Interview and Giveaway with Jen Carver

Although it isn’t part of our official Photographers Who Inspire series, we have a special interview this week with Jen Carver from Jen Carver Photography¬†along with a one of a kind giveaway for a chance to attend her online workshop for free!


Who or what was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?

Definitely my kids certainly pushed my hand in moving forward with my business, there is no question about that…but I had been in the industry in some capacity most of my career.

I started out in visual merchandising, then became Director of Marketing for a few retail companies and Brands. I spent many years directing and managing our advertising campaigns. However, I was not behind the camera I was beside it, spending lots of time with creative agencies, models, producers, makeup artists , stylists and very high end commercial photographers. When I left the industry after having my second daughter, that is when I decided to take that experience and start a business.. I am a 100% self taught in terms of my camera, but I have many years of experience working with so many talented people learning the art of lighting, styling, marketing and concepting.

I knew when I left the industry, I would have to find something as creatively challenging to feel that void. One of the former commercial photographers that i had worked with suggested I try this. I recall hanging up the phone that day, making a large purchase on Amazon and the rest is history!

In terms of who inspires me now, so many people, I find inspiration in so many different places, through day to day experiences mostly, I also really admire work outside of my own specialty, when I feel I can step out of the area of children and look at other areas of work it really helps me push the envelope creatively. I try to take little pieces of how I might interpret that particular image and apply it to what I do with children.

What was the hardest part of starting your own business? What do you wish you would have known?

The hardest part was probably the unknown. I baby stepped my way in from equipment, to clients , to workflow. I was lacking confidence at the beginning and treaded pretty safely into the business. I also should have attended workshops when I started out… instead of learning everything the hardway.

I think photography workshops are such a great way to learn , gain confidence and gain a network of friends. That is a big reason that I am teaching today. To save lots of people the heartache and hours of learning on your own.. I sacrificed many hours away from my family, that would be my only regret.

You’re now at a point where you’re offering mentoring and workshops. Why are workshops valuable, and what can a photographer expect from a workshop experience with you?

My live workshops and online workshops are very similar in terms of cotent. We cover everything from business basics, to Marketing, Social Networking, Blogging, Styling, Lighting, Location Scouting, Pricing, Camera Settings and of course Processing. Attendees are able to view my screen live and watch exactly what I do.

I’ve developed a workbook that we use as a guideline to guide us through the course. During the live workshops, I have a stylist attend and there is a hands on styling exercise we do as well as planned styled session where we all are able to go out and shoot together, learn how to find the light on location, posing and working with models and set changes. I also have a private facebook group for all of my mentees where they are able post images for critique, so the learning continues it doesnt end once the workshop is over. This is a great way for me to track their progress and answer questions that may come up when they are executing the new techniques they’ve learned during the workshop. It is a fabulous growing group and they are all very supportive of each other and their work..

We have a group online mentoring workshop coming up on September 1st 2012. This is the last group workshop offered for the special rate of $175.00 per registration. The class begins at 10 am (est) and their are limited seats available. One Lucky fan of Inspire Me Baby will have a chance to win  one of those seats!! So keep reading to find out how!

We also have our last live workshop of the year that will be held November 10th, 2012 in Miami, FL. We have planned something very special! I will be co-hosting this workshop with Skye Johansen Photography! So we will be covering everything from in studio newborn shooting, studio lighting, to on-location natural lighting with children ages 6 and up. There will be two live shoot sessions. And a ton of content in between.. We are super psyched for this workshop ! Limited seats left for this one too!

Here are the details of the upcoming live and online workshops :

Tell us about your favorite lens and why it is #1 in your camera bag over your other lenses.

My favorite lens is most definitely the 85 1.2 . For the work I do, this lens is just perfect. I have not found another lens that even comes close to comparing what I get out of my 85 1.2.


Photoshop or Lightroom? Or both? How long does it take you to get your proofs to your clients?

Both. I use Lightroom to import my files and organize them per client. I also use Lightroom for quick gallery reformatting and resizing. I do not use lightroom to do my processing. I know Lightroom has the capabilities, but I find that I am still bringing in the images into Photoshop for fine tuning and sharpening.. so if i have to go that extra step anyway, I might as well just fully process my images in Photoshop. I prefer Photoshop over Lightroom for editing. In terms of timing, We try to work off of 2-3 weeks turnaround for getting images to clients. This varies during peak times and summer months.

With the demand for digital images on the rise, do you offer them as part of your packages for your clients?

I only offer digital files for greeting card purposes only. I strongly believe in controlling printing to ensure my clients are receiving quality prints that have not been altered during the printing process.

What is one thing we would be surprised to learn about you?

I am such an open book kind of person..thats a tough one…. I just turned 40 ! ( I dont look a day over 30 (haha) ) !!

Name one person you would love to photograph.

There isnt one particular person… but someday I would like to travel to other countries, photographing children of different ethnicities and cultures .. Perhaps someday when my girls can shoot along with me…

What is on your “Bucket List”?

Now that is top secret!! Haha!! But in all honesty, I have been fortunate to have my work published , i have had the opportunity to teach others and pursue commercial opportunities. I certainly would like to see my work in each of those areas continue to progress and grow.

Aside from this wonderful IMB interview, what has been your proudest moment in your business?

My proudest moment has certainly been the friendships that i have created along the way with my clients, vendors, artists, designers and other photographers. This is something I never expected through this process.

My family unfortunately, was faced with a tough situation, a couple years back and I was so taken back by all of the support and love that I received from so many people in this industry as well as my personal clients. I am mostly proud of those relationships above and beyond anything else., for without this business I would have never had the pleasure to meet such wonderful people.

I have also been fortunate to be chosen to be published alongside some of the greats in the most recent new book by Master Photographer Ginny Felch “Photographing Children” .

Name two photographers you would like to see IMB interview.

I would love to see IMB interview :
Simon Powell
Zhang Jingna


I am a mom, wife and Photographer. I specialize in children ages 1 and up as well as commercial work. I travel around the country and online conducting photography workshops to help other aspiring or seasoned photographers with their journey. I am a self taught, natural light photographer that has found a love and passion for photography through my children’s eyes.

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