We had the good fortune of connecting with Jensen Sutta and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jensen, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
1) Liking People
There are two factors that I’d say contribute the most to success in this business. One is liking people! Not just some people, but connecting with any and all people. Growing up, my first few jobs ranged from hotel bellman, bartender, and restaurant server. All jobs that helped me practice meeting all types of different folks, having short meaningful interactions, and translated perfectly to meeting diverse clients as a photographer.
Secondly, I read a quote by the founder of Kinkos, Paul Orfalea who said, “try not to look AT your clients, but AS your clients”. I loved that concept and have always tried very hard to empathize and listen to client needs. Removing my own ego and learning to overdeliver on whatever their needs are is definitely a key to success!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Interesting aspects of my career are the diverse and high-level jobs that I’ve been able to cover. A few include the Kentucky Derby, Elton John’s Oscar Party, three Democratic National Conventions, a Republican National Convention, 5 U.S. Presidents, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Oprah, DiCaprio, Brad Pitt…and so many wonderful recognizable faces and events around the world! But with all of that said, what makes me most proud are the images that have made a difference. For example, photos of a feeding program in Haiti convinced a donor to provide food for years to come. Another fulfilling moment was learning that my images were used to help the Governor decide to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday in Colorado (before the President declared it a national holiday).
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m grateful to have attended photography school (even though it no longer exists). I feel lucky to have learned from incredible instructors at the Brooks Institute of Photography like Joyce Wilson, Tim Meyer and Paul Meyer and to have had the time and freedom to practice the craft, and even mess up images throughout the learning process before earning paid jobs. I also am lucky to have been hired as a bellman at the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara. At the end of that job, I was receiving referalls from the concierge, executives and ownership of the hotel, fellow bellman, the front desk and my career as a photographer was off and running!