Archive - December 2011

Jennifer Jones, Idaho

Jennifer Jones
How long have you been a photographer?

I actually don't consider myself a true photographer. I have never had any “formal” photography training. I’m a wife, a mom, and a registered nurse. This is something that I do for fun. I have enjoyed taking pictures since I was young. I am just someone who enjoys looking through the lenses of the camera and seeing what I can discover there.

Where is home?

Home for me is not necessarily one place; it includes several places. I grew up in Rexburg, ID; my parents’ home in the Lemhi Valley; Benton City, Washington (we lived there for 8 years); and the home we live in now. Most importantly, home is when I’m surrounded by those who love and accept me for who I am, regardless of the location or circumstances.

What first piqued your interest in photography?

I started when I was a child by taking pictures of my family, my pets, and the beauty Heavenly Father blessed me to witness. I grew up in the Rexburg, Idaho, area and enjoyed visiting Yellowstone, the Teton Basin, Jackson Hole, and the Lemhi Valley often. I also had the opportunity to travel with my parents a great deal as a teenager. My dad is a contractor, and most of the work he does is in LDS churches around the United States. As we traveled from place to place working with him, I found that photography is a great way to capture memories and moments that otherwise might get forgotten. From New York to Kentucky, from Washington to Arizona, and ALL points in between there are a lot of beautiful places and memories to capture.

What is your photography forte?

My forte has been nature and scenery pictures, but recently I have worked on improving my portrait skills. My youngest sister-in-law recently got married and her photographer (her husband’s sister-in-law) and I took pictures in tandem. It was FUN! I love taking pictures of my family and friends and the places we visit, and gratefully they are tolerant of my constant companion—my camera.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference in the quality of your photos?

Composition and placement. And I am still learning! Also, never be afraid to look at something differently than the “norm.” Get down on the ground, climb a rock, look down on it from above. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. My hands shake sometimes due to a tremor that runs in my family, so having a camera with a vibration-reduction option has been important for me.

What do you think photographers could do to help in the Church’s call for photos?

Have a “share” link to Facebook, with a caption that reads something like, “I just helped in The Vineyard and you can too. Share your talents!”

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Temples and out in nature. I can’t decide between the two.

What do you love about photography?

Photography allows me to capture some of Heavenly Father’s greatest blessings to me. It allows me to focus on positive things around me, fun places that I’ve visited with my family, and my kids’ activities. It is also a journal of sorts. I take so many pictures that as I look back through the files, I can remember details that I had forgotten. I love to hear, “Remember when we ______?” as we are looking through pictures.

Film, digital, or both?  

Digital. I can take thousands of pictures and then find the best of the bunch. Also, digital allows me to capture moments that I otherwise wouldn’t capture, just for the cost factor of developing the film. The initial cost might be more, but in the long run, I have a great history of my family stored in photos.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Never be afraid to try and fail. Some of your “failures” will become your most treasured photos. This picture is when I was trying out some different settings on my camera and bumped the “wrong” button. It is not retouched at all.

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

I can honestly say that I’m grateful for Photoshop, but my goal is to catch the lighting just right, so that editing the picture is very minor. I use it to brighten photos when the light doesn’t cooperate, to adjust the color or contrast, and to crop the pictures. I also like taking a picture and then converting it to black and white to see how it looks.

Where is your dream location to shoot?  

I would love to go to Afghanistan and Pakistan and take photos of the girls who are now able to attend school, learn to read, and have become nurses and midwives who help their communities. 

—Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Preece, Utah

Jennifer Preece
How long have you been a photographer?

Ever since I can remember, I have loved taking pictures. I took a class in high school and in college and have just gradually honed my skills—finding inspiration from fellow photographers, books, magazines, and the Internet. I started getting more serious about photography about six years ago, when a friend asked me to photograph a wedding reception.

Where is home?

I grew up in Utah and I currently live in Utah, but I also consider Oregon home.  I lived there for 10 years. All my children were born there. I really “grew up” during our years in the Northwest. I miss taking photographs at the beach—it was so beautiful. But since we moved back “home” a few months ago, I have enjoyed rediscovering the beauty of Utah.

What type of camera do you use?

Right now I use a Canon 5D Mark II. I LOVE it!

What first piqued your interest in photography?

It’s hard to pinpoint one moment. I remember visiting a museum with photos from TIME magazine and being very moved by what I saw. I was 14 at the time. I am a very sentimental person, so I’ve always had a sense of the importance of single moments in time. Whether it’s something my kids are doing that makes me smile, a flower in my garden, or even a handful of strawberries from my garden in the sunlight, I want to remember them all and the feeling of joy those moments gave me.

What is your photography forte?

I do a lot of portrait photography. I love taking pictures of people, especially when I can capture a real expression, not a posed one. I have photographed families, babies, weddings, commercial, and all kinds of events. Children are especially fun to photograph; they are so honest and not as self-conscious. I absolutely love documenting the everyday events of my children. I am hopelessly behind on scrapbooking my pictures because I take so many!

What about photography inspires you?

I love that the possibilities with photography are endless. You would think that there are a finite number of ways you could photograph something. For example, I have seen hundreds of photographs of the Salt Lake temple, and yet, I still see new pictures taken of that beautiful building that inspire me and are a completely new perspective.

I also love that photography makes me more of an observer. I am more grateful for God’s beautiful creations when I stop to notice the petals of a rose, notice the lighting after a storm, or enjoy the expressions of my children from a distance through my zoom lens. Photography brings me so much joy and gratitude.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference to the quality of your photos?

One of the best things I ever did was put my camera setting on manual. I had a nice SLR camera and was getting decent pictures on the auto setting, but the thing that took my pictures to a new level was learning how to adjust my exposure and depth of field to really make a picture pop. I also took the time to learn about lenses and experimented with them. You can rent really nice lenses at professional photography stores and learn the pros and cons of each before investing in them.

What do you think photographers could do to help in the Church’s call for photos?

Think about images that you could imagine accompanying a Church article—look at the kinds of pictures that are used in the Ensign, Church brochures, and on Find subjects that express your testimony in a visual way. Remove anything distracting from the subject by zooming in or changing your angle.

How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?

I just observe the world around me every day. When something stands out or makes me feel happy, I grab my camera. Lighting and color play a big part in what grabs my attention. Sometimes my children point out things that I miss. I took the “Morning Dew” photo one morning when my daughter said the light reflecting from the dew on the grass looked like stars. She was right; it was beautiful.

As far as the “how to shoot it” part—that takes some experimenting. See what the light looks like from different angles; that can make a huge difference in the mood of the shot. Also, the height you choose to shoot from can give big impact.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

Honestly, anywhere. Like the song says, “There Is Beauty All Around.” Outdoor pictures often have the best lighting, but you can have fun finding interesting subjects indoors as well.

What do you love about photography?

It is a powerful way to express myself and it moves me. It is how I honor the many blessings in my life. Each picture is a little tribute to something that I feel blessed to have witnessed, whether it is a wedding, a stalk of corn I grew in my garden, the look of joy in a child’s eyes, or even documenting moments of great loss or sadness. They are all events and moments that bring me closer to my Savior. Photography is a tangible way to freeze those emotions in time. 

What adjectives best describe your photography?

Joy, color, gratitude—I guess those aren’t technically adjectives, but you get the idea!

Film, digital, or both?

I am definitely a digital fan because I used to spend a LOT of money developing rolls and rolls of pictures—good and bad. I also love the instant feedback you get so you can see if the picture turned out the way you imagined. It is so fun to experiment and then push a little button and see what you created right away. I guess that gives away a little about my level of patience!

What photographers inspire you most?

I am constantly viewing blogs and websites of other photographers, many of whom I consider my friends. In Oregon, a talented friend of mine started a group of professional women photographers and we met monthly. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by other women who had a passion for photography and who were willing to mentor those of us who aspired to be better photographers. The time I spent with these amazing women gave me confidence to push myself and keep trying.

What is your favorite lighting?

Evening light is always very flattering and warm. I’ve found that you don’t always have to wait until then to get great shots, though. I am not a big morning person, but morning light is gorgeous. You can even get great shots in the middle of the day, but the trick is to get the right angle or find filtered light. Lighting is key to photos that stand out.

Where is your dream location to shoot?

Switzerland would be amazing!!

What is one tip that you would like to share?

Look for something that takes your breath away and get in close. Remove any distractions from the frame. Get a digital SLR and then set it on manual mode. View your bad pictures as a learning opportunity. (I have had many “learning opportunities”!)

—Jennifer Preece