THE HAPPY FILM COMPANY - BIG DREAMS
the Happy Film Company was born on the beaches of Maui, Hawaii. I was working at a portrait & wedding studio in Wailuku, Maui from 2013-2014 and I spent every evening sitting in the Kihei Starbucks building the Happy Film Company. On my weekends I laid underneath palm trees reading business books and photographed families on the beach to test out my photography techniques and see what it was like working with clients.
My dream was the create a family portrait photography business that focused on capture real memories that made people feel genuinely happy. I was tired of family pictures that were forced, staged, overly-posed, too-perfect, random. I wanted to create a photography business for families who longed for pictures that were simple, laid-back and natural, that prioritized genuine laughter (and emotions) over perfect smiles, and who wanted to be playful and goofy.
My vision was to create a genuinely happy company - happy photos, happy families, happy employees. Happiness is my #1 priority in my personal life and in my business and I want every single client who steps in front of our camera to leave feeling a boost in their happiness. When I moved home to Seattle in April 2014, I hit the ground running and officially launch the Happy Film Company - Seattle's happiest family portrait photography company.
SOLVING FAMILY PHOTO PROBLEMS SINCE 2013
When I was creating the Happy Film Company, I interviewed all my friends who were parents. How often is your family photographed? Why not more often? What is your biggest challenge with family portraits? I took their answers and crafted a business that would solve these problems.
1) Family portraits are too expensive.
We keep our prices as low as possible for clients because we believe every family deserves photos. We also offer many opportunities for mini-photo shoots and discounts throughout the year.
2) It's too difficult to find time in our schedule that matches with photographer's availability.
We are a team of photographers sharing the shoot-load. So when you book your shoot you tell us three dates that work for you and we match it up with our calendar. We usually have 3 photographers on the team so the chances of at least one of our photographers being available is always very high. Availability is only limited around the busy holiday season (Oct-Dec) and even then we have way more availability that most other photography businesses. We often have the opportunity to save the day when emergencies come up with other photographers and they can send their clients our way last minute.
3) Family portraits are boring, stressful, awkward or too posed.
Here's our secret sauce: seasonal adventures! Every three months we release a new list of seasonally themed photo shoot activities (Tulip Fields, Ferry Boat Rides, Fingerpainting, Flying Kits, Raspberry Picking, Pumpkin Patch, Christmas Tree Farms, Baking Cookies etc...). We recommend choosing an activity that fits with your family's personalities and interests. Adventures are not required but they do help kids feel happy and stay engaged, parents feel relaxed in front of the camera and photographers feel creative and think outside the box. The more excited you get about your adventure, the more customized, personal and fun your family photo shoot will be.
4) It's annoying to ask for pricing and email back and forth to book our family photo shoot.
We've set up an online shop so families can see all of our prices and book their photo shoots immediately through out website at their convenience. There's no waiting for quotes or emails. You just add your shoot to your shopping cart and checkout. We'll send you a confirmation email within 24hrs (or by Monday afternoon if you book on the weekend) and voila - easy peasy you're on our calendar.
5) Photographers are awkward and I never know what they want me to do.
I have very high standards for the photographers that work at the Happy Film Company. Personality comes first. They have to be very outgoing, love working with kids, go-with-the-flow creative types. They have to know how to deal with screaming children, manage shoots in torrential downpours in the winter, responsibly communicate with clients, reliably deliver photos quickly at top quality, and always be excited to learn and improve. Every single one of our photographers is hand-picked and personally trained by me before they start working with our clients. Whoever you work with, you'll notice we all have very similar positive personalities, we give you lots of instructions and creative ideas, and we're very patient with children. We truly want you to become our friends so we have 0% tolerance for awkwardness. Prepare yourself because when you meet us, we'll jump right in there and give you a big hug. ;)
This first shoot was at Waihee Beach Park and it was extra special because before her shoot, Maile shared with me that her family waas going through a rough time and she wanted the video and the pictures to capture the 'happy times' with her children so they can have something to remind them that everything is going to be OK.
This blog post features the photos and videos from the Happy Film Company's very first family photo shoots - taken on various beaches around Maui, Hawaii! It took us three weeks and 7.5hrs of editing work to produce these first shoots. I was totally worried that I hadn't captured enough video footage and that I'd spent too much time recording little feet running in the sand and not enough smiley faces at the camera. I was all stressed about so many little things and it was just the beginning of many lessons learned the hardway. These days we create family films in 1hr or less and we have a dedicated video editor on staff (so production is extra fast). Easy peasy - we got our systems down pat!
Thank you to all these first families for trusting us right at the beginning when we were launching our business. I hope you are flooded with happy memories when you look at your images and watch your film! - Chamonix & tHFC Ladies
The Sadlier family were tHFC Clients #2! We took pictures at Sugar Beach and the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk. While we were taking photos, Toni and Isaiah told me about their love story. They've known each other since they were in 5th grade! Little Miss. Rosalyn was so sweet throughout our entire shoot, only crying once because she couldn't live another moment without a Triscuit.
When I met the Williams Family at Keawakapu Beach in South Kihei, Maui for their family portrait session their sons were full of energy!! I was still learning how to make family videos and my strategy at the time was to tell the kids to play and I would just chase them around with my camera rollin'. Crazy town! We still chase kids around but these days we've got a much clearer idea on how to direct families while filming so they aren't stiff in boring poses and they aren't running around out of control either. haha!