Friday, July 17, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring Jennifer Skog

Ummmm, Jennifer Skog has got to be one of my FAVORITE photographers of all I'm kinda freaking out right now. She's UBER-talented and has an incredibly romantic vision. She's the kind of photographer who captures such beautiful images that I can't wait to get in front of her camera!!! I'm so thrilled to be sharing her with you right now! Seriously SQEEEEEALING!!!

Based in the Bay Area of CA, Jennifer Skog has a great market on the wedding industry but also takes THE BEST boudoir pictures of all time. I'm not lying. You've GOT to take a look at her whole portfolio and her blog. BUT, until then, please enjoy her Q&A!

1. You shoot such romantic engagement and wedding portraits. Where does your vision come from? What influences you? I really love romance and passion and capturing the true spirit of my clients. I want to record their love and it has always been that way for me. I get inspiration from everywhere, movies, magazines, other fabulous photographers, pretty much everywhere I go, I'm thinking of what would make a gorgeous shot. I've been lucky enough to have couples put their complete trust in me and let me do what I do.

2. How long have you been shooting? What kind of training do you have? How long did it take for you to hone your "style" and create your brand? It took a LONG time! Many may consider me a newcomer, but it's fairly far from it. I've always had a love for photographing people and fashion. When I was in college, I gave my cute neighbor a complete makeover and photographed her in my apartment with my lamp shades turned upside down and a sheet hanging with push pins from the ceiling. Her mom was so amazed by how great she looked, she asked me to photograph her wedding. I was 21 when I shot my first wedding, they paid me $100 and took all the film to Costco! From then on, I made it a mission to shoot weddings, I was very young, so had no idea what I was exactly doing on the business side, so I simply did a couple more jobs, built a portfolio, drafted up a contract, went to City Hall to get my business license and viola, I was in business. Truly, I didn't make any money off of my photography, I put it all toward my gear {all to be practically worthless when digital came out!}. I was also a waitress 6 days a week and a full time student getting my Marketing Degree. About a year after I graduated college, I was offered a job as a Marketing Manager for a small family owned business, since I was still waitressing and only shooting between 10-15 weddings a year, I decided that my Marketing Career might just be the only way I move forward in life. I worked with the company for 4 years, fell in love with my future husband and still shot on the side. It finally got to a breaking point to where I had to either quit my job or quit weddings, my husband encouraged me to make the jump and follow my passion. 3 short years ago, I did just that and have never looked back.

I'm mostly self taught, I study, attend workshops, experiment a lot with things and also learn from my fellow photographer friends. I have learned something from every person I have ever worked with and don't think I will ever stop learning. I'm somebody who is constantly trying to evolve with the world around me, I'm never satisfied with where I am at and am always looking to improve my skill.

It took me a long while to come up with a style and finally I just shot the way that I wanted to shoot. I like sexy things. When I bought my own wedding gown, I bought it because it was sexy and glamorous. I designed my current logo and actually hated it. Overtime, it has actually developed over time to be what it is now. When designing my blog, I wanted something sexy, a design that wouldn't go out of style and is
representative of my aesthetic, so I chose a sexy fishnet backdrop. What I love about my fishnet design is that it also resembles a veil when in white. The duality of the sexy black fishnet stalking or the feminine softness of a wedding veil truly represents my photography style. I couldn't be happier with it. I also try to evolve with fashion trends, when brown was big, my logo was brown; today trends are more vintage inspired, so I chose to go with a classic look of black and white, which I think I might actually keep :)

3. Your couture boudoir pics are the best I've ever seen. How did you come up with the idea? How do you get your subjects to relax and make them all look so beautiful? Thank you! I started doing boudoir without even knowing it when I was in college with my roommates and continued to do it for my friends as valentine's day gifts for the boyfriends. I've always been one to push the envelope a little bit and it's just something I enjoy doing. I had a bride ask me to do them and it sort of took off from there! My collaboration with Maria Chang has really enabled me to do everything I've ever envisioned for a boudoir shoot. Together, with our Couture Boudoir Shoots, we are able to come up with some amazing stuff and truly the possibilities are endless. Everyone is nervous in the beginning, including myself. Most often, the first time we meet is the day of the shoot. We start with an hour of hair and make-up with Maria, this gives us time to chat and get to know each other. It ends up just being a group of girls being girly and after a while, they are completely uninhibited.

4. You've already achieved great success, have a thriving business, and produce amazing images. What kind of growth do you still strive for? What's next for Jennifer Skog? Well... I don't really consider myself as having achieved a ton, this is what I do and it is expected that I do it well. I have a million things I want to do, but am often reminded by my husband to slow down a little. What I really strive for is having a successful business and a happy home. I want a family and I want to be home to enjoy them. Running a business takes a lot of dedication, time and stress, and especially in a artistic field, we wear everything on our sleeves. For me, my work is personal, I put everything I have into it. My five year plan is to move the business out of my home into a studio with my good friend and inspiration, Maria Chang. Together, we would like to expand our companies and teach others what we have learned over the years. We are currently sharing our boudoir knowledge with other photographers and makeup artists through our Intimate Affair Workshops and ultimately would like to do the same for weddings.

5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Be true to yourself, believe in yourself and stay humble! While most people who know me, know that in general I am not the most humble human being, however when it comes to my work, I am my own worst critic and always striving to be better. If you don't believe in yourself how can you ever expect anyone else to? When I first started meeting couples, I was frightened, an many times they would sense that and either try to get me to lower my price or not hire me. It wasn't until I gained confidence in what I do and communicated just how much I love what get I do that people took me seriously.

And now, onto the photos!

Jennifer, thank you SO MUCH for sharing your gift with us!!! I'm truly thrilled to feature you and count the days until I can be in front of your camera!


Lindsay With Lindsay said...

I asked her not to take a photo of my derriere, but it looks like she did it anyway. Sigh...

Gorgeous photos! I love the ones with the gals pulling the ties.

PhotoFANatic Friday's are so fun!

Deanna said...

I think this has neeb my favorite profile so far-I have been crazy for Jennifer's pictures for awhile now, and I can't wait to attend one of her workshops! Thanks Jen (and Jen!)!

theArthurClan said...

This feature is so awesome was fantastic to learn more about another fantastically talented photographer!

Anonymous said...

Fantabulous photos!!!!

DASHY said...

This is by far my FAVORITE PhotoFANatic Friday post. Skog is AMAZING! I'd like to be in front of her camera someday too! =) Thanks Jen for this post.