Monday, February 11, 2013

Introducing Vintage Rd. Photography by jlk (the back story)

It's been a long time coming, but saying I am SO EXCITED to introduce you to the Official name of my photography business just doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of how I feel. So, you may have guessed from the title of the post, but my photography business is
Vintage Rd. Photography by jlk
and today I want to share a little of the back story to how I got to this point.

I have always loved taking pictures. My first camera was a little pink plastic thing in elementary school. I remember liking to take pictures of old houses and scenery etc. My mama is an artist, and I have always been inspired by the creative, but I never dreamed I'd ever be able to use it as a way to support our family.

In high school I took lots of art classes and loved painting, sketching, scrap booking... there was an awesome photography class offered with an amazing teacher (Mrs. Porter), but I never took photography because I didn't want to ask my parents to buy me the somewhat expensive camera that I knew would be required for the course. (We went through a really scary financial time my freshmen and sophomore years of high school.) My senior year of high school I bought disposable cameras all year long and took TONS of pictures throughout the year, got them printed and just slipped them into photo albums. For my graduation gift my parents gave me my first digital camera. I was in LOVE.

I don't know when it was exactly that I started editing my photos, but I initially just used the built in programs that come with your computer. I used to love to capture something and put music lyrics with it as a caption. And my sister and I had lots of fun taking pictures together. Little by little I ventured out further and further with my editing and experimenting.

Then comes the inspiration for what is now my business. My sister was about to leave for college, and I was about to have my first baby, and I had this idea to style one last sister shoot and use a certain location for our backdrop... a sign for a rd. by the name of vintage rd. No one came along to take our pictures. I set the timer on my little point and shoot sony camera, and we made my vision come to life. (at the bottom of this post are some photos from that shoot) ........... For me, that's when Vintage Rd. Photography was born. (that was summer of 2009)

Then I had a baby (Drew). And I was convinced I could create some of the pictures of his cuteness I envisioned on my own. I started incorporating props and outfits and backdrops... and little by little I learned to use light and time of day and such to my advantage. This was all still with my point and shoot camera.

My parents 25th wedding anniversary was in Sept. of 2010 and for their gift I did a photo shoot of them together. I had my favorite made into a canvas which they had sitting out at their party. At the party my cousin and his fiance saw the canvas and I told them I would do their engagement photos for them. (It wasn't until spring of 2011 that the engagement shoot took place.)

For Christmas of 2010 my parents gave me my first "big girl camera", a Canon Rebel T2i. As I took photos I posted them on facebook for fun, and something started happening.

[Sidebar here:
Here's where the story is kind of mind boggling to me. About half way through my pregnancy with Isaiah (around april/may of 2011) I started feeling this HUGE -no, not baby, although he was huge too- huge desire to resign from my position as an ultrasound tech and stay home with my babies. I had never even considered that before then, I just always thought I'd be a working [away from home] mom. But the desire grew and grew (and so did the baby), and I shared it with Shaun. He was incredibly supportive and thought it was a great idea. So we started looking to see if it was something we could seriously consider from a financial standpoint. When we bought our house we intentionally bought something we could afford on one of our salaries. And in February of 2011 we really got our finances under control and started budgeting and working together to live within our means and continue to grow our savings. But I was still fearful. I liked having a little extra, having the stability of two different incomes, etc. Plus all our health benefits were through my job. But I knew in my heart I couldn't go back to work and leave my little boys. Once I began to step away from the comfort of the familiar and embrace the idea that God wanted me to be home, even if we had to cut back and make sacrifices financially, that's when a new door opened for me.
End sidebar.]

People started contacting me and asking if I would consider taking photos for them. I was shocked, thrilled, and super nervous all at the same time. By this time I was into the third trimester in my pregnancy, and had been working doing ultrasound for almost 4 years. (Funny, even in health care I was "taking pictures" of sorts... although it was a LOT more complicated than that!) In July of 2011 I did my first paid photo shoot. It felt amazing to be able to make money doing something I loved. In August I had three more shoots, and some scheduled for the fall too. August 30, 2011 I worked my last day in ultrasound and August 31, 2011 I had Isaiah Matthew, and I became a stay at home mommy.

To say I planned to have a career in photography at that point would be an overstatement big time. I was (and still am) amazed and blessed that God has this in mind for me. I am just taking it as it comes. For me, it's a win win situation. If this grows and becomes more, it is something I enjoy with every inch of my heart and I would love that so much. If it stays where it is, it just means more time home with my babies, and that is MORE than ok with me. :) But judging by the amount of inspiration and ideas dancing around in my head for all the things I want to do through Vintage Rd., I have a feeling it might do a bit of growing.

I still had trouble calling myself a "professional photographer"up until the past few months... I have not yet taken any official photography classes (although that is something I would love to do in the future) and have both self-taught, and asked MANY questions of a wonderful family friend and photographer, Doug Herrmann. His willingness to talk photography and explain things to me anytime have been the biggest blessing ever. Not to mention that Doug (and his wife Donna) are two of the most giving people I have ever known. Doug gave me an extremely high quality lens that belonged to his father, and I know meant a lot to him, and that's the lens I use for my shoots. He has let me borrow other equipment before too, and advised me before I purchased equipment of my own. After lots of talks with him it feels like recently my knowledge of the science behind photography has really taken off and I love the confidence that brings! I feel humbled, grateful, and completely in awe that I get to capture the sweetness of a newborn, the personality of a teenager, the romance between engaged couples, the essence of closeness and love and laughter in families and call it my job. To say that I am passionate about photography is an understatement. :)

And now,
The pictures that started it all:

Because this is all a really big deal to me and a fulfillment of a longtime dream, I thought it would be appropriate to take the time to thank some very important people to me.

Thank yous:

First of all, to my Savior, lover of my heart, creator of creativity, thank you. From the depths of my heart, the places that only you know, I am so, so, so thankful that you have opened this door for me. Please, Jesus, let me use this for you to the fullness of its potential.

To my husband. For letting me step out, for watching our boys when I have shoots, for supporting us financially and for letting me dream.... You are amazing and I love you and your patience with me when I am just gushing and gushing about photography and how it makes my heart come alive and you've heard it all before but you let me say it again anyway... Thank you. xoxo.

To my parents. For that pink plastic camera, for that digital sony camera, for my canon. But more than that, for believing in me, loving me, encouraging me in any dream I've ever had. I love you both so much. You have no idea. No idea. 

To my sister. For being my model and guinea pig in tons of shoots and letting me practice on you. I love you so much baby girl. xoxo :)

To Doug Herrmann and Hannah Siegrist and Ashleigh Mallory. Your photography and knowledge of this art and the fact that you have taken the time to answer my questions and give me pointers along the way are what helped me get to this point. You'll never know what an inspiration you've been to me!

To all of you who I have done shoots for (and any of you who I will get to work with in the future). Your love, your beauty, your families, your little ones, your ideas and contributions to every shoot, your originality and uniqueness and personalities are what has made this passion come alive for me. I love working with you all, getting to know you a little better, and hopefully creating & capturing unforgettable memories for you. You are amazing!

To all of you who read my long-winded backstory. You rock! There was no way I could cut this down into the short version.... I get too excited talking about it! So thanks for sticking with me!


  1. I've been waiting for this post since.... maybe September when you first told me about your vision, and NOW, here it is!!! Keep putting feet to your ideas and don't let them stay in your head. Speaking from experience, they put color in the world of the people around you.

    This is such an exciting new chapter for you, Jess. It will be so fun to look back in 10, 20, 30 years to see what God does here. I'm so happy for you!

  2. Thank you Steph!!! Thanks for being so encouraging and inspiring and excited with me.... Love your advice, and love love LOVE having you as my new sister!!!! I can't wait to see what God does with this either! I just keep shaking my head in amazement, knowing without a doubt its not me it's all Jesus!!

  3. I wish you the best of luck Jessi. I also left my job to start my photography business and it was the best decision I ever made. Its a great feeling making people happy with what you love to do. Although challenging at times I've learned you can only get better experience and you can't ever give up. I loved reading this.It may have inspired to me write a little background about my photography history. I would love to be able to thank Mrs. Porter for her amazing teaching and inspiring me to become the artist that I am today. Everyone photographer has a story. Thank you for sharing yours :)

  4. Enjoyed reading your back story. It is so God to see how He has brought people to you as you followed His lead and stepped out of the official work. So glad you can be a stay at home mom.

  5. Hey Jessi! I love the honesty that you bring to your blog. It has been awesome to see your skills and style grow with each and every session that you post! I'm excited to see what you come up with next. :-)