Jenn Inkol, Documentary Family Photographer
Jenn Inkol is a Canadian Photographer who helps people to capture the most significant moments in their lives. Jenn talks to The Industry Leaders about how a legendary Broadcaster within the family inspires her work and why she recommends not being afraid of embracing your eclectic side.
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
After 6 years working in the TV and Film industry, I felt it was time to get more control over my crazy work hours and feel more connected to my job. Picking up a camera always felt like home to me.
Now I'm able to connect with people from all walks of life and document their major milestones in a cinematic and candid style. From maternity and birth all the way to professional headshots, I am incredibly grateful to be a part of each client's life story and help them feel beautiful and seen.
What kind of work does your role involve?
My role is to help my clients shine as their authentic selves and shake off those jitters. I honestly hope I can take photos of people laughing for the rest of my life. It's what lead me to a more real-life approach to my photography - people being exactly themselves. I want my photography to not only capture your story but also make you feel it.
What gets you excited about your industry?
I absolutely love how limitless the photography world is. There is always something new to learn, and the technology is constantly changing, which means you have to wear many hats to thrive as a freelancer. I am the type of person who can't sit still, so I love how each day brings new opportunities to dive into. I might not know I'll need to be on a plane in a few days or in the studio taking photos for the next big campaign.
I am also deeply grateful for how much of a welcoming community it is. I've experienced so much kindness and support from photographers in all specialities ready to help me tackle an issue or just offer some advice. The way I see it, the more you connect and learn from others, the more you can grow as an artist.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Bring something to the table that no one else is.
I try to keep that in mind every time I'm taking photos. It's easy to open Instagram and take note of every step another photographer has done to achieve their images. That makes sense when you're learning, but if you never push yourself outside that comfort zone, all you're left with is a copy of someone else's voice. In a sea of photographers, the ones with the most distinct voices stand out. So don't be afraid to try new things, switch up your lighting, or change your angles. It might not be a masterpiece every time, but you will start figuring out what speaks to you and carve out your own path.
What, or who inspires you?
My grandpa Bill Inkol. He was a legendary broadcaster and truly epic storyteller.
He could make everyone he met feel seen and special. He guided me throughout my career and was my biggest cheerleader. He taught me to lead with kindness and a little humour because how you make your client's feel is what will make the biggest impact on their experience.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
Mainly scrolling Instagram and YouTube! I'm also a part of a wonderful network of photographers where we update each other almost daily on new techniques and anything fun happening in the photography world.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
When I first started my business, I felt like the little fish in a big pond. Overwhelmed with comparison and no real sense of what my worth was. As a result, I undersold myself and gave way too much away. I learned very quickly that the amount of work you put into a job should always match your fee. Don't be afraid to set boundaries and be confident with what you're selling because you're selling your brand. Open communication and clear guidelines go a long way and will have people wanting to rebook with you.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I'd love to pay back my parents for all their support and to donate most of it to local charities that I am passionate about, such as The Gold Hope Project and the Sick Kids Foundation. Being able to give back in a way that helps make the community a bit brighter would be such a dream.
As for me, I am incredibly grateful to have a career illustrating life stories. It would make me so happy to continue to travel and document those stories all over the world.
How do you switch off after a day at work?
Usually, it requires putting on full-body spandex and heading out for a long bike ride alone. No matter what stress I experience during the day, it all just melts away when I'm outside, taking in the sunshine.
Either that or watching a hilariously bad action movie from the 80s or 90s - those are my two speeds, haha!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
To not be afraid to be yourself! Let out your weirdness and challenge yourself to try new techniques. I think so many of us get caught up in curating our posts and holding back images that don't necessarily follow our normal flow. You honestly never know what a client might connect with! The more you put yourself out there, the higher your chance of bringing in your dream clients.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
So here's the thing - I can't confidently recommend anything inspirational here as I am new to the podcast world. Honestly, most hours of the day, you'll find me dancing at my desk (in a cool way) to music because it's personally an endless source of inspiration.
How should people connect with you?
My website: jenninkol.com
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