Wedding Week: Hi there, Dan DeWaard

Hi Dan. We are big fans. Can you tell us about your photography journey?

If you want the raw (pun intended) answer, it was because I was going through a hardship. In response, I found it therapeutic to take photos in my parents' woods. It started with pics of nature and wildlife, and over a few months, I fell in love with photography. Up to that point in my life, I had never considered myself artistic then I challenged myself by shooting simple items with the goal of making them interesting, until I learned the basic principles of photography. I am self-taught using YouTube and Kelby Training, in combination with trial and error. 
My studies of inanimate objects soon translated into sessions. I started with newborns, where the name Hatch originated. I began photographing families, like almost every new photographer, and then quickly added in high school seniors. The senior sessions instilled a passion for portrait photography.


All the while, I vowed never shoot weddings due to my struggles with social anxiety. About two years later, I accepted an offer to photograph my first wedding, and anxiety or not, I was off and running. Ten years later, I am honored to say I have been a part of more than a couple hundred weddings!


How would you describe your work and style? 

I believe that my specialty is my ability to connect with my clients; to get them to open up and relax in front of the camera. Being creative with a camera does not as natural for me until people step in front of my lens. It's then that my artistic side starts to engage, allowing the subjects to dictate and direct my creativity. I don’t want people to feel uncomfortable with me, especially as a photographer. So, I never ask or push my clients to that point just for the sake of creating an "epic" photo. One potential client requested that we find an "epic" location that had not yet been photographed. My immediate reply was that what makes a photo “epic” is not the location or event; it's the connection between two people… that unexplainable love… 
As for style, I consider it more journalistic infused with an editorial look; I am personally drawn to the film look. I believe, especially as a wedding photographer, that we are responsible for keeping images timeless. Therefore, I never push the post-processing too far to retain the colors and vibe of that day.


What do you love most about wedding photography?

I never thought I would shoot a wedding until I was asked. Selfishly, I wanted to try to overcome my anxiety. However, those fears and anxiety have turned into what I love about being a wedding photographerBehind the lens, I can tune out the crowd. I've shot in crowded places in downtown Seattle while laying on my back. I've traveled to places I wouldn't usually go. Not to mention meeting some fantastic people that I now call good friends! So I guess I love that I am conquering my fears while meeting new, amazing people!


What would you say to someone who is just starting out in the wedding industry?

I would ask them one question. Why? I believe that new and young photographers rush into weddings because of the perception of immediate success. But what they don't often realize are the intricacies of a wedding day and the heavy responsibility we have to capture one of the most important days of our clients' lives. 
I would suggest that if they have a passion for people and weddings, to be mentored by or work for an established wedding photographer for at least one full wedding season. Doing so will provide an opportunity to discover if they love the wedding day, and also learn about pricing, packaging, and other critical behind-the-scenes responsibilities; duties which are just as important as photographing the wedding. Spend quality time gaining real experience, as well as properly setting up the business. This way, when you snap your first wedding, you are giving the best of yourself to your clients. All this will provide a fabulous start to your hopefully long and successful career as a wedding photographer.



How do you stay balanced during a busy wedding season? 

Faith, Family, and Jameson… in that order! I trust that this is where God wants me to be right now, photographing people in love. I not only desire, but I need, the support of my wife and daughter. It's essential that I spend my free time with them as much as possible. And finally… yeah, make sure you have moments to relax, pour yourself a smooth one, and enjoy the life you have. But with all that said, it's pretty much just organized chaos during the wedding season.


What is the most rewarding part of shooting couples in love? 

Number one is knowing you are capturing something that not only they will cherish for the rest of their lives, but their kids, grandkids... it's generational. Being a part of creating memories that become more special as time goes on is pretty mind-blowing!


Dan DaWaard began Hatch with his beloved wife Tracy just over 10 years ago. Like most lifestyle photographers, he started out photographing families and babies (hence the business name, Hatch). He considers himself an introvert who transforms into an extrovert when behind a camera. 

Dan absolutely loves all the opportunities that stepping behind a camera has brought him. But what he cherishes most and what truly drives him is not only getting to meet new people, but also developing long-lasting relationships; all as a direct result of this business. 

See more of Dan's work at Hatch and follow him on Instagram.

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