When you see her photos, you immediately see her love for nature and her superb talent in her craft. From macro photography to skylines, Jenny covers a wide range of shooting styles that inspire me and many others.
Please check out her portfolio on IG and follow her journey to create and share the world we live in.
@jenharley1 on Instagram
1. How were you inspired to take an interest in your craft?
On some level, I had always wanted to learn photography, but it wasn’t until my daughter started playing competitive sports that I really got the bug and decided it was time to jump in and preserve those memories. My grandfather gave me my first “real” camera for Christmas 2004 – a Nikon D70. I learned through the kindness of other photographers as well as trial and error…mostly error!
2. Which of your creative accomplishments gave you the most satisfaction, and why?
I’d say there are two things that I’ve found really satisfying over the years. I had a short stint as a stringer for the Pulse Journal and provided them athletic photos from our HS, and most recently I received “Best in Show” in the Cincinnati Nature Center photo contest for 2017. Both were validation that my work was “good enough”, although I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied and always look to learn more and improve my craft.
3. Where do you feel most creative, and are there any environments which lowers your productivity?
I feel most creative when I am out in nature. I love the solitude of being immersed in the sights and sounds of the mountains or listening to the raw power of the ocean or waterfalls, but when that’s not possible, I turn to whatever nature is at hand which allows me to really focus on the details and gives me a sense of awe at the amazing world we live in. Environments that are too chaotic tend to sap my creative energy, so you won’t find me shooting any weddings!
4. Have you ever worked directly with clients and if so, how?
I shoot senior portraits, some families, and have experience with event photography. I especially enjoy senior portraits because I love connecting with them and learning about their hopes and dreams for the future.
5. What's the last thing you learned that you felt was a game-changer?
Back button focusing! Hands down! No idea why I haven’t been doing this all along!
6. What one thing would you like to learn to bolster your creativity?
The use of lighting – especially indoors. I have most of the equipment, but need to dedicate time to learning.
7. Who are your current influencers?
Everyone! I have a group of friends that I shoot with on the rare occasion when we can get together, and just being with them pushes me to be better. There’s no competition, but learning from each other and seeing through each other’s eyes is very powerful.
8. Where do you want to take your craft in the next year? How do you see yourself using your talents over the next 5 years?
I am hoping to retire in 2019, so the plan is to really push myself and use photography as a bit of a supplemental income. I’m interested in doing more seniors and families, but have a few opportunities coming up that will allow me to shoot things I’ve not experienced before. I would also like to use my craft to give back in some way once I retire.
9. How do you manage work/life balance and find time to work on your craft?
I’m fortunate to have a four day work week, so that helps tremendously. Being an empty nester also makes a big difference. However, it’s still difficult to find blocks of uninterrupted time to watch videos or take classes to learn new things. Oftentimes I prioritize shooting over learning because I need to have my camera in my hands almost every day – it’s my therapy.
10. Do you find yourself wanting to include others in your desire to grow as an artist? How would you like to collaborate with others?
Yes! Although typically with my photographer friends or a small group of people I may not know well vs a large group of people I don’t know.
11. How do you define your personal success?
I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like I’ve mastered photography per se – there’s so much to learn, so many tools available to create. I’d like to get to the point where I’m able to shoot numerous different things or situations without having to over think it – I want it to be second nature. I’m close, but definitely not where I want to be…yet! But I’ll get there!