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Rising Stars: Meet Jeff Danner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Danner.

Hi Jeff, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
We’re Jeff & Reyna of JnR Photography/JnR Photo Video. Reyna and I (Jeff) met in Virginia. In June of 2018, I was still living on the east coast and Reyna (who’s originally from San Diego) had only been in the area a couple of months. Since we both were so busy with work and really wasn’t into the nightlife – we each had an account on Match. I had stumbled across her profile a couple of times – weeks before meeting – and had said, “there’s no way she’ll respond to me. She’s a bit too out of my league”.

Well, a couples weeks later, she actually messaged ME! I had a few drawings that I uploaded that she loved. She led with that and over the span of a few days (and hours over the phone) – we met, had a wonderful time, and continue to this day!

Fast forward a year and a half – we decided it was best to move to California to be with family. About six months prior to leaving, we knew we wanted to start a business together. We’re both very creative/artistic and thought for a couple weeks about what we could offer the community where we could be ourselves, creative, and offer something different… that’s when our photography business was born.

We put our passion in photography and videography into overdrive. we learned as much as we could and was open for business in August of 2019 – as portrait photographers. Since then, Reyna has stepped back from the shooting/editing and runs the creative/design/PR side of the business – while I take, edit, and deliver all of the photos. But any, back to the story.

We did not make much in terms of money when we were in Virginia, but we learned a great deal about the business – both from an organizational/financial and client satisfaction standpoint. We packed up and moved in November.

Once in California – we used all we had learned while on the East coast and implemented them out here. Things weren’t easy (and still are not). We offered over 30 free sessions to the community. This was to help build clientele and a reputation here in San Diego – but more importantly, to continue learning the ins and outs of the business and to build a system that worked for both the client and ourselves.

Then COVID 19 hit. Much like every other local business in the area – our business came to a screeching halt overnight. We knew there wasn’t anything we could do about a pandemic and had to ride it out like everyone else would. So, being proactive, we used that downtime to focus on the weaker areas of our business. We collected as many surveys as we could from those we had worked with us in the past, and got to work.

We implemented a completely seamless booking/payment process through our website. This meant that those wanting to book with us (but didn’t want to go through the process of contacting) – could choose their package, add any extra’s that we offer, pick the date and time, and pay for their session… all in one seamless motion.

We also implemented final proofing – where we edit a series of photos from your session (usually exceeding the amount of photos within the package they purchase) – then you can pick the ones you like the most. If you like more photos that are included in your package, you can simply purchase the exceeding ones individually. Our clients love the freedom of choice – instead of being given them, without seeing the rest.

We recently rebuilt our website from the ground up – with speed, reliability, and ease-of-use in mind. Our returning clients are noticing the difference and how much easier it is to navigate. We have come a long way. I have included a photo of the first picture I took on a DSLR in December of 2018 (labeled: first photo). I then included the last photo I took and edited.

But more importantly – we’ve grown as people and business owners. The client experience is our number one concern – and it took time to realize that. Equally (or more) important as the photos our clients receive – they want a good time, feel special, and comfortable. Because of our experience taking and editing photos, we don’t have to worry whether our pictures are going to come out a certain way or not. We know they will – allowing us to focus on the client that much more.

It has taken countless hours of learning, trial and error, and just plain grinding to get where we are today, and we wouldn’t change it for the world. We still aren’t anywhere near where we want to be in terms of exposure or people knowing about us… but we’re enjoying the process, time it takes, and all the great people we meet along the way!

I’ll leave this with a quote that I’ve been saying since I was 17… “Nothing worth obtaining is ever obtained overnight… and wishes and dreams can come true. They just take time and effort… it’s the amount of time and effort you’re willing to sacrifice that’ll determine if those wishes and dreams will ever see the light of day.”

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We struggled and continue to struggle from time to time. We’ve struggled with COVID 19, obtaining clients, consistent work, and even mentally – like whether we were good enough to compete with others in such a saturated industry.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We’re portrait photographers offering services for single subject, couples, and families. We specialize in on-site flash photography. We offer a different look and feel to our photos then what you may traditionally see in San Diego. We’re known for our themed mini sessions (seasonal) and have recently dove into the Maternity realm, catering to those who want an ‘epic/dramatic’ feel to their photos.

The client experience and the final result (the actual pictures) are what set us apart – by far. We accommodate those who want the trendy brown/muted look – but our lighting/color is what sets us apart and makes us different.

Most proud of? Hmmm. Probably just sticking it out through the hard times – and continuing to stick it out when things get tough. Not giving up. Putting the customer and their needs before our own. Over delivering and having clients acknowledge and appreciate that. Yeah, all of that.

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We welcome those who wish to collaborate with us – we’re very opened minded and would love to work with other amazing creatives in SD. You can always email us – support@jnrphotovideo.com

Reach out to us on all major social platforms: @jnrphotovideo or fill out our contact form on our website: https://jnrphotovideo.com/contact (all routes of communication can be found on this page as well).

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