Jessica Risinger Photography...an incredible family session and an intimate interview

What do you get when you pair gorgeous Anne Hathaway looks with a professional camera?
Jessica Risinger, of course. Jessica Risinger's Blog bio picture
If you are in the Memphis area, please run to your phone or computer (well, you might actually be at either of those places if you are reading this, lol) and look this lady up. You can find her website here, her blog here, and her FB page here. She is incredible. She is the kind of person that you just feel cooler and calmer standing next to . She is truly lovely, inside and out, a woman of God, and incredibly talented at capturing life and family moments with that little black box of hers. :)

Recently, the Knight and I wanted an updated snapshot of our family for Christmas cards.  Some people might think it is a little ridiculous to put so much effort into such a small thing (a card), but for us, it is our "once a year" way to share a sweet sentiment with our friends and family, near and far.  Holiday cards mean a lot to me, and I treasure every one we get (I often find myself saving them until a couple of years later and then painfully throwing them away...I should invent something cool to do with all those old cards).  I also treasure each person or family that we send one too, often saying a little prayer for the receipient(s) and tucking little momentos inside.  It is a special time for me each year as I sit down to prepare them for mailing.

Anyway, we go to church with Jessica and her sweet family.  She has captured treasured memories of our family in the past at Caroline's baby dedication and other events, and I really appreciate her photography "style"... I would define it as natural, but still very pretty and dedicated to capturing the details.  I thought she would be perfect to hire for our Christmas card photo (and it didn't hurt that she was running an awesome special, to boot!).

She met us twice (the first time the lighting and the wind just weren't cooperating) and both times, she got our girls to laugh, grin, and bring out their little personalities.  She helped minimize my mommy gut and chin (what? you know that IS important!), and captured the Knight's eye crinkles when he smiles (my favorite).

In short, we are thrilled.  I would like to wallpaper my home with her work.  Would you like to see a sample or two?

Sick of us?  Well, then look at all these other pretties, then. :)


 Jessica was sweet enough to agree to a little nosy Q and A session by yours truly.  Read on for her delightful interview...

1) Tell me a little bit about Jessica Risinger Photography?  JRP formed out of a love I have always had for taking photos. It has turned into something I am truly grateful for...the chance to photograph people in ways that really shows off their personalities, what they enjoy, and who they love. I chose "All about who you are on the inside, where it really matters" as my sort of tag line, because it's really what I'm going for. In my photography I'm digging a little deeper than what you get at face value. I'm looking for the heart and soul that lies beneath those beautiful smiles.

2) Where is home?  Home is where the heart is. Ha, isn't that such a canned answer? But I think it might be true. I think if you choose so, you can be happy wherever you are, even if it's not "home." I still consider New Jersey to be my home, but have adopted the Memphis, TN area to be my home over the last 11 years. 

3) If you could live anywhere in this fantastic planet, where would you build your awesome dream home?  Oh my, what a huge question. I wish I had one answer. I love so many places across this globe, but I think as much as I love so many different landscapes, my heart is always drawn to the ocean, any ocean.

4) Did you go to school to study photography?   I went to school to study Business Management. During this time I fell even harder for photography while studying in Europe and ended up taking several photography courses when I got back. If you love photography and have ever had the chance to stand in a darkroom among equipment you have to literally feel your way around, to magically watch your photograph appear on a piece of paper, you know why I love this art form so much. Now in the digital age, I still find that "magic" when I get my photos up on my screen and see what I've captured.

5) How long have you been a photographer?   My very first job was about 12 years ago--a wedding of all things. (Wow, she really trusted me with capturing such a huge day when I had never done it before.) But I started pursuing it more aggressively in 2006.

6) What is your favorite part of being a photographer?  My favorite part about being a photographer is creating a piece of art, and at the same time an heirloom. Someday, families will look back at my photos and know a little bit more about their family history because of the people they see shining through in the photographs they have.

7) How would you describe your style?  My style is natural and relaxed, and shows off the character of my subjects. I love working with each individual client and coming up with ways to make their photo shoot unique to them. It may be an old family quilt, or a collection of bright and funky shoes, but whatever those special items are that really make a photo "pop", it's going to be natural to my client. I don't try to create photos just for the sake of a "neat idea." I want every object we incorporate to mean something to my clients.

8) What tricks do you have up your sleeve to make babies and children smile?  Tricks to make babies and children smile? Ha...I bribe them with candy of course :) Ok, not really, not every time at least. It depends on the age. One interesting thing about being a photographer is you have to figure out what works for each of your clients. Everybody's "smile button" is different. It could be a simple fake sneeze for a 6 month old, or asking a 6-year-old boy to imagine daddy dancing around in little sister's pink tutu.

9) What kind of camera do you use?  I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with my clients. And on a daily basis with my family when I just can't put the photographer side of me away and HAVE to capture every second of my kids' lives, I use my iphone camera. I know they are so sick of it :)

10) Any tips for families planning their next photo shoot?  Tips? Yes! Be flexible, stay calm, and smile on. We can't control everything, so just go with the flow. Everyone will have more fun that way.

11) Any tips for budding photographers?  Budding photographers... Don't compare yourself to others (hmmm, a simple life lesson for us all.) But really, develop your style based on things you love. Don't go after the latest fad in photography because everyone else likes it. Do it because you like it. Your photos will be more meaningful that way.

12) Who would play you in a film?  I can't even tell you how many times over the last 10 years people have told me I look like Ann Hathaway. (Actually, she looks like me.) So I suppose if you're looking for a stunt double, it would be her

13) First thing you would do if you won the lottery?  Oh dear, if I won the lottery, I would have so much fun in the freedom of being able to give money to so many people that could really use it. None of what I have is mine anyway. Everything is a gift from God. And with a couple hundred of those dollars, I would really like to get the antique claw foot tub out of my back yard, refinished, and put into my bathroom

14) Five words your friends would use to describe you?  Ahh, what would my friends say? Maybe we should ask them. I have heard some of them say on many occasions that I am so calm, that things don't get me anxious or uptight. I'll have to take a poll and get back to you on the other 4 things

15) Something you have not achieved yet, but hope too. I'm about to put myself to the test with this one. My bucket list consists of running a Marathon. And depending on when this blog post appears, I may or may not have accomplished this goal. But for now, I am excited about putting something out there that takes hard work and dedication, and seeing each goal met even when it is hard.

16) What would you like to be doing 5 years from now? My dream is to someday have a cute little studio and work with friends and clients who value relationships, family, and community as much as I do. To continue to do what I love--take care of my family, and create photos for people that help them remember what's important in life. I don't know if that will be in 5 years, or 50, but either way, I think my current job titles of mommy and photographer are exactly the titles I want.


17) If someone said, "how can I be the next Jessica Risinger?" what would you tell them?  If someone wants to "be the next Jessica Risinger", they have a problem. It comes with a sink full of dirty dishes, All.The.Time! And it means cleaning up spots off the floor from the dog, and washing countless action figure undies because potty training lasts longer than it should. If however, someone wanted to follow their dream of pursuing something they love, they should figure out why they love it, and if they can find a way to do it that can somehow help others.

See!?! I told you she was amazing! I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed preparing.  Many thanks to Jessica for her patience with me and my family (we are kind of crazy!) and for sharing such heartfelt, thoughtful responses.  I hope you will consider her for your next family photo session, especially if you are in the Memphis area.
treasured momentos and moments in time,
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Linda Krinks said...

Thank you so much for providing a forum to show the beauty INSIDE our beautiful daughter!!!

Artsy Fartsy said...

You are welcome! She is such a wonderful friend and inspiration. Good job, mama! :)

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