Angela Hatch Photography {E&C Feature Post}

1:30 AM Elephant & Chick 0 Comments

Earlier this summer my sisters and I threw the party of the half-a-century (apparently there's not an official word for that) for our mom to celebrate her 50th birthday!  To see the details of the party, you can read Robyn's post on it here.  Today, however, I'm excited to tell you a little more about the woman who photographed the event and my dear childhood friend, Angela Hatch of Angela Hatch Photography.  Angela has been taking pictures for as long as I can remember, but has turned the hobby in to a business in recent years.  She specializes in documentary photography, which was a new concept to me before talking to her about it, as I'm sure it is to some of you.  Below she shares some of her wisdom of the trade.  Hopefully there are a few tips or tricks in there that will benefit the pictures you take of your life and family! 

“Say cheeeeeeseeee” said every mom ever throughout all of history.  I bet Cleopatra’s mom even said,  "Say cheese honey. The painter is almost done, just 1 more hour.”

We are programed from a young age to pose for pictures, to smile for pictures, and to only take pictures of BIG life events.  Let’s talk about those BIG life events.  You know what they are:

First Day of School
Disneyland trip
Date night
Graduating from High School

Now let’s not get crazy, of course these are all important moments and they should most definitely be documented.

One day, as my husband and I were out to dinner, and I was making him take yet another close up selfie of us, he asked, "Why are we taking another picture right now? All of our pictures look the same. You can’t even tell where we are.” And he was 100% right.  All of our photos had turned into close up selfies.  It’s hard to take pictures of yourself when no one else is around!  But I really liked having pictures of us when we went out to do something.

Thus, the close up selfie.  Wouldn’t it be great if it didn’t have to be a BIG life event or a close up selfie, and you could remember your life in a cooler and more real way?

And this is where documentary photography comes in to play.  Angela documents the "real life moments" of her clients.  Lucky for us, she's sharing some things we can do ourselves to document these moments:

4 types of moments that you deep down actually want pictures of and tips on how to capture them:

1.       The Non-Lame Selfie
Do you think that selfies are completely lame and self-centered?  Depends. Duck face selfies? Super lame.  Selfies that show you and your real life? Not lame at all.  Is it self-centered to want proof that you existed?  To see how you’ve changed over the years?  To be able to look back and see yourself with friends and remember all the good times you’ve had in your life?  Of course not!!!  Now let’s not have you start posting duck faces. Just make sure you get photos of yourself so that you can remember your life in 20 years.

Let’s talk strategy: How to get way better selfies that show the real you.
     a.  Use a self timer:  When it’s just you, the best way is to use the self-timer on your camera. This is an easy setting that shouldn’t be too hard to figure out how to set. Once you do, make sure it’s on a surface where it won’t wiggle (tripod or somewhere secure) and then set it and go do your thing. You can take pictures of you with your pets, your kids, or just you all by yourself.
     b.  Get a “trigger:  Now this one is a little fancier. You can get a “trigger” for your camera and use it in your hand to take the picture when you want.  Some cameras have wi-fi and even have an app that you can download onto your phone and then your phone has a button to push that allows you to take the picture when you want.
     c.  Teach your husband to take pictures of you:  I know this is probably the most difficult of the 3, but I am currently in the process of teaching my husband to take pictures of me, and I know that the road may be long, but that I will love it in the end.  If you have patience and a loving soul, you could do this last one.  
Above is an example of a self portrait that my husband took
2.       Messes, and shoes, and food, oh my!
What makes up each of our lives?  The details!

How we wear our hair
Food we like to eat
Decorations on our wall
Clothes we like to wear

Those are the small things that make up our everyday lives.  To remember who you are now, you need to document your likes, dislikes, and your atmosphere.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to learn what details you should be taking pictures of:

What is my favorite outfit?

Where is my house the messiest and why?
Am I taking medicine for any reason?
What is the hardest thing in my life currently?
Quirks of my spouse – which ones do I want to remember?
What is my kid’s favorite dinner dish?

3.       Can you feel the love tonight?
Or do all of the photos you have with your spouse look like this?
Yeah, I feel ya.  Those are NOT what your relationship if like, is it?  Is it more like this?

You go bowling once a month at the ghetto place down the street.
Laugh when he is in the kitchen cooking and singing Josh Groban.
Cuddle in bed and watch Seinfeld on your ipad.
Come home after work and watch the newest redbox because you’re both exhausted.
Put your legs on him while you recline on the couch and tell him all about your day.
Cry together after finding out that again, you aren’t pregnant.

THAT’s a relationship.  Not some smiley close-up pictures that show nothing about your life except for in that one second you were smiling.  That’s why social media is so hard sometimes.  All you see are the smiley happy-go-lucky moments. They’re not a reflection of really what your relationship is like.

Relationships can go from:“I-am-so-twitterpated-I-could-die" to“You-need-to-leave-the-room-before-I-punch-a-wall” in 10 seconds flat.  You can have highs and lows and that ALL of it brings you closer together and can strengthen your relationship.  Deepening it and making it stronger than ever.  That’s the beautiful thing about marriage.

There are a couple of ways to get these photos:
     a.  Self timer or trigger:  Again, these can be helpful and the more you practice with them, the more you will get better at achieving these.
     b.  Ask someone you know to take the picture for you:  This is more difficult because there may not be someone in the very moment that you want that picture.
     c.  Train your dog to take the pictures for you:  Just making sure you were paying attention. If you can train your dog to take pictures, you can make millions. I am officially jealous.
     d.  Hire a photographer to document those moments for you:  Yes, yes, you can do it yourself, but it’s a lot easier and more relaxing to hire someone to do it for you. Right? Right.
4.       Perfection is Booooooring

Have you ever watched the Stepford Wives?  The whole creepiness of that movie is that all the women are basically robots. Yuck. No personality, no differences, just all the same in their perfect hair and freshly pressed clothes.  Feeling that you need to be a Stepford Wife is exhausting: Decorating the perfect house, wearing trendy clothes every moment of every day, not allowing a smelly garbage disposal to show up in your house, buying the dog that never poops in the house, sniffing your nose at having a pile of laundry end up on the floor in the hallway.

You’re not alone in feeling this need to be perfect, especially when it comes to housework.  It’s hard to not feel like you only want to show the most perfect sides of you to people.  A constant struggle for me is that I am not a great house keeper. My husband does way more laundry and dishes than I do. Sometimes, if he even just makes a light-hearted comment about it, I get defensive and snippity.  It is so easy to get stuck in that place of sensitivity and inadequacy.  Feeling like you’re not living up to some secret society expectation of who you should be.  Guess what?  WHO CARES??  Who cares if you’re the best house keeper or your hair is always done or your dinners are gourmet style food?  You have strengths and weaknesses, and if your weaknesses happen to be housecleaning or cooking, IT’S OK.

Capturing the mess is sometimes amazing.  Don't you love that picture of your friend's child that has thrown flour all over the house? It's real and hilarious!  Getting stuck in "perfection" mode is lame. You are amazing just the way you are NOW. Mess and all. 

Above are examples of capturing the mess
Tips on capturing the mess:
     a.  Think of what story you are trying to tell with your mess:  Are you always shoving clothes in the one corner of your bedroom? It will probably make more sense if you see more of the room so that you remember where that was.
     b.  Don’t feel like you have to clean up the mess before taking a picture of your kids, pets, or husband:  It’s real life. Embrace it.
     c.  Become observant of your habits and tendencies:  Do you leave your laptop on the right arm rest of the couch every day? That makes you, you. Capture it.
Now that you know what moments and memories you should take pictures of, DO IT!  Don’t just take pictures of those BIG life moments.  Make sure to be able to show people in 20 years what your life was really like today.  Emotion, mess, and the little things make you YOU.  Now get out there and don’t miss these unforgettable moments!


Learn more on her website.