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Daily Inspiration: Meet Eric Hafner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eric Hafner.

Hi Eric, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
My interest in photography started when I was probably 10 when I got my first camera. The interest grew as I got older and even if I stepped away here and there, it was a passion I have always come back to. It was just a hobby until a few years ago when I realized I had too many photographs to ever hang on my own walls. I wanted to share my passion with others, share the beauty around us, and also try to raise money for charity at the same time.

I started a website to sell prints and various items with my photos on them, with a portion of every sale initially going to the American Kidney Fund. I chose this cause as kidney issues run in my family and it was something I had seen the impact firsthand. Then in 2020, my 11-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia. We were blessed to have some amazing support and an amazing team to get us through but not everyone is so lucky. Even with that awesome support, it was a rough road for everyone involved–the impact pediatric cancer has is so very far-reaching. Seeing a child struggle to do basic tasks because of cancer left a lasting impression and left me wanting to do more. So, one of the things I did was switch HafsPrints’ charity to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. More can be read about this wonderful organization at their website: https://nationalpcf.org/

I currently work a full-time job outside of my photography so I don’t have as much time to spend as I would like. But I hope to eventually expand into local markets and fairs to reach a wider audience and generate greater donations. In the meantime, all my work can be found on the website, HafsPrints.gives, which gets updated and refreshed as I have time and new photos to add. I also take requests for custom work free of charge and with no commitment to purchase. Reach out with your idea, theme, etc, and we’ll see what we can come up with to bring your space alive!

I plan to continue to keep my eyes open and my camera handy for the next great shot for a long time to come. Hopefully, others can join me; we can raise awareness and money for a great cause along the way.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has been a very slow process. The biggest challenge is bringing in an audience that is willing to pay and looking for the type of products that I have to offer. These days, everyone has a pretty good camera in their pocket so the market space is flooded with some really great photos. When you don’t photograph people and special events, the audience becomes even smaller.

Another major obstacle is just the time commitment. Going out on a shoot is only one part of the process and typically not even the first. I like to scout out areas first and get an idea if they might bring some interesting subjects.

Then I try to catch the perfect light, the interesting cloud formations, and an incoming storm to make it more interesting. As you can imagine, all this lining up and being available outside of my normal full-time job is rare. After the shoot, there’s still a lot to do with the processing of images, uploading the good ones, marketing, etc. There’s just never enough time, but I do what I can.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am primarily a landscape photographer. I like to shoot things in nature the most but I also enjoy cityscapes and street photography. I utilize the services of a website called Pixels which takes my images and places them on various items for purchase. The range of things that can be had is pretty great. Anything from fine art prints and canvas to shower curtains, yoga mats, battery chargers, phone cases, and more.

I am most proud to support the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation and its work toward eliminating childhood cancer. 50% of every dollar I make with my photography goes to the foundation. When I can, I plan on raising that amount even higher.

I think what sets me apart, aside from being charity-driven, is that I am willing to customize any photo, work on any idea, to get a client what they are looking for–and I do it with no commitment and no fee. My website is a passion project, not my livelihood. While this means I may not have as much time to set aside and I may not be as quick as others with the final product, it gives me great freedom that others may not enjoy.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
I think the biggest lesson might be just how important getting out and the daily social interactions are! Prior to Covid, I liked to think that I could spend all my time alone with no problem, especially since I like to shoot and go out exploring for shots alone.

I also thought I could sit around all the time and it would be great! It became apparent very quickly that being out in nature and out of the house, around other people was very important for my mental health and wellbeing. Even those small seemingly insignificant interactions with strangers were and are very important.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
@HafsPrints

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