Lisa is a photographer and videographer based in the Shenandoah Valley. She is a friend of Washington City and attends the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren in Virginia. Recently, Lisa photographed the natural phenomenon, NEOWISE Comet, discovered by astronomers in March 2020. View Lisa’s photographs and read about her process below.
To learn more about Lisa and her many projects, visit her website: https://www.lisahouffphotography.com
When did you first start creating?
When I was a high school teenager
Describe how your spirituality connects with your creative process?
I started out photographing nature when I was on a Christian weekend retreat. There were breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, so I printed them at the local corner drug store when I returned home and turned them into miniature posters with Scripture quotes as captions and hung them on my bedroom wall. Nature photography for me has always been about honoring and worshipping God’s creation.
When I started photographing people about 20 years ago, my focus shifted to lifting people’s self perceptions, particularly women, who are hardwired to be extremely critical of themselves. I infuse spirituality into my work, whether it’s photographing a sunrise, the stars, or a woman’s face by seeing all subjects as beautiful creations by God.
WHY do you create?
I create to affect people’s lives in a positive way whereas they see themselves in a better light (no pun intended). When a woman walks out of a photo session feeling better about herself than when she arrived, I’ve done my job and can bask in the glow of knowing that my photography helped make someone’s day. I love to help people feel blessed and to bolster their self esteem, which begins with loving images of themselves. Portraiture is a wonderful part of one’s transformational journey.
How has the pandemic (if at all) affected your creative process?
The pandemic has had a huge affect on my creative process. When I had to shut down my business a year ago, I didn’t hide under a rock and give up. Well, maybe I did for a few days, but then I began thinking of ways to pivot and see how I could create in other ways to benefit others.
I had some success with FaceTime photoshoots — yes, they’re a thing! Technology was on my side to photograph people who needed a quick headshot to apply for new jobs online even if they lived 2 hours away! It was a fun diversion for a while.
I also love to do graphic design, so I reached out to a woman I know who runs a small business and I asked if she would like some help with her marketing using pretty visual content. We embarked on a project to create a lovely Facebook Cover page for her that featured some of my nature photos and other design elements to help illustrate her business.
For another project, I posted a video invitation on social media encouraging people to create signs of inspiration and hope and send me photos and videos of them holding their signs. It was a super fun project that uplifted a lot of people. That video can be viewed here.
Another way I pivoted was to look UP. With the NEOWISE Comet being visible in the U.S. in July 2020, I spent many hours outside at night and took hundreds of photos of the breathtaking comet and stars through the whole month. I turned those images into two projects:
1) an informational video about the comet, which some people have told me they have made part of their meditation practice. It is set to calming music and is quite peaceful to watch. It can be viewed on my YouTube channel here.
2) Since I had so many photos of the comet, a little voice whispered to me one day to create a children’s book about the comet, so I did. It’s geared toward preschool and early elementary aged children, and I still have a bunch if you’re interested in acquiring one. The promotional video for the book is here.
The pandemic certainly was a time to think outside the box! I’ve been impressed with the creative ways people have navigated these tough times. Art encompasses many kinds of creativity, and it is such a crucial and impactful method of survival and connection.