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Meet Jennifer McNeil of Jennifer McNeil Photography in Orange County

Christina Kennedy Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer McNeil.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jennifer. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My successes are thanks to those around me. Without an amazing support system, great mentors, friends, family, and of course clients, I could not be where I am today. So many people have shaped my business over time – from the days where it wasn’t a business at all, until now.

My great grandmother told me many times how important photographs are. They tell stories. They timeline our lives through generations. When I inherited ALL of her photographs, I learned so much about who my family was and is, and who I am. This is why I am a photographer: to help other families tell their stories – for their children, and grandchildren, and so on.

For me, it wasn’t always about telling a story. When I was in grade school, I used to borrow my mom’s camera to take photos all over the neighborhood. I found it fun! My brother often posed for me in his sports gear, and then friends would dress up and model in later years.

Once I started taking classes in high school, I discovered how much I love light and learned how to play with it. I spent a lot of my time photographing night scenes after that. Photography was a hobby for a long time, then with much encouragement from friends and family, I started photographing weddings professionally.

It wasn’t until my nephew was born in 2010 that I found my true calling – babies! Being with him for long hours, soothing him and snuggling him, I was perfectly at ease and knew I just had to work with newborns in some capacity. Over the next 3 years, I started teaching myself, worked with other studios, and learned from mentors in the field.

In 2013, I officially began my specialty in newborn photography. This encompasses maternity, newborn, child and family photography and I could not be more thrilled about being able to watch families grow.

I’ve worked in the hospital setting capturing brand new life in the first 48 hours, traveled to clients all throughout Southern California, and now have a beautiful studio in my home which my husband helped me build. These days most clients come to my studio which is a wonderful thing for both of us. I can be nearby for my son, and the studio is set up in a way which allows families to relax while I capture images of their newborn.

I am so happy with where I am at right now – but of course have many goals for the future.

Has it been a smooth road?
Of course it has not always been a smooth road! With success comes challenges – many challenges. Learning what people love and don’t love, finding my own style while still pleasing every client, and balancing work and life just to name a few.

But I don’t think it is possible to go through life without struggles. The struggle makes every success so much sweeter. When a baby comes in crying and I am able to soothe her, it feels so good! And that’s my analogy for the business as a whole. Every baby cries. It is normal, part of life – and if you treat him with love, patience, and a positive attitude, magical moments occur.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I have bad days, I wonder if I could have done something better – but it helps me grow. Any mistake I make, I learn from it and make it my goal to avoid making the same mistake again.

With a degree in English Education, and a number of years of teaching experience, I am passionate about the value of my own continued education. Being able to admit that I don’t know it all has led me to reach out to those who do and to learn from the masters. This has even helped eliminate struggle along the way.

I had a math teacher once who told me “if you don’t have time to do it right, you have time to do it again” – and I like to add that if I have to make time to do it again, I may as well have taken the time to learn how to do it right in the first place. That leads me to do things more slowly and carefully than some might. My goal is to give a high level of service to my clients with stunning images on high quality products, so it is my belief that there is no way to rush it and cheat the system for that result.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Jennifer McNeil Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I specialize in newborn baby photography. Personally, I have photographed over 3,000 newborn babies within the last 7 years. This definitely sets me apart as I have literally been with every type of baby you can imagine – sleepy curly babies, screaming babies, babies who just want to be with mom, gassy babies, wide awake babies – you name it. Families tell me that I am the “baby whisperer” – that’s a pretty cool title, right?

I also offer maternity photography which I absolutely love! Mamas come in and feel beautiful in their gown, and we know that one day the baby inside will be able to see her mom in the images, and see her very first home.

Children and family photography comes naturally after the first two. These babies grow up so fast and they change rapidly, so most families want to document that with milestone sessions or annual family photos.

Sessions are offered either in studio, in client’s homes, or on location at local parks and beaches.

I enjoy partnering with other professionals in the realm of maternity, birth and family. This enables me to provide helpful resources to my clients when questions come up. Doulas, shop owners, mom bloggers, and educators each have an area of expertise different than my own – but just as important to the families I work with.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
From the outside, it may seem that photography is going in a purely digital direction. What I am seeing, however, is that those who truly value photography and how it can honor their stories, prefer to have images in printed form.

I think we will continue to see a growing difference between those companies who offer only digital files, and those who provide a full-service experience. I choose to offer packages that include both artwork and digital images, and my clients walk away happy with beautiful pieces to enjoy in their home as well as digital images to share with the masses online.

Maybe not in the next 5 or 10 years, but somewhere down the road, digital images on discs will be a thing of the past. Technology changes so quickly and it is easy to forget the media we used just a short time ago (floppy drives, zip drives, etc) because it is no longer easily accessible. I want my clients to forever enjoy their photos and digital media is just not a “forever” media.

Prints and albums will continue to be passed down and enjoyed through generations.

Pricing:

  • Maternity Session Fee – Begins at $100
  • Newborn Portrait Session Fee (with immediate family) – $250
  • Lifestyle Newborn Session – $300
  • Children’s Portrait Session Fee – $100
  • Family Portrait Session – Begins at $100
  • Breastfeeding Portrait Session – Begins at $100

Contact Info:

Orange County Newborn Photographer

Orange County Newborn Photographer

Orange County Photo Studio

Orange County Newborn Photographer

Orange County Maternity Photographer

Orange County Newborn Photographer

Orange County Newborn Family Photographer

Orange County Newborn Family Photographer

Image Credit:
Jennifer McNeil Photography

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