Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BEHIND THE LENS: Julia Franzosa Chicago, IL

This week we are thrilled to showcase the work of Julia Franzosa, a California native who is now living in the Windy City.  Her images are a beautiful mix of photojournalism and portraiture and we love them!  Read her interview below and find out her best marketing tip and what prompted her to continue her studies at Brooks Institute of Photography after a brief hiatus.

And now without further ado, we welcome Julia Franzosa to our series.......

Your Name: Julia Franzosa
Your studio/business name: Julia Franzosa Photography & Wish Wedding Photography
Location: Chicago, IL
Website:  www.julia-franzosa.com & www.weddings.julia-franzosa.com
Twitter/Facebook: @juliafranzosa    www.facebook.com/chicago.newborn.photographer

Your Style

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography?  My style is a mix of photojournalism and portraiture. Every client loves the image of their family smiling right into the camera, but after a session with me they realize that the images of their family interacting are just phenomenal. Images where families interact show love and appreciation that they have for one another and that is my favorite thing to capture. 
Are you self-taught or classroom trained?  Classroom trained, I graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara with a BA in Professional Photography.
How many years have you been a professional photographer? 4
Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years?  In five years, I would like my business to be a direct reflection of me. I want to have clients that appreciate and value me and my artwork. My favorite clients are those that become friends, so hopefully I will be at a point where they all do! 
Is there a photographer who inspires your style?   Who would that be? Yes, Jose Villa. I would never dream to say that my work in anyway reflects his, however he has inspired me to find my own personal style and seek clients who appreciate my art.
Favorite location to take photos?  Anywhere that I can find the light. I certainly miss the warm California sunlight though!
Favorite vacation spot? Hmmm...  I really want to go to Italy, but my favorite place I have been is Loreto, Mexico. It is a small fishing town in baja with literally nothing to do but relax. We are going to Mexico in July - sans cellphones and computers for 6 days, I am pretty nervous but I think it is much needed.

Your Business

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer?  After taking a break (ie dropping out) from Brooks for a few months, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was sitting in an environmental studies class at the community college, when I opened my notebook to some lyrics from a favorite song...

“Man it takes a silly girl to lie about the dreams she has
Lord it takes a lonely one to wish she had never dreamt at all” 

I stood up, left the classroom and went back to Brooks two weeks later. I knew what I wanted, but was scared to go for it. Don’t be scared, follow your dreams!
What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you?  Get off your computer and go meet local business owners, preferably those who share your target market. Think of ways that your relationship can be mutually beneficial, in the process you will make some wonderful friends!

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you?  I don’t really have one, but I will update you when I do!
Favorite print lab?  ProDPI, but if I need things in a rush Millers

Your Gear
Are you Canon or Nikon (other):  Nikon
If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be?  50mm 1.4
What brand bag do you carry your camera in?  Epiphanie usually, but Lowepro backpack when traveling.
What gear would we find in your camera bag?  Nikon D700, 50mm 1.4, 24-70mm 2.8, 80-200mm 2.8, 105mm macro, 16mm fisheye, expodisc, memory cards, battery charger, and business cards
Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan?  Natural Light
Are you PC or Mac? Mac

Your Tips and Tricks

What post processing tools do you use?  Bridge and Photoshop
Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg?  RAW
Best advice you would give your 20-year old self?  Wow, where do I begin...
Cut-up your credit cards! Haha ;-)
Everything happens for a reason, so embrace change
Don’t forget to thank your mom and dad, always. Even if you don’t notice, they are constantly helping you achieve a better self
Everything happens for a reason, just live
Best advice you would give a new photographer?  Everyone says it, no one seems to actually grasp it. Do not undervalue yourself. I understand that pricing is a difficult and sensitive topic, however your time is worth so much. Sit down and calculate the actual time you are spending per client and divide it by your average sale... It may open your eyes. Also, running a successful business takes a lot of hard work, love and devotion; be ready for it. 
What site do you use for your photography and why? I use Wordpress, because there are a lot of great templates with easy customization...

What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience?  I was shooting a wedding with a friend and her card became full during the ceremony. Her cards were across the room so I tossed her my card case. I have a system for used and unused cards, but I didn’t even think about it. She formatted and used one of my cards from the wedding. Luckily, we were able to use recovery software and get all of the images. We have never shared cards again!

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not?  I have three tattoos, one which is a half sleeve!
And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks
Three things I can’t live without…. Cosmo (the Mr.), Benny (the dog.), Light (the art.)
I wish I had more….. time
The best thing about being a photographer is… creative freedom - I love being able to express myself visually. 
The most important lesson I ever learned was…. treat others the way you want to be treated. Yep, a throwback to kindergarten. Seriously though, it is amazing how many people forget this on a daily basis.
My favorite time of day is… the morning, when we get to go on family walks before work.


  1. So cool! I especially like the advice to the new photographer about not undervaluing yourself. So true. Great interview!

  2. So cool! I especially like the advice to the new photographer about not undervaluing yourself. It's really nice. And GOD blase those couple.
    city hall wedding photographer


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