I am pleased to introduce you to Dallas Pet Photographer Jenny Froh from Jenny Froh Photographer.
Tell us about what drew you to creating Jenny Froh Photography? When did you start your business?
As most, it started out as a hobby and a love for photography and grew from there. I started my business in 2008. I was originally a family and children photographer, but once I started volunteering for rescues and shelters, I quickly realized I really wanted to focus on pets.
What is in your camera bag? Is there a particular piece of equipment that you just couldn’t live without?
I have two bodies, the Canon 1Ds Mark II and Canon 7D. My lenses are 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, and 70-200mm 2.8. I really only use my 50mm for studio work. I use my 85 or 70-200 outdoors. I rarely pick up my 35, but felt I need something wider for “just in case”. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live without my 50 because my studio is so small, but my favorite lens is by far my 70-200mm. I always shoot at a focal length of 200mm when I use it! It’s DREAMY!!!!
Do you have any advice for photographers that are trying to find their “style”?
That’s a big question… style is really hard to find. I think it’s okay to admire someone else’s work and strive to achieve the same level of education and experience as them, but style is so personal. When I first started out, I LOVED the heavy editing styles of certain photographers, but when I tried to replicate that with my own images, it never felt or looked just right. I really had to work on an editing style that worked with my photography style. I really think to achieve your photography style you just have to practice and do what feels good and most natural. By the way, I’m a very light editor… after years of playing with editing, I realized I’m just way too lazy. Now, I strive to get my images exactly how I want them in camera and do minimal editing.
How did you learn the craft of photography? What advice do you have for those just starting out on their photographic journey?
My first photography class was a black and white class I took in high school. That was really cool because we learned on film and processed our images in a dark room. I’m very much self-taught in the digital age. I taught myself how to shoot in manual by reading “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson. I learned how to use Photoshop by reading “Photoshop for Digital Photographers” by Kelby. I took a few online courses on off-camera flash and composition and one local class on studio photography. I really started to get serious after joining an online photography forum about 6 years ago. I gained a lot of insight from other photographers’ experiences, which was incredibly helpful. Having a network of friends that are photographers was and is so valuable to me. There are always things to learn and it’s wonderful to have people who will share their advice and experiences with you. I must give a shout out to two amazing photographers and friends, Kim Hartz and Barbara Breitsameter who have guided and mentored me. Surrounding yourself with positive and uplifting friends will keep you motivated to grow and continue to learn!
How has becoming a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) through PPA impacted your career?
Becoming a CPP has been the best thing I’ve done for myself personally and in my career. I gained so much confidence in my skills. The process alone was so much fun. Just when I thought I “knew everything”, I discovered an entirely new world of information that that help me grow as an artist.
Congratulations on your recent images being accepted in to the Loan and General Collection of the Professional Photographers of America 2013 International Print Competition! How has competing affected the way you shoot and your technical skills?
After receiving my CPP, a friend told me “The next step in your career is to start competing”. That terrified me. I had no idea where to begin, how to shoot for competition, how to prepare the images, what judges looked for, what they didn’t like…. or even how or where to enter! It was all so new to me and completely terrifying. Also, it costs money to enter and I was being very careful with where I spent my business dollars and I just couldn’t justify the cost. Last year I got an email from PPA saying that since I’d been member for 2 years, they would waive my entry fee. How could I not enter? I had no excuse now. So I started talking to my good friend, Kim Hartz, who competes regularly and she helped me get started. I joined a couple groups on Facebook that were specifically for print competition, met a few amazing mentors who held my hand through the process, and entered last year for the first time. Now, I’m totally hooked! I will say that I don’t shoot too much differently now, but, I’m much more aware of lighting, composition, items in an image that don’t need to be there, and story telling. These are all things that make any image more beautiful.
What was your most valuable marketing strategy when you started your business?
Customer satisfaction and word of mouth. I did print advertising and I did internet advertising with no luck. I think your best advertising is a happy customer who will sing your praises to their friends.
What is your most valuable marketing strategy now?
Still the same… Good Customers Service and a Happy Client!
A photography business can’t stay in business long without sales. Tell us a bit about the sales strategies that have worked well for you.
I started out selling only prints and wall art and marking up my digital images quite high not really wanting to sell digitals. I wanted my work to be displayed in my customer’s home on their walls. In my market, I received so many requests for digital images that I am now selling “digital collections”. That has really opened up another market for me for people who want the memories of their pets, but not necessarily a huge portrait for their wall. There is not just formula for success. Every market is different so you have to find what works for you.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I absolutely LOVE photographing dogs and cats that are homeless. I love giving them that extra chance of finding a home to love them forever.
You are very involved with HeARTs Speak, please tell us a little bit about your experience helping shelter animals.
I have actively photographed shelter and foster dogs & cats now for over 5 years. It’s the most rewarding things I’ve done in my life… volunteering my time to save animals. Being a member of Hearts Speak has also given me opportunities to create more income while volunteering through partnerships that HeARTs Speak has with companies such as Bark Magazine, Country Living, Cesars Way Magazine, Petco, and many more. There are so many exciting opportunities for HeARTs Speak members!
Thank you Nicole for featuring me! You have a fantastic blog and so many wonderfully talented followers.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us! Please let us know where we can find you online.
Google +: http://google.com/+JennyFroh