This session ended up being perfect! It was a very last minute, squeezed in session as their son was home on leave for the weekend. It was an overcast day, which makes for very nice lighting and we didn’t have to worry about the harsh afternoon sun!
What a beautiful family
It was great getting to spend a little bit of time with these two while they were here on vacation a while back! Although it was pretty hot out, we put up with it and got some great shots!
Here goes, a little background into how I got started in this fun business of photography.
Starting when I was little, I always had a camera and I was always taking pictures and then my mom would have to drop my film off, and we would go pick it up a couple days later! I couldn’t wait to get to high school, where I could finally take some photography classes. So, Sophmore year was my first year and I loved it, so I took it my junior and senior years as well! It was all manual, roll my own film, develop my film and print all my prints in the darkroom! I loved it
After I got married, my husband bought a 35mm Nikon SLR and a nice lens(I don’t remember what model either one was!). It felt great to be able to play with all the manual features again, since after high school, I just had a simple point and shoot!
Then, it all started when my sister got married in June 2004. It was at her wedding, being a bridesmaid, that I got to spend the whole day watching how the photographer did her thing, and after that I realized that I could so do this! So I put all hesitations/fears aside and jumped in!
By July 2004 I had all my stuff lined up, domain bought, game plan in place! I had a cousin who had recently started her own business up in Prescott and she happened to have a handful of weddings down here in Phoenix, that she let me go along with her. So by the Fall of 2004, I had enough prints to make a portfolio of matted 8×10 prints, and a 4×6 proof album full of the weddings I had went to with her. So, with those and my homemade business cards, I took the first step and booked a booth at my first Bridal show and had my very first wedding signed up for 5 weeks later in February 2005!! In the first year, off of that one bridal show I had booked 26 weddings!
And, Yes, the first 3-4 weddings I shot with my one Nikon FILM camera, one lens and one flash! Looking back that was crazy not having any sort of back up with me!! After those, I finally jumped on the digital bandwagon and went with a Canon Rebel. Yup, a rebel, with the kit lens! But as the bookings were coming in at almost 3 or so a week, I upgraded gear, and had back up gear. A must have! Every wedding I have back up, 2 of everything. I know I started off with the minimal gear, but I feel that I was better off understanding the technical side of taking pictures with the gear I had. And honestly it is not the gear that makes the photograph. I can hand my gear to a random person and they wouldn’t be able to get the same shot I can just by knowing which settings to use.
And from there build up my gear, my sample albums, my software, marketing, etc. as the bookings came in so I did not have to take out any loans, or go in debt to start off.
Over the years, I have done more bridal shows here and there, and I feel that they were a good way for me to get my name to lots of people in one or two days.
I am still getting referrals, and wedding couples coming back for portraits, from all of my weddings over the last 7 years. I love seeing my clients again after the years as they are coming back with little ones or new babies! It’s fun to see their families growing.
Also, when I started out, I did not do any research on other photographers in the area, I just picked a name and jumped in head first!! Only come to realize a couple years in, that if I googled my old name their was page and page of photographers all over the country with my same name or variations of it. That was NO GOOD! I couldn’t stand knowing that I was not my own name/brand and I was competing with lots of others, I did not want to market with a name that was all over. So January 2009, the new site/blog and Kendra Jean Photography was born! I love that it is me, and so far, I haven’t seen any other Kendra Jean’s around;)
I also realized that it is important to know other photographers in the industry so I started researching others, and joined in some online forums. And, I don’t know why I waited so long to start going to meet ups, but I finally started going earlier this year to the Phoenix Pug meetings, and it has been great to start meeting others in the area, and getting to know them slowly!
I have been through 7 years, I have learned alot, made alot of mistakes, but I am still just as excited to be doing this, and I can’t wait to see what the next 7 years brings for me! Over the years I have done over 65 weddings, and that is with having 5 babies in the spring, the busiest time in AZ! Having a baby in the spring means nothing scheduled after 34 weeks and at least 5 weeks after my due date! And that equals about 3 months of no schedule besides a newborn/maternity if it is scheduled at the right time. We also took our chance when we had it and moved to Minnesota for the Summer of 2009, which we are so glad we got to have that experience!
-Just to put all that together, I had 7 years with 5 springs off and every summer off! Most summers, I do not do any weddings and hardly any shoots in July/August, so that is 2 months off each year. So for 4 of those years I had 5+ months off.
I have no clue how many families, seniors, babies, engagement sessions, headshots, maternity etc shoots I have been on, but it has been alot! And I have met and shot so many wonderful people over the years:)
I know I didn’t start the perfect way, or have the perfect business, but what I did and what I do is working, so I am happy! I couldn’t do it with my awesome clients! People ask all the time how I juggle business with family, and honestly sometimes it is hard, which is why I have started outsourcing parts of my business. And someday I would LOVE to hire an office assistant to help out even more, but for that I need more than my little space in the corner of a room:) And another reason I love what I do, is because I have complete control of when I schedule shoots or weddings, how many days/Saturdays I schedule in, or what months I take off to keep me sane. I also book weddings under one year in advance and schedule portrait sessions to work with my family schedule.
This post may be some random ramblings, but that is pretty much my story. I know I like to hear how others started/run their business, so hopefully some of you liked to read it! If you are contemplating starting your own business, depending on if you will be full time/part time, it is alot of work, and I will be honest the majority of the business is working on the business side! with the smaller percentage being the actual shooting time. But, I am happy because I know that my clients cherish their images, and in some cases, I have captured the last images of the whole family together.
So, if you stuck around to read it, Thanks!