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Women and Business: Jessica Kettle

Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 07:53AM by Registered CommenterDavina in | Comments18 Comments

***All images in this post are copyright Jessica Kettle.***


NEXT WEEK: Eliesa of Photogen Inc.


{To nominate women you'd like to see in this series please list them in the comments-or if you have a question you'd like to see in the interviews--make sure to include your info in the comment fields so that I can get in touch with you- or write to me at: davina at davinafear dot com }

As always make sure to leave comments for the women who are featured. They like comments as much as I do I'm sure...let them know if you have questions or just to say thanks! for their insight and wisdom...

You can check out the rest of the series by clicking here. Tell a friend!


Jessica, You are a fantastic photographer.  You've grown and great deal and you are an excellent business woman.  You are very laid back and you're letting that roll over into being pregant and managing that with your business.  You have a wonderful attitude and an easy way with people which really comes through in your images.  I'm so excited to have you.  Thanks for being on Women and Business!


You just found out you're pregnant (yay!  Congratulations!), what are you doing to prepare for your baby?  What plans do you have for the future of your business?


Honestly, I really didn’t know how pregnancy and a new baby would effect my business and I was reeeeeally sick throughout my whole first pregnancy, so it was a little scary going into it again the second time! Luckily I haven’t been nearly as sick this time though. =) Anyway, I decided right away that to lighten my workload and stress level, I would only be shooting weddings during pregnancy and take a break from portraits. Most people would probably do the opposite, but I really enjoy weddings and it’s much easier for me to take on a few weddings a month than deal with 10 sets of parents (and all the scheduling, orders, e-mails etc.). It feels a lot like having a couple of big school projects vs. lots of homework assignments for some reason. Much more manageable.


After the baby is born, I am just going to have to play it by ear! I have never been the mother of two before and I wasn’t in business when Max was a new baby. I think sometimes its better just to let nature take its course than to try to control everything before you understand the situation.



What does your workflow look like?  Do you outsource or keep everything in



I shoot raw and do all my proofing for clients in camera raw before I put them up in online galleries. Then I only fully retouch images that go on my blog or that the clients order. This saves so much time and allows me to show my clients so many more images as opposed to fully editing and showing a small number of images. I definitely think it has increased my print sales as well.


What do you do to help your clients be so comfortable with you during a photo shoot?



In general, I am a much laid back person. I feel like I can pretty much be friends and hang out with anyone and find something to talk about and relate to. I make a big effort to get to know my clients first during a bridal consultation, and then just pick up where we left off at our shoot! Also, I am not afraid to tell someone they look silly or uncomfortable. I usually make a joke about a fake smile or something, and inevitably, they laugh with me, relax, and settle into a natural look. Then they also know they can trust me to make them look good and that I will let them know when we need to change something.


What do you recommend women do who are just getting started in the industry?


Spend more time learning how to use your camera and less time obsessing over Photoshop or trying to recreate the looks of the people you admire. I know I was that way at first and it seems to be a common trend among people who are getting started. Do what YOU think is beautiful and unique, not what is already popular in your community. Someone else is already known for that look and has created a niche for themselves, and chances are, you are never going to be better at being that person than they are.


What do you do for fun...that has nothing to do with photography?


I love love love to travel. I love just hanging out with my family. I was also a pretty hard core gymnast in my former (pre photography) life, so I love keeping up on that world when I have time.


What are you most proud of as a business woman?


I think I am just proud that I HAVE a business! I really never thought I would be a “working mom” at all, and business is soooo not second nature for me. I have always been a creative person, so the idea that I can have a creative outlet and actually make a living working part time doing something that I love is SUCH a thrill for me!


What do you do to keep your marriage fun? 


We try to go on dates at least once a week and take little trips with friends or just the two of us. We get so caught up in running businesses and raising a child that it’s so nice to just be alone together!


What are the top three things you did when you were first getting started in business to bring in clients?


Blogging, blogging, more blogging. And honestly, that is STILL where a lot of my business comes from aside from referrals! Mommy blogging is really big in my market so I have a personal blog and a photo blog - both have brought me a lot of business. It was a great way to reach my target market- young hip moms (I only shot kids and families at first). Plus, many of my clients followed my blogs already, so they feel like they knew me and that we were friends on some level before we even had a session. I also think having a personal connection increased my referrals quite a bit. And really, all it takes is ONE awesome client (you know, the family that is stylish and knows everyone!) to really make your business take off!


How do you keep your marriage safe from the stresses of your business?


My husband owns a real estate office, so BOTH of us owning our own business can DEFINITELY be stressful! We really involve each other in our businesses so that we can collaborate when possible, which is so fun. I love that my husband knows what’s happening in my business and helps me make decisions, or strategize marketing, or analyze what camera to buy next, and I do the same for him!


What is the best thing you've done to make your business successful?


I mentioned this before, but blogging has really been huge for me. But I think it’s more than just sharing images from sessions. My blog is pretty personal and I really try to let my readers in to my life and my business. I also try to give back by doing q and a’s and helping people as much as I can. I have gotten such a great response from that and I feel like it allows me to develop rapport with clients and fellow photographers. It’s just as important to market yourself as a person as it is to market your photographs. Having a connection with your clients brings in more business, allows greater emotion in your photographs, and ultimately increases client loyalty and referrals. Jasmine star is an amazing example of this, and Dane Sanders has a whole book on the topic basically.


You are a mom, how old is your little boy?  What do you do to help him feel part of your business life?  

Max is 3, and basically he just knows that I take way too many pictures of him!


What do you do to keep from feeling overwhelmed?


I am still a long way from finding the perfect balance, but sticking to a schedule, having a to do list and not working too much at night help a lot! I also decided that I can not do EVERYTHING and do it well. I don’t do much outsourcing in my business, so I outsourced CLEANING. It takes me all day to deep clean my house, so we decided to hire someone to do bathrooms, mop, vacuum, and dust etc. twice a month. I would rather work doing something I love so that I can pay someone to do the things I hate! 


What is something that you think women in the industry should not do?

Be sneaky, competitive and secretive! There is plenty of business out there for everyone; I wish we could all realize that we each offer something unique and that there is no need to get snarky.


What is something that you think women in the industry should do?


Value yourself as an artist, value your time and don’t be afraid to expect to be compensated for it. Treat your business like a BUSINESS. You can be or do whatever you choose, but you can’t do everything. If you really want to have a business, there are sacrifices. You can’t expect yourself to shoot, edit, place orders, care for your children, keep up the house, cook balanced meals, and do everything else in life perfectly without some help. We need to make priorities and stick to them, and allow ourselves to be content with the outcome.


To see more of Jessica's work:



***All images in this post are copyright Jessica Kettle.***

Reader Comments (18)

i love jessica's photography! her Q&A's have been so helpful for me too. thanks!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkristin brown

I've been a huge fan of Jessica's work since the first day I stumbled on her blog. Great to learn more about her!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeanette LeBlanc

Thanks for sharing more about Jess :) She is a fab photographer! <3

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Feely

Jessica is so talented and has such an eye for all things beautiful and unique. She did my wedding and the first picture is of my husband and I. She's great, really great. Congrats on your pregnancy!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

i've been a long time fan. her work is beautiful and what a great interview! oh, and a HUGE CONGRATS to jessica on being preggers! thanks for your interviews davina...absolutely love them.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJean Smith

I think Jessica has amazing work, and very creative, yet natural compositions. Davina, thank you for sharing all of these wonderful women as inspiration!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine Guidry

I love Jessica! Thanks for highlighting such a stand out woman. Jessica has such great advice. I'm so glad she has so much talent so the world can get to know her better. Great questions for her. Yay for baby #2! Congrats to you Jessica.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTerese Plant

I've never seen images as clean and fresh as Jessica's! I'm beyond stoked that she's able to make it to California for our "big day." And how great she's pregnant!! Congrats! Talking with Jessica over the phone proved to me how mellow and down to earth she really is.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke Ward

love her!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermarissa moss

That's so great! I've never met Jessica yet, but it's true that by reading her blog, I feel like I know who she is! She's awesome and her work is very beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Liddle

gorgeous work!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

I've been following Jessica's work for quite some time and it's been fun watching her buisness flourish. She's got an incredible talent! Congrats Jessica on being preggers...super exciting! What a great interview Davina...I've never been to your site before...it's fantastic and you can definitely count on me being back!

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer Urbin

Yay! Jessica is going to shoot my wedding and I'm so excited! I love reading these Q&A's because they have such great advice because someday, I will have my own photography business as well.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjalene

Oh Jessica you are AMAZING...I've always told you that you ROCK! Love to see you here....you SOOOOOOO deserve it girlie!!!!!!

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOakstream Photography

Dear Jess- your work is amazing, your pictures are beautiful, and face it, people just like to hang out with you... you are a cool chick, but a cooler friend. Congrats my friend. It's MUCH deserved.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterallyson

Yeah jessica!! Love ya!

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Parker

Thanks for doing this interview! Jessica it is so refreshing to come across photographers that give back and are so friendly! I got to cross paths with you at WPPI and you are just as wonderful in person as on your blog!

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMicksha

jessica kettle = cuteness. i hope there's a chance to meet in the future so i might gush a little over her :)

warmly, -melanie-

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelanie mauer

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