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Meet Julian Monarrez Jr. of J Mona Photography in Carmel Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julian Monarrez Jr.

Julian, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up my mother would always tell me to take as many pictures as possible, for every moment is special and it will not last forever. As most kids do, I did not listen to her. As I got older I started to realize the value of photography, especially since I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. After every trip, I would come home and I always felt as if I had lost that moment and could never re-experience it unless I went back. Since then, I began to capture every minor detail from all of my trips.

After a few years of doing travel photography, several friends began to ask me if I could take pictures of their families! And of course, I was extremely excited because as an adult, I really enjoy seeing pictures that my parents took of my family. This is the reason that I saw their request as a great opportunity for me to potentially give to their children what I felt when I saw my own family photos. Capturing their own memories and emotions with their loved ones seemed to be perfect service. After my first shoot, I knew I wanted to share this with as many people as possible. I love every second of it, and I hope that one day when their children are older they can appreciate those special moments more. 😁

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part, it has been a smooth road, we have been extremely fortunate to have two amazing mentors that have helped us in any obstacle or challenge we encounter. In order to obtain as much knowledge as possible, I subscribed to several photography courses online, as well as shadowed the mentors. It may seem extremely time consuming and I needed to apply myself a lot more in the field, but it is all worth it. I need to constantly learn new photography techniques in order to provide the best service possible. However, the hardest part as of right now is exposure, which we are currently working on 😉! One of the most important parts is to keep reminding yourself why you are doing what you are doing, what is the purpose behind it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our business name is J Mona Photography, J for Julian and Mona for Monarrez. When I was in the military several years back, nobody was able to pronounce my last name so they would just call me Mona. When we capture an image we seek to obtain their natural state of mind at that moment in their lives. When they are at peace with the ones they love when they are performing what they love, or displaying how proud they are of their achievements. This is the beauty of photography, being able to capture every single emotion. Which is why we primarily focus on photographing families, since they are often too busy and may not realize how fast their children are growing up. Being a young family is temporary, but fortunately, images are ageless. They can take us back and make us feel every emotion we felt during a certain time in our lives. We believe photography is a perfect way to freeze time and to keep us all connected throughout a lifetime. This is why we are here, to share this timeless art with anyone who would like to capture a special moment of their lives 😊!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
As I have mentioned, I have been extremely fortunate to have two great mentors. Which are Carla and Yuonne, they have both provided me with a lot of great insight into the business. However, my girlfriend Michele and my mother are by far my greatest support. They are constantly motivating me with every single thing in my life. Without them, I would have never taken the first step into photography. Also, the moral support of some friends and family members is always appreciated as well. 🙏🏼😊

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