Holden his own

Junior Holden Thomas is ready to take his photography to the next level

Tyler Semler and James Simons

The typical high schooler’s Saturday plans often consist of catching up on sleep, hanging out with some friends, or working at a local fast food restaurant. Instead, junior Holden Thomas prefers to spend his free time deep in the forest capturing all the images he can.

     Thomas, who started taking photos for fun in 2016, began to get more serious about it soon after that.

     “It started out as a hobby because I didn’t really know that much [about photography], but I was mentored by a family friend in Chicago, who happens to be a professional photographer,” Thomas said. “He taught me pretty much everything I know, and that’s what got me started. I had been doing it for fun for about a year until I went publicly with it and starting considering doing it for a job.”

      Junior Garrett Bridges, who has known Thomas for 12 years says he has helped Thomas’s business in various ways, from his photo shoots, to being a subject in others.

     “He is very determined [with] the things he enjoys. If you need photos done by a certain date he will have them perfected by then,” Bridges said.

     Although Thomas is just getting his photography business started, he has already received some guidance from his Entrepreneurship teacher Dan Nicholson and AP Photography teacher Kayti Hahn.

     “He has really tried to branch out, and to make his own brand, and to make it maybe a little more of a career,” Hahn said. “So, I gave him advice on what to do.”

     That advice helped Thomas expand his outreach, both inside and outside of Noblesville. However, he didn’t need much advice relating to his photography skills.

     “Holden came into Photography class with an already existing talent for photography,” Hahn said. “He has an excellent use of photographic processes and technical use of the camera.”

     Thomas’ ability is one of his achievements in his field. Another milestone for Thomas came in 2017 when he landed his first client.

     “I had never really thought about [doing it for money] until I was asked to do prom photos and they asked what I charge,” Thomas said. “I didn’t charge anything at the time because I was just doing it for fun, but that’s what gave me the idea to start charging for shoots. I ended up making $75 off my first shoot, and I thought that was a pretty good amount of money for my first shoot.”

     Once Thomas got the idea of making money off of his hobby, he ran with it, and hasn’t looked back.

     “After that, I had a lot more people coming and asking for photos, so I knew I could start to expand and make it bigger. I made a design and watermark and eventually decided to then make my business card. I started to hand those out and more and more people came in, and that’s when I finally realized this could be the real deal.”

     Thomas is currently participating in a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Photo Contest where the focus is to find and take photos of structures 50 years or older all around Indiana.

     “I’ve already started researching [for the project] which has helped me [find structures to capture],” Thomas said. “Winning the contest would be huge because along with cash, I would be getting exposure. [Photography] is really all about exposure. Once you get your name or business in someone’s head, next time they need a photographer, they know who to call.”

     Although Thomas loves shooting just about anything his camera can catch, he mainly focuses on nature shots and portraits.

     “I originally started off just doing nature, but I’ve really transitioned over to portraits [during the school year],” Thomas said. “I haven’t really been able to do a whole lot of nature shoots recently, but I still look at that as my root [in photography].

     Thomas captures the beauty of nature, from plants to larger animals, like deer. However, he prefers to challenge himself with a quick-moving subject.

“I love capturing birds [because] they are so seclusive and you have to be so quick and be at the right place at the right time in order to get that perfect shot. You have to really know what you’re doing in order to get a great picture.”

      Depending on the object(s) in the shoot, photography can often be hit or miss when trying to get that perfect picture, but even when it is a miss, Thomas still loves it.

     “You don’t always go out and expect to get the perfect picture,” Thomas said. “Sometimes you come back with nothing, but there’s always a search and an adventure. For me, it’s like finding treasure.”