The Power of Finding Your Niche

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© Jenna Rollings

© Jenna Rollings

Photo Life is proud to partner with Seneca students to document their journey through the school curriculum. This week Jenna Rollings shares about photographing newborns.

Class: Wedding and Event
Assignment: Portrait Session
Student: Jenna Rollings
Professor: Marc Crabtree
Assignment guidelines: Photograph a maternity, newborn or family portrait.

While in my second semester of the IDP program at Seneca, I was instructed to photograph either a maternity, newborn or family portrait session for my Wedding and Event Photography class. I had a (then) 3-month-old niece, so I convinced—not that it took much convincing—my brother and sister-in-law to offer up their daughter as my model.

This assignment helped me develop very specific goals for my career within the industries of both photography and digital imaging. I’ve always had, and never waivered, from the goal of being a portrait photographer. However, that is a very broad goal, which doesn’t offer much direction for career planning. After I photographed my niece and the photographs got posted on social media sites, I began getting requests from my brother’s friends to hire me to photograph family portraits, newborn portraits and even a maternity portrait. Not long after the images of my niece made their rounds through my brother’s friends’ timelines, I had three jobs booked. One of these jobs included another newborn session. While photographing the session, it hit me that I was completely in my element. Shot after shot was coming out exactly as I wanted it to, with the mother of the infant standing close by, swooning as I posed her newborn son for another shot.

I am certain that my future will involve newborn portraiture and knowing that, I was able to create a branding plan with much more ease. It has given me direction and focus. The assignment also helped me confirm that I want to incorporate a digital-imaging job into my career. We were asked to retouch and do a full edit on the image that we thought was the best from the shoot. I enjoyed the editing process just as much as I enjoyed capturing the image. I used many layers, all on different blending modes, to create a very vibrant, dreamlike appearance to the image. I was excited by my ability to turn a great image into a true piece of art.

Thanks to this assignment, I now know that my future work will be that of a newborn photographer who also creates fine-art images that inspire people to dream.

The Seneca @ York Independent Digital Photography Program is a two-year diploma course that prepares students for a freelance career and provides them with the necessary skill set to work in a multidisciplinary studio.

© Jenna Rollings

© Jenna Rollings

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