The Reset Challenge: Interview with Misty Hart & Melissa Hill

Eleanor R.

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Today we are introducing a fun, new feature on our blog!  At the end of the Reset Conference, we told the attendees that we would be having a monthly photo contest & that the winners would be highlighted on the blog & at Reset 2015!!  Today, we are excited to showcase our first winners…Misty Hart & Melissa Hill who are the owners of H&H Photography.  (I love this duo. Big time.)

Website: hartandhillphotos.com …we are getting a new site yeah!!! Unfortunately that means most of it is under construction at the moment ugh!… lesson learned: we will be paying someone to do the entire site next time. Start to finish. Website building is NOT for me!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hart.and.Hill.Photography

Instagram: hhphotos

 

Our theme last month was “Reset.”  Describe what inspired you with your Reset portrait.

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This image is pretty personal to me and honestly it wasn’t taken for the sake of this project. My sister actually talked me into submitting it after I showed it to her. I was pretty hesitant at first because of how personal it is, but we talked it over and, with some encouragement from her and my husband, I decided to submit it.

To explain my reset moment I have to explain my image, and give a little background information, so bare with me.

This moment was captured on a Thursday evening, May 29, 2014.

The week this image was taken was one of my biggest reset moments. This particular moment was between two sisters, my grandmother and one of her older sisters, my great Aunt Maggie. My Aunt Maggie and her husband had just finished their 60th Wedding Anniversary dinner and came by my grandma’s room to tell her good night. My Grandma had a stroke about a year ago and was currently in a nursing home. Before My Grandma had the stroke her sister Maggie would call her every night around the same time to tell her goodnight. It was like clockwork; if you were with my grandma between 7:30 – 8:00 and the phone rang you knew who it was. It was always Aunt Maggie calling to tell grandma good night.  This image captured my Grandma getting her final goodnight from her big sister. This image was taken about an hour before my grandma passed away.

I learned a lot about life, love, and loss the week this image was taken. I was able to experience and capture my family’s last moments with my grandma. My grandma is not the first person that I was close to that I have lost. Unfortunately, I have had to say good-bye to a lot of wonderful people in my life and some of them I feel it was well before their time. So it wasn’t just the death of my grandma that drove my reset, it was the entire experience of the week that led to watching her loved ones saying their final goodbyes.

I know everyone thinks their grandma is amazing, but my grandma truly was an amazing woman…. THE RESET was seeing, and physically feeling, the unconditional love that everyone had for her. Watching and being able to capture these moments made me step back and really think about what is important. My Grandma was the most kind hearted, fun loving, and selfless person that I have ever met. She never met a stranger and always saw the best in everyone. I was cuddled up on my couch after her funeral looking through all of the images I had taken of her and our family the week she passed away and all I could think about was how I wanted to be more like her. My Grandma makes me want to be a better person, a better mom, daughter, sister and wife. She lived her life always looking for the positive in every situation ( I need to do that more often). I had a strong urge to make her proud and live my life more like she lived hers. I really felt that I wanted to change how I look at life. She was always so happy and full of life. She didn’t worry about the small stuff and she made do with what she had. The rat race that we all catch ourselves in these days wasn’t for her. She did her own thing and was happy with her life. She found her way around every obstacle life threw at her. She believed God had a reason for everything and let him handle the stuff that was out of her control. I want to be able to let go like she did. I want to learn that there is a reason for everything, and that it is ok to let go and have faith. I hold on to stuff and I have issues with letting go of control. I could go on and on about my grandma but for the sake of this project I believe the biggest thing that she taught me was the strength and love of family. Family was everything to her and it is time for me to rework, refigure, and reset my life to make sure I am the person I want to be; the wife, daughter and sister I want to be, and, most of all, the mother I want to be, and the mother my children deserve. I need to reset and make sure I am putting what’s most important in this life first… my family.

I need to reset and make sure I am engaged and entwined in their lives and not just present, because life is too short to miss any of it. They need, and they deserve, my full attention when I am with them. I need to learn balance for myself and for them

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What is your favorite type of photography?

I have two answers for this one. There are two of us in H&H so having two answers should be ok, right?

I personally love shooting my seniors.  I love the entire experience with helping them find the style they want for their session, to helping them pick their favorite images. I really love watching their confidence grow throughout the shoot, and then how excited they get to see their images in the camera after the session. Yes, I let my seniors look through my camera after we are done shooting. I also love the connection I make with my seniors. My sessions are pretty laid back and I always try to make the session feel like we are just hanging out like old friends while also getting work done. We do a lot of talking and joking around to get those real smiles, the ones that moms and grandmas love. I have no problem being myself around my seniors, and their moms or friends, and I typically walk away from a session feeling like I just made new friends.

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The other sessions I love are kid sessions. I shoot almost all kid sessions with my sister. This makes a huge difference in a kids shoot. We shoot all kids outside now and we let them be kids. We tried to shoot kids in our studio and I hated it! I mean hated it! I like the natural light of outside and, even more so, I like letting kids be kids. Studio shooting just wasn’t for me and once I figured that out I fell back in love with shooting kids. However, the reason why I enjoy shooting kids so much is because of my sister. She is amazing with the kids. I mean, I may get grass and sticks in my hair, bunny ears or funny noises yelled straight into my ear at a lot of sessions because of her, but it is all worth it in the end. I am able to capture the kid’s real smiles and personality because of her, and sometimes with very little effort on my part. We work very well together on these sessions and most of the time all I have to do is start a sentence explaining what I’m looking for and she understands and is making adjustments before I am even finished with my sentence. This makes a huge difference with kids because sometimes you only have a short window before kids are done and over it. Having an extra set of hands, and someone that doesn’t have a big scary black thing pointed at them, makes all the difference in the world. She is also pretty good at making nervous and/or irritated parents feel better when their kid might not be doing exactly what they are suppose to while I work with the kid without mom or dad yelling at them to smile the pretty smile not that fake smile (how many times have we all heard that one?). Melis is able to relax the kids and their parents in a way that most people don’t have the patience for, and it makes the overall experience enjoyable for everyone instead of stressful.

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What inspires you?

Not really sure how to answer this one. I’m not a real “deep” person. I’m not typically over emotional (unless I have too much caffeine) and I don’t over analyze stuff like this, I just do it. I can’t truthfully say my kids inspired me because, in all honesty, if they had a say they would tell me no more pictures mom. Photography, to me, is somewhat selfish. I do it, and I love it, for me. Being a mom and a wife isn’t always easy, and I felt like I lost touch with who I was for awhile. I needed something for myself so I could just be Misty sometimes. In all honesty I still look at it like this most of the time. When I get to go out on a shoot, or I get to sit behind my computer to edit, I can lose myself and I love that feeling. I had missed that feeling before we started H&H. When I was younger I could be locked up in my room, or outside at my parents’ house, all alone for hours with my sketchbook and music, drawing and writing. After college came kids, marriage, work, you know grownup stuff, and I felt like a piece of me was missing. So after my sister and I had talked about starting our own photography business for years (and I mean years and years) we finally did it, and now I have a legit reason to get lost in something I love again.

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Describe your typical day?

Before I can do this I think I need to give a little background on myself, and my sister, so my typical day will make sense. Melissa, my sister, and I split H&H responsibility. I do all the shooting and editing and she takes care of all of the business side (accounting, taxes, emails, scheduling and all the other no fun stuff of a business). It works out great because it fits our personalities right on. We also split another job. We both work part time for our father running his office.  Our dad has owned a general contracting company for 25+ years. It’s a family owned and operated company and when his office manager/accountant decided to retire Melissa and I decided we wanted to take the job over. So I quit my full time job to work part time for the family business so I would have more time at home with my kids.(this was all before we started H&H)…

Ok enough with the boring background….I don’t have a typical day. I have a typical week, but day to day you never know what is going to happen.  I work in my father’s office 3 days a week and the other two days a week I have my two girls and Melissa’s three girls at home with me. I watch her kids while she is at the office working and she watches mine once or twice a week while I am at the office working. The kids’ nap time and rest time is editing time or clean the house time, laundry time, whatever needs done time. Evenings change week to week. After the Reset conference Melis and I have been trying to reset how we scheduled our sessions. We loved the idea of Spanki Mills’ schedule. How she shoots one week and then has the other 3 weeks to edit and get ordering done and such. So we have started trying to schedule all of our sessions the first two weeks of the month and then use the other two weeks as editing weeks, and miscellaneous business weeks. So wow off course again…

A typical week (depending on where it falls within the month) is 3 days of getting dressed early and going into the office and 2 days of you can stay in your jammies as late as you want, swim time, sidewalk chalk time, trampoline time, time to swing, draw and color or just about anything else we can find to do outside. On rainy and cold days I am a big fan of jammie parties with movies and popcorn. I better throw in fights, bruises, band-aids, messes, lots of messes and tears too because when you have 5 girls, ages ranging from 2-8, you are going to have all of that and more. My evenings vary, we have gymnastics once a week, if it’s a shooting week we will be out shooting anywhere from 2-4 times a week, and on any free night we are at our CrossFit gym. Editing takes place anytime I have free time and need an escape throughout the week on shooting weeks. And on non shooting weeks I set specific times/evenings aside. These are typically the nights that I have had all 5 kids all day and need some me time. I do make time for my husband in there too.

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Favorite quote: I don’t have one, I have lots! I love quotes and have even painted a wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint so I could write random quotes on it.  However, this one is on a sticky note stuck to my computer screen right now so let’s go with it for now, and it kind of goes along with my reset moment.

 

“life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful” ~ Annett Funicello

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If you could photograph one famous person (Dead or Alive), who would it be?

I had to really think about this one because I had never thought about it before, but my answer is Marilyn Monroe! I would have loved to spend a few hours behind the camera shooting her. I think I would have had so much fun. I would have liked to do it in her era, though, sometime in the late 50’s.

 

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Favorite moment from the Reset Conference? The entire time Bobbi & Mike were on the stage. I mean really! I don’t remember the last time I had laughed so much while learning a ton at the same time.

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Misty & Melissa…you are both so incredibly talented & I consider myself a lucky girl to call both of you my friends.  It’s been so excited to watch your business take off & soar.  I’m inspired by your love for capturing life as it happens around you.  Much love to both of you!!

Eleanor R.
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