Alumni Interviews: Jocelyn Gerspacher Photography
We’re so excited to introduce you to another of our awesome students! (in case you missed our first interview with alumni Melissa Berg, this is a new series on the blog, where you have chance to learn about our alumni (who are all in various stages of the photography journey!)
Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to Jocelyn Gerspacher of Jocelyn Gerspacher Photography
(stop by and say hello over on facebook here)
Where do you call home?Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Describe Your StylePeaceful, vibrant and full of colour. I LOVE colour and enjoy twisting unique and strange colours together!!! I am known to spend 4 hours the night before a session organizing all my colour combinations.What made you decide to become a photographer?Honestly, my mother told me not to spend so much money for a photographer to take pictures of my newborn daughter. She thought I could just, “do it myself,” and so I did. After all, I just needed to buy a white blanket. But, even with the white blanket I wasn’t happy with the photos I took. I bought a stand and seamless white paper to make my background wrinkle free, but I wasn’t happy with the results.
I needed lights to brighten the background, still not happy.
I spent a lot of money on classes to figure out ‘how to do it’, but something was still missing. Then, I decided to learn how to pose babies from other professionals. After taking courses, e.g. Beyond the Beanbag, I was finally happy that I could achieve the results I had always envisioned. I still seem to find something else I ‘need’ or something else I want to do, but I am consistently happy with the outcome of my sessions.
In reflection, maybe I should have just bought the photo in the first place, however I don’t think I would be as happy as I am now when I can create the artwork that unfolds when I photograph newborns.
How did you learn? Degree? Self-taught? Workshops?Workshop… workshop… workshop… workshop!!! I have taken over 20 workshops in 5 years. I am running out of classes to take. I am sooo thankful for having mentors who are still willing to help me out and work through ways to keep improving.
How long have you had your Photography Business?I started photographing babies 6 years ago. I was NEVER going to go into the business, even though everyone told me I should. Eventually the expenses became too high and I had to start making money in order to buy the things I wanted. Almost 2 years ago is when I began to charge for sessions and officially opened my business. I realized I wanted to only shoot newborns and began to specialize in newborn photography. My balance in life would be to teach half-time and do photography half time, because that is what would make me truly happy.
What do you love most about having your own business?BABIES!!! I LIVE for babies. I am constantly telling clients that they should go home and come back the next morning to pick up their baby. I LIVE for my weekends when I get to photograph them and nothing makes me happier. A bad day of newborn photography is still one amazing day!What do you love the least?The expense of my addiction! Buying items for my sessions adds up quickly. Everywhere I go I see something and wonder how I can work it into my next session. I keep saying “Just this one item, then I have everything”.
What do you wish you had known prior to starting your own photography business?I wish I knew what I really needed to impact my business. I spent so much time buying things 3 to 4 times, because what I first bought wasn’t good enough. I appreciate the Beyond the Beanbag community. This allows me to work with other newborn photographers who are willing to share their experiences and suggest the, “best shopping places”.
Studio or on-location?Studio, I converted my entire basement into a studio. We are thinking of building a new house with the studio space being the focus feature.What was your biggest “A-ha” moment?It takes time. Babies don’t just curl up and go to sleep in that perfect position. I appreciated the videos that show that you need to be patient, calm and willing to wait. It is far better to wait and put baby down ready to go, than it is to pick baby up 5 or 6 times because I tried to rush the pose.
Where do you find inspiration for your art?Everywhere. I look for colour everywhere I go, walking and seeing outfits on people across the street. I enjoy patterns in scarves, purses, clothing and go from there.
Something you’re still learning?…Take it one step at a time. I loved how each assignment in Beyond the Beanbag let me concentrate one step at a time. I continue to do this and find new ways to grow slowly rather than trying to master everything at once.
How do you create balance between your business and the rest of life?Honestly, this is something I am really working at. I appreciate the “unplug” emails I get from The Milky Way! They remind me that I have to put myself and my family first. I feel that once I really get my business going, I can pull back. But I have to remember that I am no good to my business if I have not been good to myself and my family.
How do you measure success?Success to me is when I am happy with the outcome of my photos. When I post a picture and it suddenly goes viral. But even if I love a photo and it does not receive many “likes” as long as I have accomplished what I was trying to work on, then my session was a success. One step at a time.
What has been your most memorable shoot & why?The session that I always think of would be my first set of identical twins. I spent months going crazy over buying, organizing and planning for these boys. I knew that by the time they were released from NICU they would be older and harder to pose. The thought of photographing older babies made me nervous, even more so with photographing “two” babies together.
They surprised me by being perfect little sleepers; they were beyond ADORABLE!!! They loved to stretch out, kicking their legs out as straight and stiff as possible. Each one already had his own personality. The little one loved tormenting his bigger brother by kicking and scratching him at every opportunity. The older one just shrugged him off without stirring. I laughed sooo hard, and took my time working their little stretched out legs. You can tell that they were going to be best buds. I definitely didn’t want them to go home!
What’s your Favorite Image? And why is it your favorite?“Beyond the Beanbag” helped me feel comfortable with my posing. I finally felt I was able to achieve the poses that I wanted. From there I was ready to further define myself in the photography world.
My favourite image is from my first, “themed shoot” that helped me through this stage. I really wanted to do something unique for this client. At first, I was a bit stressed as my clients colour choices (gold and red) were something I had never worked with before. Two mentors of mine, Caralee Case and Jennifer Nace, helped me turn my thoughts around planning this pirate session. Soon I was able to come up with crazy colour schemes.
Once I started this roll, I couldn’t stop. It completely changed the way I looked at planning my sessions. Now I just LOVE working with outrageous colours and it has helped me define my style.
Favourite gear?Softbox! Mega Apollo– I love the soft smooth light I get from it.
What is your go to lens & why?Canon 50 mm 1.4 … nough said!!!
RAW or Jpeg? RAWNikon or Canon? Canon – The moment I held my Mark III, I knew I was not leaving the store without it. Love at first sight!!!Mac or PC? PCLightroom or Photoshop ( or both ?) : I do all my main adjustments in lightroom (thank you batch processing) and then take into CS5 to remove any blemishes or colour casts.
Which 5 words would your friends use to best describe you?passionate, determined, sincere, caring and genuine
What classes have you taken with The Milky Way?Beyond the Beanbag. I LOVE the videos in this course. I constantly refer back to them whenever I want to try something new. I loved how each assignment focused on a new task. I was unsure about spending more money on my business, but never realized how quickly I would make that money back. SOOO worth every penny and then some!
Business Bootcamp! It kicked my bottom into gear! Each lesson helped me organize and set up my business. Before, I fell all over the place and I was always willing to bend my own rules to get a client to book me. After this course I knew how to find the right clients who respected me as a professional and valued the benefits of professional photography. I was able to be myself and stick to the things I knew were important. This is exactly what I needed to steer my business in the right direction!
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