Business Name: Jana Contreras Photography
Name: Jana Contreras
Location: Santa Rosa
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I started my business two and a half years ago with the dream of becoming a travel senior and couples photographer. To be honest photography was not always my dream since I was a little girl. I wanted to be a teacher and was actually a teacher for a couple years until I was diagnosed with a rare heart disorder called Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. To be honest with you this was not a huge surprise as I have had 3 major surgeries before I was even 21 and had been diagnosed with many other chronic illness previous to this one.However, the other chronic illnesses were easier to manage and this one left me bedridden for quiet some time. While I was sick I was forced to quit my job and focus on my health. During that time spent in bed I began researching all this photography. I took every creative live class I could and learned as much as I could for when I would be able to use a camera someday. Then three years ago I bought my first camera a Mark 5d 1 and put it to practice about every day for 3 months shooting every couple, senior and family that would let me. After a couple months of shooting I soon realized that photography was my main passion in life even more so than teaching ever was. As soon as I recieved treatement I was able to walk, travel and resume normal activities again I started my business. I also decided to go back to college to get a degree in Business. Now three years later I graduated from college, have a thriving photography business and just got back from traveling to Iceland.
I have an adventurous soul. I am passionate about exploring new places and capturing breathtaking images that display raw emotion. I am in love with avocados, in n out fries with extra sauce and peanut butter frozen yogurt. In my free time you can find me attempting to climb a mountain, planning my next trip or taking an amazing long nap.
What is in your gear bag?
I use a Mark 5d 4 and as a back up a Mark 5d 3
Lens: 24 to 70 L series 2.8 lens and a 50 art sigma 1.4 lens
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from places in nature. The quietness in nature helps me think and thats when the creative juices start to flow. I also find most of my pose ideas from magazines like Free People and Brandy Melville. I actually keep a posing vision board to help keep things fresh with each senior.
What is one obstacle you had when you first started your business? What did you do to overcome it?
My biggest obstacle I had to overcome in my business was my health. Even though I was doing better than most people with my disorder I still had a couple of bad days a month that kept me in bed. I had to figure out how to juggle keeping healthy and running a business at the same time and let me tell you it was not easy at all. This is something that will always be ongoing for me so I am not sure I have officially overcome it. However, I did find that time management is my best friend. I have 15 different doctors that I have to see on a regular basis so I had to manage my time wisely. I decided every day on my day off on Mondays would be spent going from doctors office to doctors office. I also made sure to exercise 4 times a week with my husband as well as take my meds every morning. That being said I take time to rest in the middle of each day so that for my sessions I am able to be fully present and in the best health with my clients.
Please share one tip that you found to be successful to share with other photographers.
Always persevere. It seems simple yet it is so hard to actually do. Let’s be honest owning a business is amazing but it also can be very hard sometimes. So my best advice to give to other photographers would be to not get discouraged and to always persevere no matter what.
One tip that I can give you early on is to always go above and beyond for clients. I consider my seniors not just clients but people I want to invest my time in. I go to their basketball games, dance shows and even take them out for coffee just to see how they are doing. I truly love each and every one of my seniors and want to be there for them long after their session is done. A lot of my seniors say they come to me because of how intentional I am with my clients. So my best advice to you is to always be intentional with your clients and go above and beyond.