Yesterday I ventured off to Owensboro, KY. I grew up in the small (teeny-tiny) town of Paynesville, IN. It just so happened that all the kids that lived around me where all in the same grade. This is really rare because there was like 6 houses around me and 4 of them had kids my age. The other 2 were mean old people. Grrr..
So, in 5th grade we had 2 new people move into the area. Twins. At first I wasn't very fond of these girls. It took a while for me to warm up to them and become their friend. Once we became friends though, we were inseparable. For 4 years I spent nearly every day with them. Shelly & Kelly. They were my BFF's. We spent countless hours romping in the woods, riding bikes, camping, traveling, whatever. Everything we did, we did together. We were known as the triplets.
I remember one day on the bus in 9th grade they came to me with some pretty bad news. Ok, it was horrible. They were moving away. Not just a little ways up the road or to the next state near us. They were moving to South Carolina. There was absolutely no way I could get past this. I knew it was going to happen though. What was I going to do? We spent EVERY day together until they moved. Counting down the days.... It was awful. The night before they moved away they stayed all night with me. We stayed up all night long. Not a wink of sleep. We knew this was it and we were going to make the best of every last second we had together. We went to school the next day with absolutely no sleep. We shared a seat on the bus that day. We were all sick to our stomach and knew we had about 6 hours left but we'd be in school the whole day and only shared a few classes. The day was nearly over. I was sitting in Mr. Todd's Algebra class when they came to the door. Their grandma, Mammaw Kathy, had withdrew me from school so I could ride home and say goodbye to them. It was awful. You'd think one of us had a terminal illness. Tears were flowing like crazy. I'm sure we had to get her Mammaw's nerves. We cried and cried and cried some more. That was the longest drive from Hanover to Paynesville. We pulled up in my driveway and said our goodbyes. We left with swollen, wet faces but we vowed to always stay in contact with each other. However, there was no Facebook, no cell phones/texting, no free long distance.
(Gasp.. I know)
In the beginning we still talked quite often. As time went on we lost touch with each other. Then came myspace. I finally found them again. I was so excited! We talked off and on through the computer and occasionally by phone. We even met up once for a weekend in Owensboro. When we bought our first home in 2010 both of them returned to Indiana to attend the Housewarming party. It was so great to see them again. That was the last time we saw each other.
Kelly is a great person but could never find Mr. Right. Just recently she met Chris. Now I don't know Chris at all but I do know if Kelly finally committed to someone he's got to be pretty dang awesome. She's 35 and never been married. Since I was busy shooting their wedding I didn't get to socialize much or spend a lot of time with them but am glad that I got to attend. I still love Kelly like a sister and even though we've grown up and apart she will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish them the best of luck.
Friday, my best friend stopped by with my God Children before they went to their 5th and 8th grade dances. Where does time go? The oldest one is turning 14 this weekend. I was one of the first people to hold her when she entered this world. This was after sitting with and caring for her mom all night long. What a bizarre experience. I'd never seen a child come into this world. To be honost it really scared me! Eek!
I'm honored to share these 3 beauties with you! Enjoy!
Yesterday I shot my first baby model session in the studio. Baby R. and her momma were in the studio for a little over an hour to shoot on my new backdrop. Baby R is only a week old and it just so happened we scheduled during her normal "waking" hours so she wasn't really up for sleeping much. To me, newborns look so precious sleeping so I was hoping to get a few. We waited patiently and went through a couple of diaper changes, one bottle feeding, and lots of cuddle time. Wrapped in her own blanket, she finally fell asleep for us so we sneaked a few pictures in right before she woke up again.
I like to use models when I get a new set or backdrop. It's a great way to show off the backdrop and have samples for customers to see up front. This particular backdrop will work for a child up to age 5 or so. If you'd like to get your baby's picture done on this gorgeous backdrop, please let me know!
When an opportunity comes in your life to give back to others, please take advantage of it. Just once.
I've always found great pleasure in donating my time however I could. Community cleaning projects, Den Mother and Treasurer of the Cub Scouts, etc.. Finding a way to donate my time through photography was by far the most enjoyable thing I've done.
Last year a friend of mine sent me an email with a link to a local news channels website. They were looking for photographers to donate their time for a Help Portrait event being in held in Henryville, IN to assist the families who lost a lot (if not all) of thier belongings in the deadly F4 tornado that ripped through Southern Indiana on March 2nd.
My first response was "Thanks for thinking of me but I am not good enough to do this". So I decided I shouldn't volunteer with the event but kept the email to send to other photographer friends that I thought would be good enough. I didn't want people who had experienced so much in the past few months to come in expecting superior photographs and get matched up with me and leave there not being satisfied. A few days later I realized I was being ridiculous and that I was good enough to do this. People would appreciate it. It is by far one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I went to the event a nervous wreck. I wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't quite sure of what I was doing because we were shooting studio shots and I'd never done that before. As soon as I arrived I met a super nice guy named Nate. I'll admit he seemed a little frazzled at the moment and I didn't know how to take him. I wanted to grab my camera and run for the door but I don't quit anything once I make a committment so I stayed. I was paired with another photographer from Indianapolis, Tim Biddle. We were on station number one. When the first family of the day arrived they chose our station to be photographed at. I was a nervous wreck but I remained calm and confident and with the help of Mr. Biddle I completed my very first studio session. The family was very happy.
The rest of the day we hung out and got to know one another pretty well. We headed out doors for a shoot around and I couldn't get enough of it. I didn't want to leave. Thankfully a large part of the people there volunteering also belonged to a photography group out of Louisville called the PPAGL. As you can imagine I went to their meeting that month as a guest and joined the next month. I am so thankful I gave myself the chance to give back to others and quit doubting myself. I've learned so much in the short time that I've known them but more importantly I've found some great friends and mentors. I'm very fortunate.
We now share a group on Facebook and we plan shoot arounds every 3-4 months. We recently met up for the 1 year anniversary of the torando that ripped our community apart but brought us all together. We shot the parade and flag dedication and then headed back to Scottsburg for a shoot around with a couple of models who braved the cold. It was frigid!! Then we met up again in April for a shoot around in downtown Madison, IN. Our next session is scheduled for July in Indianapolis. I'm so excited.
Don't ever pass up an opportunity to give back, however you can. It's rewarding on so many levels!!
I'd like to give a shout out to my photography friends and just say thank you for being there and I am blessed to call you a friend. Tim & Mel, Nate, Gary, Mike, Thurman & Tracy, Alex, & Rick.
I introduce to you, Courtney, a senior from my old school Southwestern Jr/Sr High School. She'll be graduating in just a couple of weeks and will be heading off to college shortly thereafter.
Courntey was so much fun to work with. Kind of quiet but still a lot of personaily and she totally rocks the serious looks. I had a great time working with her and wish her the best of luck in her adult life.
I've decided to start actually using my blog! I want to share my ventures with everyone as my business continues to grow. This past weekend my shared studio space held it's grand opening and we had a great turnout. I'd like to personally thank each and every person who came out to show your support.
I decided a couple of months ago that the time had come to take the next big leap and open a studio. I had another photographer approach me about sharing space. This other photographer was Thurman Jones, a fellow photographer I had met at a Help Portrait event in Henryville. As you can imagine, we had a lot of details to work out and discuss to make sure this would be beneficial for both of us. So, we met several times and decided that yes, in fact, this would work.
I focus primarily on family and children portraits and Thurman focuses on seniors and pet photography. We're both on the same skill level and have complimentary personailities. We won't be competing against each other but instead will offer a variety of specialized services that will fit everyone's needs. Sharing studio space also means sharing backdrops and props so we have a lot to offer. In other words, we got ya covered!
Many of you have already been following me but for those of you that haven't I'd like to bring you up to speed. I am a married mother of three and work a full time job M-F and do photography on the weeknights and weekends. I have a huge network of supportive family and friends. I've been with my husband, Mike, for over 15 years. I'm thankful to have someone who is supportive when it's not always easy because I'm gone a lot and spend a lot of time working with others. Together we have 3 beautiful children, 2 girls and boy. They keep me grounded and focused. Everything I do, I do for them. I hope that one day they will strive to do their best and follow their dreams. I'm lucky to have my parents too; they are 2 very different people but between the two I pull thier strongest qualities. I get my independance (and talking) from my mother, Sue. I get my drive and the other 90% of my personality from my dad, Julian. I know both of them are equally proud of me and who I've grown to be but not as much as I am of them. They've taught me a lot about life. I'm also lucky enough to still have my Grandma, Marge, with me. I probably get a lot of my wittiness from her. She's a hoot. My papaw, George, was my hero and a huge part of my life. He left this world on January 4, 2011 but not a day passes that he's not on my mind. He's always with me. I wish I could be 1/2 the person he was. He could never find bad in anyone and no matter what was going on he always had a huge smile on his face. He's my hero, plain and simple.
Now for my friends... I've been very blessed in this life with a lot of great people. I went to two different schools so I have a lot of people who stand behind me in all I do. My best friends include; Michelle, Tina, Stephanie, Elizabeth, Shelly, and Kelly. They have stood behind me for years. I don't know what I'd do without out them. I try to split my time equally between them all and know they're always just a phone call away if I need them. I love each and every one of them. They're pretty dang awesome. I really could go on about them forever but just saying how much they mean and that I love them is enough.
While attending the Help Portrait event for the tornado victims of Henryville, I met a great group of photographers who have been so much help. Many members of the PPAGL attended this event too. (Professional Photographer Association of Greater Louisville) I'd like to give a shout out to some of those who have been most supportive, starting with the President, Nathan Mann. Nate has been more than helpful. He's full of knowledge and a great teacher. I'd also like to give credit to the great Yono. He's quite a character and is fun and informative too. This group is full of amazing people from all backgrounds. I've been blessed to meet some true friends such as Gary Barragan, Phil Montgomery, Mike Drake, and Thurman Jones. We share a group on Facebook and meet monthly. I also met Tim Biddle, from Indianapolis at this event. We have vowed to get together every 3 months for a shoot around. In the short time that I've known these amazing people my career has soared. I don't know how I could ever repay them for all of their help.
Lastly, I'd like to give credit to my friend/mentor, Brandon Polley. He worked in my building when my career was just starting and spent a lot of time teaching me. I had never encountered someone who was so willing to help someone that was potentially competition for him. This has made a better photographer and person too. I am not afraid of compeition but instead welcome it. It keeps me on my toes and gives me the desire to push myself further and harder. I now try to share my knowledge with new photographers looking to take their career to the next level.
So.. here I am. I started in 2010 and 3 years later I have a studio and am hopefully well on my way to making this a full time career. I didn't do any of this alone. It's not been easy. Through everyone's support and my drive to succeed at everything I do, I've made it. It's an amazing feeling.
I'd like to brief you on Thurman's background, but only a little. He's been married for 10 years to an amazing and fun woman. They share 2 dogs together. He also works a full time job and does photography on the side. He's an amazing photographer and I'm very fortunate to have him as a partner. We're going to do very well with this. I just know it!
Stay tuned to future blogs. I plan on using this a lot more often now. As always, thank you for your continued support and love! Hugs xoxoxo!
- Jenni L. Brown
Owner/Operator of Jenni Brown Photography