JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog en-us (C) JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY (JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Fri, 02 Feb 2018 21:28:00 GMT Fri, 02 Feb 2018 21:28:00 GMT JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY: Blog 120 80 Seeing With Different Eyes...

"Hi Jen,  We got the pictures.  We really weren't interested in black and white photos and there was one with my eyes closed, one with the top of my head cut off and one with Bill hiding behind me.  We were wondering if there were any better ones (close ups) of me or Bill from the indoor shots or other outdoor shots.  There were several we really liked, but we were hoping for a few more."

(no black and whites)


(eyes closed)


(top of head cut off)




This is not the kind of reaction you want from a client.


The photos were for their adult children, as a Christmas gift.  Jane (the wife) booked the shoot.  She let me know ahead of time that Bill (her husband) was going through cancer treatment.  She asked if I could Photoshop the scars and spots on his head.  


It was perfect weather.  We went to a park by the lake.  It was a really fun shoot!  I had only been doing portraits for maybe a year, so I was still learning.  But I thought it went well and the pics were great.


Then I got the email.  I was horrified.  I'd never had a client complain.  I showed the photos to my husband and a fellow photographer, and they said the photos were wonderful.


So I emailed Jane and asked her to do something.  I asked her to show the photos to their children.  Because I knew those adult kids would love them.  

A few days later I got an email from Jane, asking me to call her.  I was at work (my day job) but I found an empty office and called her.  I was prepared for the worst.

She said she was calling to apologize.  She showed her kids the photos and they loved them.  They loved the candid shots, the relaxed and happy looks on their faces.  That these pics were so much better than a boring Sears portrait.

So Jane and Bill went back and looked at the photos again.  But this time, with "different eyes" as she put it.  Once they weren't expecting to see a traditional department store portrait, they loved the photos!!!

So of course I started crying (happy tears) and told her I had to hang up but would email soon.

I wrote:

"I wanted to thank you for taking the time to work with me to understand your first reaction to the photos.  And thank you both for going back and looking at the photos a 2nd time, with an open mind (and heart.)  That was such a gift to me.  I feel like you helped me grow as a photographer."

I think about them a lot.  And I 



(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Thu, 29 Jun 2017 19:34:58 GMT
Cleveland RNC 2016- (That Time I Played Photojournalist) I had no reason to be downtown for the RNC.  I'm not a reporter or protester.  And certainly NOT a fan of Trump.  But I love Cleveland, I find politics interesting, and I believe in freedom of speech.  I wanted to see how my town handle the convention.  I wanted to see if protesters would be peaceful and police helpful.  And I wanted to take photos of everything.

My first trip downtown was Tuesday.  I spent the afternoon around Public Square.  There were speakers scheduled throughout the day.  People there to voice their opposition to Trump, the police, the RNC, anti-abortionists, Westboro Baptists, and an array of peaceful activists.

It was shocking to see so many police officers, from all over the country.  Along with military people, bomb sniffing dogs, cops on bikes and horses.  So many guns.  The next big shock was the number of news crews and photojournalists.  When I arrived, there were more cameras than actual protesters.  It was fun to watch them running around to find anyone slightly interesting to interview.

My dream job is now photojournalist.


(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Cleveland RNC Street Photography Sun, 02 Apr 2017 19:25:38 GMT
Where The Camera Takes Me... New Studio Friends(L-R) Terrence Spivey, Peter Lawson Jones and Harold Crawford


Photography has taken me many places and introduced me to many people.  A few weeks back I found myself with 3 pretty amazing people in my studio.

You can read about each of them here:

Terrence Spivey

Harold Crawford

Peter Lawson Jones


Terrence is bringing a theatre program to Shore Cultural Centre.  He was at karamu House in Cleveland for 13 years.  Harold calls himself a "costume director".  Peter is a former county commissioner turned actor.

I'm going to collaborate with Terrence and Harold on a series of portraits of actors in classic black theatre roles.  I'm learning so much about theatre, as well as just getting to know some really interesting people!

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) african american theatre cleveland theatre shore cultural arts centre terrence spivey Sun, 02 Apr 2017 19:21:16 GMT
Marianna & Nick's Wedding- Snow In April Bridal Party PortraitBridal Party Portrait at Cleveland Public Library

I've known Marianna for a few years.  We've worked together, gotten to know each other, and have gone through so many personal and professional changes.  Nick and Marianna were the first people to buy one of my large canvas art prints. 

When they got engaged, they asked me to shoot their wedding and I was so excited.  They both have large families, and the wedding planning began right away.  They had so many wonderful ideas, including doing a butterfly release as a way to pay a simple tribute family members who have passed away.

But no one expected snow in April.

The ceremony at La Malfa was beautiful.  The bride was glowing and her uncle walked her down the aisle.  There was much laughter and tears, the happy kind.

After the ceremony everyone gathered outside with the little boxes containing butterflies.  But it was so cold and they didn't want to come out of their little boxes.  I looked around to try and figure out a better spot, but it was just too cold.  I worried that the tribute to lost loved ones would end in a mass of dead butterflies.

Suddenly the manager of the venue came running out and told us to come inside and bring the butterflies in!  Everyone came inside and the butterflies started to emerge from their little boxes.  They flew around the party center and the manager just laughed and mentioned how it added an element of "nature" to the place.


Due to the last minute snowy weather, we had to find a place to shoot indoors.  A friend suggested the Cleveland Public Library.  I had no idea how beautiful it was inside!  So many amazing spots to shoot!


And a snowy downtown day makes for a lovely backdrop!

The reception was amazing!  So many friends and family.  And the mother of the groom made sure I sat down and eat dinner.  I love working with big families!  So much fun getting to know everyone.


It was a long day, over 12 hours.  I got 10,000 steps on my FitBit and the reception wasn't even over!


I bet Nick and Marianna got way more steps in on their big day.  They were still on the dance floor as I was packing up my gear!

​Lovely couple, lovely wedding...


See all their pics HERE

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) butterfly release cleveland public library wedding photos cleveland wedding photography lamalfa wedding photography Tue, 20 Sep 2016 18:03:35 GMT
Hendrix I met Stacy at OSU, randomly assigned roommates, 18 years old.  We became close friends early on.  I was there when she met her future husband, I was her bridesmaid at her wedding. 


I moved back to Cleveland for a time, and we lost touch for a year or 2.  When I moved back to Columbus, we eventually met up and went right back to being friends.  The only difference is that she's just had a baby.


I met Henry when he was a few weeks old.  Stacy was my first friend to have a baby.  When she divorced Henry's dad, we became roommates.  Having a  1 1/2 year old roommate is... surreal.  Lisa Ann joined us.  3 adult women in their mid 20's and a toddler.  Of course there are pics of him in earrings and makeup.


Henry and my dog Miles became fast friends.  Henry wanted to do everything Miles did.  Including drinking water off a dirty slip-n-slide.  They would play and wrestle and Miles was always gentle.  When we told Henry we were having hot dogs for dinner he cried and said, "I don't want to eat Miles!"


We lived together for a year and a half.  Then the 3 adult women were ready to get their own apartments, start new chapters in their lives.


Henry and Stacy would visit Cleveland over the years.  He swam in my mom's pool, tried Korean bubble tea (did NOT like it) and got to see his old buddy Miles.  I have a life sized replica doll of Henry that his mom made in art school.  He's been with me for years.

The last time I saw him was at my art show in 2015.  I was excited to give him a print of some weird graffiti.  He no longer went by Henry, but preferred Drix or Hendrix.

His teenage years were rough.  He battled depression and bipolar disorder.  I just kept hoping that his mom could find the right doctor, the right therapist, the right medicine.  And boy, did she try.  And Henry fought hard.  He had his art and music, his dog, and a little sister who adored him.  But on June 15th, he stopped fighting and took his own life.

I'll let his mom tell you about him:


"I do not often talk about my son on Facebook. I am very proud of him, but at 21 considered him to be the storyteller of his own life.


He would want you to know he was a brilliant musician whose breadth of inspiration reached from Nick Cave to Killer Mike to Japanese Jazz to Nina Simone.

He would want you to know he was eloquent and a bit reckless like his favorite writer Hunter S Thompson.


He would want you to know that Depression and BiPolar Disorder are formidable Life Game Bosses, and that each round he fought with them took a bit from him he could not somehow find again.  


Hey, things don't always make sense. This, the end of his story and the way he wrote it, makes so little sense to me and those who loved him. But as Ron Swanson would say, "I Regret Nothing. The End."

I know what you're about, Son."



He loved this quote:


He was also very funny:


He was also a gifted musician.  Check out his music:  HERE


All the photos I've taken, along with pics from his Uncle John and other friends:




I dearly loved this boy.  He wasn't a son to me.  He was just "my Henry".

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Fri, 24 Jun 2016 00:08:52 GMT
Why I Love Weddings....


Why do I love shooting weddings?

1.  Not for the money.  I make more testing software or taking family portraits.

2.  I do not love weddings.  I eloped.

Weddings are stressful and exhausting.  I shoot for up to 14 hours.  My Fitbit shows 18,000 steps.  I am old and overweight.

After I shoot for up to 14 hours, I start to edit.  I probably edit for another 8 hours. 


I shoot weddings for one reason. I love humans.  I love people.  And at weddings, they are at their most vulnerable, stressed out, blissful, nervous and excited.


And if I can capture the day, the events, the energy, then I did my job, and I LOVED MY JOB.


(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Mon, 02 May 2016 22:51:04 GMT
Walt Neil Project- Inner City Murals

I lived in Columbus Ohio from 1989- 2007.  During that time, I lived and worked in all sort of neighborhoods.  On the East side of town, there were these amazing murals, that looked like they were painted in the 1970's-80's.  I'd notice them all the time.  Signed by Walt Neil.

Walt was considered an urban "outsider" artist.  I believe there was a show at the public library at some point.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into an old school house (turned into a cultural center) and saw the walls covered in Walt Neil murals!  I found out he worked there on weekends.  I was renting a studio space there, and made sure to be there on the first Saturday I was open.

I found him around a corner, walked up and said (yelled), "oh my gosh, you're Walt Neil and I love your work!!!"  I explained about living in Columbus and seeing his work.  We hugged and agreed to work on a project to photograph and catalog his work.  Hopefully soon!

In the meantime, here's his online bio:


Walt Neil is an ‘Artist of the Spirit’ whose formal training ended with a high school diploma, majoring in commercial art. Mentors like Tom Pannell, Ed Colston and Bill Agnew introduced him to the most challenging profession on earth…..’being an African American artist in America!

Despite discouraging advice from teachers, guidance counselors and family members, Walt Neil continued to travel from state to state seeking out kindred spirits which led to teaching positions in St. Thomas, the Virgin Islands and Atlanta. Walt Neil continues to travel across the country sharing is knowledge, experience and art with the world.

Two trips to Africa only showed Walt Neil what an unlimited future that was in store for mankind and in the cultural wealth Africa had to offer. Walt Neil currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio but continues to travel the world. Walt teaches art to youth groups in the Cleveland, Ohio area. He enjoys teaching hungry young minds eager to learn about art.

Walt Neil is noted for his vibrant portraits, ethnic, surreal artwork, and colorful murals that have an international appeal. Walt Neil invites you to share this visual smorgasbord with family, friends and colleagues. If you are a patron of the arts, you understand that art is to be savored daily. If you have a strong appetite for splendor, largess and history then you will want to own a one-of-a-kind piece of art by Walt Neal.

“I don’t give a damn what others say. It’s okay to color outside of the lines.” Jimi Hendrix


(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Wed, 06 Apr 2016 13:41:11 GMT
Too Fat To Be In Photos?


This article says it all perfectly!


Click here.

My favorite part:

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (OK, and more pictures of the grandkids while you're at it).

And if you're thinking that high school friend on Facebook will say to herself ("wow she has gained weight") then... news flash you DID. You gained weight. Shed a tear. Read a book. Drink a sweet tea. Watch Oprah. Whatever it takes. Accept this reality... YOU GAINED WEIGHT.

The truth is you've gained a lot of other things too (a career, a family, some kids, a house, a love for travel, the ability to coordinate your separates...) and that girl from high school is going to spend a lot more time hating on those things then she ever will on your double chin.

So you're feeling too fat to be photographed? OK... but you're the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

Article by:

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Wed, 06 Apr 2016 13:37:22 GMT
Disappearing Cleveland...  


I drive by a little barbershop near work, when it's still dark out. It always catches my eye. The lights are on and there's always someone in the chair. I'm oddly fascinated.



So today I stopped my car and snapped a few photos from outside. Then I went in and blurted out, "I'm a photographer and can I take photos of you and your shop!"



The barber immediately laughed and said "As long as your not collecting evidence, sure!"



We ended up talking for a while. He's hilarious! I'll be stopping back on random mornings. I told him he's my new project. He replied, "It's about time I was someone's project!"


A week later I passed a similar barbershop a few blocks away.  Abandoned.  It must have been the original.  I got excited to have found it, to show him, but then I thought, it might make him sad.


I stopped by a few weeks later to give him a few prints of the photos I'd taken.  He was so excited to see the photo I took from outside, of him cutting someone's hair.  He said, "all these years, and I've never seen myself at work!"

We talked about where he's from (Yugoslavia) and he offered to cut my hair for free.  Because, "I'm a barber and I have better tools for cutting short hair!"

We also talked about the neighborhood and how "Asian Town" has really helped so many small family owned businesses.  






Asian Town


I work in an area of Cleveland known as Asian Town.  As Steve the barber told me, the neighborhood was dying, until the Asian merchants and families came to the area.  Now it's, not thriving, but surviving.  (And I am now working in walking distance of 3 Phở restaurants!)


I went to lunch with coworkers today, at a Pho place in a building with a large Asian grocery store.  I love walking around the building and made sure to bring my camera.


i stopped in a store selling fancy blankets and met a nice indian gentleman (a Sikh) and we talked and he let me take his portrait.



The thing about him and the barber, they are just older people working in tiny shops and they don't get much excitement.  So I think it's fun for them to have someone notice them and want to take their pic. They are people most of us don't notice.  

This morning I drove by the barbershop and there was Steve, and a customer in the chair.  i like looking over and seeing him there, every time.  It's comforting.

But someday he'll be gone, like this cool mural on the side of a night club.  It was there one day and I took a pic on my iPhone.  I went back a few days later and it was gone, painted over with ugly beige paint.

Or like the man in the blanket store.  I went to give him a print of his portrait, and he was gone...


So I guess I'll just keep my camera with me at all times, and I'll keep looking for those "hidden" people.  

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:04:00 GMT
From Cleveland to Kentucky to New York: Discovering Shelby Lee Adams



It was a winter weekend a few years back.  Dan & I were watching a series of documentaries on photographers, playing on a new cable station.  We wanted to see the documentary about Sally Mann, whose work we love.

After the Mann film, there was a show about William Eggleston.  After that we were about to turn off the tv, but I was suddenly mesmerized by the images of the next documentary.  "Appalachia" suddenly appeared on the screen.  The lush green mountains of Kentucky rolled by and I grabbed my husband's arm and said, "that's where my family came from!"

I never really thought about describing my family as "Appalachian".  My father and mother's families moved to Cleveland when they were both young.  My mom's family were looking to escape the coal mines of Southeaster Ohio.  My father's family wanted to leave behind the poverty and hard life they'd had in western Kentucky.  

I was suddenly remembering bits and pieces of my family's history that had been long buried.  My mom's family still living in Bridgeport Ohio.  My memories of summers spent with Aunt Helen & Uncle Chuck.  Uncle Chuck had a tattoo of a Hawian lady that he made dance, and he made his own root beer.  Summers in Bridgeport were so much more relaxed than in the suburbs of Cleveland.  We picked tomatoes and ate them fresh off the vine and caught lightning bugs in jars.  My cousins and I laughed over how we said words like "mom" and "pop" so differently and I came back to Cleveland trying to remember not to say "y'all", or I'd get teased for being a "hillbilly".

Another memory came flooding back: the year (1975) my dad moved us to Kentucky, because he thought it would solve all our problems.  I was 5 and not happy about the move.  My mom stayed behind with my newborn little sister.  I recall driving down to Kentucky alone with my dad.  Along the way he told me about his childhood in Kentucky.  There was some mystical connection to Elvis Presley.  And he spoke of some kin in Eastern KY, like his great uncle Hansel, the pig farmer/moonshiner who lost both his legs to "the sugar" (diabetes.)

As we drove through the mountains, he showed me where the coal companies came in, stole the land and "strip mined" everything.  The beautiful mountain tops gone.  Ugly flat dirt land with machines.  It was painful to see, even as a child with little understanding of the politics and histories of coal mines.

The talk sometimes turned dark.  My dad's father died from a tick bite when my dad was only 3 or 4.  His mother remarried an abusive man.  There were 2 "1/2 brothers" and a move to Cleveland.  My dad somehow blamed Cleveland for his troubles and thought Kentucky would be a magical cure for all his (and our family's) problems.

Seeing the first 10 minutes of the Shelby Lee Adams documentary had all of that pouring out of me.  Things I'd forgotten, or was never able to explain to my husband.  Now I could show him, through Adams photographs, some of where my family came from.  The photo of an old woman with a pipe looked a bit  like my great grandmother!  The snake handlers reminding me of my mom's cousin Roxie, who lost her husband in a car accident and took to preaching the gospel and laying hands on people after that.

I was blown away by Shelby Lee Adams work.  The documentary featured segments of Adam's being interviewed, but what drew me in was Adam's own video footage, used by the film maker to supplement the film.  What I noticed first was the way his KY accent was stronger when he was shown working and interacting with his subjects.  The accent faded when he was being interviewed in his New England home.  I recalled my father's accent changing depending on where he'd recently spent time.  

When the documentary got to Shelby's work with the Childer's family, my heart skipped a beat.  Here was this photographer, whose work was already speaking to me in so many ways, taking photos of a family with developmentally disabled children/adults.  I grew up around developmentally disabled (DD) people.  A cousin in KY with Downs Syndrome was a great childhood friend.  My grandmother's best friend across the street kept her DD son Gary home, something unheard of in the 60's.

I attended OSU for a year and had to suddenly drop out due to family circumstances.  My first job was working at a group home with DD adults.  It seemed funny to me that I could have a career working with people I already understood.  I spent 5 years working with these DD adults.  I was a "live in" staff member for some of that time.  I saw these people go to work, fall in love, make mistakes, all things "normal" adults did every day.  

Shelby Lee Adams work with the Childer's family blew me away.  The first thing I noticed is the love between him and the family.  The family participated in making those photos and greatly enjoyed it.  The daughter Selina had a spark in her eyes, like she was in on some great joke.

The important I noticed is that Shelby says, "we made pictures".  He doesn't say, "I took a picture".  He says, "We made a picture."  And that is so important in understanding his work.  The photos with these families are all about collaboration.  Photos made together.

At different points in the film art critics, Appalachian historians, fellow Kentuckians and photographers give their take on his work.  The art world seems to mostly embrace the work, while finding it sometimes difficult to look at.  The poverty, the slaughtering of a pig, are thought to be great works of art to hang in a museum but maybe not their own homes.  Some people in Kentucky worry about the stereotypes, that people will see the work and conclude people in appalacia are all living in abject poverty.

The most important response to Adam's work comes from his subjects.  They all enjoy making photographs with Shelby.  They look forward to him returning each summer to make more pictures with them.  Some families have worked with him for over 30 years.  He shows every subject the photos before anything is printed, to get their approval.  After the work is published he comes back to give them a copy for themselves.  A ritual the familees and the photographer seem to relish.

After watching the documentary, I made sure to tell my mom to check it out.  She's my only living family who would remember our time in Southern Ohio and Kentucky.  She responded to the work like I did, finding it amazing to see these photos of our heritage that we never knew existed.  Knowing the photos hang in galleries all over the world was astounding.  Because in our lives, the only representation of appalicia we saw in the media was "Deliverance" and "Hee Haw".  


After the documentary, we got the coffee table books of Shelby's work.  The books were added to my collection of photography books.  Including Diane Arbus, Sally Mann and Joel-Peter Witkin.  I was a photography major in college before I dropped out.  And in the year I caught the Adams film, I was also learning how to use a DSLR camera.  I was ready to come back to photography.

I started with portraits in natural light.  I loved working with subjects, "making" a picture together that we both liked.  

But I wanted to do more.  I had an idea for a project about about people living in East Cleveland, and I kept seeing Shelby Lee Adams' work in my head.  The way he lights subjects in their homes or front porches, using natural light along with studio lighting, I wondered how he did that.

One day I did a Google search on "How does Shelby Lee Adams light his subjects?"  Suddenly I found that he had a blog, with contact information and information about classes.  Within a few days I was registered at the International Center of Photography in NYC.  A 5 day class in "Environmental Portraiture".  The description of the class was exactly what I wanted to learn:  

This course explores the psychological, emotional, and technical aspects of portraiture, with special emphasis on photographing people in their environment. Students learn how to develop rapport with their subjects, establishing a collaboration that produces spontaneous, intimate, and inventive portraits. Photographing in Bryant Park and Central Park, students experiment with location studio lighting, natural light, and a combination of both. Evaluating lighting set-ups is an integral part of this course, with both traditional and histogram metering. Students develop film, print assignments, or print from digital files for critique.

We didn't have the money for me to spend 6 days in Manhattan, to afford airfare or a nice hotel, but my husband agreed that this was a once in a lifetime experience, to learn something so specific from someone who had become my favorite living photographer.  So the flight was booked and I prepared for the trip and class as best I could.





I arrived in NYC Sunday evening.  The hotel was 5 minutes from the school.  I unpacked and scoped out Midtown Manhattan.  I had my camera and took some street photos.  I located places to buy groceries, found a perfect diner and a breakfast spot with "egg on a bun" for $3.

Walking over to ICP for the first class, I couldn't believe it was happening.  That I was in NYC (a city I love) taking this class with Shelby Lee Adams.  It seemed too good to be true.

The first day of class everyone was asked to bring some of their work to show the class.  We had 10 people in the class (it was 11 but one student walked out after 10 minutes.  I guess she changed her mind...)  We all talked about started to get to know each other, and then Shelby started to explain his lighting technique.  He used examples of his own and, as well as Annie Leibovitz.  It was starting to make sense...

Day 2 we shoot photos in Bryant Park.  We had studio lights and teaching assistants to help.  There were models hired, because approaching strangers with a class of 10 with all that equipment would be difficult.  We split off into groups and spent the day at the park.  Each teaching assistant had a different approach.  When asked to pick a spot, I of course wanted to shoot by the carosel.  My male classmates were not impressed with such a girly spot, but we laughed about it and made do.

At one point I was lucky enough to get a quick lesson in using the rear synch flash from Shelby.  We got a shot of a red-headed little girl on the caroseul looking right at the camera as she wizzed by

Photo Shelby Lee Adams shoot of me, after I got the shot above.  95 degrees in Bryant Park.


The entire 5 day class was amazing.  It's been almost a year and I'm still using things I learned in NYC.  Not just the technical stuff, the lighting and exposure.  Every encounter, every portrait, I try and see my subject, and see myself in them.  I want to tell their story.  Whether it's a wedding or a head shot, there's someone there with a story.  You want to observe, create, and form a bond with your subject.  You aren't "taking" their picture, you are "making" a picture, together.



Shelby Lee Adams Blog: CLICK HERE 







(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Appalachia International Center for Photography Shelby Lee Adams Tue, 30 Jun 2015 19:14:41 GMT
the guy behind the girl behind the camera...

This guy.  My husband.  He's incredibly supported of all my crazy photography dreams.  He puts up with my crazy schedule, time spent at my little loft/studio downtown.  The weekends I'm away shooting weddings all over the state.

He's let me drag him around abandoned buildings in bad neighborhoods on weekend mornings, (when most people are thinking about where to go for brunch.)

He's also my editor.  A photo isn't done until I show it to him and get his critique.  He's a tough critic, so when he loves a photo I feel like I've hit a home run.  (Except that I hate sports and wish I had a better analogy.)

I could not be doing this without him.  

In fact, he is responsible for my getting back into photography.  3 years ago he bought me a little macro/fish eye/wide angle lens for my iPhone.  I suddenly remembered how much I loved photography.   3 years later, I now shoot on professional gear.  Going from a little iPhone lens to a full frame Nikon camera happened fast.

So really it's his fault!




(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Cleveland Photography cleveland wedding photography explorer photographer urban Sun, 21 Jun 2015 00:00:00 GMT
Cleveland Wedding Photographer- Why You Should Hire Me  

Top 10 reasons anyone getting married should consider hiring me to shoot your wedding:


10.  I am super laid back and if you're nervous I will try to make you laugh.  Giggling cures everything!


9.  I don't shoot photos based on trends.  Every wedding I shoot looks unique, because each couple is unique.  (Unless you want trendy photos.  I can make your images look vintage and shoot the entire wedding on a medium format film camera from 1970.)


8.  Posed portraits vs. candid shots:  I shoot both.  I make the posed portraits happen fast and I make it fun.  Because no one really enjoys posing.  (Unless you're 13 years old with an Instagram account and know what a "selfie" is.)  I try my best to capture candid moments, unexpected and lovely moments.  The unplanned gestures, a look on the father of the bride's face, etc... I believe beautiful candid shoots capture the essence of every wedding.


7.  I always carry swedish fish, gaffer tape, and a stain remover.  I am the McGuyver of wedding photographers.


6.  I love "offbeat brides".  Bring on the pink hair, the tattoos and the quirky!


5.  Professional editing:  I do all my own editing.  I think editing is part of the "art" of photography.  I spend as much time editing as I do shooting the wedding photos.  I like to give each wedding album a selection of classic colors, black & white, along with some vintage filters.  I don't "bulk edit" 100 photos at a time.  I lovingly remove blemishes, fix fly-away hair, and I can even Photoshop that ugly lamp out of your favorite shot.


4.  I know how to use my fancy camera equipment.  I didn't just run out and buy the nicest camera.  I've been shooting pics since elementary school.  I know how to shoot for every weird lighting situation, weird venue, or weird weather.  I've shot weddings in barns and in chapels.  I can shoot 9 frames in 1 second.  I know how to make "bokeh" magic.  I know the right angles for every face and body type.  


3.  I've been shooting weddings for 5 years and I only shoot a dozen a year.  How is this a good thing?  It's a good thing because I'm still excited for every wedding.  I am not "burned out" on weddings.  Every couple I meet, I love hearing their stories about how they met.  And at some point during the wedding I cry.  Because I love these people who have entrusted me with something very important.  And I am sentimental as hell.


2.  I work with couples on a budget.  Every wedding package is created to combine what people want with what they can afford.


1.  I believe that it is an honor to be asked to photograph such a special day in people's lives.  I take it very seriously.  I want to give every couple a set of photographs that they will love in 20 years, as much as they love them today.




(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) cleveland cleveland wedding photographer cleveland wedding photography photographer unique cleveland wedding photography Wed, 18 Feb 2015 22:11:34 GMT
sometimes we have fun.... I love taking family portraits and letting the kids have fun!  


(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) family portrait fun portraits jump Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:59:25 GMT
what "professional editing" means to me


Some photographers dread the editing work, especially after an all day shoot like a wedding.  But to me, there's an art to editing and I enjoy it almost as much as I like taking the photos.

I make sure and edit out background clutter.  In the pic below I removed a set of blinds and did some skin smoothing:





Here I did skin smoothing and teeth & eye whitening:


Here's another example of adding light and skin smoothing:

This was a photo with horrible lighting and fill-flash to get some light.  The subjects skin does not look like this in person.  It was the lighting that showed every pore and skin shine.  I did the usual skin smoothing and even added an eyebrow ring!




(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:09:13 GMT
Choose Your Own Adventure- Opening Reception & Closing Night Party

My first gallery show is fast approaching.  I've spent the last year printing my work on large canvases. as well as prints on metal and acrylic.


Opening Night Reception

Saturday, September 20th, 6:00- 10:00pm

Michael Stefan Salon

4082 Erie St., Willoughby, OH 44094


Closing Night Party

Saturday, November 29th, 5:00- 9:00pm

Michael Stefan Salon

4082 Erie St., Willoughby, OH 44094


There will be music, food & drinks, and lots of weird art!  Prices reduced on whatever is left!




(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) photography art exhibit unique cleveland photographer urban exploring Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:39:30 GMT
learning and growing...  



Last week I spent an afternoon at a local senior center, taking portraits.  I've done this in the past, to mixed results.  I try to be sensitive to people who might not like how much they've aged.  I try to soften the lighting and get basic shots, nothing too trendy.

Typically, people have been very happy with my work.  I'd say 95% of the portraits I've taken have been happy customers.  In the last 15 months I've taken over 200 portraits.  The 5% that haven't been happy with the results have been those taken at senior centers.

I had a shoot with a lovely couple, married 50 years.  The senior center is right by the lake and the lighting was perfect.  We took photos outside and had so much fun.  When I got home I was excited to see how nice the pics turned out.  I sent the couple a link to view the photos and waited to hear back

The response wasn't great.  They thought a few were ok, but didn't really like the pics.  I was pretty sad about it, and also, couldn't understand the reaction.  So I got on Facebook and asked my friends for input.  Asked "What am I doing wrong when photographing senior citizens?"

The responses were really interesting.  Some older folks talked about wanting conservative portraits, more like you'd get at a department store.  Some people talked about how hard it can be for elderly folks to see how much they've aged when they see photos.

I decided to write the couple back, and asked them if they would show the photos to their children, because I believed they would love the photos.  Especially the ones where the husband was being funny and hiding behind his wife's back.

I didn't hear back until the next day.  My phone rang and it was the lady asking if we could talk about the photos.  I was so nervous!

She started off by apologizing, which I wasn't expecting.  She said that her & her husband talked about the photos, they showed them to their niece (the photos are a surprise for their children, so the niece looked instead.)  They went back and looked at the photos again, and thought they were just beautiful.

She said, "I want to try and explain to you what we were expecting, as older people.  We thought we'd get a portrait standing in front of a backdrop indoors.  Like a Sears portrait.  We didn't understand your photos when we first looked.  We didn't know how to look at them.  We thought an outdoor photo couldn't be a portrait."

"Then we realized that we don't want a boring Sears portrait, and our kids don't want that either.  We want the photos you took, because they are so beautiful and you really captured something about us."

Of course at that point I burst into tears (the happy kind.)  I thanked her for being open minded and she thanked me for being patient.  I told her that this experience has allowed me to grow as a photographer and a human being.

I asked if I could post the photos on my website, and she was of course.  So here you go....









(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:09:03 GMT
Trip to NYC, the class I am taking, and all the info... This Sunday I leave for NYC.  I will be taking a 5 day class at the International Center of Photography.  The class is "Environmental Photography".  Here's the description:

"This course explores the psychological, emotional, and technical aspects of portraiture, with special emphasis on photographing people in their environment. Students learn how to develop rapport with their subjects, establishing a collaboration that produces spontaneous, intimate, and inventive portraits."

This is, quite literally, a dream class for me.  Because I love taking portraits more than anything else.  And it's being taught by one of my all-time favorite photographers, Shelby Lee Adams.  You can view his work here.

So I will be posting pics and trying to blog about it every night I'm there.  Unless I'm out having fun, snapping pics, exploring...




(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Fri, 01 Aug 2014 18:58:50 GMT
where i will be in august...

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Thu, 29 May 2014 23:24:18 GMT

I received an email last week, asking if I would consider mentoring a 13 year old girl for her junior high project.  She wants to be a photographer, and the assignment was to spend 10 hours with a "mentor".  Of course I said yes!

Claire came downtown to spend the afternoon with me at work.  My day job is software testing.  And an important lesson about being a professional photographer is that sometimes you need to have a day job.

I was able to bring Claire along to a paid photo shoot (a really fun 40th bday party at a great venue.)  I gave her my spare camera to take pics and she got some good shots!

I have so much fun with this kid!  She's smart & funny, and she's a camera nerd.  She's also got a great eye and I hope to feature some of her work on this website as she learns to edit her photos.

My final "lesson" was to show her that to be a good portrait photographer, you need to learn to be comfortable being photographed.

So I have these pink feather angel wings that I've been wanting to use in a photo shoot.  They are a little small, so they look funny on an adult.  I was asking some friends who are short/thin to pose, but then I met Claire, and those wings were meant for her!


Click here to see more Claire pics!

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) cleveland eclectic mentoring photographer portraits unique Thu, 22 May 2014 17:37:34 GMT
the best moments...  

"the doot"

This photo is one of my favorites.  I didn't know what the gesture meant, the bride and her mother toughing fingertips.  But I knew it was something special.  Just look at the mom's face!

It turns out it's a family tradition of touching fingertips and they call it the "doot".  When pics were posted online everyone in the family loved this pic the best.

I like real smiles.  Imperfect.  Silly.  Real.


This article from photographer Anne Almasy explains why I love shooting weddings.  And what's important about weddings.  I couldn't say it better, so I'll just put her words here:

I love a good party. I love a bride in the most elaborate, fancy, princess-y dress you've ever dreamed of. I love custom chuppahs and embroidered aisle runners and matchy-matchy bridesmaids dresses. I love to photograph flowers and shoes.

But you know why I REALLY do what I do? To photograph your parents, who will hold hands and cry on the first row of the chapel. To photograph your sister dancing with that boy she will marry in three years. To photograph those kids who will grow up so, so quickly. To photograph your grandfather, who will pass away next spring. To photograph your first kiss as a married couple, your best friend busting out her signature dance moves, the flower girl asleep under a table, and maybe even your ex looking pretty wistful as he hugs you a little too long in the receiving line.

You already know: your cake will disappear in less than an hour, your flowers will wilt before the ceremony ends, and that uncomfortable tux will go back to the rental place in the morning. But those photos... they're gonna be there forever.

You'll have them when your own kids are born, when you have the biggest fight ever with your partner and need to be reminded of how much you really love each other, when your parents pass away and you realize the last time you danced with them was at your wedding...

So, nothing against the wedding magazines and blogs and their endless, passionate quest for "perfect" detail shots. PLEASE: throw the party of your lives with every. single. detail. EXACTLY as you dreamed it would be.

But my job -- MY job -- is to see past all that. My job is to give you photos that will remind you why you had that damn expensive party in the first place.

If you're planning your wedding right now, please just close the magazine. Log out of Pinterest. And look at the person you want to grow old with. Remind yourself of why you're doing this. And really CELEBRATE when that day comes. Don't stress about your shoes or your cake or your flowers. Don't stress about anything.

When it's all over, you will be married, and surrounded by the people who know you and love you most in the whole wide world. I promise: that is the Perfect Wedding.

(JEN HEARN PHOTOGRAPHY) Thu, 15 May 2014 18:25:42 GMT