We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenna Schoenefeld and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jenna, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was ready to take a risk, but I knew it would be a scary one. My thought process was to simultaneously do my research but also hit the ground running. I was moving to Los Angeles, a city with a lot of news, a lot of incredibly talented photographers, and also a lot of apartments with high rent. So I had to figure out my business. I had to adapt. I did some market research into who may hire the kind of photography I do- news publications, event planners, commercial brands with an interest in documentary style, businesses looking for portraits, etc. My thought process was to act smartly, diversify my clients, get some momentum going, and hopefully not mess up too much along the way.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a freelance photojournalist, nothing has come easily. I’m proud of the work I’ve been offered to enhance my photography and increase my experience, but gaining these things was a mixture of work and luck. It’s sometimes hard to say which rates higher. The biggest challenges I’ve had to overcome are the ones many independent creatives in the world face: doubt, lack of work, doubt, learning the best business practices, finding time for personal projects, balancing your work life with your personal one, and, oh yeah, doubt. You can’t have a full head of fulfillment in our industry without wondering what you’re doing wrong or what you could be/could have done better. This territory is part of the package. One main lesson I’ve learned along the way is that doubting oneself is, actually, a good thing. It makes you question your approach and strive to do better. And, as a creative and business owner, isn’t that what we’re always working for? Instead of closing the door on it, embrace it. Ask what doubt can do for you.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One thing I love about Los Angeles is that you can cross neighborhood lines and be somewhere that’s completely different. But, everywhere you go, there is always one thing: good. food. I may be hungry as I write this, but let’s talk tacos, ramen, pizza (!), sushi, and anything avocado. My favorite spots are all of those spots. Plus I’ll mix in where you can walk while you eat: beach boardwalks, museum terraces, Griffith park. There is a certain special variety here.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In both my personal life and my work life I have people who support me. I’m lucky for that. There are a multiple editors I’ve worked with at The New York Times who have made an effort to help me grow. Alex Snyder, a fantastic photographer and editor, has relentlessly supported me and encouraged my visual voice since we were in college. I have friends and family who lift me every day. It’s important to me to take pride in the work that I do, but it’s also important for me to enjoy my life outside of it. Those are two equal halves. The people who continue to support me fill up that half with a consistency I am always thankful for. Shoutout to them. (They’re also so strong, creative and smart that it often overwhelms me.)

Website: www.JennaSchoenefeld.com

Instagram: instagram.com/photojscho

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/jennaschoenefeld

Twitter: twitter.com/photojscho

Other: photojscho.tumblr.com

Image Credits
Michael Kortlander

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