Capturing the right moment: what it's like to be a portrait photographer

Photographer Jane Jordan loves helping families to capture special moments that can be treasured forever.

Pets are always welcome at her Stourbridge studio where she offers a range of different shoots to create memorable images.

Along with portraits of families and their four-legged friends, she also offers pregnancy, newborn and wedding photography and professional headshots.

It means that no two days are ever the same and that’s what makes it exciting for mother-of-two Jane.

“I can start the day with a family photo shoot. Then the next person who comes in to the studio might be a dancer and I will take some action shoots.

“Then someone might bring their dog in for a pet portrait. I could have a newborn shoot next and then a graduate might come in for some celebration photos.

“On a Saturday I might do five or six shoots and they can all be that different,” she tells Weekend.

Her passion for photography started from a young age and she started her career in the industry as a press photographer in the late 1990s.

“While I was at university in Plymouth doing a photography HND, I started to do some work experience at the Sunday Mercury. From there I did freelance work for Midland Weekly Media and then got a full-time job at the Coventry Evening Telegraph,” explains Jane, who lives in Norton, Stourbridge

After spells working at the Express & Star and Birmingham Post and Mail, she decided it was time to branch out on her own.

“I knew I wanted to work for myself. I started taking bookings for weddings and I when I felt I had enough, I started my business mainly working from home and then opened the studio in 2010.

“It was a big gamble opening a studio and I feel very lucky to still be here 10 years later,” she explains.

For Jane one of the best aspects of being a portrait photographer is having the opportunity to see families grow and change in front of the lens as well as being there for all of the important milestones along the way.

“I can meet a couple when I do their wedding, then they will come into the studio with the baby and come back for a family portrait. I really get to know my customers. I enjoy watching the children grow and working with the pets. Working with people is a nice part of the job because I get to see all their special moments in their life like their wedding, new baby or new puppy,” she explains.

As a dog owner, Jane understands that pets are an important part of the family. She always ensures they are invited along to a shoot and has photographed dogs, puppies, rabbits, cats and kittens in the studio.

“When I started to do more pet portraits, families would come in and say ‘we wish we had brought our dog’ when they saw the photographs so now we tell people to bring their dogs along,” says Jane.

She enjoys taking relaxed and natural looking photographs and prefers to let children and animals do what they want to do as she gets ready with her camera to capture what happens.

“You have to have fun. It’s not about trying to get them to sit still and pose, you have to let them have fun and capture it. You get the best out of them that way,” Jane tells Weekend.

Making people feel at ease in front of the camera is important if she’s going to take photographs that her customers will love.

“I like very natural photographs. I try to create an image that tells you who they are and what their personality is like. I like to make sure people are really relaxed in front of the camera so I get natural looking images,” explains Jane.

Her photographs have also won praise from the Master Photographers Association with her photo of a cute Labrador puppy recently a highly commended award in one of its competitions.

“I’ve also won a gold award before for one of my pet portraits. It’s a great organisation for photographers and it’s been really exciting to receive recognition. I’m always trying to improve,” says Jane.

She has made the most of extra time during lockdown, in which her studio has been closed, to keep her shooting skills sharp by taking photos of her own children.

“I’ve tried to use the time in lockdown to do personal projects and it’s been a way of keeping shooting. I took my children who are seven and 12 into the studio,” Jane tells Weekend.

Now she’s looking forward to welcoming back her customers to her studio in Hagley Road once Covid restrictions are lifted.

“I can’t wait to get back and start shooting again. I’ve got a lot of customers that are looking forward to shoots. It’s going to be busy but I enjoy being busy. I really miss seeing all the newborns, pets and families,” says Jane.

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