Whitney Jade Photography is a natural light, lifestyle family, wedding and elopement photographer based in Knoxville, TN. She is also the mother of two kids. Her photos are always so colourful and beautiful, with a touch of editorial. It's a pleasure to feature her work here today.
Tribe Collective: Tell us about yourself. What is your background, and how did you get into photography?
Whitney Jade Photography: I am a wife and mom of two littles plus a full time photographer. I have been into photography most of my life but professionally for about 5 years now. I don't specialize in just one genre of photography because I honestly enjoy it all and creating memories for others is so special to me. I photograph weddings/elopements, babies, families and business content plus all things in between. Photography is what feeds my creative and social soul and I am so honored to be able to call it my job. Meeting new clients who become friends is one of my most favorite things ever!
TC: Please provide us with a list of the gear you use on a regular basis:
WJP: My go-to gear is my Canon 6D plus my 35mm 1.4 and my 50mm 1.2.
TC: What does your post-production process look like?
WJP: With both sessions and post-production, I have a smile from ear to ear. I enjoy culling through the photos and creating a story for my clients, even the 'outtakes' make an appearance in my clients' galleries. I do a lot of in-camera work with lighting so that my post-production work doesn't take up too much time. I don't consider myself light & airy or dark & moody, it's the natural light around me that tells me what to create. Once I am in LR, I add LXC, make a few tweaks, then sync images and call it a job well done!
TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?
WJP: Wow, I don't even know where to begin with this question. Naturally, in the beginning, I took photos of everything I could get my hands on and didn't really pay attention to setting or lighting. Now that I have learned how to use my camera inside and out, it's so much easier to create exactly what I want. Even with editing, in the beginning, I was over-saturating the color of images and then it evolved to the unsaturated color of images. Now I have figured out that I thrive for accurate skin tones and lush accurate color and tones.
TC: What are your favourite tools for capturing, editing, and enhancing your photographs?
WJP: Honestly, I am a simple and minimal photographer. I don't believe in reflectors, flash (when it isn't necessary), meters etc. Give me my 6D plus a lens with a low aperture and let me create with the light and surroundings that my surroundings provide. I do love to whip out a prism from time to time, especially while trying to block out someones cell phone during a wedding ceremony:)
TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?
WJP: Photography can be hard and insanely competitive. There will be those around you who do not want you to succeed-- prove them wrong! It's ok to fail but just be willing to learn from your mistakes. Find a photog friend who is willing to take you under their wing and help you. Learn the manual setting on your camera inside and out. Don't sell yourself short. It's ok to say no to things that make you question your self worth. Be confident but don't be presumptuous. Have fun with it! It took me a long time to figure out that the meter doesn't always have to be 'perfect', underexpose and overexpose to create what you want. Get a nifty fifty and photograph everything you can! Take courses on editing and the business side of the trade, it is so beneficial!
TC: What type of photography do you most enjoy?
WJP: This is a hard one to answer, as I mentioned before, I truly love it all. I wasn't able to have a wedding when my husband and I got married so when I photograph one, I do it in the way I wish mine would have been captured. I love all things from different stages of life: from maternity, to newborn to family sessions because people-interaction makes me me and the connection with my clients makes me all warm and fuzzy. Editorial/business content work allows my creativity to go on an adventure and I love that!
TC: What are you discouraged about in your work/business? What encourages you?
WJP: The thing that I have the hardest time within the business side of things is honestly the mom guilt. Leaving my family on week nights and weekends is tough. My littles are 5 & 3, and I crave to be with them and give them that stay at home mom experience that I wasn't able to have growing up. Although, I have great respect for my career-focused mom who paved my way to becoming a professional and knows the meaning of hard work. The silver-lining to that is, I am able to help provide for other experiences for my children that allows their minds to grow. The balancing act of being a stay at home mom plus a full-time small business owner is definitely a struggle but figuring out how to maneuver through it all with a very supportive husband by my side is such a relief!
TC: When was a time you thought you would/had failed? How did you overcome it?
WJP: There have been many times that I have been completely taken advantage of and stepped on. Finding my voice has been difficult. Being able to say no to certain situations was a hard thing for me to comprehend. If I feel uneasy about the first initial interaction with a potential client via email, it's ok to swallow your pride and just say hey, I don't think we're going to mesh well and send them referrals. This isn't just some job 'that my husband allows me to do', I am providing for my family. To overcome those situations, I had to put myself and my family first.
TC: What defines success for you as a photographer? If you never achieve that, will you still be satisfied with what you do?
WJP: To me, my success is if I achieve:
1- My clients to be comfortable with me. They're inviting me into their lives, for crying out loud!
2- Provide clients with memories and moments that are frozen in time that they will cherish forever after having a positive experience with me.
3- If I continue to do this job with a smile on my face, then this is how I want my life to be. This isn't something that I ever want to resent and to achieve that, at the end of the day, this has to make me and my family happy. We each only get one chance at this life thing and you and your loved ones happiness should always be first.