We’re excited to introduce you to Jennifer Shore. Jennifer lives and works in a sleepy sea-side town on Boston’s north shore. Her work is beautiful and her business is inspiring.
Tell us how you got started in photography
I think I always knew that I would be taking photographs in a major way one day in the future. Even as a kid I was drawn to looking at images from long ago and amazed at how a moment in time was captured so perfectly. I took photography in High School and then took a couple of classes on my own when I finished graduate school. Then when I was working as a school therapist for troubled kids with emotional and behavioral issues, I started bringing my camera into work and asking the kids if I could photograph them. The images that resulted led to amazing conversations and connections between us and after that I was completely addicted. I haven’t stopped since!
Would you mind sharing one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.
I wish wish wish I’d known more about the business side of photography! I had no clue about pricing or taxes or marketing or how much I would be working on the business side compared to doing what I loved (photographing). Also, owning your own business is a 24/7 job. There are a ton of perks when you work for yourself but in reality, your work is NEVER done. The balance of work and family is really tricky. I still struggle with it and often I’m up late at night working after kids are in bed, or on the computer while they are growing up without me being fully present since I’m always trying to catch up, finish something or get back to work since it is never done. I am going to try to be better about that in 2014.
What are your photography related goals for the coming year?
Right now I am trying to streamline everything, from my branding all the way through to my product and even packaging. I want my clients to leave with framed prints and finished products rather than just a disc with digital files. I also am going to outsource my bookkeeping since that is definitely not my strength! All of my goals are based on the need to absolutely differentiate myself from the exponentially growing photographer population.
How do you use StickyAlbums?
I like to “gift” them to my clients as a thank you for their order and choosing me as their photographer. It is a nice way to have them look at their images whenever and wherever, as well as be able to easily share them with friends and family. It’s also a great way to get my name out there and also to give my clients something to “hold” onto.
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You’ve been a photographer for a long time. How has the industry changed and how do you set yourself apart from your competition?
I feel like this question is too big to answer it fully because of the change from film to digital and the advancement of the internet and social networking, but I will try! I started photography using film and had a darkroom built in my shed. It took days to finish a session and I was pretty much the only photographer in town. I had to shoot a small number of images at a time because film rolls were expensive and only held so much room for images. Now that I shoot with a digital camera, my editing time is cut WAY down. I don’t have to develop my film and prints and almost become blind in the darkroom with the red light! I can feasibly cull and edit a session within about 4 hours. I try to set myself apart from the competition by not only offering a boutique model of service to my clients, but also making sure my work is consistent, beautiful and timeless. Spending less time editing and getting the image right in camera to begin with is something that only comes with experience and real knowledge of your camera and light. With the digital SLR’s becoming so available and editing software prolific, it’s important to never become complacent in this business! You have to keep on doing your best, learning more and loving what you do.
Will you share your current favorite photo and tell us a little bit about it?
I love this photo because it captures a completely natural and beautiful moment with this family. You can see how much love is between them and how they are all connected by touch and expression. Add in the light and the outfit choices and location…it just all came together!
If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be and why?
My camera (of course), my canon 70-200L IS 2.8 lens and my shoot sac. I probably need to upgrade my camera (I have the Canon 5dMii) but it has been worked pretty heavily over the last few years and knock on wood has not let me down. The 70-200 lens…well, that thing is AMAZING. It’s not heavy to me at all anymore and the creamy bokeh it is capable of capturing is out of this world. I LOVE this lens. The shoot sac allows me to easily carry extra memory cards, extra lens (24-70L), my phone, keys, bug spray, etc. without making me feel weighed down.
Any photography crushes?
I LOVE Michael Kormos’s work. His images make me see how he loves his subjects at the time he is photographing them. He captures the most beautiful details and seems to enjoy what he does so much and it shows in every image. That is how I want to photograph as well.
If you were not a photographer, what would you be?
I was a child and family therapist (I have my MSW) but truly, at this point I can’t imagine being anything else anymore. As much work as it is to keep this business afloat and doing well, I have never been more happy. My father always said that your work should “energize” you and I had no clue what he meant until I started being a photographer.
What aspects of photography do you find most challenging?
Helping people be educated about what “good” photography is and not going to a photographer soley based on price.
What is the best and worst part of your job?
Best part: Loving what I do. And the flexibility it allows me in my schedule.
Worst part: Business side. Not my strength. Period.
How would you describe your artistic style?
Comfortable and warm.
What are your favorite subjects to photograph and why?
Pregnant women because they are so filled with anticipation and joy and to me, they look completely beautiful. I want them to be able to see what I see when I look at them through my camera.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
That’s easy and probably the same as everyone! To be able to be invisible! There are so many things I want to be a “fly on the wall” for!