This week we are featuring the amazing Jean Mills from Little Jeannie Photography as our Photographer Behind the Lens!
Share a little about you...
Hi! I am Jean Mills from Little Jeannie Photography in Sydney, Australia.
I am a married Mum of 4, 3 beautiful girls and a handsome energetic son who keep me very busy often juggling 20 balls in the air but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m told I am missing the brain to mouth filter and have a tendency to say what I’m thinking very honestly lol
I pinch myself every day that I have a job doing what I love and calling it ‘work’
How did your photography career begin?
I was 20 years old & had just left a Beauty Therapy apprenticeship & thought what am I going to do?!
A job was advertised in hospitals taking newborns photos, I went for the job and got it - babies wrapped as sausages with an overhead camera connected to the cot lol nothing fancy!
It was back in the days of film, you had to achieve certain targets and I received (off memory) $5 per baby photographed, I travelled all over Sydney earning not a lot of money ‘hard selling’ to new parents.
As much as I loved the babies and photography side it certainly was going to have me holidaying in the Bahamas yearly or even a new car for that matter lol
Fast forward, I ended up working for the same company in for many years as Office Manager which was my full-time job and then studied my Advanced Diploma in Photo Imaging at night, shooting families/newborns on weekends.
I was going through IVF at the time and the company had a change in upper Management, I had just fallen pregnant after 7 rounds of IVF & they began to make things difficult for me. My husband said the famous last words ‘leave! start up your own photography business’ SAY WHAT?! Terrified, what if? What if? What if? He said ‘we will work it out’
That was the first day of the rest of my life, I didn’t have a studio or space for a studio so I was mobile going to clients homes packing & unpacking my tiny little car like tetris all over Sydney.
My props were mostly purchased from cheap shops/kmart & spotlight, my equipment was so wrong for what I was doing and I was just ‘winging it’ really lol
I worked out of clients loungerooms, bathrooms, kitchens…you name it!
I loved, loved, loved what I was doing, although I was doing a very average job of it lol but I knew this was what set my soul on fire, this drove me, I was passionate & wanted to get better, I wanted to make it work.
4 years later I have tripped, fallen & gotten up more times then I care to remember but I knew one thing that kept me going – I loved my job!
I am now a few kilos heavier with my home studio but my journey to this point is one I look back on and smile.
How would you describe your style?
This is an interesting question to me because I’m not sure I have a ‘style’ or I do but its forever changing.
I love colour, I love vintage, I love floral but last week I was requested ‘no props, no fluff, neutral & lifestyle’ and ran with it and kinda loved the result !
I get bored easily so need to keep changing in order to not lose my phojo (that’s really a thing lol)
Maybe someone else could answer this and share what they think my style is haha
What do you love most about photography?
Ohhhhhh so much I love, I love the relationships you build, the emotion, the warm fuzzy feeling when clients see their images for the first time, the excitement of the perfect sibling photo you finally get of the naughty toddler who was throwing jellybeans at you and screaming 2mins earlier.
The emotion of photography makes me feel alive every.single.day, photography is me holding their life in my hands for a few hours and freezing that moment for them forever.
Share with us your all-time favourite image, and why...
I just adore sibling photos & this image seriously was one of ‘just happened’ moments, toddlers can be challenging at times and really make you think outside the box to get the shots but THIS?! It melted my heart.
Share a sneak peek inside your camera bag...
Nikon D850 – Sigma Art 35 - Nikon 24-70 – Tokina 100mm 2.8 for newborns studio
Tamron 70-200mm for outdoors (mostly)
Whats your favourite lens?
Studio - Sigma Art 35! There is no better! Tack sharp & versatile – LOVE it!
Share a sneak peek inside your studio..
My studio is inside my home, its definitely not big enough for my propoholic ways and like my photography is forever changing.
I work with both the RX1 Elinchrome PLM for newborns & lasolite megalite lightbox with Elinchrome BRX500 for maternity/family with the RX1 as a fill light.
They say creatives are messy by nature, I’d have to agree with that lol
I often dream of an immaculate magazine finish studio, the fact of the matter is this is a rare occurrence for me. My studio is humble, it is full of love, and props and beautiful clients coming and going with their families. I’m all about comfort and cater to suit my tiny clients, to their energised siblings, and their exhausted parents, it is not uncommon for an parent snooze to happen at a session.
This is my happy place!
What’s inside your editing toolbox? What post processing tips/tools do you love the most?
Lightroom Classic is where I cull and do soft edits
Photoshop CC/ACR for all my full edits
Love GTG actions, Kelly’s Newborn action sets & also hand edit
What post processing tools do you love the most?
Content aware crop ! it’s the BEST thing photoshop has ever created !
For a bit of fun…. share an image from your first paid session and from your most recent session!
Yes, we all start somewhere!
What has contributed most to your development as a photographer?
I’m my own worst critic! I am always setting myself new challenges, new goals and always pushing myself to learn more in all aspects of the business.
What is your #1 tip for photographers?
Do not ever compare yourself, your images or your journey to others, this is your journey not theirs so focus on you, set small achievable learning goals and keep smashing them one at a time.
Sorry one more - Keep positive energy around you, surround yourself with people who are going to support and encourage you to be the best version of you. xx
To see more amazing work from Little Jeannie Photography:
Sending out a BIG thank you to Jean for featuring on our Blog!
With love ~ Wood & Lace xx
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