Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Jen Adams. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Alright, Jen thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What’s been the most meaningful project you’ve worked on?
There have been so many meaningful photo bookings in my photography world over my career. One that strongly comes to mind is my work over the years with The Faine House.
Way Back-story: For years, I was always asked a dozen times a year to donate to silent auctions or to photograph events for non profits, etc. for free. Believe me, I love to give but I wasn’t always feeling joyful once I actually gave of my time, energy, and resources. I decided one time when I woke up to photograph a 5k at 4:45am on a Saturday morning, that I really needed to learn the graceful way to say no thanks. A few hours after that hot 5k, I came up with a new plan I found fair and helpful for all involved: I created non-profit pricing at half-off my regular hourly rate. This gave me the opportunity to still work and give, but at a highly reduced fee and in return, the non-profit hiring me, pays me something for my time, energy, etc. but also believes in giving and receiving as well. I found this to be a win-win situation and now I always feel joy in my heart that I am still able to give them super high quality results they can use verses them using either no photographer or someone else having to take pictures from a phone on the fly.
ANYWAY, back to The Faine House. There are sooooooo many non-profits out there and I tend to be particular in why I gravitate to certain non-profits. The NP’s I tend to appreciate most are those that are set up to help people that have landed in a situation through no choice or fault of their own.
The Faine House, helps 18 year olds that “age out” of the foster system. These “new adults” didn’t ask to be foster children in their past, and they have been through unimaginable times. The Faine House operates from a 7,000 square foot facility in Orlando, Florida. They host ten private bedrooms and accept 18 to 23-year-olds into their program who do not otherwise have access to opportunity & mentorship. Each young adult sets their own financial, occupational, and educational goals and participates in a curriculum designed to heal, equip, and empower. Their website explains more: https://supportfainehouse.org/
Over the years I have been able to meet these young adults and witness the well-thoughtout changes this program makes. Jeff & Brittnie Faine have made such differences in each life they have touched along with the other “Faine-Makers”. It is truly a wonderful organization and I have enjoyed working with them for many years.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
I grew up in Ohio, moved to Florida at sixteen, played some volleyball in “junior” college, graduated from Florida State University (don’t hate me Gators and Hurricanes) & have lived in Central Florida since 1995. My honey and I married in ’97 & have 2 beautiful children (now 23 and almost 21) & we have two rescue pups. I love to play tennis in my free time and enjoy changing my hair color & length, though I have never gone pink —> YET!
I have a BLAST working with kids with photography and have been told I am very “patient”, and of course I am! I can relate to just about anyone, except rude or fake people. Life is too short, right?
Jen Adams Photo was “born” in 1999 in Winter Park, FL with the goal of providing affordable & professional wedding coverage to couples typically budget-conscious. Because I was a budget bride myself, I have been able to educate my clients on what they need and what they do not. This is hard because a lot of others are in for the “charge as much as the market can bare, and have an upsell style business plan”. I have found my clients appreciate my approach and refer me often and and many choose to be annual clients, therefore I rarely have to market myself.
Speaking of clients, their needs have evolved, and so have my niches ~ Many of my past brides & grooms have had children, and call me for maternity shoots, newborn & family shoots, senior shoots & special events including: Birthdays, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Corporate Events, Headshots, and the list goes on! My goal is to treat them how I would like to be treated, and go above and beyond their expectations so they only have to think of Jen Adams when they think of their photographic needs. I was one of the first in my field to give my clients copyrights, negatives (back in the day) and all images after editing. To me, they already have paid for them, and why fuss about something that you now have to inventory, etc. There is no reason to hold back these products from them “for ransom”. I think my clients have appreciated “the give” whether they knew it up front or not. At some point they realize all they were given to and are thankful.
I believe it is 100% important to hire someone that truly enjoys what they do. That’s me for sure! I find joy in helping those that may not feel naturally beautiful going into whatever photoshoot we are doing at the time, feel worthy of a wonderful time and when I give my final product to them, I know they are happy and that they feel worthy and beautiful/handsome.
I graduated with a degree in education, and have been able to use my knowledge and teachings to help me understand how to smoothly educate my clients on what to expect, and what they will receive and when. I used to be a sales rep for a chemical company before being a mother and that also helped me with the business side of my business. I am also a balanced A-type & B-type personality so I am organized, detailed, but also love to create a beautiful shot… The creative side of my business is super-fulfilling.
I also love to connect & have fun with my client & give them an outstanding final product. It’s still “work” at the end of the day, but it is enjoyable and fun. I am most proud of my ability to give and learn from others through the years. I was able, along with my husband’s salary, to be the stay-at-home style mom many could not do. I worked a lot of weekends in the beginning. It did allow me to be able to be there for all the important things for those 19 years for both of my children. And now, from watching me, and from communicating with them, and guiding them, they both know how to juggle and hustle because of the example we both set for them. It surely isn’t a perfect situation at all times and could not work for everyone, and I did have to pass on a lot of fun trips and events because I was working on a Saturday night or all weekend, but if I had the opportunity to go back and change things, I don’t think I would. My children know the value of a dollar and how hard it is to earn it. They also know to believe in themself.
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
This is three-fold. Earlier in my photographic career, I was referred often at a venue in downtown Orlando, as I filled a need for them. I was lucky and was at the right place at the right time. My source of new clients were their referrals, as well as people I would meet along the way. I let them know that I would depend on them for more work.
Secondly, as I got older, I began to ask for different photography work that I knew I could do, and do beautifully, and better than what was done in the past. I went to the preschool my children attended (after they “graduated”) and went after the business and shared how I would do it differently, and better! The past photographer took one image, printed, charged an amount, and delivered. I knew as a mom that I would have loved more choices before I spent $15 on a 5×7 of the photographer’s choice. My way: I take about 10 images of each child, pare it down, share online for the parents to pick what image they wanted, and what size. I threw in a few gifty type options for them as well, and I also allowed them to purchase the copyrights to an image as well. Lots of orders came rolling in, and lots of printing, and LOTS of work. Then, these parents would call me for their family shoots… it was a GREAT source of new customers. I still do not charge $15 for a 5×7 either which is what I paid back in 2004.
In the past 7 years, I joined the very special Chamber of Commerce in Winter Park, FL. Joining in and meeting people and sharing what I can offer, has given me a ton of business headshots as well. People need new, fresh headshots and don’t mind paying a fair amount. I bring the backdrop to them if they don’t want a natural backdrop. Then they can go down the hall to their office and get back to work.
Any thoughts, advice, or strategies you can share for fostering brand loyalty?
I do this differently too. I don’t send weekly or monthly emails. I find my clients know me, know how to reach me, and I send about one to two emails a year.
I do get sad if someone uses someone else, but it happens, and usually they come back anyway. Ultimately I am glad they are getting professional photography.
I also have a following on social media. I try to share stories about people I have photographed and I rarely post pictures of my clients unless 6 months or a year has gone by. I totally appreciate the “sneak peak” social media efforts others make, but my theory is that they want to share their images, not to have their photographer share it. I try to look at things from a different perspective. I don’t want to share someone’s family picture they planned to use for their holiday cards.
- Website: www.jenadamsphoto.com
- Instagram: JenAdamsPhoto
- Facebook: JenAdamsPhoto
- Linkedin: JenAdamsPhoto
- Other: pinterest: JenAdamsPhoto
all by Jen Adams Photo