When I started DOK Photography, a friend described our little town as being saturated with photographers. I hadn’t found any doing what I wanted to do specifically, but regardless, I believe we have a choice to encourage community over competition.
I am happy to see more people hiring any of the local professionals to photograph their family’s milestones---I believe it will raise the awareness and appreciation of great portrait photography, which is good for all of us.
I hope to feature a different local photographer (both professional and hobbyist) each season in this Behind the Lens series. The more acquainted you are with all the photographers available, the better you will be able to find the one that suits your style. That’s also good for all of us!
A huge thanks to Jennifer Bertoch for kicking off the series! I first met Jennifer last February, shortly after she had relocated from Salt Lake City, and was immediately enchanted by her photography and her generosity. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a bit better here too. Be sure to check out her website: Jennifer Bertoch Photography, her blog, and her facebook page.
How did your passion for photography start/develop?
I remember being a teenager and having a fascination with light. I loved watching it in the evening, and how it changed through the day and seasons. I remember wanting to capture it. I was a horrible artist, so I couldn't paint. I just wanted to express what I saw, and how it made me feel. Photography became my medium. One of my favorite quotes says, "The desire to create is the deepest yearning of the human soul." This desire to create is what drives me. This is what fuels my passion for photography.
What’s one of your most recent or favorite photo purchases?
I just got some new backdrops for my studio. I finally unpacked all my gear and I am just about finished with my little studio space. It’s so exciting! I'm saving up for a few things on my wish list though... namely a tilt shift lens and the new Nikon D800 that came out! A girl can dream... right? ;)
What brought you to Moab?
Family! We were so thrilled with the opportunity to live near family! My dad owns Accommodations Unlimited (condo rental company) and my husband works with him. We live down the street from my parents. My husband and I made the decision to leave our life, friends and everything in Salt Lake and start a new life here. I lived in Salt Lake my whole life. The decision to leave was really scary for me. I knew nobody here (other than my parents, who were pretty new to Moab themselves) 6 weeks later, our house was sold and we were packing our boxes and heading to Moab. We never looked back. We love it here!
What’s something you wish you had known when you first started your business?
It’s not really directly related to my business, but it’s to be yourself! When I was just starting out as a photographer, I wanted to be _____ (insert whoever is a photog 'rockstar'). The best thing I ever did for myself was to really learn the fundamentals and shoot for me. Shoot what inspires me. Shoot as I see. I could teach someone everything I know, but our photographs would never be identical. We are all unique and that is what makes the photography community so beautiful!!
What is your favorite kind of photo shoot?
I love styling photoshoots. Planning all the glorious details. (think a camping set up- complete with lanterns, red plaid blankets etc... or a lemonade stand... lemons, the cute paper striped straws, little bunting banners) And while stylized shoots are fun, sometimes it is great to just take a photo journalistic point of view. Step back... capture life as it happens. Sometimes I will pick a day to photograph. I photograph things like breakfast, our trip to the library, naps, just our every day routine. It pushes me... forces me to see things differently. And, I know that someday I will look back and cherish the days with my little ones.
What are some of the creative ways you’ve found to juggle being a mother/business owner/
photographer in Moab?
Oh this is hard! I'm always trying to keep balance. It takes such effort, and I so often feel the scales tipping in one direction. Sometimes, I just have to silence my phone and shut my computer. Take the kids out to the park, or to get a snow cone. Being a mother is the most important job title to me. This means that I often sacrifice sleep to get 'my' stuff done. Its hard... but we try and make it work! I also try to include my children in my work. In shooting commercial work (shooting for Etsy vendors etc), I bring my kiddos along. They will model for me, hold my reflector. I want to teach them to see the beauty in every day!
If you were having your family photographed, what location in Moab would you choose?
Anything with beautiful light!! I’m a sucker for fields, run down barns, orchards, the mountains... I'm always finding new places I'd love to shoot at. I really, really want to head up into the La Sals when the aspen trees turn and do family photos there! (think: Christmas card, rich warm colors, cute boots...)
Random facts about Jennifer:
- Favorite Sweet Treat: Diet Coke!! I could drink this ALL day long. I also loooove chocolate cake. Oh, and let’s not forget cupcakes either.
- Favorite song to play loud in the car: I have XM radio, and I am always listening to either KIIS (LA's pop radio station) or Highway Country. And when I’m alone in the car... I sing too. I’m sorry if you are next to me at the stop light. ;)
- Three things that always make me happy: Getting out and having fun with my family, Diet Coke (see... I have a problem!) and summertime- running through the grass barefoot!
Thank you, Jennifer, for kicking off our series and for sharing your amazing work with us. Check out more of Jennifer’s gorgeous images at Jennifer Bertoch Photography!