Jen Huang is one of our notable contributors from the Focused Collection. Jen has a very special approach to photography. Her artist touch gives images a dream-like quality, all the while highlighting and communicating a passion and love for the art of photography.
Taking creative direction into her own hands, Jen takes a new approach on film photography. Today she shares with us her story, her career and approach to photography as well as some valuable advice and tips for photographers.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional career.
I approach photography with a romantic, fine art sensibility. My imagery is understated yet evocative, resulting from clear and polished creative direction that elicits light-filled, painterly portraits. My use of fresh and simple composition, and natural light has evolved from a deep love and respect for the art and craft of shooting film. I have been featured on the covers of numerous international bridal publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country Weddings, Brides Magazine, Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart, The Boston Globe and New York Magazine.
I am a fiercely dedicated medium format film photographer and my work has taken me to over twenty countries on six different continents. I have been named a top photographer by Martha Stewart Weddings, and have received accolades from Rangefinder Magazine, PDN and the Framed Network.
I also have an active role in educating photographers on the art and craft of shooting film. In 2012, I released my first book, “A Guide to Fine Art Wedding Photography,” along with my Workshop-in-a-Box styling kit. In 2017, I released the second edition of my book, as well as “The Portraiture Reference Guides,” a 3 book series on natural and expressive portraiture and composition. Upcoming conference appearances can be found on my press page.
I am a native New Yorker living in Southern California. When I am not working, I can be found renovating a hundred-year-old home with my husband, two rambunctious little boys, and a silly french bulldog named Gatsby.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is first and foremost a love of light and memory. To me, it is that, and it is also the foundation of my career and business. In my life photography has morphed from a simple hobby, to an obsession, to a craft and also to a love of owning and running a business. It has led me to the most amazing experiences in my life and given me the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most interesting clients and talented artists in the U.S. I can’t wait to see where else it brings me!
What would you say distinguishes your personal style of photography?
My style is simple, minimalist and light filled. I am inspired by classic art and travel – and many of my images evoke not only a sense of the person, but also a feeling and a place. I love my images to tell little vignettes and stories in a straightforward but dreamy way.
Could you elaborate on your fine art approach to photography?
As I have developed my career, I have also developed my role – not only as a photographer but as a creative director. Many of my shoots are ones that I have both styled and photographed. To me, styling and creative direction is a big part of being a photographer and I cannot separate the two, that is what separates my approach from others I think.
What are some of your personal accomplishments in photography that you’re most proud of?
I really love being able to share my process with other photographers through my books – the portraiture reference guides. I also have built a following throughout the last ten years, and I feel a responsibility to make the industry a more creative and wonderful place to be in my own little ways – whether it is inspiring originality, or giving praise to the amazing women who are breaking barriers in our world. I will also be writing several more books down the line that will address my business as a whole.
Do you have a personal favorite image from your portfolio?
I have many many many images I love but I think my favorite is always going to be that image I haven’t created yet.
What camera do you mostly shoot with? How important is gear for stock photographers?
I shoot the Contax 645 with Fuji 400H color film and Delta Ilford 3200 film. The newest gear is not important. My camera is not even made anymore. What is more important is a consistent look and aesthetic, and understanding your gear inside and out.
How do you take passion for photography and turn it into a full time job that’s rewarding?
I think in order to make photography a full time job, you need to have a passion for business. If you don’t have a passion for business, hire a partner who does – this will ensure both sides of the equation are fulfilled.
How do you get inspired? What are some of the things you do to get inspired to shoot?
Much of my inspiration comes from working with other amazing wedding artists and vendors – exploring their minds opens me to new worlds and new ideas, that is some of the most rewarding inspiration.
What are you looking for in a great picture?
An emotional connection. One of my favorite photos is an iphone photo my husband took of my son and I. It is not technically superior, it is not lit by anything other than the sun, and he has no history of photography education but it gives me a feeling that I love. That is what makes a powerful image.
Your #1 tip or words of wisdom?
Make decisions that make you happy and do not hurt others.
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