Inspiring Interview | featuring Jen Dunham Photography

Our Inspiring Photographer Interview for this week features Jen Dunham Photography. Jen is one of our very own talented LSI Pro Members. You can follow more of her inspiring work on her blog and Facebook. Please meet Jen…
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A Few Words From Jen Dunham Photography

I’m a maternity, newborn and baby photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I’m also a single mom to four fabulous kids who feels as though life is a constant juggling act!

If there was one thing you would want us to know about you, what would it be?

Hmm, that’s tough! I guess I’d like people to know that I’m a really laid back, easy to get along with, type of person. I like to laugh – I think it’s just about the most important thing to do – and I’m basically a giant nerd who doesn’t take herself too seriously at all.

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Studio, on location or both? If you have a studio, please include an image of your space.

I recently gave up my studio space to go back on location, primarily shooting in my client’s homes. Some shoots take place in outdoor locations as well.

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Natural light, studio light or both? Preference?

I absolutely love working with studio light. When you work with artificial lighting, you have the ability to shape it any way you want. Really, with the right equipment, the possibilities are endless. I wish I had more opportunity to play with new set ups because not only is it fun, but there’s a lot of growth that comes from trying new things. I’m equally comfortable working with natural light, but given the option, I’ll pick studio lighting every day!

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Share with us your all time favorite image and why.

Oh gosh! That’s hard! I honestly have a new favorite almost all the time but I’m going with this particular image for the following reasons: First, big brother was a previous newborn client of mine which always makes it extra special for me, and second, because (in my experience, anyhow) a shot like this with a 2 year old is almost impossible (and certainly was an extreme challenge that day) but not only did I get it – baby sister happened to smile just at that moment! I love it!

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What inspired you to be a photographer?

I think my desire to “create” drove me toward photography. I’m not artistic in really any other way, save interior design, so the camera is the one place where I can really create the vision I have in my head.

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Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I’m a paid professional.

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Is photography your full time career?

Yes, though I have it broken down into 2 part time careers. I work part time as the studio manager for another talented professional photographer and then the rest of my time I work running my own photography business.

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What type of session do you look forward to the most vs what type of session you most often do?

That’s easy! Newborn sessions and newborn sessions! It’s what I love to do and it’s what I do the most of.

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On average, how many sessions do you have per month?

2-4

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What has been your most memorable session and why?

My last shoot is usually my most memorable! This most recent one was a lot of fun because I was hired by another professional photographer to fulfill the image she had for her own maternity photos. It was a lot of fun and I got very sandy and wet in the process!

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What has been the best source of information along your photography journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)?

The biggest turning point for me was from taking a one-on-one mentorship with Keri Meyers Photography. Getting to see another photographer actually work and being able to get answers and feedback on the spot was invaluable to the way I learn.

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What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?

The subject has always been my biggest source of inspirations. Some times I’ll have everything laid out for the session then I’ll meet the baby and throw everything aside and start from scratch because the baby inspires a different look or feel than what I originally had in mind.

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Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

Canon, 50mm 1.2L

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How would you define your post processing style?

Clean, simple, honest.

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What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Take it seriously. Insurance, back up equipment, contracts, well designed website and branding – have your ducks in a row. If all of that is too overwhelming, then stay a hobbiest until you’re ready and really want all that that entails.

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What is your favorite and least favorite part of owning your own photography business?

Favorite – working with newborns. I absolutely love it! People actually pay me to come play with their brand new babies! How cool is that?!
Least favorite – hauling all my newborn setup gear into and out of the clients home.

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Who is the most inspirational photographer in your life?

I don’t have just one. I’m very inspired by Heather Rous Weeks of The End Photography – her photos are like the style of art I’d decorate my home with – dark, moody, always beautiful even when disturbing. Brooke Shaden’s creations definitely inspire me and wish I’d put the time into learning more about that form of art. I’ve loved following our own Deanna McCasland’s work – she does light so well. There are many, many more, but these are the few that come immediately to mind.

Please include a funny outtake or blooper image from a session…

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And finally, please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

Clean and honest. There aren’t a lot of editing tricks there, though sometimes Photoshop does lend a helping hand.

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A Few Fun Questions:
Favorite TV show? Current – The Walking Dead; Of all time – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite movie? The War, Strictly Ballroom, Love Actually, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Half Baked – to name a few.
Favorite musician/band? Duran Duran and Sia
What is your favorite food? Almost anything cauliflower (roasted, in tacos, in a gratin – whatever – as long as it’s not soggy!)
What is your favorite beverage? Water
Your favorite item of clothing? Jeans
Your go-to pair of shoes? Flip flops
What is one word you catch yourself saying too often? I don’t think I can say that here!