Mark Hillyer


The explosion in better quality cameras in smart phones and other devices; the "smarts" in modern SLR, mirrorless, and other cameras; and the development of artificial intelligence by the Googles of the world has revolutionising the ability for people to capture and share moments and memories. The problem with this is that it is taking more of the art, life, energy, and personality out of much photography.

I passionately believe that the future of professional photography is in the areas that we still have advantages over technology - connection, imagination, creativity, passion, energy, soul, and - most of all - knowing how to use the technological tools, be it the equipment, framing, perspective, and creative (and relevant) post-processing. And over it all, a sense of fun, energy, a healthy dose of a sense of the absurd - and leaving the ego at the door.

I am extremely proud of the fact that many of the people who have attended my workshops keep coming back. Clients keep coming back. And, most personally gratifying, is that visiting overseas models I have worked with seek me out on each return to Australia and recommend me to their colleagues. Several top overseas and local art nude models who rarely model at photography workshops are more than happy to model at mine (see my Testimonials page).

The Boring Stuff

My interest in photography was stirred when given the responsibility for the family’s Kodak Box Brownie on family events and outings. An uncle in the photographic industry later provided encouragement with the loan of Mamiya SLRs and my early passion for landscape took off.

I have been a project manager, business systems architect, and systems implementer for much of my career, working with major national and multinational corporations in Australia and throughout Asia. This was always with a relative small implementation team, so my involvement in these projects was always quite hands-on and holistic – working with everyone from executive management to the people in the factory, warehouse, or office. I have always had a passion for educating and training people with an emphasis on making relatively advanced business concepts relevant and easy to understand and - most of all - following up to make sure that any concerns or issues are address and everyone is working together. I try to bring this philosophy to my photography.

Along the way, photography was one of things that kept me (relatively) sane. Whenever possible, I would convince an overseas client to let me fly in a day or two early to acclimatise, get over any jet lag, and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the client first thing Monday. This, of coure, just happened to give me the chance to photograph every temple, palace, tomb, and mountain I could find. In those days it was my beloved pair of Olympus OM-1n SLR bodies – one permanently with Kodachrome 64 and the other with Ektachrome 400 – and an assortment of Zuiko lenses. Amongst other adventures, I can proudly say that I managed to take a large camera bag with the kit to all of the (not-so-easily) accessible chambers in the Great Pyramid and the Meydum Pyramid in Egypt in 1989.

Over 30 years in that industry was quite enough and had led to burn-out. That and the realisation that I had been functioning as a right-brained person in a left-brained world helped make the decision ten years ago to transition to professional photography a lot easier. There was the accompanying realisation that I already had an accumulated knowledge of art, science, psychology, business, computer systems, and many other fields that contribute to my holistic view of the world of photography.

These days I shoot with Canon full-frame SLR cameras. I discovered that I actually like photographing the upright apes that had previously spoiled my landscapes and ancient architecture, I discovered a passion for shooting and teaching art nude and other aesthetic forms of people photography. I also enjoy business coaching and the mentoring of photographers and models. Running workshops was a natural outgrowth of my own frustration at the lack of good courses and workshops when I was learning and expanding my skills.

Photo shoots are not time-limited (usually within a half day). There is no need to rush to get the results we are after. I strongly believe in portraiture to capture the soul and energy of my subjects. Portfolio shoots are all about demonstrating the versatility of the person.

I have been a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography since 2008 and my work has been published in several fitness and fashion magazines.