I have known Jen McKen for over 17 years. I knew her before she was Jen McKen. I called her Jennifer, Jenny, and Popeye among many others. But most of all I called her my best friend. And I still do. Her mom was “Mama Kenrick” for Pete’s sake. We spent every waking moment together from the time we were in 6th grade until graduation. Even when we decided to go to different colleges, our friendship never faltered. So needless to say, I know her pretty well.
Because I do know her so well, I know it would be a shame if you didn’t. I asked her a few questions that I thought would help you get to know her and her photography style a little better. Let’s see what she had to say:
NAE: Tell me about your ideal client.
JMP: This may sound cheesy but….an optimist. I see a pessimist and I go running in the opposite direction. Life is too short to be negative. I like to surround myself with like-minded people, both in my personal and professional life. When I’m around an optimist, my work glows. I love clients who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, who are successful in their own right and who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves—or at me! LOL
NAE: How long have you been at this and how did you get your start?
JMP: I’ve been doing the “photography gig” since my sophomore year in college. I started working at the school newspaper with NO experience other than I wanted to take awesome photos. My junior year, I traveled to Costa Rica as part of a college summer class and collected life style photographs to start building a portfolio. Soon after I returned I saw an ad in the local newspaper that they were seeking a photographer. I applied with my portfolio in hand and got the job. Now when I look back, I was horrible (hey everyone has to start somewhere!! Haha) I was able to hone my craft while working there for 6 or so years. I decided to quit the paper job when my business and family began to grow.
NAE: Besides weddings and engagements, what other services do you offer?
JMP: I specialize in PEOPLE! Preferably happy people!! LOL I love shooting families and senior portraits on location HOWEVER….I just finished a small-scale boudoir, maternity and newborn studio. This will serve as my space for meeting with wedding/engagement clients but a shooting space for those shoots that require a bit more privacy like boudoir…bow chica wow wow!!
NAE: What advice do you have for the bride and groom in preparation for photos on their big day?
JMP: Meet with your vendors IN PERSON if possible. Not only do you get a sense of their personalities but you can also get a clear understanding of what you can expect for your final product. Pick a photographer that compliments your style, personality, and overall look you’re going for. If you don’t like the images you see on their website, you won’t like the final product or images. Just like each wedding planner, DJ, cater is different-so are photographers. We all have our own style…just because they have a business doesn’t mean they are the right vendor for you.
NAE: What is your favorite moment during a wedding?
JMP: There are soo many! My personal favorite moment is when the father and daughter see each other for the first time, or the moment before the doors open at the back of the church and the anticipation and excitement between a father and daughter. No matter how grown up, successful or independent a woman is, she turns into “daddy’s little girl” again for a brief while. It tears me up every time!
NAE: What is your advice for choosing a wedding photographer?
JMP: Brides, you will be with your photographer longer on your wedding day than the man you’re about to marry. Make sure you “LIKE” your photographer. Hire someone you could see yourself be friends with outside of the “wedding world”. The day goes so much smoother and your photos are so much more personal when you have a photographer that you enjoy being around. Long gone are the days of a grumpy, pushy photographer…….and consider doing a first look. I talk in-depth about it here.
NAE: How do you break the ice and get your clients to relax?
JMP: We laugh and we talk-just like old friends. People typically love to talk about themselves-especially their engagement story. While they are spilling the beans and laughing at each other’s version of the story, I’m getting my shots! Before long, having a camera there is “no big deal”.
NAE: I had a tough time figuring out what to wear for my engagement sessions. What suggestions do you have on this?
JMP: The safest thing: BE YOURSELF!! Often times I see people going out and buying all the trendiest outfits, etc and trust me they look fabulous…..but if you think about it…REALLY think about it, if that’s not how you really dress everyday-why fake it for the photos. On the other hand, if you want to “take it up a notch” there are great resources available such the gals from Wardrobe Wednesday . They do an amazing job at putting together inspiration boards from everything from kids, families, engagements session AND they list coupons for stores periodically. My only other advice is to try not to be “matchy matchy.”
NAE: Where can brides find you?
JMP: Holla at me, tell me a joke or just say hi!
About me: http://www.about.me/jenmcken