Robert is a  native of Hampton Roads, Virginia and truly enjoys the seven cities. It is here that he has made a life for himself and his family. Breaking the “thirty-is-the-new-twenty” mark several years ago lead him to realize a few things. The first is that thirty years passed by in the blink of an eye, and for most of that time he was earning an income that did not allow for much family time. Then, in 2012 ,his father passed away much too early.

So, he decided to do the very best that he could for my family. He left the corporate world where he managed pharmaceutical companies, what else would he do with two degrees, and continued to do the three things he enjoyed best in this world: spend time with my family, teach karate and develop self confidence in my students, and photograph families at play, both in happiness and sorrow, with the eye of a historian.

Of course this did not all happen at once. He didn’t just become a photographer anymore than he magically became a Black belt. Instead, he had been practicing these arts, which would become his livelihood, for many years.

He has been practicing the martial arts for years studying traditional styles. His Black Belt was earned in 2000 in Tae Kwon Do. He enjoys teaching and wound up as an instructor at the Family Martial Arts Center in Virginia Beach, Va. in 2011. Here he learned and teaches the art of Kenpo Karate from Master Jim Bacon. This is very important, not just the fact that Jim “BACON” and Robert “HAMM” have similar last names, but this partnership would catapult his budding photography business because a martial art dojo is the perfect place to engage in portrait photography.

Speaking of photography, he started taking pictures of weddings in 2001 for his fellow soldiers. It all made sense to him in because he had studied photography in high school and always kept a camera handy, namely his Canon T-70, which a very good friend gave him. So, it began. One of his soldiers lamented the fact that his wedding photographer cost so much. He jokingly told him that he would do it for him for free if he provided a digital camera of his choosing to use. Yes, he had to buy a camera, but he got to keep it at the end, and he was happy about that. The camera purchased was a FUJI S series, nothing too shabby for the time but not great either. I took the photos and they came out great (at the time he thought they were great and so did my friend. In truth, they were just good enough, but he didn’t know that yet. He would develop his eye for family and wedding photography over the next decade). That year he photographed fifteen weddings. It was awesome.

That’s how it began so many years ago, karate and photography. As he grew and matured and attended college, he realized that he could organize these two passions and support himself someday. But “someday” was never today. Instead, “someday” stayed on the horizon until 2011. It was then that he began thinking about building a photography business while developing the outreach of the Family Martial Arts Center.

This brings us up to the present. He help manage a martial arts school, with the hopes of owning his own school one day while building a growing photography business. Many times he shoot portraits during the day in the dojo, as he has all his studio backdrops and equipment there, and then teach the art of self defense in the evening.

For more information about Robert Hamm Photography, please visit his website at

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