Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fab Photog: Jessica Zellars Photography

Questions for you...You Fabulous Photographer, You!
Name: Jessica Zellars
Business Name: Jessica Zellars Photography
Location: Franklin, IN
Q:  What gear is in your camera bag? 
A: I have a Canon 7D, 50mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.8. I also carry a gray card, backup batteries & memory cards, of course. I also 

Q: What is your favorite lens to use and why? 
A: I find myself using my 50mm 1.4 most of the time. I super love it!

Q: Give us one sentence to describe the style of your photography. 
A: Laid back, natural, lifestyle photography with a fresh, classic feel.

Q: What caused your interest in photography? 
A: I discovered my love for photography just after high school, when I found myself wanting to capture ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING on film with my point & shoot. My hubby bought me my first SLR camera in 2002, and that's when I officially fell in love with photography. It really blew up when had children, though. I have BOXES and BOXES of photographs of my kids throughout every stage of their lives. 
Q: What is your favorite thing to shoot and why? 
A: Babies! I love 'em. Newborns, in particular. They are just so innocent and sweet. Being able to capture the purity of a new baby makes my heart smile. Nothing beats catching a teeny little smile or a sleepy yawn on camera.

Q: How long did it take before you felt that you established a solid portfolio? 
A: Still working on it! I'll probably always  be adding to & changing it, because I hope to continue to improve and evolve as a photographer.

Q: How long did it take you to discover your style of photography? 
A: Not long! I've always known that my style is more natural and classic, with the focus always being on the subject. 

Q:  What inspires you most? 
A: My family! My hubby and I have four awesome kids that inspire me to be a better photographer AND person every day. They're also really cute. 
Q: How long does it typically take you to edit a portrait shoot? Weddings? 
A: I won't be shooting my first weddings until this summer & fall. Eek! But most of my portrait sessions take anywhere from 4-8 hours to edit, depending on what I'm working on. I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

Q: Do you use studio equipment? If so, what would you say is the most crucial piece in your studio and why? 
A: Not really. I shoot on location only. And it's all natural light for this gal. I love it! I do have a “traveling studio” that I bring along to my newborn sessions, which includes my trusty beanbag, tons of blankets, lots of baskets & other cute props, and some floordrops (which I LOVE by the way!). The parents probably think I'm moving in when I show up at their door! 

Q: What are you looking most forward to this year...Both professionally, and personally?
A: Growing! Professionally, I'm really happy with how far I've come in just the last year, and I can't wait to see what the next year brings! Personally, I look forward to spending more quality time with my little lovelies. I've been so busy with work over the last year, and I'm really looking forward to slowing things down a bit, and spending more time with those that mean the most to me.

Q: Do you ever get "bored" with your work? If so, what do you do to shake things up? 
A: No way! I LOVE what I do. If I ever start calling it “work” then I need to make some changes. Right now, I look forward to each and every session, and I hope it stays that way!!! I am unbelievably lucky to be able to do what I love, and I am so grateful for that!
Q: What's the one thing about your work that you feel sets you apart from the big sea of photogs? 
A: I offer my clients a completely customized portrait session. I want them to feel totally comfortable with me, and know that the photos will reflect who THEY are, and not just who I am as a photographer. I always try to execute any ideas they might have, and try to truly capture THEM in the images. I think this is really important!

Q: Do you have an idea for a shoot, but have no clue how you are going to make it happen?
A: Hmmm...not yet! Sometimes my kids get lucky and get to test out some of my ideas for me ahead of time. ;)

Q:  How do you balance your personal life with your work life? 
A: This is a tough one for me. I'm really working on it, but it is HARD. I usually end up editing WAY too late at night, so that I'm not working so much during the times I could be spending with the family. I think I need to learn how to say NO, and not bite off more than I can chew. I sometimes get a little too excited, and take on more than I should. 
Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
A: I like to complain about Indiana when it's really hot or really cold, but the truth is, I'm pretty happy here. I would really miss the changing seasons if I moved somewhere else. I would however, really like to own some land with mature trees and possibly a pond....with frogs.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 
A: Maybe working out of an adorable little natural light studio on that lovely pond I was just talking about. :) 
Q: What are you most proud of? Both professionally and personally?
A: I'm SOOOO proud of my kids!!! They are all so different, but all so smart and funny, in their own ways. I know everyone is proud of their children, but mine truly are the best!! Professionally, I'd have to say I'm proud of my improvement in my first year of business. I look back at photos I took just 6 months ago, and I can see such progress already. It makes me anxious for the next 6 months!

Q: Describe in one paragraph what a perfect day for you would look like. 
A: My perfect day would include waking up sometime after noon, reading a good book while drinking coffee with too much sugar, then spending the rest of the day playing with my kids and eating cake. I know that sounds boring to most, but it sounds lovely to me.
Q: What turns you on the most creatively and what turns you off?
A: I'm turned ON by a challenge. I am always looking to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something different! I'm totally turned OFF by negativity. I love feeling like part of a community with other photographers and artists, helping and inspiring each other, and I really try to avoid the negativity in the industry that can bring you down if you let it!!
Q: As far as marketing your business goes, what would you say are the most important and beneficial things to do when you want to get your name out there? 
A: I want to make sure my clients have a wonderful experience with me so that they will feel comfortable recommending me to others. Word of mouth is by far the best way to get your name out there, and has been my only source of business thus far. Facebook has helped a little, too. ;)

Q: What's the one piece of advice that you feel a person just starting a photography business would benefit from? 
A: Stay positive!! Don't get discouraged when things don't work out exactly how you thought they would. If you love what you're doing, stick with it. We ALL make mistakes....the real challenge is learning how to turn them into learning experiences. It took me 10 years to gather enough courage to put myself out there, and I am so happy I did! 
Thank you so much Jessica! I have to say that I really relate to you. It's a good reminder that we aren't the only ones who have so much fun with our photography that we struggle with a day to day balancing act! (I know I do!). Thank you for being real and honest. I really believe that this is the number ONE struggle for photog Moms! Although, I will say that having kids is a GREAT way to practice every single day and is also a great way to spend time with them! You inspire us, Thank You! 
 Here's Jessica's Facebook Fan Page. Become a fan! Jessica's FB fanpage

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