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Air Force artisans: Tech. Sgt. Honea

Tech. Sgt. Danielle Honea, 30th Operations Support Squadron flight chief of weapons and tactics, stands in front of samples of her photography, June 11, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As a business owner and wedding photographer, Honea starts her creative process by conversing with prospective clients in her small home office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Danielle Honea, 30th Operations Support Squadron flight chief of weapons and tactics, stands in front of samples of her photography, June 11, 2015, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. As a business owner and wedding photographer, Honea starts her creative process by conversing with prospective clients in her small home office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ian Dudley/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Editor's note: This will be an ongoing series highlighting the diverse talents and artistic passions of Vandenberg Airmen.

Many artisans start their craft by stretching canvas, mixing paints, kneading clay, or any other number of studio-like tasks.

As a business owner and wedding photographer, Tech. Sgt. Danielle Honea, 30th Operations Support Squadron flight chief of weapons and tactics, starts her creative process by conversing with prospective clients.

"No person is the same and no couple is the same," said Honea. "Some people are really awkward in front of the camera, so it's my job to make them feel comfortable and beautiful. I also get to make them look even more beautiful than they already are, with posing and telling them how to dress."

Honea practices other types of photography; however, wedding and engagement photos are always her favorite.

"I dabble in photography with flowers and taking macro shots, but people are my niche," said Honea. "I do wedding and portrait photography. I also do newborn and maternity. I am good with kids but I gravitate towards engagement and wedding shoots."

Her passion for capturing once in a lifetime moments between families and loved ones is the driving force behind her art.

"You get to be in these intimate settings with families and you are seeing this awesome thing unfold, and you get to document everything," said Honea. "You see the first kiss, you see mom crying, and it's just a phenomenal thing to be part of."
1st Lt. Britta Bigej, 30th Comptroller Squadron deputy budget officer, will soon be getting married; her wedding photographer of choice is Tech. Sgt. Honea.

"When my fiancé and I first met with Danielle, we fell in love with her and knew she was going to be a great fit. She is so personable and fun and sweet," said Bigej. "We were blown away by her dedication and customer service that we received from her."

Despite the challenges that Honea has faced with moving every few years and having to build up a new clientele at every duty station, the benefit of having comrades in arms to rely upon is no small thing.

"Being a fellow service member put her at the top of our list when researching photographers, because we knew we could trust her," said Bigej. "Plus it takes a certain type of person to be in the military, so we could immediately relate to her. With the military as her full time duty and photography on the side, I found it impressive that she could manage both so effectively."

Wedding photography, unlike many other disciplines, relies heavily upon working closely with people and creating a product that the customer is happy with.

Photography in essence becomes a small part of the actual process. Honea has adapted to learn the necessary skills for creating a viable way to continue her passion.

"Photography is an art and it's phenomenal, but I am also an entrepreneur and a business woman that I did not anticipate becoming when I first started photography," said Honea. "Filing taxes, making sure my website is correct and keeping track of contracts are challenges that I did not expect when I was pursuing photography as an art."

Owning a business can take a toll on a person, especially while being an Airman 24/7. In Honea's case however, her photography refreshes her, leaving her energized for the coming week. 

"It definitely enhances my work, I come back from shooting and I had a great experience and am revitalized and motivated for the work week," said Honea.

Now that Honea has been working as wedding photographer for several years, she would like to start teaching some of the skills she has learned to new photographers.

"I really like teaching people and would like to start some workshops," said Honea. "I think a rising tide raises all ships. You can teach a myriad of things and every individual is going to have a niche that they fill."