The Double Life of Karen Hutton – Photographer and Voiceover Professional

Karen Hutton - Lit Up And Tilting

I enjoy sharing the work and wisdom of inspiring photographers that have expanded my horizons. Hopefully they can do the same for you. ~Andrew

The 411

Karen Hutton

Karen at Yosemite National Park

Name: Karen Hutton

Occupation: Voiceover Professional and Photographer

Location: California

Key links:


Andrew: I know you’re a busy woman, thank you for taking time for this interview.

Karen: Thanks Andrew! I really appreciate this opportunity.

Andrew: Let’s start with a basic one, what’s your favorite color?

Karen: There are certain shades of every color that I could swear are my favorite! It all depends on where and how they appear. COLOR. That’s my favorite!

Karen's Voice for "Stuck on Earth" iPad App

Andrew: In a few words, fill us in on who you are and what you do.

Karen: Well, in my current reality selection I do voiceovers professionally and I’m a photographer. I think the common ground is “story”, since both are ways of telling them.

In my voiceover realm, I’m the voice of the guide in Trey Ratcliff’s wonderful app “Stuck on Earth”… and I’m the primary voice that guides you where you want to go on MotionX-GPS Drive for the iPhone and iPad. (There must be something in there about telling people where to go. ;-)) I primarily do commercials, narrations and all sorts of VO in the tech world.

I’m also a photographer. That’s my passion, the thing that makes my heart happiest. I’d say it’s the closest thing to representing who I am… and is the thing I really, truly, can’t imagine NOT doing.

Andrew: How did your interest in photography start?

Karen: It must have started before I was born, since my mother’s side of the family has the most amazing pictures of themselves from the 1800’s in Norway!

Since Mom was always documenting EVERYTHING in our lives growing up, I don’t ever remember a time there wasn’t a camera around. But I got serious about it in junior college, when I wanted to be a professional photographer. I LOVED black and white work, and creating wonderful images both in the camera and in the darkroom. However, the chemicals ended that, since they made me sick.

After that, I always had a camera of some sort… but it wasn’t until 2009 that I got my first DSLR, some great lenses and returned to my homeland (of photography, that is.)… and learned it all over again, this time in the digital world. I also learned how to process photos.

Karen Hutton - She Left In A Hurry

Karen Hutton - Sphere Of The New AgeAndrew: How do you balance photography with your voice acting career?

Karen: Ha! That’s funny. I’m not sure I’ve really figured that out yet. It’s a constant juggling act.

I’d say that it’s been REALLY interesting discovering how they work synergistically together much more than I ever expected them to (although I suspected they might.) I even find they each improve the other in surprising ways. The way that photography springs from somewhere so deep and essential within me, where there are no compromises to be made, seems to free me up in VO. Photography seems to have given me more confidence and a sense of daring, ownership, freedom and fun that has breathed some fresh air into my voice work. On the other hand, the single minded focus/discipline of finding “the story” and working from “signature” as specifically as I have within my VO world helps me make better choices and really focus the vision within my photography. It’s helped me find the signature of my photo work. Which, of course, is evolving as I do. “Focused passion” is a remarkable thing.

It’s a happy marriage.

Andrew: In your opinion, what makes a good photograph?

… a good photograph […] has great composition to present  the moment, story, AND photographer’s view about it.

Karen: Well, that’s so subjective, isn’t it? My own personal opinion is that a good photograph captures a moment. Tells a story. And has great composition to present the moment, story, AND photographer’s view about it.

Andrew: What’s your favorite item in your camera bag?

Karen: Ummm, besides my camera itself? At the moment, probably my 70-200 f2.8 and 8-15 fisheye lens. Lately, they’ve been helping me tell some cool visual stories. HOWEVER… when I shoot big, sprawling landscapes I reach for my 17-40 wide angle. Karen Hutton - The Light Prevailed Andrew: Any advice for photographers just starting out?

Above all, I think that any artist needs to learn what makes him/her tick and what they truly love.

Karen: Depends on what you mean by ‘starting out’. If they’re really, truly new and just need to learn stuff… I’d say shoot a lot, learn your equipment and the technical aspects of your craft. But be smart about it. In voice, you can actually damage your voice if you practice incorrectly. If you shoot and shoot and get nothing but crappy pictures, I’m not sure what you’re accomplishing.

So I’d also say; look at a lot of photography. See what intrigues you, draws your eye, makes you gasp, stare, wonder, feel something. Feel deeply into what you love in a photograph, then see if you can figure out how others have managed to capture that. What composition did they choose? Learn as much about composition and what the basics are… then go try to perfect those. Maybe only one or two elements at a time. Like… go out a just shoot close up. Or… just shoot at ground level. Pick a focus and explore that for awhile, then pick another. Rinse and repeat. It’s a good discipline. Learn how to use your camera settings to help make the image you have in your head. Then once your comp starts working for you, go learn how processing can take it even further. Above all, I think that any artist needs to learn what makes him/her tick and what they truly love. I think too many people take other peoples’ advice over their own and start second guessing themselves to a detriment. But then, that’s often true in life, isn’t it?

Andrew: Thank you very much for your time!

Karen:You’re most welcome Andrew! Thank YOU for inviting me over!

And now… more stunning photos by Karen Hutton

Karen Hutton - Two Centuries

Karen Hutton - My Dune

Karen Hutton - Midnight In The Cavern

Karen Hutton - Donner Lake Fog 2

Karen Hutton - El Cap


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3 Responses to The Double Life of Karen Hutton – Photographer and Voiceover Professional

  1. Julie March 25, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Wow! Amazing shots! I think I’ve just found my new wallpaper:)

  2. A.Barlow March 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Another awesome interview sir. Good job. She has some amazing photos and I think it’s always cool to see photogs from my own state 🙂 Now, off to check out her site!

  3. Len Saltiel March 23, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    Another great find. I like listening to Karen’s voice on the app and now I can see her beautiful work too.

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