The poppy field is not new to me.  I’ve been going to the poppy field for several years.  The last couple of years the location has been available to more people and more people are photographing there.  If there is happiness everyone should experience it right?  My sweet friend Kristen had been watching my poppy pictures for a few years and she decided she wanted family photos done there.  Kristen is a warrior.  She courageously battled brain cancer for a few years.  She had bravely and with an optimistic attitude fought for years.  Recently, they found another brain tumor that was progressing rapidly.  I told her I would take her family photos and the poppies were her first wish.  We weren’t sure about the timeline of things so we tentatively planned some orchard pictures in the meantime, but unfortunately things progressed more quickly than expected.  I visited her about a week before she passed away in the care center.  I shared with her some things that were on my mind that were a bit personal, but felt strongly needed to be shared and then we talked about the poppies.  I asked her if she still wanted me to do photos in the poppy field, in which she nodded and replied, “Yes.”  I asked her if she had ever been to the poppy field before and she lit up.  She told me she had only seen the photos.  I told her about the beauty of the field and how amazing and stunning it was.  She lit up and she opened her eyes as we spoke about it.  She passed away about a week later.

When I contacted her husband Nick about the photo session he agreed.  I know photo sessions aren’t always the most exciting thing for the dad, but he was such a good sport.  His sister, Jen helped them get ready.  I contemplated ways in which to honor Kristen.  I didn’t want it to be cheesy or awkward.  I wanted it to be loving, happy, and warm just like the poppies and Kristen.  The date we had scheduled happened to be a rainy day so we rescheduled on which coincidentally (or not so coincidentally) ended up being Kristen’s birthday.  I know Kristen is experiencing things as beautiful and even more beautiful than the poppy field.  I also know there is no place she would have been then in the poppy field with her two adorable daughters and her husband who always displayed his neverending love to beautiful, happy Kristen.  Take a peek of their photos.

 

My name is Jen and my story of photography starts young.  I’ve always loved photography and I’ve always had a camera in my hand from a young age.  I received my first camera as a hand me down.  It had been my sister’s camera.  It was a film camera and you bought a disposable flash to put on the top.  I took pictures of anything and everything.  I took the camera to school and took pictures there.  My friends would pretend to pose as brides so I could take their photos.  If I used the flash, it would pop and burn.  It smelled a little like burning plastic.

Eventually I got a more transitional film camera with a built in flash.  I was the kid that took all the photos in Jr. High, High School, and college.  Oftentimes I would order doubles so I could pass the photos onto my friends as well.  I enjoyed being able to freeze time and emotion in a photograph.

When I got married I purchased my first digital camera.  I enjoyed having the freedom of taking photos and being able to delete or recompose them if necessary.  After the birth of our first child I started to notice composition and light in both my photographs and the photographs of those around me.  I was drawn to light and the way that light can change a photograph.  I had a strong desire to learn more.

Here is a photo from those days:

After my second child was born I entered a contest.  The contest was sponsored by a movie and a message board.  To enter, you simply had to write an essay about how the birth of your child changed you and attach a photo.  The winner would receive a makeover and a photoshoot with their child.  I wrote about my long struggle with infertility and miscarriages.  I wrote about how I had a risky surgery and that basically the path of infertility changed me forever as a mother.  I attached the snapshot of my son and me below that was taken by the delivery nurse.

 

 

Much to my surprise, I actually won.  It took over a year of back and forth communication, but they were unable to fulfill the prize so they contacted me and asked if I would accept gift cards to the local spa and gift cards equivalent to the photo package.  I graciously accepted.  I was able to use the spa gift cards to take my friends and my husband on their birthdays.  It was too much for me to use on my own and it was fun to spend the time with them.  I decided I would use the other gift card to take photography lessons and buy my first big girl camera (used of course)!

I was completely immersed and enthralled about all the aspects of photography.  I would like to think I picked it up quickly and after several months decided to officially open my business.  I made a goal that I wouldn’t upgrade my camera until I learned the “ins and outs” of it.  I knew immediately that it wasn’t the camera, but the photographer, the light, and the subjects that made the photos.  I have now made it through 3 used cameras and 1 brand new camera.  I currently shoot with a Canon 5D Mark III and have a Canon 7D as back up.

I have been told that one of my strengths is “getting it right in camera”.  My photography is timeless.  I’ve seen a lot of trends come through, but my photos will always be classic.  I don’t want someone to look back in time and think “I know when this was taken by the editing technique”.  I want them to look back and remember things exactly how they are.   I’ve also been told that I’m a good people person.  A lot of people compliment me on the way I manage and relate to people.  My photography teacher posted on facebook, “Jenifer is extremely efficient and professional.  I am very impressed with her people skills, leadership, and technique.”  I’ve also been told that I’m good at getting the emotion, moment, story in the camera.  This is one of my biggest goals when photographing.  I take it as a challenge to be able to read people, get to them, and portray them accurately in front of the camera.  Many clients have told me that they feel comfortable during the photo shoots, and that it is a good time.

Seven years later and I’m still excited about this journey.  I look forward to those of you joining my new blog.  I love the friendships I’ve made with other photographers and my clients, and I look forward to many new ones as well!

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