Thursday, May 21, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring Jennifer Urbin

Meet Jennifer Urbin, today's PhotoFANatic Friday feature! She's a stud and a pro who I met through the i Heart Faces website. Jennifer specializes in children and babies, but also shoots incredible senior pics, maternity pics, and EVEN labor and delivery pics. HOW AWESOME! She's definitely made a career of capturing the family at each stage.

Jennifer is based in the Detroit area, but travels nationwide. She fields emails from photographers from throughout the country on a consistent basis and is actually beginning an online mentorship program. Contact her if you're interested, or follow her blog! I think this is a wonderful idea and as someone who has learned so much from workshops and one on one instruction, I just know the mentorship program will be a wild success!

Want to know more about what makes Jennifer Urbin one of the country's most successful children and babies photographer??? Well, let's get on to it!!!

    1. After you first became interested in photography, what were the first steps you took to becoming a "pro"? The whole world of photography kind of took me by surprise. When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided that I would love to go back to school to become a Labor and Delivery Nurse. But then I had my daughter and a new obsession took me down another path...a path that led me to a new found profession...being my daughter's own personal paparazzi. (Poor Girl) I loved taking pictures of my sweet baby girl and when I composed a great shot...I would get all giddy inside. It was such a great feeling. Then people started asking me if they could hire me to take pictures of their kids and it kind of snowballed from there. One of the first steps that I took to becoming a "pro" was building a portfolio and I really took my time doing it. I didn't just want a handful of awesome images mixed in with a bunch of mediocre images....I wanted them all to shine in their own unique way. I started a blog to display my images which kind of acted as my website at the time. This is my work...a representation of me...I want my clients to see only the *spectacular*. If an image doesn't speak to me...then I certainly don't want it trying to speak to a potential client ;) So a little advice to those just starting out...Don't add good images to your galleries just to bulk them up....instead take your time and get back out there behind your camera and focus on taking images that are stellar and gallery worthy!!! Don't worry so much about the quantity...worry more about the quality. You have 7 seconds to impress a potential client before they move onto the next website, so make sure to knock their socks off.
    2. You specialize in babies and children (Hard Work), why not adults and/or weddings? I'm passionate about photographing children. I love their innocence and their wonderment. Everything is so exciting to them, and energy just seems to radiate from their images. I love that there is no need to pose them or direct them...they're cute and expressive all on their own. Children just seem so magical to me. On the other hand I also love shooting Seniors, I love that they bring their own element to their session. Seniors are expressive and love being able to add their "brand" (for lack of a better term), to their images. Whether it be ballet, fashion, sports, music...they always bring something to the table that helps in creating custom images that scream individuality and uniqueness. It really makes things interesting and fun. As far as weddings go...I've done a couple and I'm just not so sure they're for me. Maybe someday, I'll feel differently but right now....I'm happy photographing the kiddos!
    3. What's been the most unusual shoot you've ever had? I can't say that I've done anything unusual per say, but I can say that I've photographed something unique. The most unique event that I've ever documented would be childbirth. Quite honestly...It's very difficult to come up with the words to describe what an amazing experience it truly is. To be trusted to document one of the most miraculous events in existence is such an honor. The love, beauty and emotion that is involved is amazing. To capture the relationship of a husband and wife during this time...the husbands eyes as he looks at his wife wishing he could take away her's so real and unrehearsed. The focus and determination of the soon to be mother is so raw and riveting and the amount of love that permeates the room the moment that a new little life enters the world is one of the most beautiful things that I have ever witnessed. Being asked to document a birth is such an honor...I feel truly blessed....I'm sooooo lucky...I love my job!
    4. What's in your bag? What are your "go to" lenses for your portraits? Hmmm what's in my bag ummmm....well a whole lot of passion and not much else. I know you're probably saying to yourself "HUH is this chick serious?" and to answer your question...yes. Every single image on my website was taken with my Nikon D70 and my 50mm 1.8. I do love my lens and I've just made it work for me. I just recently purchased the Nikon D700....and I am head over heals in LOVE!!! The high ISO capabilities are mind blowing...and... Are you ready for this...virtually no digital noise. It is WONDERFUL. I'm hoping to buy the 24-70 2.8 soon...we'll see. As far as editing software....all of my images have been edited with Elements 5 (I swear I can hear everyone gasping right now ;) I've had CS3 and Lightroom loaded on my computer for over a year and haven't had the time to sit down and learn the programs. I'm finally starting to mess around with them a little bit now. I'm excited to jump into the wonderful world of actions and batch processing and I'm hoping to make the full transition soon.
    5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Oooh that's a's impossible to just list one. One important thing to consider is in regards to pricing. Don't undercut the industry and for Pete's sake don't undercut yourself. Look at it this way, custom photography is a luxury and not everyone can afford luxurious things. Tennille from TK Business and Design once said "By giving it away at such a low price, I was essentially handing over my hard earned paycheck so that other people could afford to have nice things. Really look at it this way. Let's say you worked in sales at a Lexus car dealership. Would you give up half of your paycheck to give to a client so they could afford the Lexus? No way! If they can't afford a Lexus, then they find another manufacturer. You have to look at your business this way too." Sound advice from a super savvy business woman. I encourage you all to check out the class that she offers called "Mind your own business". I think the most important thing though is to believe in yourself. I know it may sound cliche' but it's soooo true. If you don't believe in yourself then your client's won't believe in you either. Don't wait for someone to knock on your door to tell you that "you have arrived." The only person who can make that decision for you is you. Own it and believe in it and then stand back and watch the doors open. Walk with confidence, not with doubt...and don't make excuses for the your proud of it! I've never been more passionate about anything in my life....I live it and breathe. It's the fuel that keeps my fire burning. So to sum it up...Be confident, believe in yourself, stay passionate,and decide that you are worth it!!!
Wow, thank you Jennifer, SO MUCH, for your raw honesty. Your passion is contagious and we can hear it in your words and see it in your images. It's amazing what you've accomplished and it's not hard to believe that you have other photographers coming to you for advice. I particularly am amazed by how awesome your images are without a lot of goes to show that we all need to focus on better images straight out of the camera versus post-processing. AND, I for one, look forward to hearing more about the mentorship program!

And now, onto the pics!!!!

To learn more about Jennifer Urbin Photography, please visit her website and blog. You won't be disappointed! Thanks again, Jennifer, for participating!!!


Amy @ Living Locurto said...

I love Jennifer's work! I wanted to pick that tutu snow photo as my favorite, but Angie beat me to it!! Great article:-)

I Heart Faces

Contemporary Portraits said...

I also love the tutu pics!!!She is great with kids!!!

TickledPink said...

I'm enjoying your blog so please stop by my blog to pick up your blog award.

Boybarian Dad said...

Jennifer does awesome work, very nice post.

What I also like is how successful she has become on just mediocre equipment. I think that is a great message to people that you don't need the most expensive stuff out there to have awesome work. Who would have thought that she uses a D70 (mediocre camera) and Elements 5 for editing.

JU rocks, nice work.

B Dad

Jennifer Urbin Photography said...

Hi Jen just wanted to thank you for having me as a guest blogger for Photofanatic Friday. It truly was an honor! Your blog're a jack of all if only all woman were confident enough to use power tools. You're inspiring...I'll be sure to let you know the first time I whittle something out of wood or cut my first mitre with my husbands table saw or wait is it a mitre saw.....hee hee hee....none of that probably makes any sense at all but maybe soon with your help, I'll be able to know what I'm talking about :) Thanks again. Your blog rocks!

Living With Lindsay said...

It's a testament to how great she is that she and I use the exact same camera and she gets *those* results and mine look like snapshots. :)

Jenny Beth @ JenuineJen said...

Those photos are awesome! I will be sure to check out her website.

Kristen said...

So great! I've been watching her blog for a while now. Great interview!