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Rising Stars: Meet Jessica Faehnle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Faehnle.

Hi Jessica, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started photography as a child around ten years old. I’m 40 now, so I’ve been doing this a long time. I was fascinated by what I saw in magazines from National Geographic to Marie Claire. I wanted to recreate all of the beautiful images. My Dad was the first person who let me use a camera. He was a very talented photographer as well. He was the unofficial family photographer. I was always inspired by that. Skipping forward many, many years, I studied photography as purely a hobby. I had taken classes from film photography (pre-digital camera era) and then finally more classes in the digital realm: self-taught myself Photoshop and GIMP editing programs. I’d create photoshoots for myself and my friends and see how I could creatively edit the images. It was a fun challenge. Even in college, where I was a dance major at Bowling Green State University, I was studying how I could infuse photography and videography into my choreography.

I moved to New York City from Ohio in 2004 to chase my dream to become a professional dancer. I did actually dance for a few companies and independent choreographers. (Amongst many other jobs I had to have in order to survive in the city. i.e: dog walker, salesperson, cosmetic executive. I did it all.) I took up photography again shortly after moving to the city. My friends needed headshots and branding for auditions, and I wanted to practice my photography. I did their hair and makeup, planned the location, backgrounds, and everything else that goes into shooting. I didn’t realize it then, but I was shaping the business and service I offer now. I was so proud of those images then. Looking back, I’m still proud, but Boy… I’ve come a long way in my skills.

My boyfriend, now my Husband, is always encouraged by photography. Even when I didn’t see it as ever being a career, he was always helping and encouraging me to better my skills. While I was working hard as a cosmetics sales executive, he would always say to me, “It’s clear this is your passion.” Truth be told, I was so happy to hear him say that. Except I didn’t have any confidence that I could make it a steady income. I loved my steady cosmetics job. It was a guaranteed paycheck with benefits. I continued working in cosmetics while also studying photography and doing shoots for my friends.

Years passed, my husband got a wonderful job opportunity here in San Diego. We picked up our small family and moved to the West Coast in 2019. I found myself without a job for the first time in my life. I was staying home, taking care of my daughters. Although I was very lucky to be able to spend so much time raising my young kids, I needed something more. Photography came up again. My new West Coast friends needed maternity photos. So I jumped back in. It wasn’t with the intention of starting a business. Here it was, though, I couldn’t resist my passion any longer. After that, I made it my mission to see if I could do this? Guess what, I can. I started Napier J Photography officially in September 2020.

I offer full-service portrait sessions included with hair, makeup, styling, and full editing with professional retouching. I want my clients to feel like fashion models. I want my clients to feel important and seen. It’s so wonderful to get to know each subject and bring their incredible beauty into the images. I use my talents to help my clients feel and look their very best. Everyone deserves to feel seen and beautiful.

I’ve also branched out into fashion and sports photography. I like to work on passion projects for publication in fashion and sports. I’ve been published in Exposed Magazine, GMARO Magazine, and Vigour Magazine within the last year. Most recently, I partnered with Nora Zamudio of KIIN Athletic for a fashion shoot. That shoot received an 11 page spread in GMARO Magazine.

I use my sales and people skills every day to connect with clients. I would never trade any of my previous experiences and career challenges for anything. All of the years of having photography as a hobby while also working my steady jobs really taught me what it would take to combine my art and talent with business. I’m working to learn, move forward, and offer more to my clients always.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. It is always a struggle to keep clients coming and keeping up with the demands of being a business owner and an artist. I’m sure, like most people, I am trying to please everyone at all times. It has been an absolute struggle with the 2020 lockdowns and restrictions to operate and gain client trust again. Of course, I’m always working on a project to keep my creativity and skills relevant. I am also still taking care of my children. They are the most important part of my life always. It’s a struggle to balance work and life. I want to give 150% to my business and operation. I also want to give 150% to my family. When you’re doing it all, it can be stressful.

I’m up for the challenges. I thrive on hard work. It never really gets easier. I just learn better ways of operating and organizing everything. I’ve been doing photography as a business for less than a year, but I’ve been a business person my whole life. I know there is no “smooth road,” just more opportunity for improvement.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a professional portrait photographer. My business specializes in creating beautiful fashion editorial-style portraits of women, men, and families. I provide full hair, makeup, styling, posing, shoot concept creation, and professional retouching for every shoot. I consult with clients for months, weeks, and many days to make sure they have the shoot of their dreams. I even can provide wardrobe and handmade dresses for my clients. I try very hard to create something very special and unique to my client’s vision. I love fashion photography and direct my clients as I would a professional model. I am most proud of building my business from scratch. I love seeing how I have progressed and keep reaching goals. Whether it be getting my fashion and sports work published in a magazine or making my client feel so incredibly beautiful and confident.

I’m so proud of all of that. I’m also very proud that my clients refer friends and family to my service. They not only value the photos and incredible images I have captured, but they value and love my service. My service, along with my art sets me apart. I truly want anyone that comes to me to feel as if they are the only client I have. I make sure that I consult with them every step of the way. I offer what they think is impossible.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
My favorite childhood memory is going to the library or book store with my Dad every week. There is not just one singular moment I can mention. It was just a feeling of wonder when I would enter those places with my Dad. It was his constant encouragement of education and searched for knowledge that stuck with me. Even to this day, I will tell my Daughters about how there is endless knowledge to gain in the world. Books are special. My Dad taught me that.

Pricing:

  • Services start at $375 for a session
  • Packages range from $1200-5000
  • I offer head shot and portrait sessions. All start at $375

Contact Info:

  • Email: Napierjphotography@gmail.com
  • Website: www.NapierJPhotography.com
  • Instagram: Napier_J_Photography
  • Facebook: Napier J Photography

Image Credits
Models/Clients- Kaitlyn Haremaker, Haley Edwards, Ashly Orate, Naomi Smentkowski, Crystal Garza and her Son, Gio. Hair,Makeup, and styling for photos done by Jessica Napier Faehnle- Also, photographer/owner of Napier J Photography Photography Assistants- Ashly Orate and Ingrid Faehnle Some clothing for photos used in GMARO magazine photos supplied by KIIN Athletic, Nora Zamudio

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