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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Precious Portraits Contest... And The Winner Is...

Many thanks to all who contributed to our Precious Portraits Fundraiser, be it through purchasing mini sessions, enjoying a mini-styling at Pride N Joy Salon, or casting vote after vote. Every single penny donated to Designing 4 Hope will help bring joy to a child who so desperately needs it.

And the winner is... Laren M! Laren and her family will receive a free family portrait session with Jen Lebo Photography! I'm already looking so forward to it!
Again, thanks to all who donated, and a special thanks for all of our Precious Portrait Girls! Such beautiful girls, inside and out!
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Friday, November 25, 2011

Fruit of the Spirit: Love

I have decided to take on a monthly photography project, and have chosen to tie my love of photography to my love of the Lord and His Word. This project will be based on The Fruit of the Spirit and each month I will tackle a new Fruit, study what the Bible has to say about that given Fruit and then connect that with my photography somehow. This is the only direction I have given to my project. I am letting God lead in the rest.

For those unfamiliar with the Fruit of the Spirit they are:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I have my work cut out for me as God pricks my heart and teaches me about these virtues.

I am beginning my journey with the first fruit- love- and in doing so, have been led to 1 Corinthians 13 (the famous "love chapter" of the Bible). Over the course of the month, God has used this chapter to remind me about true love, both in my home and outside of it, and He has especially convicted me of where I fall short in showing true love to those around me.

I have a feeling this photo project is going to be harder on my heart than on my camera.

And so this month I simply wanted to share some of my favorite verses from 1 Corinthians and connect them to some of my favorite "love" images. (one important note- the final image at the end is not my own, but a photo of my husband and me taken by my good friend Rebecca Cooper, another wonderful portrait photographer).

1 Corinthians 13

v4 Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

v5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking

it is not easily angered,

it keeps no record of wrongs.

v6 Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

v7 It always protects,

always trusts,

always hopes, always perseveres.

v8 Love never fails.

v13 And now these three remain: faith,


and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

Thank You Father, for loving me, for showing me what real love truly is through Your Son Jesus.

And thank you Scott, for being my greatest love on earth. I know some days I'm not the most lovable person, but there's no one else I'd rather love everyday than you.

Thanks for reading through and beginning this journey with me. I hope this has encouraged you to think about love today, as it has encouraged me all month. Next month, I'll tackle JOY! What a perfect time of year to do such a project!

Keep smiling!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Precious Portraits Contest! Let The Voting Begin!

Earlier this month, I teamed up with Lori McHale of Designing 4 Hope, and Susan Malampy at Pride N Joy Hair Salon to launch the first annual Precious Portraits Contest, a fundraiser for Lori's nonprofit. The contestants were absolutely beautiful and I had the best time!

Here are a few portraits from our day together.
And now the portraits are up and ready for voting!

Voting is open to anyone and it's a simple process:

Click on "the website"
Click on "clients" on the top menu
From there you'll be brought to a password protected page- the password is "contest"
This will bring you to the gallery of contestants.
Portraits are labeled by letters. You simply click on your chosen portrait and then select the number of votes you wish to place.

Vote as many times as you like! It's $1/vote and all voting proceeds go to Designing 4 Hope!

There are two easy ways to pay:
1. There is a paypal account set up in the gallery which will go directly to Designing 4 Hope.
2. You can opt to send a check made out to Designing 4 Hope (mail to PO Box 845, Royersford, PA 19468)

You have 2 weeks to vote and spread the word to your friends and family. The portrait with the most votes will win her family a free family portrait session with Jen Lebo Photography, which is a win for her, a win for me, and a win for a special child in need of a bedroom makeover! What could be better?

Remember, voting ends on November 30, so spread the word and start voting!

A special thanks to all who participated in our event! What a special way to use your children's precious smile to bring a smile to another precious child!

Happy voting!
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Precious Portrait Contest- The Fundraiser Is This Weekend!

Hope you haven't forgotten about this weekend's fantastic fundraiser for Designing 4 Hope!

Here are a few of the wonderful ways that you can donate to Designing 4 Hope through this event:
  • You can purchase a mini session with JLP for this event (call in advance to book a time that's convenient for you).
  • You can vote for you child's portrait on line (and encourage friends and family to do the same).
  • You can purchase accessories from Pride N Joy for your child's portrait that day (a percentage of all accessory purchases will go to Designing 4 Hope).
  • You can purchase the digital files from your child's session (50% of all purchases will go to Designing 4 Hope).
  • You can book a future family portrait session with Jen Lebo Photography while at the event (50% of all session fees booked that day will go to Designing 4 Hope)
  • You can simply donate your time or funds to Designing 4 Hope!
There are still a few slots available so call or email me today!
We're going to have a wonderful time!
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Big Changes for JLP!

The month of October has brought wonderful change to Jen Lebo Photography and I am so excited to share it all with you!

I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed photographing my clients like I did this past month. From the very first day of the month, I have felt my work evolving and changing and I have noticed a new look and style to my images- more candid and unposed, more bold and colorful, more authentic and more intimate. I am finding myself more excited with every upcoming session!

That said, I was also finding myself loathing every post session situation. I was spending hours and hours creating, processing, selling, ordering, delivering, packaging, and stressing. And each extra hour of stress meant one less hour with my family. I was spending less time with the people I loved and when I was there with them, I was not someone they wanted to be with anyway.

Something had to give.

I finally broke this past weekend, at the very end of the month. I told my husband I was giving up the business, and that I'd be fulfilling my current client obligations, then packing it up for good. He gave me the space I needed to digest all of this and work through it.

I spent much of the weekend crying. Every time I thought of putting my camera away I would burst into tears. I knew I'd have trouble even photographing my own kids like this. But I also spent a lot of the weekend praying, and I called on a few of my loyal prayer warriors to help me out. You see, I am a woman of faith, and I truly believe God when He tells us that He will show Himself to us and that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13) So I sought Him.

And in the midst of all of this I found tremendous answers and tremendous peace and I knew what I was being called to do.

I am a photographer. I know deep in my heart that this is a gift that God has given to me. Not a gift in the sense that "Oh I'm so gifted", but a gift in the truest sense. A gift that God has blessed me with to enjoy and savor and celebrate. A gift to glorify Him with. And I love doing that. I love photographing my beautiful family. I love photographing your beautiful families. I love spending time with wonderful people, creating wonderful memories. It is a joy that never ever gets old for me.

I also love taking those images and editing them to make them that much better. I shoot in a special way that makes my images "mine", but I edit in the same way. I put my touch on every image and I love the results. To me, editing each image is just as fun as taking the photograph.

And I feel great in knowing that this is what I'm called to do.

However, I have also been called to be mom. To be wife. To be family. My family means everything to me, and anyone who knows me can back that up. I have been blessed beyond compare to be able to spend my days at home with my kids as a stay at home mom. I'm there to drop them off at school, and I'm there to pick them up in the afternoons. I can help them with their homework, listen to their problems, bake them brownies on a whim, take them for walks on beautiful fall days, care for them when they get sick on a random Tuesday morning, and kiss them goodbye at their classroom doors everyday. I love every minute of it...well, almost. ;)

And I was losing it to the stress and busyness of my business. I was also losing the joy of photography to the business.

Let me get to the point already!

After a long weekend of prayer, tears, counsel, and more prayer, I have come to a wonderful and (I think) huge decision regarding my business!

Jen Lebo Photography is going 100% DIGITAL!

It's all about simplifying, about getting back to basics, getting back to what truly matters in my business and in my life- people and images.

So no more gift prints, no more canvas wraps, no more albums, no more packages. It's just the session and the image.

This goes against everything that I've read and studied about over the past few years regarding the business of portrait photography. Pros would scream at me for making this decision! How will you profit? How will you upgrade your sales? How will you get return orders?

My answer is simple. I don't know and I'm ok with that.
To me it's about honoring my Master Planner and letting the rest fall into place. It's about putting value on the hours I spend with my family and the hours that my work takes me away from my family.

My session fee will be straightforward and simple- $150 for 1-2 hours of photography and fun. A wonderful experience leading to wonderful images.

From there, clients will have 3 options:
Buy a CD of 5 images for $225.
Buy a CD of 15 images for $550.
Or buy a Cd of all 30 or so images for $750.

That's it. You pay for the artist, the time, and the editing. You walk away with the images and the copyrights and total control over your photos. No printing costs, no shipping costs, no overhead costs. My prices reflect the value of my time and artistry(with minimum business costs), and those are prices that I know I can stand behind and I hope my clients can happily understand.

For all of my current or already booked clients, I will honor promotions of course, as well as give the option of prints and packages- after all, they booked before these changes came to be. But starting today, any new clients will find the new Jen Lebo Photography!

No more big promotions, no more contests, no more newsletters, or marketing attempts. From now on Jen Lebo Photography is simply the art and the artist. The mom with the camera. The woman with the gift and the joy and the peace!

One final note. After coming to this tremendous decision, I wanted to celebrate by photographing one of my favorite little faces, that of the youngest in my pride! I took these yesterday, and after seeing them, felt tremendous confirmation in the decisions that I have come to. I find such joy in embracing the blessings of my photography and my family... and your families.

If you've gotten this far, a million thanks for reading this entire post!
And thank you for joining me on this journey!
I'll be keeping this blog (and the website) for sure, as I absolutely love sharing all things photographic with anyone who will listen! I'll be blogging about great families I've photographed, great projects I've started (like one I'm beginning today- stay tuned!), and wonderful experiences I've had. And of course, I'll be hoping to hear from you too!

Stay with me! I have a feeling that the best is yet to come!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Share Hope! And Win Hope! A Giveaway

Earlier this month I blogged about a fantastic contest that is coming up!

We are so excited about this contest! It's going to be a wonderful afternoon, we are looking forward to having lots of fun sharing our passions with you and your children, and best of all, we are hoping to raise enough money for this amazing non-profit so that Lori does not have to turn any of these wonderful little children away. These bedrooms bring hope to children who desperately need hope.

And now we want to bring that hope to YOU!
We are so excited about this event, and so committed to helping these kids, that we want everyone to know about it. We want everyone in our area joining us in this, so we're offering a fantastic giveaway this week!

Enter our giveaway and receive this gorgeous HOPE bracelet from Michelle's Jewelry Studio!

Here's how easy it is to enter:

1. Share this blog post on FB (there's a link below)!
2. Tweet about this blog post (there's a link below)!
4. Share these FB pages with your FB friends by clicking on the "share" link on the bottom left of each FB page!

How easy is that!? You may enter up to four times simply by sharing this event with everyone! So get to it!

And let us know you've shared! Either comment right here on the blog, or post it on the Jen Lebo Photography page!

The drawing will end on October 30th at midnight! The winner will be chosen by and will be announced on Monday morning, October 31st!

I can't wait to hear from you!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

A Special Gift

My mother-in-law is quite the gifted knitter! She's been knitting for over 40 years now and she has made some absolutely beautiful pieces. Yesterday I received one of these treasures and I have to say that I think it should be up there in her top 10 best creations of all time! This wrap is cozy, it's soft, it's intricate, and it's so chic and stylish! I just had to share it with everyone!

I decided not to attempt a self portrait with it on for now. I am planning to wear it for our family portraits next month and will gladly show it off again then!

I am so excited about this beautiful gift, but even more so, I am thankful for the woman who made it. This wrap is truly a wonderful gift. But it has been the precious knitter in my life who has been the real gift to me all these years.

So thank you, Mom, for the sweater and for the love behind it.
(And for the totally awesome husband you raised for me too!)
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It's This Saturday!

I'm so excited for this Saturday!

Custom Christmas Card Saturday is finally here and I am so excited to spend my day creating beautiful portraits for all the families signed up! It's looking to be another beautiful autumn day and I'll be photographing these families right here in my own back yard at The Hill School!

And I'm extending my specials for just TWO MORE DAYS! Remember, you can book two sessions for the price of one, so grab a friend and make your appointments!

There are just a few more time slots open and I'll only be booking appointments for TWO MORE DAYS!

And for those of you unfamiliar with the beauty of The Hill School, I can tell you that years of living on this campus have helped me find the most beautiful pockets of light any time of day and during any season. Here are a few faves to show you the variety found on just one campus!

And finally the reason we're doing it all! The Custom Christmas Cards! How fun to take your gorgeous family portraits and create cards that suit your family and your style so wonderfully! Here are a few samples from past clients. I cannot wait to create yours for you! You'll have the cards everyone will be talking about!

You only have 2 days and sessions are limited so contact me right now!
And I'll see you on Saturday!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Monthly Monday Mommy Playdates: One Lesson Leads To Another

Yesterday I enjoyed another great morning sharing photography tips and letting my little guy explore a new playground. This month's Monthly Monday Mommy Playdate took us to Anderson Park in Collegeville. The little guy and I had never been there before, but we were not disappointed! Not only was there a wonderful play area for him to run around, climb, slide, and explore, but there was great opportunity for a wonderful lesson in open shade.
I had planned to talk to the moms about perspective and how to get at our kids from all angles. But before we went on our assignment to "think perspective" one mom asked a great question about light and how to escape those harsh contrasting highlights and shadows on her daughter's face. We talked a little about open shade, and then went off in search of fun perspectives.

I began climbing along side my little guy shooting him from crazy angles.

But I began to notice those harsh highlights and shadows. The light on the playground was just too bright.

There was no open shade near the playground, he was either in direct sunlight or running across crazy shadows. So even the fun perspectives I tried were overshadowed (pun intended) by the harsh light. Something had to give.

Then I noticed that Sedona had crawled underneath into some open shade. I shot, exposing for her face, and blew out the entire play apparatus. But it showed us something. Even at mid day hours, with harsh direct sunlight, if we can find open shade, like under a play set, we will get great exposures, and great images!

Here's the original shot, uncropped to show how harsh the light was from above compared with the nice even light in the shade.

And here it is cropped. Great image in that same harsh setting. Ah, the joy of open shade!

So I decided to go exploring and invited the others to join me. We found a wooded path with great open shade and we plopped our kids down on the path and saw the light!

After enjoying the lesson and the great images, we turned to head back to the playground. I snapped this shot just before we hit the harsh sun again. You can see where the shade drops off and the harsh light begins. Where would you want to be shooting?

Back to the playground we went and back to the harsh conditions. No matter where I took this little guy I could not find good light. It was hard enough to find the shade on this playground with no trees, but to keep a 2 year old seated in tiny pockets of shade for more than 5 seconds? Well, that's just downright impossible!

I tried and tried, but hated every shot on this playground. So I gave up on this spot, and let my little guy explore again, gently guiding him to another area with open shade, the west side of a great building, shown to the right of this image.

And there we found the light! It was gorgeous directional light, falling beautifully and evenly on us with no harsh spots. And there my little guy was able to plop down with his snacks and his choo choos and play in the grass for a while.

And there I was able to have fun with my perspective, getting down low with him, and enjoying his world for a little while.

I learned a few lessons during this hour. First, it truly is all about the light. You can work on perspective, or fun angles, or compositions all day long, but if you're not in the right light, you're just not going to get the shots you want. Second, I learned that sometimes the locations dictate the lessons learned on our mommy dates, and that is so fun for me! And that every location offers new places and pockets of light to explore if we just look around a bit. And finally I learned that sometimes, just sometimes, it doesn't matter if the light's great or not, that sometimes it's about the kids having a blast and a snapshot will do JUST FINE!

I can't wait for our next Monthly Monday Mommy Playdate! Not quite sure where it will be next, or even if it will be on a Monday (I've had some requests to mix it up a bit), but I'll let you know! And until then...
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Celebrating Autumn!

I know that God's beauty is everywhere, but I think He has showered our area with a little extra this autumn. Perhaps it is a reward for all the rain we've had to endure, or perhaps it's the last hurrah before a long and cold winter, but whatever it is, I am enjoying it to no end!

The gorgeous temperatures and colors have been perfect for getting beautiful families out to celebrate the season with me Here are a few faves from the beginning sessions of what I'm anticipating will be a fabulous portrait season!

These were all taken at different locations, each one having a beauty all its own. Which location is your favorite? Where would you go for your family portraits?
Share with me, or better yet, call me and we can go there together!

As for me, I'll be heading to my new favorite location with my family next month. I've struck up a wonderful trade with my friend and fellow photographer, Rebecca Cooper. Her work is gorgeous and we'll be shooting each other's families. I cannot wait to share both sessions here next month!
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