Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BEHIND THE LENS: Jennifer Dell Photography, Houston, Texas

Today, we are thrilled to showcase the work of Jennifer Dell Photography.  Jennifer hails from the great state of Texas and serves Houston and the surrounding areas.   We love, love, love, the way she uses light to create beautiful, artistic images.  Swoon...... Read her interview below to find out what her dreams are for the future and her advice to new photographers.   

Thank you Jennifer for allowing us to get to know you better and for being featured on our blog.........

Your Name: Jennifer Dell
Your studio/business name: Jennifer Dell Photography
Location: Houston Texas and surrounding areas
Website: www.jenniferdellphotography.com           
Blog: www.jenniferdellphotography.com/blog           
Twitter: @jenniferdell     

Your Style:

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? They would say;  genuine, photojournalistic and a tad whimsical. After a session, I usually hear that they had fun and a lot of the time the children I photograph will continue to ask about me long after the session is over!

Are you self-taught or classroom trained? A combination of both actually. I first learned about film and the darkroom in high school, but never really pursued it. Then while getting my degree in graphic design, I took a photography course which sparked my interest in the craft again. I also learned photoshop while in college. From that point, I taught myself more advanced techniques both behind the lens and in photoshop and lightroom.

How many years have you been a professional photographer? I’ve been a professional for three years but started shooting way before that.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? Oooh... in five years I have this dream of owning a beautiful boutique studio/gallery. Not necessarily somewhere to shoot in, but more to have a place to go and meet clients and show-off my work and to store props and other goodies. In fact, I’m already pinning ideas to pinterest on how to design and decorate the space! It is tough to have my studio/office in the house, it’s really hard for me to draw boundaries with my office always being right there.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be? Oh my, There are a few that inspire me, not necessarily based on my style (or theirs) but how great they are in their own style and staying true to their vision. Barb Uil, of Jinky Art, is amazing and I just had the opportunity to attend her retreat a few months ago, it was wonderful getting to meet her and see how she is inspired for her shoots. One of the first photographers that I ever started following is Cheryl Jacobs Nicolai, I love the honesty in her work. I also love Tara Whitney’s work, it’s so spontaneous and fun.

Favorite location to take photos? Right now, for my concept shoots I’m doing a lot of work in over grown and open fields, we’ve had a drought here in Texas for quite some time, so most of the grass died, which left me with these golden fields. Also when the setting is right, I love to work in my client’s homes. I think there is something wonderful about having your session in your home. It definitely helps to tell a story.

Favorite vacation spot? That would be St. John, USVI! I love it there, everything is calm and being in island time is so relaxing. It also happens to be where my husband and I were married! Eventually I will move there...

Your Business:

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? I’ve always been an artist or a photographer. However, I launched my business when I realized that I could help others to preserve moments and memories the way I recorded my own with family and friends. Time goes by so quickly and I think that preserving a particular moment in time is a gift. I love to be able to give that to other families. One of my favorite photos is one of my daughter with my grandmother at a park we all went to, it speaks volumes to me as a mom and a photographer. Now that my Grandmother is no longer here, I have that photo that I will always love and it’s on my wall as a daily reminder. I think that it’s essential to record even the daily things in life that you might not think are a big deal now because one day they will be. For this reason, I’m going to be starting a 365 project in January of my kids, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? The best marketing tip has been to use social media to my advantage. I love to interact with my clients or “fans” via facebook and my blog. That and word of mouth have been my top two ways of marketing. I’ve tried paid on-line advertising. It was expensive and the results were not nearly as good as the results I get with social media and by having clients and friends that spread the word.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? Hehe! I’ve had some interesting requests for shoots, that I have kindly declined... but I can’t mention those here as I would hate to hurt someone’s feelings even if they didn’t end up being a client.

Favorite print lab? I use different vendors for different products, but I use Miller’s for my prints and I love their customer service and quick shipping.

Your Gear:

Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): Nikon!

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? My 135mm 2.0 DC. I waited a good year to get my hands on one, they are always on demand and hard to get.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in? I love my Epiphanie Ginger... though I’m about to get the larger Epiphanie to carry my iPad with me too. Those bags rock!!!

What gear would we find in your camera bag? My main body is a gripped D700, I also have a D80 for back up and for film I shoot with an F5. Glass (all Nikon): 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, 105mm 2.8, 135mm 2.0. Sekonic 358. I also have a SB900, but prefer available or natural light. I’m impatiently waiting for the new Nikons to be released.

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural.

Are you PC or Mac? Mac! Love my Mac Pro tower and cinema monitor, I call it the beast.

Your Tips and Tricks:

What post processing tools do you use? I use a combo of lightroom 3 and photoshop CS5.

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? RAW, I’m a control freak.

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Enjoy the ride and try not to stress... things have a way of working out. Now, if only someone could remind my 30-year old self that!

Best advice you would give a new photographer? The obvious would be that light is essential to photography, learn light and how to use it. Be true to who you are, don’t worry about current trends if they aren’t your style. Clients will come to you, for you. Also, and this is a hard one because as artists we are always working on improving and advancing, but try not to compare yourself with other photographers. I recently had this conversation with a fellow photographer over lunch. Oh, and while it’s a lot of fun and I love what I do, it’s work - hard work - to run a business.

What site do you use for your photography and why? Well, I actually just switched and am in the process of redesigning my website. I had a flash site that was completely customizable, but was having issues with image quality/clarity once the file was uploaded. So I switched to Big Folio (they showcase photos really well), my new site isn’t finished yet as I’m waiting for some custom work to be completed for it, but so far their customer service has been awesome! For my blog, I use ProPhoto4 on a wordpress blog, it’s very easy to customize.

What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience? I once had a client call and yell at me on my birthday because she wasn’t happy with my print pricing (the session was a gift to her from someone else). We worked it out, but it was not a fun experience.

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? Um, I have a surfboard but I’m not a very good surfer! It has become a great prop now.

Tell us something else you’d like us to know: I wouldn’t be here, where I am with my photography and business, if it weren’t for the support of my husband and family. It’s wonderful to know that I have a team of people that believe in me and my goals.

And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks.....

Three things I can’t live without…. Other than my family and my camera which are a given... I’d have to say... Good coffee, music and bacon! 

I wish I had more….. Time in the day.

The best thing about being a photographer is… Being able to preserve a moment in time that will never be again and being able to tell the story the way I see it. I think photographers are story tellers and in a way we preserve history. It’s a great honor when a family chooses me to help them preserve their memories.

The most important lesson I ever learned was….  While I fully believe that we should be evaluated and critiqued, I had to learn to take some opinions with a grain of salt. I once had a professor, during a critique, tell me not to photograph children or animals because they weren’t interesting enough... Well, I find children to be the most interesting subject, they are constantly exploring and learning and filled with wonder, and that’s pretty awesome to photograph if you ask me!

My favorite time of day is… The golden hour(s) when the light is delicious!


  1. Love the surfboard photo, such beautiful light. I'm going to pack up and move to the beach now so I can get a surfboard and use it on every shoot! (dude!)

  2. Fantastic interview and lovely images! <3

  3. Great interview! Beautiful work Jennifer!

  4. Thank you for the opportunity!!!! And thank you ladies for your kind words! :)

  5. Jennifer, thank you for your interview! It was so great to get to know you a bit better! We truly love your images and look forward to seeing more of those fun surfboard shots! xo MWC


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