Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Jennifer Kielich

This week, Jennifer of Jennifer Kielich Photography invites you to explore the great outdoors. Before you head out there, read about her here:

  1. Tell us about yourself...

I am a natural light lifestyle photographer specializing in creative family and early childhood photography. I have two kids of my own (twins!) who are my favorite people on the planet, along with my super supportive husband. Our dog is pretty cool too. I love coffee and Friday nights on the couch (though generally not at the same time), and I'll fully admit to being a huge sci-fi nerd.

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

I started getting into photography back in high school. It was all film back then, and getting to develop my own photos in the dark room at school was just so incredibly cool to me. My teacher was amazing, and even though my work was HORRIBLE, she never had anything but encouragement to give me. I continued off and on as a hobbyist for many years after that, but didn’t really get serious about photography again until after the birth of my twins in 2012. I had an incredible urge to document everything, to make beautiful pieces of art out of our everyday lives…things I would be proud to hang on the wall at home. I also loved the idea of making it a career. Being my own boss and really doing something I loved. So I upgraded my gear, started a business, and never looked back. It’s one of the best decisions I ever made.

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

I shoot with a Canon Mark IV (Mark III for backup), and the Sigma 24, 35, and 50 Art lenses. The 24 basically never leaves my camera. I’m obsessed. I love everything about it….even the distortion. I’ll occasionally switch to the 35 for client sessions, but that’s pretty rare these days. My poor 50 is just collecting dust at home. I also have a Lensbaby that I adore for personal projects (Composer Pro with Sweet 35 optic).

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I recently added “hybrid sessions” to my website, which for me, is the ideal job. I love shooting all the messy, organic moments at home, but I also really love a good sunset session outside. These hybrid sessions are meant to give me (and my clients) the best of both worlds. We shoot for a couple of hours at the client’s home, and then we head out for a sunset session somewhere nearby right after. It helps me tell a more complete story for my clients, and it satisfies me creatively too.

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

Definitely balancing work life and family life. My kiddos are still at home with me (they start VPK next year), and the mom guilt is no joke….I feel it everyday. If I allow myself to work for a bit while my children are awake, I feel horrible about it all night. They are my world, and I never want them to feel second to my workload. But if I wait till they are asleep to get my work done, I’m exhausted and boring the following day….which also makes me feel guilty. It’s a tricky little balancing act that I still haven’t figured out. I’m not convinced I ever will if I’m being perfectly honest, but I keep on keepin’ on because I love my family and I love what I do.

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography...

How should you spend it?
I should spend it on things like pretty packaging and domain name renewals, but come on…how boring is that?!

How do you wish you could spend it?
I wish I could spend it on a workshop! I make it a goal to do one or two every year. I love learning from other photographers.

How would you really spend it?
I have an e-book coming out early next year over at Click Photo School, so I’d probably spend it on marketing/advertising. 

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

It took me a long time to start shooting for myself instead of my clients. My first couple of years in business, I spent WAY too much time shooting things that weren’t true to my “style”. I thought I had to do this in order to thrive as a business owner. That’s not the case though! I shoot what I love now; I post what I love now. A good chunk of it being personal images that mean something to me. And the clients that reach out to me do it because they love my work too. So, I suppose I just wish someone had encouraged me to do that a lot sooner :-)

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