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Meet Jennifer Regnier of Jennifer Regnier Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Regnier.

Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey to San Diego and how I got started in photography is the definition of serendipity. And it spans quite a big swath of North America. I was born and raised in Canada, growing up in Alberta and slowly making my way west to Vancouver, which I think of as the San Diego of Canada. Every year over the holidays, I would escape the rain (you heard that right, it’s not frigid everywhere in Canada!) and head to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to meet up with a motley crew of friends I had amassed over the years.

On one of those particular trips, I fell in love, and not just with a margarita and a street taco. Although there were definitely many of those involved. Our crew was out on the town one evening when a handsome American gentleman sat down next to me. We started chatting that night and haven’t stopped since. And that was eight years ago! Once our immigration was sorted out, I moved to Chicago to be with him. At the time, I was working in corporate sales and was able to transfer to the same company in the US.

After a year there, I was recruited to a much larger global company. I was so excited, I felt like everything was falling into place. I had a company car, a six-figure income, an expense account and even company-sponsored vacations. I felt like I had it all. Or at least, it seemed like I did, but that was definitely not the case. I had climbed to the top of our sales team within a year, but it came at a cost. I started having anxiety attacks.

And then I started having them every day. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and even ended up on high blood pressure meds. For someone who had always made health a priority, things were not looking good for me. The stress was truly killing me. I knew it wasn’t my marriage, and I knew it wasn’t the move to a new country. It was the wrong career. It was really a moment of personal reckoning, a Jerry Maguire-esque crisis of conscious.

Was I willing to trade the money, the stuff, the tangible possessions? Was I brave enough to leave it behind in search of my passion? Was I strong enough to take the risk to search for a brand new career that I hadn’t even identified yet? I finally made that decision, and at the time I don’t even think I had a choice. I realized that my health, my happiness, and my family’s happiness were so much more important. And I haven’t looked back since.

After a surprisingly short soul search, it became immensely clear that photography was my one and only choice. I’ve always loved and admired the craft, but I didn’t know if I had any talent for it. To find this out, I took a photography and photoshop class at Richard Stromberg’s in Chicago. I ended up meeting some amazing mentors there, and thankfully it turned out that I actually did have a talent for it. Phew!

After that first taste, I jumped so far into photography and photoshop land that I don’t think I came up for air once during the entire year that followed. I was the thing in the attic… my husband would just slide my dinners under the door. Fast forward a few years. We moved to San Diego in 2017 for my husband’s residency program, we have three hilarious dogs, I have my own photography company, and the future seems brighter all the time.

Has it been a smooth road?
Heck no! It most definitely has not been a smooth road. There have been plenty of ups and downs, and at times it seemed like I hadn’t made progress in weeks. But looking back, that was a necessary part of the journey. It was a test of my will to make photography my life’s work. I believe that we don’t learn much when things are easy, that there’s so much more value and personal growth in failure. The more I learned to pivot and adopt new flexible thinking patterns, the more confident I became. Every time I failed, I made it a point to understand why, and that has made me an immensely better photographer. That, and I’ve probably used enough post-it notes to orbit the sun.

If I had one piece of advice for others on a similar journey, it would be to remind yourself that whatever you’re learning, by this time next year you will be infinitely better at it than you are today. It’s difficult to maintain that longterm view on the tough days, but I’m telling you, it is absolutely true! Anytime I’m feeling defeated, whether it’s because I’ve been editing the same photo for 3 hours, or I just can’t seem to figure out the lighting I’m envisioning, I remind myself of that mantra. If that still doesn’t work, I go for a run with my dogs!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Jennifer Regnier Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I specialize in the unexpected, and my mission is to create a timeless memory for whoever I’m working with! My photographic focus is on everything family. That means couples, engagements, families big and small, and most definitely pets. I actually started out as a pet photographer, and still hone those skills every other week at the San Diego Humane Society, where I volunteer as a dog photographer!

More recently, I’ve started to explore event and commercial photography, which brings with it all new challenges and opportunities. In all of my photography, I identify and capture natural, honest moments that others may not see. Sometimes they happen in the blink of an eye, but I firmly believe these make for some of the most memorable and special photographs. No matter who or what I’m photographing, I strive to remove limitations on creativity by collaborating with my clients to understand their vision and maximize its potential.

I also love to create digital art in photoshop and have been creating images that I’ve dubbed fantasy art, more commonly known as composite art. Essentially, I blend two or more (usually way more) images together to create one final masterpiece. This may make it sound fairly easy, but it is anything but. It usually requires several hours to days of photography and editing work to complete the final piece. I love it because it challenges me to bring my best photography, editing, and vision into one project. My composite work is pretty niche, and every piece is custom, so when people see it they’re usually quite surprised and intrigued!

Do you feel like our city is a good place for businesses like yours? If someone was just starting out, would you recommend them starting out here? If not, what can our city do to improve?
We’ve only been here for a year but I don’t see us ever leaving! San Diego is truly home now, and we’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities here. I’ve embraced San Diego, and it has embraced me right back! Through my work, I’ve gotten to meet so many unique and interesting people, which is really one of the best things about this career, and one of the things I love most about San Diego. Everyone is just so genuinely nice here!

And being a tourist mecca, I’ve found that I get a lot of inquiries from families traveling here who have seen my work online, and trust my ability to provide them with a beautiful and unique gallery of images to commemorate their vacation in America’s Finest City!

What more can I say? It didn’t take long, but now I’m a California gal through and through. It feels like life couldn’t get any better, although I’m still confident the best is yet to come! Finally, I wanted to give my sincerest thanks, and let you know I was honored that you took the time to hear about my life, my journey and my passion.

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