Today we’d like to introduce you to Irene Emma.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Irene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a very young girl, I was always interested in art, drawing, and sculpting. Starting in elementary school everyone knew I had an eye for art and artistic detail. Growing up, I took a lot of classes in studios after school and on the weekend. My father had an eye for art as well. We would go for walks and draw together. We would even spend countless afternoons in the summer drawing pictures of the lakes, grass, and trees in parks. He would also take me to museums to look at various artists and their work. Although I spent a lot of time with my father pursuing my passion of art, however, it was my mother who introduced me to my first camera. It was a Polaroid Instamatic Camera. From that point on, I was hooked. At first, like everyone else, I was taking snapshots. However, I started experimenting with light and how the light acted on subjects. Then, once I figured where to put people so the light would make them look appealing, I was very pleased. I had a few of the Polaroids and other Kodak film cameras. At first, I was taking pictures of friends and family. The next thing I knew, I was taking pictures of people at parties for whatever money they wanted to give me. As I got older, I grew away from photography, went to college, got a job, and had a daughter. When my daughter was young, I saw a photography course being offered at a local adult school. I immediately registered. However, the instructor only wanted to teach using film cameras and not digital. I learned all of the details I could about the camera and how to develop pictures. Once, I thought I could take good pictures again, I started taking pictures of parties and events for pay. I put the camera down again to attend to my family. Then my daughter went to college. When she went to college, I went to another adult school. It was a fluke how I found out about the school. It just so happened that I was in a Kinkos and the clerk was telling someone that she was leaving to shoot a wedding. I started talking to her about it. Then she told me about another adult school which was quite different than the first one. This time I stayed long enough to get any adult school certificate in photography. I was focused on being a Wedding Photographer. However, I had to go through the steps to start my business. I first had to give it a name. I thought of Emma Jacquelyne. Emma is my middle name (and my grandmother’s name) and Jacquelyne is my daughter’s name. That’s how Emma Jacquelyne Photography was born. I then had to ensure I had what I needed to run a photography business like a business license, county documents, insurance, and a website. Today, I do photograph weddings and everything that ties in with weddings like engagement shoots and boudoir shoots. I remember shooting my first wedding. I was so nervous. I had to write down and memorize all of the steps in my head so that I would get all of the images needed for a wedding. I remember taking pictures and looking up and I didn’t see the bride. She started to come through a door which had frosted glass. Then, I took the picture. It was one of the best pictures of fine art quality that I’ve ever taken. My photography also now includes the photographing of events (parties, balls), head shots for professionals and actors, and graduating seniors, In my portfolio, I have done real estate photography and pet photography. On occasions, I use a second shooter or an assistant but it depends on the scope and type of photography. All in all, I love photography. It is my life. I think that what makes me successful is listening to my clients and helping them see the picture of what they are looking for with their photos. I also let them see what I can do for them to make their experience noteworthy. I think what also helps is that I do a lot of repeat photography. I have had a lot of clients come back to me to do a party or have a their graduating children get senior pictures from me. I think that by making and keeping relationships has help me keep groups coming back to me throughout the years as their “go to” photographer. I think that what also helps is that I get good referrals. Once I client likes you and your work, they are more likely to refer good clients to you. Also, I think that it worth noting that if you want to be good at something, you need to practice all of the time. When, I was in the second adult school one of the instructors would tell us to practice every week. Each week when he would as us who had something to share, my hand would immediately go up. To this day, I always shoot all of the time. I may go to events where public photography is permitted and shoot there (music events, horse racing events, community events, etc.). I also go with other photographers to places and shoot. So, I am always practicing, learning by going to lectures and taking online webinars. It is always important to keep up with what is trending with the business, weddings, parties, events, or even poses, so that when your client asks you for your opinion you will be able to answer them with the correct response.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would have wished it to be a smooth road. I think that if I had all of the money in the world it would have been a smooth road. However, I think that it has all been a learning and building experience for me. I had to learn from others to get started. I paid a lot for classes, lectures, and expos. I think now that I know my skill level, I pick and choose what would be beneficial for me to learn about (and pay for) and how would it help my business. Photography isn’t an inexpensive business. Once you start, you have to build on with what you have or sometimes upgrade to get the most out of your photography. Cameras change, technology changes, advances are made and you have to keep up with it because you or I want to provide the best photography for my clients. Also, to when you have a business you have to know everything about your business. That’s why I talk to a lot of other photographers and more experienced photographers (10 years plus). A lot of times they are willing to talk about their experiences. For example, I had to find out about the rules of photojournalism (when was it permissible and not permissible to take a street photo), therefore, I talked to a more experienced photographer to get advice. Additionally, I had to talk to my accountant to find out about how to categorize items I used for my business. I don’t consider having struggles in my business. However, I might say that it was a struggle to finally make the commitment to say that I was going to pursue this line of work. At first I started and then I stopped. It wasn’t until (for me) I got focused and then pursued photography. I think that getting established, known, and maintaining work could be a struggle. However, that could be a struggle in any business. I just keep looking for leads (being in the right photography organization and club), establishing the right marketing approach (or appeal), and developing the correct sales approach. However, I always make sure that whomever I am talking to that I am always, always, always being honest about everything I do. I also make sure that the client feels 100% confident in making the right choices with me.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Emma Jacquelyne Photography – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I have a photography business. I specialize in wedding and event photography. I am known mostly for (or do a lot of) event photography (parties, quinceanera, debuts, corporate, galas, balls, etc.). I also do engagement photos, boudoir photography, graduation photography, children’s photography (and infant), head shots for professional or for actors (actresses). I am most proud of the way I make people look. I can bring out the image the clients or looking for. I am proud of the way I pose and work with my clients so that I can get the correct image for them. I think that what sets me apart from other photographers is my art background. A few years ago, I was in a lecture presented by a well known world famous photographer. He suggested that to get to be better at your craft, take art classes. He said to look at how painters and sculptors captured their images. Since, I have already taken a lot of art, craft, painting, and sculpting classes (since I was a young child) I can already see see a little bit more than others can’t. I think that what sets me apart is that I can see art in photography and I can make people look beautiful using light and color.
What role has luck (good luck or bad luck) played in your life and business?
I think that I had good luck by staying true to myself, what I believed in, and what I liked. I have had good luck by photographing people. I remembered when I took art classes in college and we had to draw people. We had to look at the figures and identified if they moved what part of the body would be effected. I stay true to myself by knowing that I am good at photographing people. I am honest in saying that I am true to myself because I like to photograph objects which can move and not stand still. Therefore, I refrain from photographing still life or landscapes. I think that I’ve had bad luck in the past (but have learned from my mistakes) by not establishing a rapport with a client first. I think that you have to show the client that you have their best interest in mind. You have to know what the client wants and show them that you can capture the photo that they desire.
- Wedding packages is comparable from $1350 – $3500
- Consultations and on location shoots (in the area) $299 – $400 (depending on number of hours)
- Photographs are from $16 – $130 per photograph
- Events $200 and up (depends on number of hours, number of people at event, tangibles wanted at end of event – photographs, albums, online viewing, etc.)
- Website: emmajacquelynephotography.com
- Phone: (626) 701-6999
- Email: email@example.com