Hastain Davis Studios

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Hastain Davis Studios

Website: hastaindavis.com

Enjoy our interview with Greg Hastain and Frances Davis, a Portland based couple, who find romance and inspiration in the complexity of life and love, including the funny, weird, and beautiful moments that come along with it.

Tell us about yourself! 

We’re kind of a dynamic duo! We are crazy in love with each other and crazy in love with making art together. It is really amazing that we have had the opportunity to work together for so long and to have it be so rewarding the whole way through. We are constantly pushing each other to improve our skills but we are never in competition with one another. On a wedding day we truly share the space and work as two primary photographers and we take turns assisting one another.

What makes your business unique, different or special?

We are artists, we work in a lot of different mediums and we are open to a lot of different visions of beauty. I think it is our artistic vision that makes us unique. I don’t want to just see a bride or groom on their wedding day… I want to see the whole person and really understand them and capture that on wedding day.

Weddings are about tradition but for us it is all about capturing personalities and relationships and not so much about just documenting the events of the day. We don’t judge people or try to make them fit into a box. We have such a wide range of clients from sexy vixens to awkward but cute couples and we really embrace all those differences in our work. We aren’t afraid to push our own boundaries and we give ourselves permission to make things as we go.

‘Shoot first ask questions later’ is our motto. You never know when something amazing is going to happen so we don’t second guess ourselves and just take chances when we click the shutter. Every wedding we photograph is an amazing opportunity to create something magical and we are so hyped for every single one we photograph.

How do you support your lifestyle when you have less weddings than expected for the year?

We also do commercial photography through our other brand Mad Fizzy.

If you had one piece of advice for couples looking for a wedding photographer, what would it be?

Think about what kinds of photos you want to have hanging on your walls at home. It is different for everyone.. some people want epic portraits in front of vast landscapes and others want photographs that show all of their family laughing together.

Look at lots of different photographers work and try to see if what they show in their portfolios matches what your values are. Also always ask to see full client galleries so you can really get a good idea for what a photographer delivers from different parts of wedding day.

If you weren’t shooting weddings, what would you be doing for work?

We would most likely be shooting events, or doing work for brands…. but that answer feels kind of boring. In an alternate reality Greg would be creating reclaimed furniture and sanding drift wood sculptures and Frances would be dancing and teaching Yoga and maybe selling jewelry or collages on the side 🙂

What do you think makes a photograph good?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We see beauty in so many strange places. I think we are most attracted to personalities and feel like that is the part of people that makes them beautiful. Photographs that really hold a lot of emotion and tell a story about the personality of a person, place or thing tend to be the good ones in our opinion.

What is a business mistake you made?

In the beginning we didn’t do the best job of keeping records. We use 17Hats now and absolutely love it. Understanding where your money is coming from and where it is going is such a game changer for anyone who is a creative professional. Most of us are in this business to make amazing photos but keeping track of the books is crucial if you want to keep making great art.

What do you think makes an image award winning?

I love camera tricks. I get really excited when I see someone create something fresh using new tools or a new lighting technique. The industry is changing so quickly with new technology coming out all the time. It is amazing how much the tools of the trade push the direction of the art form. Although beyond something being technically executed on an epic level I think a lot of award winning images just pull at our most basic human heart strings. Sometimes I feel like it is the moment winning the award more than the photo.

Of course being in the right place at the right time with your camera set and ready to capture is a huge part of being a great wedding photographer but it is the people and the moments that make it a win. I truly feel like some of our award winning photos happened because our clients are so candid with us and don’t hold anything back. Intense emotions, vulnerability and inhibition are what people connect with most.

Do you have advice for new photographers?

Take photos! Take lots and lots of photos…. and then take more photos. Being a photographer is a journey. You will never arrive at a place where you are done learning or done making mistakes! There are always new things to try so I think its important to just have fun, not take things too seriously and shoot your way through it all. If you can’t take a good photo… take a bad photo and just keep on moving.

Photography is about understanding tools… the business of photography is about understanding people. You can be an incredible photographer but if you can’t work well with others and treat the people you photograph with respect you won’t get very far in this business. Almost everything is a collaboration on some level. Sometimes you are working to make your vision come to life and you need your clients or assistants to help you make it happen.

Or it is the other way around and you are making your clients vision come to life so you need to really listen and try to understand what they want. It is important to remain humble and realize that it is always a team effort. Show love to anyone that helps you make something magical happen.

What’s something people need to understand about photography? 

Most photographic techniques and the principals of light are fairly simple to understand. I think the numbers and settings can sometimes scare people who are just starting off but once you get the hang of it its like riding a bike and you never forget how to make something happen in camera. The really amazing epic part of photography is how you as the photographer choose to capture the world. We choose what we put inside of the four walls of the frame and when we push the shutter. We get to pluck a slice of time out of a never ending stream of events.
Its simple but it is so deep and so complex to know just when to push the shutter and create something. The impact that our choices have on the way people remember things can be fairly profound. We are literally making memories while we shoot. Creating memories for people makes our wedding photography practice feel very spiritual.


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West Coast Wedding Awards is an awards program for photographers residing on the west coast of Canada and USA.


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