It’s September, the month where school is back into full swing and the weather is starting to change. September also brings a new CMpro of the Month, Jackie Jean! Jackie is an amazingly talented photographer from Portland and we are thrilled to have her here on the CMblog today answering just a few of our questions!
august cmpro of the month | jackie jean
Hi Jackie! Could you tell us about how you started your journey as a photographer?
I decided when I was sixteen that I wanted to be a photographer as I had one of the most inspiring photography teachers in high school. I carried my camera along with me everywhere and began shooting some weddings at nineteen. When I was about twenty-four, my husband convinced me to go digital and it was then, business began to grow. I have had a lot of trials and errors along the way but I do feel like I am living one of my biggest dreams, I love so many aspects about photography.
What gear can you not live without?
I just recently upgraded to a Nikon D800 and absolutely love it, so my camera would be one along with 85mm 1.8. I have a lot of favorite lenses, but this one rocks in a lot of situations “for me”.
Your clients always look so happy and at ease. How do you go about setting the tone for your sessions and creating those genuine connections in your photographs?
I try to have conversations going prior to sessions, whether it is by phone or email and make sure to ask questions about what his/her interests are and what the family likes to do together. It helps me get to know the family/kids better so I know what I am getting into prior to my shoot. I am extremely relaxed in sessions as well, I do simple posing by setting them up, and they do the rest themselves naturally, I just make sure to have my camera ready at all times and act a bit like a paparazzi.
I am so impressed that as a mom to four children you are also in your ninth year of business as a photographer. How do you maintain a balance in your personal and professional lives?
I am still learning balance. Each year, I get a little bit better with organization and each year I give myself more projects to work on. I think anyone will tell you that if you are running your own business, it can quickly run your life. So, I have gotten better over the years to not say “yes” to everything. There are weekends and days now where I turn my computer off and simply enjoy my family.
I love your creative edits and the whimsy that accompanies them. How did you acquire your editing skills and do you have any tips to share on developing your eye for creative edits?
Everything I have done has been by trial and error and self-taught. Before I learned that balance part, I was on the computer all of the time processing images over and over until I got the results that I wanted. My suggestion is to keep playing and to not give up. Start with clean editing and nailing that first, and then introduce all that fun creative processing.
You photograph everything from families to newborns to seniors to maternity. If you could only continue photographing one of these, which would it be and why?
Oh gosh, that is a toss up between seniors and families. If I would have been asked that question a few years ago, I would have said seniors in a heartbeat! The teen years can be a bit awkward so I love giving seniors that boost of confidence with pictures. Since I now have a large family myself, I love shooting families and go into it with so much joy. I love capturing love and laughter in family moments. It absolutely rocks.
You have been photographing professionally for a long time. Can you give us some tips for keeping the creative juices flowing and what you do when you are feeling burnt out?
I know for some, having a project helps. For me, laying it down every once in awhile helps. I did have a six month period of re-evaluating my business and what I really wanted to be doing. I do believe if you are doing what you love, you will have less moments of burn out. The first few years of business, I said yes to everything and put too much on my plate leading to burn out.
If you could photograph someone in any location in the world, where would you pick and why?
We have done a lot of traveling in the states so I would either say Australia or Ireland. South Africa also intrigues me too and I have some friends there, so that might be a possibility in the near future.
This industry has changed a lot in the last decade. What would your advice be to fledgling photographers who are thinking about starting a photography business in the current environment?
I would first ask “why”? Why are you starting a photography business? If this is a passion of yours and you want to be a photographer, than while yes, the industry can be tough, go for it. If you put the hard work in, you can make it work. The awesome thing about photography is that it is a reflection of you. There is only one you and no one else can compete with that.
Can you share some of your goals for either your business or personal development in the next year?
I never stop learning so my hope is that I am better than I am today. My hope is to continue to work on personal creative projects and write some e-books on ideas that I have been sitting on for awhile now.
I’ve heard that we can look forward to a Clickin Moms breakout session from you soon. How exciting! Please tell us a little about what we can expect to learn from you.
Yes, I am all sorts of excited! In this breakout, I will be tackling some of the issues we face during the growing process of photography. I will be sharing tips on shooting in different lighting situations, post-processing techniques, and my own journey as well as encouraging others to pursue what they are most passionate about.
Thank you Jackie for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Jackie’s website, blog, facebook, and instagram to view the rest of her gorgeous work. You can view also check out her pinterest inspiration and if you have a question for Jackie, you can ask in the comments below or visit her ‘ask a pro’ thread within the photography forum.