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Life and Work with Jen Bilodeau

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Bilodeau.

Jen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a lifestyle photographer that specializes in families and small business commercial photography, as well as mentoring fellow photographers to help them take their art and their businesses to the next level. Maybe this is due to my own place in life, but I have a special affection for capturing mothers with their children.

It’s hard to know when exactly my story began. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a girl with a camera – as a young child, taking pictures of my sisters and my dolls, in middle school with an old 35mm that I bought from a yard sale, in high school with my first SLR – a refurbished Canon that my parents bought me for my 16th birthday….then with my first digital camera documenting my post-college days.

However, it wasn’t until the man who is now my husband incredibly got me my first DSLR in lieu of an engagement ring that my journey as a photographer really got exciting. My Nikon has been my near-constant companion ever since.

Before taking my passionate hobby and turning it into my dream job, I worked for many years as a manager in accounting and corporate finance. I logged long hours writing corporate filings, financial budgets, and annual reports. All the while photography was whispering in my ear, although I didn’t fully hear it yet. I had gallery walls throughout my home, albums piling up on bookshelves, and my camera came with me everywhere, but I never thought to go any further with it.

Then one day, something within me shifted, and I began pouring myself into photography, learning everything I possibly good. I started shooting daily and worked tirelessly to perfect my processing, and to find my unique artistic voice.

It wasn’t long before I decided to leave my corporate job to start my own business. Today I own and manage Jen Bilodeau Photography, and I mentor and teach other photographers through both my own offerings and as a teacher for the online photography school. Click Photo School. I am still a CPA, and I love combining my two skill sets to help fellow photographers further their own unique journey.

With my work, I always strive to capture honest photos – photos that tell a story, that transport you. This is my true passion. I yearn to freeze the precious moments of today so that they can be aged and savored over time.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the first few years of being in business, my work evolved from what I thought my clients expected to what I knew I had to shoot to keep my heart and soul passionate about this job.

The major turning point for me was five years ago when I began my first 365-day photography project.  In shooting every single day, I started to get to know myself better as an artist.  I started seeing things differently… details I may have missed in the past, now, jumped out at me as critical components of the story.

Capturing connection – between my clients, my children, myself, took on a new definition.  As I started working these practices into my client sessions, I reached a new level of satisfaction with my work.  I was shooting better, my clients were happier, and most importantly, I became much more deeply connected with my own work.

In the beginning, I battled most with confidence.  When I began taking clients I often felt pressured and conflicted by what I thought they wanted verses what I wanted to create.  I knew in my soul that I wanted to shoot a certain way, but I worried that my clients would not want that.

I had a preconceived notion of what I thought they wanted and I worried they would not be satisfied with their investment if I didn’t deliver that.  It took truly trusting in myself and my vision – and being brave in my shooting, to break free of these fears and start capturing moments from the heart – the connection and details that truly speak to the moments of today that we long to preserve.

Now, I shoot with one goal in mind… capturing pure and honest human connection.

Today, my business has evolved to what I had always envisioned it would be when I began. While I may not be the photographer for everyone, my clients are with me because they too seek images that capture honest human connection and authentic moments. Together we create something beautiful.

So my advice to women just starting out is to always stay true to your vision. Trust in yourself and your craft. It’s ok to be nervous and a bit scared, but don’t lose your confidence. It is critical that you build a brand and a client base around work that fulfills the vision that got you started. Write out your mission statement. Print it out. Read it daily. Let this be your compass, and the rest will all fall into place with time and hard work.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Jen Bilodeau Photography – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My photography is a bit different than the classic portrait artist. With each image, I strive to artistically use light and shadow and authentic, organic moments to create beautifully timeless and powerful imagery. My images are characterized by rich colors and deep black & white tones. Across all areas of my work, I strive to capture honest, emotive and timeless images that artfully preserve today’s moments that matter. For me its all about the beautiful raw feeling of honest human connection.

I am is also a CPA and through my mentoring and teaching offerings, I enjoy working with fellow photographers to help them take their business to the next level. I believe my combination of artistic skill and business background puts me in a unique position within the industry, and I am passionate about teaching and working with other photographers.

Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
I think incredible opportunities exist for a woman today. We are an ever increasingly significant part of the workforce, and more and more women are becoming business owners every day. With the right business plan, training, and commitment woman today can pursue their passions in ways there were simply not available to prior generations. That doesn’t mean it will be an easy road. It takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication. But the time right now is as good as its ever been for a woman to blaze her own path, to be her own boss, and to take ownership over her own success.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Jen Bilodeau Photography

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