We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer garza and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, why did you pursue a creative career?
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved art. I remember taking summer art classes and I was constantly drawing in sketchpads. It didn’t matter what kind of art it was, I just always enjoyed doing something creative.
As I grew up, I think I took almost every single art class that was offered throughout middle school and high school. That included, painting, still life drawing, pottery, digital art, and photography. I always knew that I wanted to have some sort of career in a creative field.
When I was in high school, I discovered Graphic & Web Design. I really liked doing something creative that involved computers. I knew that this was going to be the future of how things are made so I started learning more about Photoshop and learning how to code HTML. This was in 1996-97 so it was at the very beginning of when the internet was becoming a mainstream thing and I was using Netscape Composer to create websites.
After high school, I went to community college for a little while and then I ended up at the Art Institute of Colorado. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interactive Media Design (a.k.a. Web & Graphic Design). I spent the next 15 years building websites, creating marketing materials, and designing products for various companies including some for the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL.
After 15 years, I was getting burnt out by sitting in front of a computer and staring at code. That’s when I started getting back in to photography. I had always done some photography with classes in school and by taking product photos but never really explored it that much more. I began just taking pictures of family and friends just to get some practice. I really enjoyed it and also enjoyed being able to interact with more people as well as get away from my computer. I eventually moved into weddings and just fell in love with it. I’ve been shooting weddings primarily ever since and am going on 10 years now.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’ve never really been happy working in the corporate world and always wanted to run my own business. When I decided to start shooting weddings, I jumped in completely and offered to shoot my sister-in-law’s upcoming wedding. I was excited and terrified that she actually agreed to let me do it. Luckily for me, I knew a few people who let me come assist them at a few weddings ahead of time just to get an idea of what to expect.
After that, I managed to get hired by a local photography studio and started out as an intern. I eventually moved into a 2nd position and then lead associate shooter. Working for them helped me build my portfolio and gain more confidence in my photography skills.
I’m also a big believer in continuing education. I feel like I should always be learning and honing my craft to break out of the monotony that can happen in my work. I’ve been lucky enough to take some amazing workshops from some amazing, world renowned photographers. That has helped me stay excited about what I’m doing and not be as afraid of trying new things.
Running a business is definitely not an easy task. Finding a good work/life balance can be difficult and you put in a lot more hours. Trying to be productive and stay on top of things has been one thing I’ve had to adjust to, especially when working from home. I also am trying to get better at delegating work that I don’t want to do or outsourcing it. Putting certain systems in place have made it easier. Those include a client management system, automated reminders, and accounting.
My brand is bold, vibrant, and colorful. I love using creative angles and lighting to create unique images for my couple’s. I also love getting to know my client’s by asking them about their interests and hobbies. I want to customize their photo sessions to make it more personal to them.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
It’s difficult to suggest things when there are so many options to choose from here in Colorado. Many of the things I suggest seeing are Red Rocks, visiting the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Breckenridge, Garden of the Gods, and the Broadmoor Hotel.
For food and drink, I love trying new things but especially love a great brewery or place to get craft cocktails. Acreage in Lafayette is a favorite of mine to get some food and sample some of their many ciders. There’s also a huge outdoor area for yard games as well as great views of the Flatirons. The Arvada Tavern is another great place for cocktails. William Oliver’s Publick House in Lafayette is another favorite. They specialize in whiskey & bacon which you can never go wrong with bacon.
And as much as people despise the food, I can’t call myself a Colorado Native without suggesting a trip to Casa Bonita. It’s definitely a Colorado institution and I’m pretty excited to see what happens when they re-open.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My plans for college and life took a very different path than what I was planning. At 18, I had my son which made college almost an impossibility. My parents (and other family) were a huge help in supporting me through that time in my life. Even though they never said I had to go to college, I wanted to go so that I could provide a better life for my son. They supported me by babysitting when I had to go to class or to one of the many jobs I had. There was a time that I was working 3 different jobs so I could pay the bills and make sure my son had everything he needed. It took a lot longer to finish school than most of my classmates but I kept pushing through until I finally finished. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without them.
My husband is also someone who is always very supportive of anything I want to do.
When I had to make the decision to go full time in my photography business, my husband never said that I couldn’t do it. He still supports me in my business and in life, and I’m forever grateful for him.
I also have a few close friends (also photographers/business owners) that I have in my life that are very supportive. We try to meet up at least once a month to talk about our businesses, work on projects and just to listen to each other’s fears, concerns, and accomplishments that have happened.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jengarzaphoto/ Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@jennifergarzaphoto
Personal Photo by Andrea Enger Photography All Other Images by Jennifer Garza Photography