Friday, May 8, 2015

It's about time to dive into this RID List of mine.  (For those of you wondering, here is the explanation of The Reasons I Disappeared List.)  I figured I might as well go in the order I had listed these reasons.  Meaning today is focused on RID #1:


When I was in elementary school my dad introduced me to photography.  I started with disposable cameras and snapped away rather haphazardly.  Come middle school he noticed my obsession and got me a simple little camera that took click in film.  And I snapped more than ever.

Dad, I don't know how much money you spent on developing film for me.  But thanks.

Towards the end of high school my dad got a digital camera.  I played with it when I could and found I was insanely jealous of the fact that he owned it and I didn't.  (It didn't help that my best friend showed up one day with a digital of her own.)  I drooled over these non-film wonders.  So of course the excitement that overwhelmed me when my dad gave me my own dinky little digital camera was beyond words.

I filled my computer with useless shots.

Honestly though, I didn't think of doing photography as more than a hobby until after I had my first kid.  I took way too many photos of him.  (That's a lie.  I didn't take enough.)  Soon friends were asking me to take photos for them.  I had started to fiddle with editing, and it wasn't too shabby.

Before long, I found myself investing in a DSLR camera, creating a Facebook page, and taking on clients that weren't just family members and good friends.

Somehow I had created a name for myself.
And I loved it.

Little did I know that it would take over my entire life.

Photography isn't just happily clicking a trigger and seeing the wonder that is.  You need to take the time to learn your camera, learn proper settings for the image you want to capture, learn the proper way to edit them to produce the best product...

That is just the start.

You set up the Facebook page.  The website.  Create the logo and watermark and business cards.  You reach out to people to spread the word.  Host contests.  Advertise.

Then you book the sessions.  You spend 60-90 minutes taking the photos.  This is the part I love.  You spend time with these people, some you know and some you are only just meeting.  You make them smile.  Get some tears.  Become a small part of their lives for that moment in time and capture the memories.  It is honestly magical.  And exhausting.

Then you go home with a filled memory card.  Sift through all the photos you just took.  Shrink the list down.  THIS alone takes time.

THEN (do you like all the "thens" that are happening?) you start in on the editing.  You create just the right preset for that session.  Apply it.  Tweak it.  Correct things.  Beautify the work.  Depending on the session, this can take hours...or days.  Weeks if it happens to be a wedding.  (Oh, don't get me started on weddings.) 

And most of the time, I had a few sessions in a row.  Meaning the backlog was getting worse and worse.  I still needed to burn DVD copies, upload to the private galleries, create sneak peeks, breathe...

I loved it.  I did.  But with each additional session, I found my time for writing was disappearing fast. I was swallowed up in the the all consuming photography world, and leaving the writing world  behind.

I had to make a decision.
Did I want to mainly be a photographer...or an author.

This was a huge decision.  These were two passions that I loved.  That gave me joy.  That I couldn't just leave behind.  So how would I decide?

I tried the classic "Pros vs Cons" list.  
I had been writing since I was three.  I got out and about and met people with photography.  I have so many stories still to share.  I made actual money snapping photos.  My writing was solely about me.  My photography was about giving memories to others.  The list never ended...This wasn't helping.

I had to figure something else out.  Because I could no longer do both to this extent.
It really came down to:
Which one would it break my heart to leave behind?  Where was my joy?

And without thinking, without weighing options and pondering, I knew the answer.
I tried to fight it.
I tried to rationalize.
I tried to change my mind even.
But my heart was stuck on one thing, always going back to one thing, missing one thing.


So 2015 hit and I made my decision.
I am a photographer.  I always will be and will never deny it.
But my heart decided something for me and I couldn't fight it any longer.  I stopped taking on new clients, stopped advertising, stopped seeking sessions.  I thought it would be hard and the withdrawals would kill me.  But know what?  They didn't.

I guess this is my round about way of announcing that Jenni Merritt Photography is closed.  Not completely.  Not forever.  But as of today, I will only be shooting for family/friends and return clients.  And even that will be with extreme discretion.

TO ALL MY CLIENTS: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. The moments and memories you have given me are all so priceless.  I loved being given the chance to photograph you.  I loved that you trusted me with this job.  I STILL love photography.  Who knows what the future brings.  But at least I know that those moments of the past that you gave me are forever captured in my art.  Never doubt your beauty.

I have just learned that life is short, and you need to do what you truly love.  I love photography.  I love writing more.  I cannot sacrifice my writing time any longer. 

So here I am, sad but smiling.  Regretful but complete.  And excited for tomorrow.  This is a hard post to write.  But this is a good decision.  A good RID to rid.  Now, go after your own dreams no matter how hard they are to follow. 

And remember...Just smile.

Curious and want to see more of my work for the fun of it? GO HERE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Taking a Break

 I have mentioned that there are some changes on the horizon for Jenni Merritt Photography.
And if you are here, you want to know what they are.  Ready?

Here it is:
Jenni Merritt Photography is taking a break.

"But why?" you ask.
I love photography.  I love capturing the moment.  I love getting to know my clients, being allowed to be part of their lives for that short time, and being able to capture those memories so they last forever.  It has been something I have adored for a long time.  And over the last few years, I have grown.  I have learned.  I have come to realize that this is a talent I have indeed been blessed with.  I have grown in confidence, in technique, and of course in my clientele.

This last year has been amazing with photography.  I have been so blessed with so many jobs.  Those clients who hired me: Thank you!  You are all such gorgeous people!  

This being said...
With the boom of photoland, my life has been consumed.  Sessions.  Bookings.  Editing editing editing.  Don't get me wrong, this is completely awesome.  But I have come to realize that at this point in my life, I am not ready to balance everything.

- I am an independently published author.  I have loved writing since before I can even remember, and it is my dream to write books, many many books.  With one book out, the sequel in the editing stage, two other books waiting to be edited and another slated to be written this winter...  That is an entire life right there.  Sadly, this last year my writing has been pushed so far to the back burner that it has pretty much not existed.  My blog has been left untouched.  My sequel is behind schedule for its publication.  I can't remember the last time I sat down to write... and this just doesn't work.

- I am a stay at home mom.  My little boys are growing so fast right now.  One second they are babies, they next they are prepping to start Kindergarten.  I can't believe how amazing these little boys are of mine.  And  lately, more often than not, I am missing it.  I am editing on my computer for the never-ending backlog, off on yet another photo session, and rarely find myself just snuggling and playing like I want and they need.

- I haven't been taking personal photos anymore.  The photos of my little boys, our day to day lives, everything about us have petered out to nada.  The main reason I ever started photography was to document my family.  And that has not been happening anymore.

- My computer is dying.  It is in major need of a complete overhaul.  Some driver keeps failing, and just running Lightroom has become a tedious task.  Sadly, I need to save up money before this can be fixed.

- And mostly... I am getting burnt out.  I am feeling less and less excited to snap.  I am dragging on my editing, and feeling far from inspired.  The fire is fizzling.  This is not fair for me, for this passion, and far from fair for my clients.

  • So what does this break mean?

This means that I will be cutting back on the clientele I take on.  I am needing time to focus on my writing and, most of all, my kids.  My sequel needs to be released.  My creative, personal side of photography needs to be explored.  My babies need to wrestle and cuddle while they are young and still wanting it.  Honestly: I am needing a breather.  Balancing everything with my photography at this moment in time just isn't working.  And I need to figure it out.

  • For how long?

I honestly cannot say.  As long as it takes.

  • Oh, and about Weddings...

This is something I have really been thinking over.  Weddings are a beautiful thing.  They are so important, they are that big day we all dream about, and boy are they gorgeous to capture.  I have done a good handful of them now and I love them.  Yet I can tell you one more thing I have learned about wedding photography: It is a whole different ballpark.  A high-speed, high-stress, and high-expectation type one.  While you will still see some big days snapped by yours truly in the future, I have decided:  I am no longer advertising myself as being a wedding photographer.  We as artists find our niches.  And while I adore weddings beyond words, I am gracefully bowing out from that photographer pool.

  • Will this Affect YOU?

Maybe.  I will still take on clients here and there.  But there will be much more pickiness before I say yes to the booking.  I will be looking for sessions that pull at my artistic side, with themes, outfits, something behind them that I just can't resist.  Aside from that, for this time being, I will be turning down much more potential sessions.  So yes, this just may affect you.  And I apologize right now.  It is nothing against any of you beautiful people.  This is just me, making an artistic and personal choice, until I can better balance all my passions.

  • Is JMP gone for good?

Goodness no!  I am still here, and will never completely stop.  I will still be posting from the sessions I do here and there.  I will definitely be posting more personal works.  And when the time comes, I will be back in full force.

I keep asking why I have to have so many passions.  Someone recently told me it is because I have such a big heart, it takes more to fill it up.  I like that.  

There.  It has all been said.  I hope I covered all the grounds.  If you have any questions, please feel free to comment here, message me on Facebook, or email me.  Again, I thank everyone for their support and love of what I create.  You have made me what I am.  

Remember: Just Smile

Friday, December 28, 2012

2012: The Photo Year

What a year 2012 has been!
I have had an amazing year, both in the photography world and in "normal" life as well.  My boys, even though they exhaust me, light up my life every day with the new things they are learning and who they are becoming.  My writing, though put slightly on the back burner, has still moved forward.  I have made friends, loved family, and laughed much.

As for photography: Oh my goodness.
2012 started out nice and slow.  I was still working on getting the hang of my lovely DSLR, not to mention still gathering the nerve to put myself "out there" as a photographer.  Then, in April, I decided to take part in a 30 Day Photography Challenge.  Remember that?

I sure do!  It was amazing.  I learned so much in those 30 days, and am still madly in love with the portfolio of photographs that came to be because of that challenge.  And what's more: It got your attention.  

In came the sessions.
More sessions than I had even imagined doing this year.
And I clicked away.

I also began a new, ever growing personal project titled Places That Mean Something To Me.

I am tired.  Staring at the computer monitor for hours, editing away, does a number on your eyes and bum.  My trigger finger is stronger than ever.  I think I can see the muscles flex.  But what's more: I am happy.  I have learned so much this year.  Grown, in my opinion, leaps and bounds.  Gathered an amazing clientele and was able to be a part of so many amazing moments.

The final count?
38 sessions

Family/Sibling: 9
Baby/Child: 8
Senior: 1
Portrait: 6
Maternity: 1
Engagement: 6
Wedding: 3
Personal Projects: 2

Thank you so much to everyone who trusted their memories in my hands this year.  I would be no where without you. 

Photography is not just a skill.  It is not a casual talent or a thing to take granted.  Being a photographer is a life-style.  It is a means to remember each smile and tear and moment, even after the day is done.  I am so grateful to have this in my life.  It made 2012 a year to remember.   I cannot wait to see what 2013 holds in store for this photographer lady here.  

Now, just for fun:  Here are some choice photos from a large majority of 2012's sessions.  Enjoy!

30 Day Photography Challenge (view Facebook album)
Vince | Portrait (view Facebook album)
Britania | Portrait and Sibling (view Facebook album)
Makenzie | Portrait (view Facebook album)
Nora | Springtime (view Facebook album)
Melody | Something Pink (view Facebook album)
Sarah and George | Engagement (view Facebook album)
Kinley | NICU (view Facebook album)
Alyssa and Chris | Sibling (view Facebook Album)
Vince and Melody | Daddy-Daughter (view Facebook album)
Mason and Porter | Sibling (view Facebook album)
Nora | 4th of July (view Facebook album)
Elianna | Two Months (view Facebook album)
The Andersen-Thomas Family (view Facebook album)
George and Sarah | Wedding (view Facebook album)
Nan | Trash the Dress (view Facebook album)
Merritt Cousins (view Facebook album)
Jake and Relissa | Wedding {Candid} (view Facebook album)
Jeff and Brianna | Wedding (view Facebook album)
The Demarce Family (view Facebook album)
Nora | One Year Old (view Facebook album)
Alyssa | Senior (view Facebook album)
Caiden and Lyndsey | Sibling (view Facebook album)
Places That Mean Something To Me {Project} (view Facebook album)
Adam and Katie | Engagement (view Facebook album)
August and Mary | Engagement (view Facebook album)
Jason | Two Years Old (view Facebook album)
Grace and Lucas | Sibling (view Facebook album)
Joe and Samantha | Engagement (view Facebook album)
The Taylor Family (view Facebook album)
Michael and Rachel | Engagement (view Facebook album)
John and Ashley | Engagement (view Facebook album)
Taylor | Maternity (view Facebook album)

     HAPPY NEW YEAR!     

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Places That Mean Something Project

I have created a personal project.

While I love doing sessions for my clients, I decided I needed to do something for myself as well.  Even if it is every so often and never planned, I needed something to exist.  So I sat back and thought.  I wanted a project that meant something to me.  A project that would challenge me, entice me, and in the end: Make me happy. 

That is how The Places That Mean Something Project came to be.

What is it?  It is simple:

Places that mean something to me.  There are places, locations, spots in the road that define us all.  A house where a memory lies.  A road that we once crossed.  A tree that we climbed, fell out of, and climbed again.  I want to remember those places.  Nothing lasts.  A building is torn down.  A road is replaced.  A tree is chopped.  While our memories never change, the places do.  So while I have the chance, I want to document those places that truly mean something to me.

There is a story behind everything.  And I will share it with you.  Through these places.

Maybe you will learn something new about me.  Maybe you will just enjoy the photo then walk away.  But I know what this will mean to me.  And I am beyond excited to collect my memories, one place at a time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Quick Hello

Why, hello there!  Life sure has been busy in my little corner of the world.
If you have been following me on Facebook, you see what I mean.

This summer I photographed 3 weddings.  Had numerous other sessions scattered in between.  Got bookings set for the summer of 2013.  Then last week I visited the island and somehow managed to squeeze in about 8 photo sessions in a one week vacation.

Am I crazy?
Oh, you know I am.
And I love it.

Now I am busy busy busy on that backlog.  I will try to hop on here more often to show you sneaks, previews, and more from the sessions I am working away on.  And if you notice an extended silence, just check my Facebook.  I live there.  Literally.  It is a nice home.

To leave you today, here is a lovely peek of Brianna on her wedding day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Just A Little Hello

I know I have been very bad about keeping this blog.

This summer has been a crazy one, and the sure thing to fall to the back burner of my checklist has been my blogs.  Learning to balance mommy life, with photography life, with Indie author life... and still manage to sleep somewhere in there has been quite a feat!

Still, I wanted to stop by and say hi.  I am currently working on updating photos on my website.  Along with editing like a mad woman.  And drooling over lenses.  And booking more sessions.

Have I mentioned that I love my clients?

Well, I do!

By the way: Once my Facebook page gets to 200 likes, I will be opening up a giveaway for one FREE photo session.  If you haven't already seen that announcement, now you know!  Make sure you like my page.  And get your friends and family in on it too!

Well, my kiddos are running around like mad so that must be my cue to get off this computer and tickle the little monsters.  I promise I will update here a little more regularly.  As soon as I get some sleep.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In My Camera Bag

I have seen other photographers do this, many times, and always thought it would fun to add my bag to the mix.  As you know, I have been working on filling that bag.  And I finally got the kick to tell you what is in it.

Because I finally own my first L lens!
*commence happy dancing*

That's right.  A friend of mine was selling her 70-200mm f/4 L, and I couldn't resist.  It was a good deal for the lens, and now it has a happy new home alongside my growing lens family.  I am trying to think of a good name for it.  It deserves one.

Camera phone pic of my pretty new baby

Below is the list of what is in my camera bag.  Of course, it will keep changing as I am able to upgrade and add to this amazing collection.  So, to make sure you always know what I am toting around, I am making a page on this blog that will always be up-to-date.  Just look to the right and click "In my Camera Bag" and you are good to go!

Now, without further ado, let's dig around this bag!





And... The Bag:

Of course, my wishlist will always exist.  Here are the top lenses I am majorly drooling over and cannot wait to add to my bag.  Someday.

My Lens Wishlist:

So, what's in your bag?