It’s March! We’re thrilled to introduce you to our March cmpro of the month, the fabulous Jenny Cruger! A longtime CMmember, Jenny has been inspiring us with her gorgeous use of light for a long time and we’re so happy to have her as our pro of the month. Look for more exciting news about this talented artist coming up a little later in the month on CM!
march cmpro of the month | jenny cruger
If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be?
Oh, that is cruel!
Obviously a body, the Canon 5d Mark ii, then probably my most favorite lens which is the Canon 135L. Then to have something wide and fun, the Canon 35L. That said, I am a huge fan of the 100L for macro and portrait work as well.
What was your first experience in photography?
In high school we were super lucky to have photography classes offered and our own darkroom, so I borrowed a camera from a friend’s dad for a semester and we learned to shoot with film and develop our own black and white film in the darkroom. I laugh when I think about those classes now and I still have some of the black and white photos we took and then learned to paint in certain parts…talk about the original selective color haha!
If you could shoot alongside any other photographer, who would it be (and why)?
This is such a hard question because I have so many favorites that specialize in something I love shooting, probably either Jose Villa because I love his use of light & tones or Ashley Skjaveland because her newborns are so effortlessly gorgeous & simple and she definitely seems like someone I would love to be in the same room with.
Other than photography, do you have any other creative outlets?
I love to knit and dream of redecorating my house (because I never would actually have the time or energy to do it!) For a very short time in high school I thought about going into interior design & also took classes for that.
Tell us one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.
I wish I had thought more about pricing and what works for me vs. what was popular because I struggled for a long time with a pricing model that I didn’t love and was not good at “selling”. It’s hard to say because I don’t know if I knew myself from the start (aren’t we ever evolving?!) but I wish I had shot for me from the very beginning and instructed my clients a little more.
What’s on the horizon for your business?
I’ve been enjoying doing some online mentoring for a while now, but I’m especially excited to be hosting my first in person workshop in April and another in the Fall and take on more weddings this year. I opened a co-op studio with a few other photographers last Fall and we were all so busy in the Fall that we are also just now getting to focus more on our space, shoot there more, etc., so that will be keeping me busy.
Describe the perfect session.
A super cute and stylish couple or young family with a 6-12 month old baby, golden hour light, and a field of cream and brown weeds and wildflowers. They would be wearing lots of neutral colors, but with tons of layers and textures. The guy would be a musician and have a funky style (some cool tattoos?) and bring his guitar, etc.
What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken (and why)?
This is so hard because I feel like I come away from every session (personal or client) with a new favorite, but probably this photo of my son. I did an impromptu series of him in just a diaper (sparked by a food disaster) around lunch time one day. I used my macro and just let him run around the living room and caught all of his sweet little toddler parts.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
From the time I was in middle school, all through college, I wanted to be in the music industry doing something in marketing, PR, or possibly entertainment law. I was a business major in college in Michigan and then moved to Nashville and went to school for music business.
What is the best and worst part of your job?
The best part is clicking that shutter button and knowing you got “THE” shot. I will literally snap a shot and yell to the mom of the children something like, “oh gosh that shot was IT!!!” I love working with gorgeous light and tones and enjoy processing my images and sharing them with my clients. I also really like the business end of it all which is good because that takes up the majority of my time! The worst part is missing out on time with my family or downtime for me. If I am not hanging out with my 2 ½ year old, I’m working. There’s very little time that I have that I feel I can just do ‘nothing’ or do something for fun, between housework (though I have a wonderfully supportive husband that is not afraid of a sink full of dishes or the laundry room!), being a mom, and work. I’m working on changing that!
Where do you find inspiration?
Colors and tones in nature, movies (I recently watched Red Riding Hood and was so drawn to the tones, creaminess, textures, and colors), various fabrics and textures, shopping in the cute shops around my studio. Also the connections between people – I love to see that and capture something that the client didn’t even realize was happening; that is so inspiring.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you do there?
A road trip (stopping along the way in cool cities/hotels/bed and breakfasts) around the country. There is so much of our country that I would love to see and I would love to shoot in various cool places whether it is the middle of Montana, wine country in California, a little beach town on the East Coast, etc. Of course, I would love it only if my toddler was happy the entire way in the car which is not likely!
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Invisibility. I am nosy so I would love to be able to hear/see what people say when they think no one is listening. I have found that if people constantly talk to you about their friends and family (negatively) they will eventually do that about you.
Quickie Questions – One Word Answers!
Canon or Nikon?
Prime or zoom?
Studio or on location?
Natural light or flash?
Neck strap or wrist strap?
Cross Body (Rapid Strap)
Color or black and white?
Mac or PC?
Photoshop or Lightroom?
Sunrise or sunset?
Heels or flip flops?
Beer or wine?
Wine, though my husband brews some really good beer!
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Jenny! You can find more of Jenny’s work on her site, her blog, the CMpro Daily Project and, of course, around the CMforums. Have a question for Jenny? You can ask her in her “Ask the Pros” thread on the CMforum.