is it 2017? - Stephen Jennings Photography

Is it 2017?

01/02/17


A new year.... 

A new blog format. Exciting, I know. I don't have a resolution for the year .. mostly because I don't think I've ever completed one, and usually forget it by March. Well, maybe "get organized" because seriously, I have half completed projects all over the place. 

That's not to say I don't have a few objectives, where I want to be by 2018, things I want to accomplish this year and so forth. A few of them...

Blog

No joke, this is really freakin hard to do. It doesn't take to long to throw together the page (except that I keep changing it.) It's more that I don't know what to say, wonder if anyone reads it, and then it comes down to a backlog. I'd like to make a blog post for every client, maybe some personal junk, mental meanderings and such.. then I get behind, and I can't make a blog post for Y client if X, W, V clients don't have blog posts. I'm OCD like that, I can't do it, I freak out and delete the pages. Or make drafts for everyone and there's just a shit ton of empty blog pages on my website. Refine

When I started out as a photographer I photographed EVERYTHING.. I mean everything, just random things, random people. People (photographers) ask me "where did you learn to shoot, who taught you, what class did you take" .. I taught myself photographing rocks, trees, strangers and when my son was born he was drafted into my list of photographic victims during the early years. I photographed anyone and anything that offered to stand in front of my camera. I photographed maternity, babies, couples, political events, advertisements, real estate listings, everything. Except the old lady that asked me to photograph her naked suspended from a ceiling in leather bondage, I turned that down. But it's 2017, not 2011 when I first ventured down the path that led to Photography. In 2017 I know what I am .. I am a wedding photographer, and I am a phenomenal dance portraiture photographer. This is what I am, this is what I'm passionate about, this is what I'll photograph. Other genres, other lines of work, I just won't accept anymore - it's not me, it's not the brand I want to create, and I needlessly stretch myself thin taking on random projects just because it's business. This year I'm going to continue trimming my services to just weddings and ballet/dance - for past clients that I already have a relationship with I'll be open to other genres. The more confident I am in what I do and what kind of photographer I am the more creative and better I am. A self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Along with refining my business and creative direction, I'll continue refining my editing/shooting style, which I think has slowly developed into something that could be called "consistent." ... Ish any ways.

Blog

No joke, this is really freakin hard to do. It doesn't take to long to throw together the page (except that I keep changing it.) It's more that I don't know what to say, wonder if anyone reads it, and then it comes down to a backlog. I'd like to make a blog post for every client, maybe some personal junk, mental meanderings and such.. then I get behind, and I can't make a blog post for Y client if X, W, V clients don't have blog posts. I'm OCD like that, I can't do it, I freak out and delete the pages. Or make drafts for everyone and there's just a shit ton of empty blog pages on my website. RefineWhen I started out as a photographer I photographed EVERYTHING.. I mean everything, just random things, random people. People (photographers) ask me "where did you learn to shoot, who taught you, what class did you take" .. I taught myself photographing rocks, trees, strangers and when my son was born he was drafted into my list of photographic victims during the early years. I photographed anyone and anything that offered to stand in front of my camera. I photographed maternity, babies, couples, political events, advertisements, real estate listings, everything. Except the old lady that asked me to photograph her naked suspended from a ceiling in leather bondage, I turned that down. But it's 2017, not 2011 when I first ventured down the path that led to Photography. In 2017 I know what I am .. I am a wedding photographer, and I am a phenomenal dance portraiture photographer. This is what I am, this is what I'm passionate about, this is what I'll photograph. Other genres, other lines of work, I just won't accept anymore - it's not me, it's not the brand I want to create, and I needlessly stretch myself thin taking on random projects just because it's business. This year I'm going to continue trimming my services to just weddings and ballet/dance - for past clients that I already have a relationship with I'll be open to other genres. The more confident I am in what I do and what kind of photographer I am the more creative and better I am. A self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Along with refining my business and creative direction, I'll continue refining my editing/shooting style, which I think has slowly developed into something that could be called "consistent." ... Ish any ways.

Refine

When I started out as a photographer I photographed EVERYTHING.. I mean everything, just random things, random people. People (photographers) ask me "where did you learn to shoot, who taught you, what class did you take" .. I taught myself photographing rocks, trees, strangers and when my son was born he was drafted into my list of photographic victims during the early years. I photographed anyone and anything that offered to stand in front of my camera. I photographed maternity, babies, couples, political events, advertisements, real estate listings, everything. Except the old lady that asked me to photograph her naked suspended from a ceiling in leather bondage, I turned that down. But it's 2017, not 2011 when I first ventured down the path that led to Photography. In 2017 I know what I am .. I am a wedding photographer, and I am a phenomenal dance portraiture photographer. This is what I am, this is what I'm passionate about, this is what I'll photograph. Other genres, other lines of work, I just won't accept anymore - it's not me, it's not the brand I want to create, and I needlessly stretch myself thin taking on random projects just because it's business. This year I'm going to continue trimming my services to just weddings and ballet/dance - for past clients that I already have a relationship with I'll be open to other genres. The more confident I am in what I do and what kind of photographer I am the more creative and better I am. A self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Along with refining my business and creative direction, I'll continue refining my editing/shooting style, which I think has slowly developed into something that could be called "consistent." ... Ish any ways.

Ballet

Oh man.. were to start. So, "I'm a ballet photographer" well that's what I like to photograph anyways. I just cannot seem to figure out a way to make it profitable (or at least break-even.) I enjoy dance portraiture, taking dancers outdoors - or in a studio - and collaborating with our creative skill sets and creating truly beautiful works of art. The barrier I run into is 1. in Portland it's not a common practice, and I usually have to explain it which I'm a terrible communicator. 2. The value is often not apparent until after you've seen the work we create. The conversation usually goes like this "What is this exactly? .. Umm .. ok .. I guess" and then afterward "omg this was amazing!" How do I convey the unique way I do this type of photo session? Convey the value they, especially a parent, will find? Generally with other genres of photography I've found that if someone loves my work, they commission me for their project - but they're almost always out looking for a photographer. With ballet/dance I find that more than any other genres people really, truly, love the work I create - I would say it's by far my most appreciated, liked, admired, etc, form of photography, yet can't seem to get anyone to actually commission me for a job. So how do I generate enough business to be sustainable? I have no idea, I'm still trying to figure it out.

With Ballet though, or dance in general, there's several project I have in mind that I want to complete for the year - I have an entire studio kit with HSS strobes and a massive canvas just waiting to be painted as soon as I can convince someone to shoot in a studio with me. For the more adventurous dancer there's several locations I'd love to shoot at that would lend its self to some awesome photos. There's also different styles or concepts I'd like to approach - one that I'm dying to try is in a studio "motion portraiture" which would be taking a close in portrait during a dance at around 1/3000s - 1/8000s 

Any takers?

Weddings

It took a few years of hard, hard work to get my wedding business to where it is today. By September I had booked at least 2 weddings during every month of wedding season, and I'm quickly running out of weekends. My average wedding book 375 days before their date. 2017 will definitely be my busiest wedding season to date, and I have every expectation that 2018 will be even busier. 

That's not to say everything is set and done with .. actually, with the business side of things finally a place where things are kinda on autopilot - I can actually devote more time and effort into doing what I do best. Experimenting. Starting up this business over the past few years has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, the stress of the financial side of things really creates a tunnel vision with everything creative outside of thoughts. When I took up ballet photography it was the first time in my businesses history that I was financially free to do whatever I wanted, however, I wanted, purely for the artistic expression. The result? Pure awesomeness of course. This coming wedding season should be the same way.. I have a few new creative lenses to play with, as well as several strobes and modifiers to assist with creative lighting. You could sum up my goals for wedding photos this year simply with "creative lighting" .. I'll be practicing different techniques that I think are going to create some amazing works of art. As well as editing, I have a few new tools and methods I want to try out (and hopefully move away from Macs, #$!& you Apple) that will hopefully refine and SPEED UP the editing process. 


Well.. that's that.. my 2017 list of objectives, or something like that. Maybe just a bunch of rambling. 


2017 Blog

2015 Blog

Instagram

  • "Bella Onda" - Anna performing at Russian Ballet Academy's Spring Awakening this past weekend. . . @sultanovrussianballetacademy . . #cascadiaballetproject #dancephotography #balletphotographer #ballerina #ballet #balletlove #balletphotographer #balletpost #dancing #dancersofig #ballerinaproject #blackandwhitephoto
  • Edit.. edit.. edit. This is what I spend so much of my time doing. Anyone can pick up a camera and take a photograph .. the distinct style of a photographer happens here. (Imo anyways) Sometimes it's tedious and complex work.. sometimes like with this file it's simply fixing a shadow cast across the face in a distracting way & a little color correction. Anyways, BTS shot. 🤓
  • 😮 How does she do that? From the creatively named dance "Hip Hop 1 & 2" at CBA's Collaborations this past weekend. Hip hop is one of those genres left to videographers I think. . . #cascadiaballetproject #hiphopballet? #pdxnow #hiphopdancers #classicalballetacademy #balletphotography #balletphotographer #dancephotography #dancers #dancer #dancersofig #ballerinaproject
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