This lady is incredible. Her spirit radiates so bright. And she is from my home state, Texas! Jennefer is a very talented photographer and an outstanding person. I remember attending the United Conference in Santa Barbara earlier this year and she was a serious triple threat! Photographer, Comedian and singer! Her heart is as big as her smile and I am so thrilled she is guest blogging for us! Enjoy this read and leave her some love! Thank you Jennefer for sharing your heart and your talents with us!
leaha + jeffrey
Jennefer Wilson Photography
Wedding & Senior Photographer
Before I got married, almost every penny I made went to shopping at Anthropologie. If marriage wouldn’t have taught me so much and a roof over my head wasn’t so important, it would DEFINITELY still be this way. But lets get real, if anthro made dog clothes for my two golden retrievers…I would die.
What or who inspired you to be a photographer?
I have to be honest, no one inspired me to be a photographer. In fact, I was very blessed and continue to be incredibly thankful that the Lord has given me a healthy business and cultivated a love for photography in me 4 years ago. It is a love I didn’t see coming but am very grateful for.How long have you been a professional photographer? And when did you know you wanted to do photography?
I’ve been a “professional” for about 3.5 years! Atleast, that’s when I would qualify myself worthy to be called one. And like previously stated, this living, this love for what I do came slow and unexpectedly. I honestly didn’t know I wanted to be a professional photographer until I was one!
What does your photography focus on?
I like to focus on what matters. While having “the shot” in mind is definitely important, I have grown to fall in love with what happens when I as the photographer let my client be exactly who they are. This takes a lot of intentionality before our shoots, having meetings, following them on social media and being intentional to learn about who they are and what makes them happy. Really, growing relationships with my clients, becoming their real life friend, has been the best thing for my business and for my heart. Photographing a friend is much easier than photographing a client. What would we find in your camera bag?
2 5d mkiis (LOVE THE MKII!) 50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.2, 35mm 1.4, 100mm macro, 70-200mm 2.8 and the 24-70mm 2.8. I also have a Mamiya 645 with an 80mm 2.8 and 100mm 2.8, and a Canon 1v. I ALWAYS carry a travel sized perfume in my bag…Lord knows how much we all smell after when we enter a reception after portraits!
Where do you go to learn more about the art of photography?
I am a sucker for film photography. I don’t shoot it for my clients (for profit) just yet, and may not ever, but I find a lot of inspiration from the people who breathe beautiful moments to life with their film cameras. I find the most of my inspiration from Kinfolk magazines. At the very back, they list all of their photographers and I spend hours pouring over their work and their instagrams (creeper). I also (obviously) LOVE Anthropologie magazines. It may seem like a contradiction later (read on) but I really try and stay away from pinterest. I found that using it for inspiration led me to self worth and doubt issues, and instead of inspiring me, it lead me to copying ideas instead of making my own.3 Pieces of Advice for Beginning Photographers
1. Shoot for yourself! It is easy to think that the only way you can get better is to be shooting for clients, but shooting for yourself is SO valuable!
2. Find community. Having true friends who understand your triumphs and struggles is so special and VERY necessary. You will never regret it! Don’t buy in to the idea that we have to “hide our secrets” from each other, photography friends will quickly become your very best friends, promise!
3. Set business hours and STICK TO THEM. If I could have the MONTHS of time back from when I did not have business hours and should have been spending time with my loved ones or taking time to myself, I would in a heart beat. Not only will business hours make you more productive, but it will make sure you stay fueled for tomorrow. Oh! And your clients will respect your time too.With all of the fuss going on with Facebook and business pages, have you changed the way you market through Facebook?
I honestly haven’t changed the way I market through facebook. I’ve been using it the same since day1. Post a pic, tag the pic and post the link!
What would you say are the top 3 ways you gain new clients?
The top 3 ways I book clients are…marketing me! I can push my work all I want, but my work isn’t going to pull in my ideal clients. My favorite clients are the ones who learned my dogs names before we met, the ones who know that my real heart in life is in leading worship and the ones who know that my favorite food is cookies. These brides would have never found me if every aspect of my marketing wasn’t 100% me. This means fb, insta, pinterest, my website and my blog text. Secondly, when I’m not marketing me, I am marketing to my potential brides by intentionally showing what I want to be shooting and tagging it so it can be found easily. This is most easily done on pinterest. But I’ll talk about that in a second. And thirdly, if you are not paying attention to your clients, you are missing out. I listen to what my clients are and are not saying. I am constantly looking for their needs and what it is that is burdening them. I am way more than a photographer (and everyone said, “AMEN”) We become therapists, seamstresses, florists, makeup artists, new maids of honor(basically), and dress bustlers…if you haven’t experienced any of these things with your clients, it may be why you are struggling. Clients are people too. Don’t rob them or yourself of a true friendship. One of my clients just got his dream job and I was so thrilled to text his wife and say “YAY!! I was praying he would get it!! I am so proud of you guys!”. Whats more was her reply, “OMG Jenn! We can’t believe it! Thank you so much for your prayers. We are so thankful for them and for your friendship.” I mean…come on. I LOVE MY FRIENDS.
Brides are looking for ideas and they want them fast, easy and explained. They don’t want a long drawn out explanation and if it doesn’t pup up in a few scrolls, they are not interested!
What can photographers do to use Pinterest as a marketing tool? Photographers can use pinterest by posting things this way –
- POST WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOOT – If you never want to photograph another hot pink and zebra wedding, do not post it!
- When posting what you DO want to shoot, label it simply as if you would be the one looking for that image. – If you have a pair of blush jimmy choos that you got to photograph (lucky you) you tag something like… “ the best pair of blush jimmy choos any bride ever wore. This whole wedding is to die for ©your name” or a bouquet of peonies (lucky you again) “this peony bouquet is to die for! All of the florals in this wedding were a dream!! ©your name”
I have one big board for my pins that is called “Wedding Things”…how original. But it has some serious followers! I mix in my own work with other beautiful wedding things. It’s a sneaky way to work your own photos in with ones from Martha Weddings and no one notices!
Is pinning other peoples photos beneficial to marketing for your target market as well?
Definitely! I don’t know if all of these people who don’t give a rip about my work would follow my board if it was all me…in fact, I know they wouldn’t! How selfish of me to take up their time for my own gain….haha but really. It’s way more sneaky if you’re not selfish.
Do you watermark your images for Pinterest?
I don’t! I honestly don’t watermark anything…which is probably dangerous and irresponsible but my images are shared 5000X more than when I watermarked them so…What are you most proud of professionally?
I am most proud of my relationships with my clients and the love that the Lord continues to bless me with throughout this journey. He continually gifts me with the most incredible clients and pushes me to be a better person and a better photographer. I am most proud that I am called His, and that He blesses me so big.
What are your goals for the future?
I would love it if my hubby and I could work together full time. But that is a work in progress. I think we could all say we would love to leave a wedding and think “I nailed EVERY SINGLE SHOT”…does anyone do that? If so…I need to have coffee with you.Click “LIKE” to let us know you were here and leave Jennefer some LOVE!
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