When we first started I Heart Faces, we never dreamed that it would end up impacting so many people’s lives. We originally started this blog as a fun way to share photos and meet other women who enjoyed our love of photography… never dreaming of future photographers it might inspire.
You might not know this, but we get some fantastic emails from so many of you. For those of you who write to us, we really appreciate hearing your stories and the impact our little website has had on you! One email we got from, Jenna Henderson, was so moving that we had to share her story.
We can’t share her very personal email, but we can tell you the gist of it…
She lost her job, always had a dreams of being a photographer, found I Heart Faces and with the help of the IHF Community and website, her photography career took off! Best of all, now she works for Disney!!
The I Heart Faces Photography Conference theme has always been to “Dream Big”! We are very proud of Jenna and how she did just that!!
Whether you are starting out with a new camera, or a seasoned photographer, we think Jenna’s story will be a huge encouragement to you! We’re so happy that she is a part of the I Heart Faces Community! ~ Amy & Angie
When and how did you find out about I Heart Faces?
In 2010, two important things happened in my life. My son was born, and all of the first and second year teachers in my school district were let go, including myself. When I think back to that time, I remember how unsettling it was. Now I realize that being let go from my teaching job was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It burst the doors to my future wide open.
I’ve always loved photography. I took a photograph of a friend in front of Splash Mountain on a band field trip in junior high, and I stared at that photo forever. The sun was setting and the light was beautiful. It was the prettiest photo I had ever taken and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was about that photo that made me love it so much. After that, I worked hard to save up $500 so I could buy my first film camera.
Much later in life, I worked at a wedding photography studio while I worked towards my degree in Visual Anthropology and Digital Media. I had wanted to take photos of other cultural events for anthropologists, until my husband came along and changed my plans in a good way. I started teaching instead, and took photos for the school yearbook.
After I was let go, I decided to start a blog, thislittleblog.com, and document life with my baby boy. Through another mom blog, I found a photography contest entry for I Heart Faces. I was so excited when I found it, and decided to enter my first I Heart Faces challenge.
The funny thing is, I remember for the I Heart Faces contest that they narrowed down the photos to the top 100. While I didn’t think I would win, I was very confident that my photo would at least be a top 100 photo. When I didn’t even make the top 100, I was shocked! Instead of being upset about it, I saw it as a challenge and started pouring over the photos on I Heart Faces that made the top 100, so I could find differences and make comparisons with my work.I wanted to learn what I could do to improve, and I Heart Faces provided all the tools for me to do that.
I researched on I Heart Faces as much as I could, and eventually did get top ten for a photo challenge. I was simply ecstatic when it finally happened! I felt like all my research was helping me improve. My photos started getting noticed on my social media sites by friends, and it wasn’t long before I photographed an engagement shoot.
What are some favorite I Heart Faces Photo Challenges?
My favorite challenge was Raise Your Hands. The photo perfectly captures my son’s enthusiasm for life, and I’m so glad to have that moment to remember for always. He is full of energy and always happy, and I feel like this photo is a glimpse into his soul.
Another favorite challenge was the Hearts Challenge. By this time, I had started doing engagement and wedding photography.
Rosie (the bride to be) had contacted me and explained that she was getting married and needed engagement photos, but that she had a special situation and couldn’t move her arms above her waist without a lot of effort. I wanted to take photos that looked natural and romantic, and learned how much movies were a part of their life. I called a local theater and they allowed us to take photos there, and the result was this photo.
How has I Heart Faces helped you?
Photography was always one of those things in my mind where I’d think…wouldn’t it be cool if I could make it work?
It wasn’t until I found I Heart Faces that I discovered how to make that dream a reality. I Heart Faces gave me all the information I needed to empower me and help me create the business that I’d always wanted to create.
Even now, I consider it my most valuable resource. I am always searching for answers through the forums and reading tutorials to learn new things or find answers to questions.
Did you meet others through I Heart Faces and how did they help you?
While I haven’t personally met anyone through I Heart Faces, the community has helped me immensely. It’s their advice, suggestions, tutorials, and stories that have helped me become a stronger photographer.
What are you doing now?
Now I run my own Wedding Photography Business, and am fortunate enough to be a preferred vendor for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons. I also work as an outside contractor for their sales and marketing team, photographing special events and conferences.
Disney has always had a very special place in my heart, so it’s amazing to be able to photograph weddings and events there. I’ve always felt that Disneyland is a place that proves dreams are possible, and I can’t think of a better place to live out your dreams!
Every once in a while, I’ll be walking through the castle before the park opens, or photographing a group on Radiator Springs Racers while we’re speeding along the race track, and I’ll think that this can’t really be my life. Not a second goes by that I don’t feel grateful to be able to do what I do, and to the team and community at I Heart Faces for helping me get there.
Thanks for sharing your story Jenna!
If you love to visit Disney, check her tutorial she wrote for us at I Heart Faces… 8 Tips for Taking Memorable Disney Theme Park Photos.
Connect with Jenna here:
Do YOU have a great story about how I Heart Faces has helped you?