We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Brindley Ubl and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jennifer, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I learned a lot from the jobs I had in my early twenties. They were all safe jobs that would guarantee me a paycheck and benefits, and I felt like a good, productive citizen while I worked those jobs.

But, the truth was that I was severely limited as long as I was working for someone else. I was limited in the amount of money I could make, the type of schedule I desired, the amount of time off I could take. I was limited in the freedom and the fulfillment that could only be achieved if I were to create a business I loved and run it for the betterment of my own life.

But it was scary. Because it’s a big risk to to say goodbye to the certain paycheck every week or every two weeks. To say goodbye to a 401k matching program and benefits. To say goodbye to someone else being responsible for the success of the business I worked in.

But… the tradeoff. I couldn’t say no to the tradeoff.

I like to say – if you take the 40+ hours per week that you’re busting your tail working for someone else, and instead put those 40+ hours of work toward the thing you want instead… the thing you want is going to happen. People forget how incredibly powerful they are!

So I built the wedding photography studio, and that was amazing and it brought me an income when I quit my “sure thing” job. It enabled me to feel a taste of independence and to start building the life that I loved.

But then I realized it wasn’t actually the right fit for the life I wanted. So that meant that I had to take ANOTHER risk. I had to close the wedding studio I had built for over a decade, and build something entirely different instead. I needed a certain number of clients per year at a certain minimum average sale in order to meet the ultimate goal of taking 6-8 weeks off each spring for storm chasing.

I knew that I could do it. I knew it was possible, and I knew it would be worth the work. So I jumped in with both feet… because that’s really the only way to jump in.

What should our readers know about your business?
I am a professional photographer, and own a contemporary portrait studio in West Allis, WI which is a suburb of Milwaukee. I moved here in 2008 as a wedding photographer and photographed 200 weddings before retiring from that industry to focus exclusively on portraits.

I was also developing my interest and career in storm chasing at that time and realized that in order to dedicate more time to chasing I would need to tweak my business to enable that pursuit. Working weekends through the spring (prime wedding season months in Wisconsin) was not going to marry well with chasing weeks on end in the great plains.

So, I decided to retire from weddings altogether and to open a contemporary portrait studio… and I absolutely have not looked back since.

For the last four years I have offered a one-of-a-kind portrait adventure in the studio. My clients experience a complete makeover and a Vanity Fair-style photo shoot with full access to a massive studio wardrobe with over 500 pieces in sizes 0-26, as well as an extensive jewelry and accessories collection.

I give women the chance to see themselves the way those who love them the most see them.
To see that with a crew of industry-leading artists, stylists and photographers, ANYONE can look and feel like a celebrity.
The experience reconnects women with themselves, and that is the ultimate joy for me as a facilitator and photographer.

Building a business is not easy. It requires work, commitment, vision, patience, intuition and a willingness to take risks. There are plenty of people who have tried and failed to build a portrait studio. It really does take a unique type of person who is unwilling to settle for anything less than the vision they hold. The type of person who is so obsessed with the life they want that they are hell-bent on creating it regardless of the sacrifice or struggle it requires.

And the journey of hard work and learning never stops. I have run a successful photography studio for fifteen years now, and the opportunities to learn and grow are seemingly endless. When one thing is polished and perfected, you see twenty other things that can be refined. That’s the great thing about taking ownership of what I do and how I do it. I can make as many tweaks to the process as I find necessary.

If I don’t like something, I have full power to change it.
I can have the schedule I want.
People make time for what is important to them.
Because I am enthusiastic about what I do, others are, too.

And really, there’s just nothing better than sharing your passions with the world. Because it inevitably will connect others to you who share that passion or are inspired by it. And that is what being a part of a community and enjoying that part of life is all about.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Milwaukee is a city on the rise, and there are a ton of amazing things to do here. It really just depends on what your interests are. There are innumerable breweries and distilleries here, and many of them offer tours.

There is a lot of good food here, too – be sure to check out the Wisconsin Cheese mart downtown for WI famous cheese curds, and then hop on one of the river cruise line boats for a historical boat tour. We also have a lot of fantastic vegan and vegetarian restaurants including Strange Town’s artful small plates and quirky atmosphere, all the way to Twisted Plants, the best vegan burger joint you’ll ever visit.

I always take guests to the Milwaukee Mitchel Park Conservatory Domes which are a really unique trio of domes that house a variety of plant life from around the world. When you walk into them you feel transported, and it’s a must-see for anyone who loves plants and flowers and nature.

Don’t miss the Milwaukee Art Musuem on the lakefront… it houses some incredible art but the building itself is also a work of art. The main visual component is the Quadracci Pavilion which was created by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The Quadracci Pavilion features a movable, wing-like brise soleil that opens up for a wingspan of 217 feet during the day.

A lot of guests love the Harley Davidson museum which celebrates 100 years of Harley history.

One of my personal favorites is to take visitors to the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum which has a spectacular garden and view of the lakefront from atop its perch. They also have music and cocktail social events during the summer which are really enjoyable.

And of course, no trip to Milwaukee is quite complete without a visit to see the Bronze Fonz on the riverwalk downtown.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so privileged in so many ways, one of which is that I’ve had so many incredible people to learn from over the last twenty years.

Sue Bryce has irrevocably changed the face of Portrait Photography forever, as well as my own professional and personal life. I also would not be the photographer I am today without my dear friend and fellow photographer, Melody Smith.

When it comes to storm chasing, I don’t know if there would be enough room for the long list of people I’ve learned from over these years, so in the interest of time and space I will narrow it to my two dear friends: Tony Laubach, the first person to welcome me into the world of storm chasing, and Skip Talbot, my chase partner of 11 years.

And last, but not least – I would not be anywhere without my incredible, supportive, amazing husband: Dan Ubl.

Website: jenniferbrindley.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jennbrindley/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-brindley-ubl-16032a25/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jenniferbrindleyportrait

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