Jordan Hefler – People to Watch 2017

Editor’s note: This story has been altered since publication for clarity.


Jordan Hefler’s world is bathed in color: a warm, ’60s-inspired palette of vivid goldenrod, bright aquamarine, rosy peach. The 24-year-old photographer caught the spark as a child shooting stop-motion shorts of her Barbie dolls. Now, with a degree in fine arts from LSU, she’s struck out on her own with the launch of Jordan Hefler Photography. Her photography style, infused with a love of old-school rock ’n’ roll, has caught the eye of national publications like Tune Collective and of Good Dye Young, the hair dye company launched by Hayley Williams of the rock band Paramore, who’s tapped Hefler to shoot merchandise in the coming year. Hefler says 2017 will be the year to grow and define her brand into a full-scale business, with more shoots of all kinds, from portraits to live concerts. jordanhefler.com

Click the thumbnails below to enlarge each photo in the gallery:

On nailing her concert shots:

“It definitely helps that I have a music background, and I tend to shoot acts that I listen to. It’s easier to shoot when I can preempt with what lights are going to do with the music. If I know what’s coming up, I can preempt it—’Oh, he’s gonna jump.’”

On laid-back portrait shoots:

“I love it when someone comes along who has a different idea. They don’t want something that’s based off Pinterest, they don’t want to emulate so-and-so’s picture. They just trust me. I can be like, ‘OK, lighting’s good over here,’ and it can be a crappy gas station parking lot, but if the light’s nice and they trust me, we’ll make it work. … I do a lot of portraits, but my favorite kinds are the ones that you don’t even feel like you’re working. It’s just like we’re hanging out.”

How social media helped her get discovered:

“I got to shoot Vans Warped Tour in New Orleans [for music site Tune Fix], and I was posting the pictures on Instagram, and someone from Vans Warped Tour contacted me and said, ‘We want you to do freelance graphic design.’”

Where she gets her signature vintage style:

“My senior thesis in college was transferring old slide film from the ’60s from my grandma into Polaroids, and then I was boiling them and doing emulsion lifts. I was really just drawn to the coloring, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, I think … family photos [are] what I’ve used for inspiration in how I edit things and how I see things. So I think I’m just supposed to be born in a different time.”


Take a killer Instagram photo

1. Make sure your lens is clean—handling your phone all day can cause greasy smudges that make your photos blurry.

2. Shoot big, crop later. When in doubt, get everything in the frame and trim your photo afterward for ideal composition.

3. Don’t be afraid to use more than one app. Hefler often uses A Color Story and VSCO to edit her photos before posting them to Instagram.

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.