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Moving On..

Jenn01a.jpg“Wisdom comes from embracing contrasting experiences.  Lucky breaks and pounding the pavement.  A winning streak and a dark night of the soul.  Selling out and taking a stand.  Wanting it all and walking away.” -Danielle LaPorte
 
Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I am NOT a risk taker.  I am a very deliberate person.  I don’t gamble with my security.  I make choices based on all the possible outcomes.  I don’t throw caution to the wind.  I prefer to be sure.

9 years ago I launched my photography business with the intention of making it a full time job “eventually.”  At the beginning I absolutely could not have survived on photography alone, but I was fortunate and that changed quickly. 

Between loyalty to my employers, fear of taking a risk and the comfort of complacency.. I hung on and did both jobs for 9 years.  I could always find a reason to stay.  Some times I would start work at 7am and not stop till after midnight.  I was late for everything, I missed every special event and I cancelled more plans than I kept.  I made promises I couldn’t keep, I backed out of commitments and I lost contact with people I truly enjoyed because I couldn’t nurture any relationships.   

In August of last year I had an epiphany on a random Monday evening.  I was flying back from shooting a wedding in Kelowna.  I sat with a man who owned 15 locations of a popular restaurant chain.  He asked me questions about my business.  Those really tough, surprising questions that throw you off balance.  Right before we parted ways he said to me “I am going to give you some advice.  You will never grow your business past the point it is, if you continue to split your priorities.  It is clear to me you are good at everything you do.  BUT be careful what you are good at, you could end up doing it for years.  You lose nothing by taking a chance on yourself but if you don’t try, you may as well get comfortable being mediocre because that is all you will ever be.  No offense.”

And so I began the long progression of walking away from my “day job.”  I did not leave quickly.  I backed out slowly, looked both ways, stop a few times and even contemplated staying put.  In the end I made the choice to let go and yesturday I said goodbye to my retail management career after 17 years.  I will always be grateful.  It gave me so much “know how” and business experience.  I was able to explore Marketing, HR, Admin and Planning and Developement.  It allowed me to meet some of the  best people I have ever encounteted, as well as some of the worst.  I can problem solve my way out of anything and as of now, as of today, I can let something go that isn’t working for me anymore. 

I thought I would be scared.  I thought I would feel a little lost.  But today, I just feel sure.
 
 
 

Style: I am going to do what I want.

STYLEa distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.

One of the most interesting things about photography is Style.  Experts all agree that you should always protect your brand by producing “your own style” of work.  Almost any successful photographer has said some variations of “I want clients that want me for my own style, not some one else’s.”  I have happily turned down business when someone has asked me to do something that I didnt feel confident doing because it wasn’t my style.

I am a big believer that having a defined style breeds consistency for customers.  They know what they are getting because while the subjects may change, there is always a look to your work, that they can count on. 

I believe all of this whole heartedly but here is a little truth:  Sometimes we play.  Sometimes we explore and sometimes we venture outside our style box to see what else we are capable of.  Sometimes we try new things simply to reafirm that our own style is exactly where we want to be and other times we do it simply because we can.   Here is a second truth, although we often feel that the industry limits us, we actually don’t always need to be just one thing.

Here is a photo that is closest to what I consider to be “my style:”  In that sense that the majority of my works looks similar to this over the last few years.

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Here I went very trendy and played with the FILM INSPIRED style that is everywhere in popular photography.  I am really drawn to it on a more artistic platform. 

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Finally I went dramatic.  Big skies, Big colors, Big drama.  Here I went with something where every peice of the photo is loud and striking.  This photo is designed to be seen.

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So my question is.. what did you find the most appealing?  Strictly for curiosity sake because obviously I am going to do what I want.

Who Am I Now..

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Many years ago I wrote 100 facts about myself.  .. and they were good.  They were the nitty gritty about what I was all about.  I talked about the places I had been in life, my motivations, my dreams and everything in between.

I am not going to do that today. 

I am going to write 12 …which seems like a tall order as I sit here starting at a blank screen feeling a little like I should just go back to bed. 

1. I am 36 years old and for the last 4 years I have lived in Edmonton AB, Canada.  I grew up in the Okanagan and although I have learned to adjust to the subzero weather around here… every now and then I get hit with a pretty severe case of “homesickness.”

2. I am married to an amazing man.  When I make a list of all the reasons I married him, right there on top is his on-point karaoke rendition of Baby-Got-Back.  And the fact that he is intelligent, good looking, always has my back and believes in me no matter what. 

3. I am a Mom to a dog.  Her name is Hayley and she is basically the best thing I have ever done with my life.  She is a rescue that had a number of families before she came to us.  When we first got her she couldn’t even go for a walk … if she couldn’t see her house we had to go back home.  Now she RUNS the place. 

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4. I would quit life to play soccer.  This is nothing new.  Soccer shaped me.  No matter what I have gone through in life soccer has always been the place I could go where I could just be.  I learned discipline, hard work, confidence, value, humility and co-operation on the field.  I learned to challenge myself to go for things bigger than myself and how to fail with grace. 

5. I hate corn, eggnog and coffee.  Complete all encompassing hate.  One time I was in a Starbucks and the barista gave me coffee instead of tea.  I took a big gulp and when I realized what was in my mouth.. I just spit it on the counter.  In front of a million people.  I don’t regret it.

6. I was obsessed with photography from a young age.  I was always the one with the camera.  My adolsecent bedroom was always covered in photographs of my friends and beautiful scenery.  I could spend hours with my camera and not be bored.  Working in photography is the most professionally satisfied I have ever been.

7. I also love words.  Growing up I would read the cd jacket of a new album before I even listened to it.  I have dabbled in writing over the years and I can spend hours reading novels, non fiction, blogs.  I try to read every single day.

8. Music makes me nostalgic to the point of discomfort.  But I love that feeling.  I embrace it.  That moment when you hear a song that transports you to another time in your life.  I love how the feelings.. good or bad just bubble up and take over the present moment.  The truth is that I am that 36 year old bouncing down the street with a sub in her Toyota Yaris.

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9. I have had the same best friend since I was 13.  I wouldn’t change a thing about her.  We have such an enviable friendship.  It is rooted in honesty, consistency and the fact that we never ask the other for more than they can deliver.  We forgive each other any and all imperfections.  And the truth is we just like each other more than we like any one else. 

9. I also have “other” best friends.  I don’t have a ton of girl friends but the ones I have are awesome.  People I can be myself with and unapologetically so.  Some I have had in my life since high school, some (most) I found through soccer and some I found by accident because we had a lot of things in common. 

10. I am a fan of professional sports.  I am huge Denver Broncos fan (NFL) and Calgary Flames fan (NHL).  I also dabble in basketball and baseball.  I love the culture of being a sports fan.  I love that my heart actually pounds in the 4th quarter of a Broncos game and overtime in a hockey game will actually make me sweat.  I love the connection that is forged with other sports fan.  Super bowl is my favorite holiday.

11. My parents raised me to have a voice.  I am so grateful that I grew up in a home where I was never told to be “seen and not heard.”  Even if we didn’t always agree, my parents never silenced me.  I was encouraged to be confident, inquisitive and to explore all aspects of my personality.  I get to be the me I am today because my parents let me flourish.  I will never be able to thank them enough for that. 

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12. My husband and I have settled on not having kids so we can travel.  We have been to some very interesting and amazing places and we have a very long list of place we still want to see.  Next on our list in Maui and some where in the Central/South America area.. stay tuned.  I will keep you posted on my travels :-)

Chat Soon!

Jenn

Check Me Out!!

I was very excited to get a feature on the ‘Top Edmonton Wedding Photographers you should be following ASAP!”  Wow.. if I wasnt excited for wedding season I sure am now!!

http://www.narcity.com/edmonton/18-wedding-photographers-edmonton-need-check-

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Married: Kari & Chris

One of my favorite things about being a photographer is when I get to shoot people I know.  I love to shoot old friends, old coworkers and people that I went to school with.  When it comes to weddings, I always count myself especially lucky because I get a front row seat to one of the most important days of their lives.  I never take it lightly.  I have known Kari for a few years now and I watched her grow in to a beautiful young woman.. and I watch her quest to find love.  By the time Kari met Chris, I had already moved away and so I heard about him via email, texts and giddy facebook posts.  I could tell that this was something special.  I finally met Chris in person when I came to Kelowna to shoot their engagement photos.  Their chemistry was electric and I knew that their wedding day would be one of the highlights of my season.  It did not disappoint.  Here is a small sample of what was, basically a magical day.  Almost everything I shot could have made the blog.. I just a few of my favorites for my readers to enjoy…

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Children: Kristin & Tessa

I bought new lights for the studio!!  I invited Kristin and Tessa over so I could try them out.  We had a ton of fun and knocked this mini shoot out in 15 minutes.  Tessa was a pro infront of the camera and Kristin looked as beautiful as always.  It was nice to capture these adorable mother/daughter moments that they will be able to keep forever.

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sss.jpgThis photoshoot was a ton of fun.. and we were at it for all of 15 minutes!!  Tessa is basically a pro infront of the camera.  It was her third time being photographed by me.  The first time.. she was still snug in mom’s belly.  I got new lights for the studio and so I invited Kristen and Tessa over so I could try them out.  This was the result of our fun 15 minute shoot!

Cake Smash: Berkeley

This cute little monkey came for a cake smash.  Her big one year old birthday.  She was the happiest little girl from the minute she came through the door.  She was a bit tentative at first.  We really had to encourage her to smash her hands in there.  Once she got the hang of it though she got nice and covered in cake!! 

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Maternity: Julie

I grew up with you.  We were inseparable as teenagers.  We knew each other inside and out.  We fell apart a little.  There were different paths we needed to take.  So we did that for a while.  We found our way back.  Best friends always do.  You were beautiful then, you are even more beautiful now.  We are still beside each other.  You were my best friend then, you are my best friend now.    

This was not your average photoshoot.  This was my best friend about to have a baby.  My best friend about to assume the most important role she would ever play, a mother.  This one I will never forget. 

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Married: Terri & Brad

I met Terri and Brad a few years ago, playing baseball.  I had the honor and privelege of photographing their late September wedding at the Sunset Ranch Golf & Country Club in Kelowna BC.  From the moment I arrived at the ceremony with my team, I could really feel the excitement of the guests.  People were buzzing with excitement, waiting for Terri to arrive.  Brad (and Terri’s Dad) were looking nervous with anticipation.  The ceremony was absolutely breathtaking.  It was filled with special spontaneous moments.. and Terri and Brad’s little girl, Cheyne stole the show.  As a photographer and as a friend, I was moved.  From shooting the formals at the beautiful Mill Creek park, to the fun filled reception, the day was one of my favorite in recent memory.  I am so excited to share with you, the story of Brad and Terri’s fabulous day.  A special thanks to my fantastic team on the day, Amy Kaye, Amber Erdmann and Andrea Balon. 

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Engaged: Kayla & Ross

On Sunday I had the absolute pleasure of shooting Kayla & Ross’ Engagement Session.  These 2 were excited and natural.  They brought along their adorable puppy, Quinn.  We met at the Fort Edmonton Park Foot Bridge in some very balmy, -15 degree weather.  Despite the cold I could feel the excitement from Kayla, as her vision for her photos, began to come to life.  We wandered through the park area, picking fun little spots to shoot and even fell in a few snow banks.  We manage to sneak a couple “coat free” shots in, at the end.  I cannot wait to see the beauty and magic that will be their wedding day in June.  I am already giddy with anticipation for what will surely be one of my most beautiful couples of the season!!

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