Meet Jennifer Pinkerton of Jenni Marie Photography. Jenni focuses on weddings and portraits and her sister helps her with styling, shooting, and prop-handling. She’s a nikon girl and uses her left eye for shooting. She shoots RAW in manual mode and has just started dabbling with some of the Totally Rad Actions and MCP Actions. So far she really adores TRA’s LUX action and MCP’s SEVENTIES action.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
I was sitting on an airplane from Phoenix to Raleigh. My life was in pieces after some devastating transitions in my life and I had spent a therapeutic weekend with friends, shooting (almost non-stop) the whole time I was out west. I boarded the plane dreading my return to a boring reality but exhilarated by all the camera time. So I sat on the airplane and made a list of goals; deadlines for myself for the coming year. Almost all of them involved my camera, equipment to buy, and shoots to do. Five months later and I am on track (and ahead of schedule!) in my photographic goals for 2009-2010. Definitely evidence of God’s power in my life.
50mm, 800iso, 1/1250, f/1.8
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Its silly, but I think of Hillary Duff’s line in Cinderella Story: “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” I am most often challenged by a crippling fear. “I can’t do this!” or “I’m going to fail!” or “No one likes my pictures!” or “I’m not really a photographer!” But camera-in-hand is who I am. I can’t deny that. And even if I’m never a super star photographer, I can own my zip code and be the best Jenni Marie possible – falling or standing, succeeding or failing, living and learning. I’ve learned (or *cough* am STILL learning) that it doesn’t matter what other people think. If I’m happy, if I’m learning and growing, if I’m doing my best…then I can’t let someone else’s opinion stop me.
50mm, 400iso, 1/250, f/4.5
What makes you as a business person different from everyone else?
Goofiness! When I’m with my camera, I do the. stupidest. things. ever. so that my clients will laugh and I will get a genuine smile — none of this cheesy grin stuff. And the great part? It works! (Even if I do look ridiculous in the process.)
50mm, 200iso, 1/400, f/2.5
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
Up-and-coming? As in amazing-but-not-quite-world-famous? Kristen Leigh (kristenleigh.net). Except that she’s already fabulous, so maybe she’s already up-and-gone beyond the world of up-and-coming?
50mm, 1000iso, 1/1000, f/11
One item you can’t live without?
My running shoes. Me ‘n the pavement and the endorphins wipe out many a stressful day.
Your favorite bokeh image?
50mm, 250iso, 1/1250, f/1.8
I think this is my favorite. Emphasis on the hesitation in naming it my favorite. I love playing around with Bokeh — in fact, when I first stumbled across Bokeh Pot over a year ago, I had to go google a definition and try to figure out what in the world all these photographers were talking about – and then realized I was already doing it, even if I didn’t know the technical term! But in this image, we have bokeh on both sides of the focal point and, wow, that eye pops, eh?
Why did you want to be included on The Bokeh Pot?
Its super duper exciting for me to realize that there’s a network of talented, fabulous photographers outside of the mecca of California and NYC; and, hey, I want part of the fun!
50mm, 200iso, 1/2500, f/4.0
“The Harvester” by Gene Stratton Porter.Favorite movie?
Anne of Green Gables. Its amazing. Beautiful, funny, whimsical… and Anne Shirley is a little too much like me.
Favorite songs to work to?
I’m all over the spectrum. Christian to classical to jazz to country (in very small doses) to pop to musicals. See? Eclectic!
50mm, 1/320, f/2.5
Where do you find inspiration?
I have a blog roll of over 150 photographer blogs and wedding planning websites to read weekly and I have Vogue magazine, Anthropologie catalogue, and wedding mags to round out my reading list. Plus, everything I look at — and I do mean EVERYTHING — I’m evaluating for lighting, composition, and posing.
Aside from yourself, what do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
My sister. She listens to my crazy ideas, helps me implement the schemes, tells me when I’m insane, reminds me to dream big, and makes me laugh.
85mm, 800iso, 1/125, f/8.0
Do you use a second shooter?
Occasionally. Definitely try to have a second camera going at weddings, and sometimes I let aspiring photographers control one of my cameras and practice out their skills at a portrait shoot.
How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
Ask! The worst that could happen is I say no! 😛 (Cuz I definitely don’t bite. Promise.)
50mm, 125iso, 1/80, f/2.8
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
Wedding Wire named me Brides Choice 2010! I got the email and literally deleted it, thinking it was a scam or a “make everyone feel special” scheme. But it looks legit! =)
50mm, 200iso, 1/200, f/1.8
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
For me, “the leap” has meant viewing myself as a photographer and taking the associated risks. Don’t get me wrong — I am still light years away from being anywhere near where I want to be. But I had to overcome self-doubt, fear, and insecurities before I was willing to spend thousands of dollars on the computer, software, lenses, and camera body necessary to begin the transition from “loving photography” to “photographer,” from “laptop-and-Picasa” to “beastly computer and Photoshop.”
50mm, 500iso, f/100, f/8.0
Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)? If for, who have you had the most success with?
Word of mouth, word of mouth, word of mouth! Nothing says “wow” better than a happy client. Seriously. Nothing.
How do you go about networking with other wedding vendors?
I’ve attended wedding shows, emailed local folks, made friends at weddings.
50mm, 200iso, 1/125, f/1.8
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Ohmyword! So many things come to mind. Mostly facts and questions I’ve only very recently struggled with. But definitely surround yourself with a solid group of cheerleaders, people who will tell you the truth while still providing encouragement to keep improving and to keep plugging along. And don’t be afraid to fall. Use failing as a learning opportunity and make sure to keep on going.
24mm, 1600iso, 1/50, f/1.8
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
Nothing says “JenniMarie” better than a happy client. Nothing. In fact, add happy client with the viral epidemic of facebook, and big things can happen. Just saying.
What does an overview of your typical workflow look like?
1. Download to computer.
2. Cull images in Lightroom
3. Tweak exposure/blacks in lightroom then — as necessary — open in Photoshop for more detailed tweaks.
4. Add watermark to blog/facebook picks.
5. Upload web preview album for client.
50mm, 1000iso, 1/400, f/1.8
How do you stay organized?
Lists, lists, and more lists! I keep a notebook for shoot ideas and inspiration clips. Gmail is my bestest friend and keeps all my lists, bookmarks, emails perfectly organized. Sticky notes are my weakness. And – oh yeah – did I mention lists?!
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”
A couple photographers, their cameras, a couple models, and everyone’s creative genius working together to create some fabulous images. Throw in some coffee and a glowing sunset. Whew. Does life get any better than that?
50mm, 200iso, 1/1000, f/5.0
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