MUSEA Spotlight - Jenny Cruger
Why did you become a photographer?
To make a living. No, really. My first baby was around 6 months old and I couldn't go back to working a regular job without flexibility, but we desperately needed my income. I decided I wanted to create the types of photographs that I imagined, and I wanted as a mother, but no one was doing at the time. I couldn't even find a photographer I was in love with to photograph our baby if I could have afforded it. Being as specific as I am, even having a client wardrobe, was unheard of when I first began my business so it felt like a huge risk, but one that I hoped would pay off. Everything was bright colors, little direction from photographers, and just things that were all over the map. It eventually did and I began teaching other photographers who wanted the same style as well. I knew from the start I needed to charge a good amount to make money and I knew I wanted to do it my way.
What do you photograph and why?
Motherhood is what makes me happiest and what I do best. Maternity, newborn, baby, and families with young children are where my heart is and where I quickly settled into after realizing things like weddings, seniors, commercial work just didn't do anything for me as an artist. I knew I wanted to do my very best work and I truly believe I can only do that when I'm photographing what I love and in a certain way, which is why my clients receive very specific instructions for what to wear and I keep my lighting, editing, and locations consistent to a point where someone with a different style and personality would find it boring. When I become a mother I also noticed that a lot of moms are the ones behind the camera, literally hiding from the other side. We are all so self conscious and I have no photographs of my mom and I as a child. I didn't want my children to grow up without that, and I don't want other children to either. No matter what they look like, my goal is to make my mamas feel gorgeous in front of my camera so that the emotion of loving their babies shines through and that's all they see.
What is the biggest factor in your long-term success?
Consistency and a high end experience. Keeping my work consistent allows inquiries to say either, "Hey! I LOVE what she's doing and want exactly that" (which almost always turns into a super happy experience for me AND them) or "oh that is NOT the photographer for me" and move on (allowing me to avoid clients who aren't a good fit for me). It also allows the client to know exactly what they are going to get. I know I am happy to spend more for things that are consistent and a perfect match for what I am looking for, especially when I can trust I'm going to get that. Keeping things like my editing, lighting, tones, etc. consistent also allows me to run a streamlined business and know I'm always going to focus on the emotion of the image and keep things simple and about the client. Giving clients a high end experience (along with the price tag) isn't something the other 601,365 (that's an official count, by the way. ;) ) photographers in my area are doing so it helps my brand stand out.
Why do you use the Musea Lab?
In the most simple terms; I love luxury items. I would rather have one of something really nice and expensive instead of tons of cheaper things. I love high quality brands and companies that specialize. To me, the combination of using "the best" and specialization sets any company apart for me and is very attractive. And MUSEA does just that. There is literally no comparison between a professional lab print and a fine art print from MUSEA. I want my clients to have the best products to match my higher end brand and MUSEA is the only way to go for that.
Can you share a story from your business that illustrates why prints are important?
Clients think they want the digital files (and I do want them to have those too), but it's not until I get a gorgeous heirloom product in their hands and on their walls that they really appreciate the moment captured in the portrait I took for them. They will tell me how happy they are to walk past those moments every day or how excited their children get to see themselves with their parents hanging up on the wall. Just the other day my almost 3 year old lit up when she realized it was me and her in a baby photo we have hanging in her room. She wouldn't have that feeling if those photos were sitting on a USB in my drawer or just on Facebook. My clients invest a lot of time and money in a portrait session with me and I believe they should have something substantial, beautiful, and that will last for decades to appreciate every day.