Jenni Phelan
Jenni Phelan Photography

I was raised in Palatine, a suburb of Chicago, and I then studied Scenic Design for Theatre at The University of Illinois in Champaign- Urbana and graduated with my BFA in 2008. Later that year I moved to Franklin after marrying my college sweetheart. I am the mother of a rambunctious and hilarious 4 year old boy and sweet and sassy 3 year old girl. I've loved photography for many years but my love of photography grew after the birth of my children. My favorite photos are of candid and real moments. I am a member of the Professional Photographers of America and a volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I am mostly self taught but I traveled to Atlanta this past January for Imaging USA which was a wonderful and educational experience. I am constantly reading, watching tutorials and striving to learn more.


What inspired you to become a photographer?
Honestly I did not go into this thinking this would become a business or career. I was gifted a new camera for Christmas 2012 and decided the best way to familiarize myself was to use it. I started my Project 365, my camera was always on me and I was choosing a photo to post to Facebook everyday. I had my camera at playdates and took photos of my friend's kids. By about August I had friends ask if I would take family photos for them. I agreed and it grew from there, there were referrals and before I knew it I had a blossoming business. It's been wonderful to watch it grow and evolve, to become an LLC and to be able to work and also stay home with my children. 

What's your favorite photo that you've taken?
I took a photo of my mom after Easter 2015 holding my daughter when she slept. It's a beautiful photo but it is invaluable to me because we lost my mom less than a week later. 

If you could go back ten years, what advice would you give yourself?
10 years ago I was in college studying theater, specifically Scenic Design. I loved art and knew it had to be a part of my life but even then I worried about how I would survive in the industry. It's not an easy career, both in regards to staying employed and physically it is tough on your body. I would tell myself that it's ok, you are on the right path and there are lots of bumps in the road but always make time for creative endeavors and you will get where you need to be. 

Whether you're self-taught or have formal education in photography, what's been the best source of information for you as you grow as an artist?
You don't know it all, there is always more to learn. I go to classes, talk to other photographers, find online course, watch YouTube tutorials and challenge myself. Just keep seeking out new knowledge! And practice makes perfect, I screwed up a lot in the beginning and I still make mistakes but keep at it. 

What's your favorite photography accessory?
I love my 50mm and my Tamron 17-55. Otherwise probably my milk crate. I use it a lot and it has become recognizable to my clients. They know I was the photographer when they see that crate. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
I love Seattle and could see myself living out there, it's a beautiful area and I love the ocean so to be within driving distance would be amazing.