almost thirteen when I started photography, but at the time I would just walk around my neighborhood just looking for flowers or an interesting crack in the sidewalk to capture, so I wouldn’t say I was serious until about a year later when I got my first DSLR camera. That’s when I really began to explore all the options of photography, including portraiture and fine art, and I kept working on and expanding my skills in those areas.

Q. What inspires you?

Out of Focus (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)

Oh, so many things. Music, for one, has always had a prevalent impact on concepts or films that I’ve come up with. It could just be the tune of the song and how it makes me feel, or the actual lyrics. The two artists that probably inspire me the most are Florence Welch from Florence + The Machine and Ben Folds. Florence creates these amazing dream worlds and moods in her songs, and Ben tells the most heartbreaking stories through his songs and I like to bring those to life. Other things that inspire me are cinematography in movies, beautiful people I pass on the street, God’s creation, and wonderful places I’ve been in the past. Last summer I went on a road trip with my family all around the country and I like to take inspiration from all the incredible landscapes I saw and incorporate them into the photos I take more recently as well.

Q. What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Can you briefly explain the work flow?

The basic tools I use for pretty much every picture I take are obviously curves and selective coloring, and for touch ups I use the patch and clone tool. If it’s a simple picture I’m editing, I do all touch ups first, then I work on the color and lighting and use masks to edit specific place on the picture without effecting the rest of it. If I’m doing an expansion or composite, I do things in basically the same order, except I make sure to have all the photos in the right place in the expansion, or the outside picture in the exact place I want it before I retouch.

Q. Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?

I’d have to say this picture:

Carry Me Away (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)

Not only is it my most popular photo, being featured in many blogs and photography websites, I am just so incredibly proud of it. I woke up with the idea and had no idea where it had come from, but I took it first thing in the morning and had it edited before noon. I had no idea how much it would change my photography as I knew it, so that’s pretty cool.

Q. If you could work alongside any one photographer who would it be?

Definitely Lizzy Gadd! I don’t know her personally, but she seems like an absolutely lovely person and she is incredibly talented. She captures her local landscapes perfectly, even with human subjects, and I respect her a lot for that; she makes it seem like people and nature are one. I wouldn’t mind her teaching me how she does it!

Q. I know this is the most common question. Very cliché. But, for the sake of the interview and our readers, can you please tell us what kind of gear do you use?

I don’t mind! I use a Canon Rebel T2i with 50mm f/1.8, 50mm f/2.5, and 35mm f/2 lenses. Thankfully, I’ll be selling my f/1.8 and upgrading to the f/1.4 within the next week and getting either a 6D or 5D Mark ii this fall.

Oh yeah, and I can’t forget my tripod, which has one leg literally taped to it to keep it from falling off!

Q. One quote you truly believe in and it applies to your photography ventures as well.

Something's Haunting You (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)

I don’t know if it applies to photography as much, but my favorite quote is by Winnie the Pooh: “Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” It seems a bit silly, but I think it’s a reminder to not overthink things, just to experience the simple things that give your life joy to find what you’re really looking for. It also relates to photography for me, because sometimes I’m too focused on the concept and making it perfect instead of realizing that I’m doing photography because I want to, not because I have to – that it’s my simple joy.

Q. Any tips/advices for those who love your work and wish to follow in your footsteps?

Summit (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)

Don’t make the mistake of comparing your work to other photographers’. When I was first started doing photography seriously, I would be so jealous of other photographers who were better and more experienced than me, and I would work myself into a fit saying I would never be good enough. This attitude really did make it impossible for me to get better, until I finally realized that I can admire and appreciate other artists’ works, but I need to be my own person and grow with my photography only. Basically what I’m trying to say is focus on YOU and you will get better, I promise!

Thanks a lot for taking your time out for this little interview Sarah! We greatly appreciate it and wish you the best in your future photography


More of her work:

Winter’s Bone:

Winter's Bone (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)



Untitled (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)


Higher Love:

Higher Love (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)


Bitter Dancer:

Bitter Dancer (Interview: The Very Talented 16 Year Old - Sarah Haley on CrispMe)


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  • me

    awesome photos!