Meet Jen, a wedding and portrait photographer who shoots Canon with her right eye. She shoots in RAW using Aperture Priority or Manual modes. Her favorite actions are Kevin Kubota’s Chocolate Syrup, X-process combo (w/reduced opacity) and Proofz’s 1/4 warm.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
Photography was a hobby of mine and I was toying with the idea of making a career of it. I shot a handful of portraits and weddings for friends. The moment I booked a client that I didn’t already know, it was an affirmation that I had some talent for this. I knew I could have a successful photography business.
70-200mm @ 70mm, 1/500, f2.8
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Relax! I tend to be a worrier and perfectionist and it to gets the better of me sometimes. When I relax, things tend to work out. Stressing out doesn’t do any good!
What makes you different from everyone else?
With 2 little ones, I am stay at home mom who also happens to be a professional photographer. I love my job and do it because I have a love for creating. My style is my take on life–no one else’s. In addition to capturing raw emotions and moments in life, I really like to experiment and come up with artistically interesting shots. (Nothing is gained from taking the safe shot all the time!)
16-35mm @ 31mm, 1/250, f2.8
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
Jamie Delaine. I remember looking over her portfolio before meeting her for the first time a year ago. It really impressed me. Then I got to the ‘about me’ page of her site and noticed her age. I was like, “She’s 17?! She is definitely someone to watch.” I have followed her ever since.
20-40mm @ 40mm, 1/640, f4
One item you can’t live without?
Chocolate! I absolutely have to have some every day. It makes me happy 🙂
70-200mm @ 135mm, 1/100, f2.8
This couple was so fun to work with. I like the rows of store signs in the background. Even with the bokeh you can read ‘Lucky Gifts Jewelry’ (which was so appropriate for an engagement session!).
Why did you want to be included on The Bokeh Pot?
This is a great place to make yourself known to more photographers. I am always interested in learning about new photographers and hearing their stories.
Without a doubt, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. LONG book, and SO good. The long ones are the best in my opinion.
50mm, 1/500, f1.8
Hmmm…..what about favorite TV show? I am more of a TV gal myself: The Bachelor, Heroes, Lost, The HIlls, Grey’s Anatomy are a few of my favs.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere! Magazines, blogs, life. Even though I am not a big movie watcher, I find myself sometimes wanting to pause the movie and admire the composure of the shot. I find “pictures” all over the place.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
Myself, of course, but also the personalized service I give to my clients.
16-35mm @ 31mm, 1/250, f2.8
Do you use a second shooter?
For weddings, always.
How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
Email me! Tell me a little about yourself and include a link to your portfolio. I am all for photographers getting experience. That is how I learned so much at the beginning.
16-35mm @ 16mm, 1/50, f2.8
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
I am a member of the WPJA (Wedding Photojournalist Association).
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
I invested in a good camera, read a lot of books, took some classes and went for it. My husband has been my cheerleader from the get-go. I am so happy with my decision to change careers and have never looked back!
50mm, 1/250, f1.8
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Get as much experience 2nd shooting as possible while you have an income to support you. Network! The more people you know, the more opportunity to work, learn and grow.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
A lot of my business comes from referrals. I take time to strengthen the connections with my clients. I send out thank you cards when the book me, order from me (shown in my blog post here – http://www.jenschleicher.com/blog/?p=42), and a card for their one year anniversary. I fulfill my own print orders and wrap them myself with decorative paper and string before I send them out. It’s the little things that make them know I care.
16-35mm @ 29mm, 1/30, f11
Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)? If for, who have you had the most success with?
I think advertising is a good thing. It helps get your name out there and brings potential clients to your site. If you are going to spend money on an advertisement, take the time to do some research. Make sure the publication is the best fit and you are showing the best possible ad for your business. (I am in the process of doing this right now!) As far as free advertisement, I have had clients published in a local wedding magazine highlighting their wedding and my work, which was wonderful.
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Lunch at a yummy hole-in-the-wall restaurant (sushi maybe??), lots of sharing of ideas and experiences, and lots of laughter 🙂
20-40mm @ 40mm, 1/50, f2.8
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