Coffee date with Jessica Chang…

I have been thinking for awhile now about interviewing other photographers and people that inspire me(may not even be photography related).  I think its great to be supportive of other people as they themselves pursue their passions(as I have been fortunate to do). 

So it was without doubt that my first ‘guest’ would be my dear friend Jessica Chang.  I have always been inspired and in awe of Jessicas work.  She started Live the Moment Photography first and has recently started another division of her photography called Breath of Life Birth Photography. She has captured many family memories for us, from our trash the dress, maternity, newborn, and the birth of my son.  These memories are so very special to us and we will forever be grateful to her for them. 

So grab your coffee(or tea) and get to know Jessica Chang!


Equipment? Canon 7D, Canon 30D, 24-105, 10-22, 50, kit lens, 580 EXii, Oh and my husband  has different lenes in his bag, but these are my favorite and are always in mine…

What’s in your camera bag besides your lenses and camera? Granola bars, chap stick, lipstick, business cards, breast pump, pens, and just recently added a little finger puppet to entertain the kidlets.

Favourite Lens? Oh, that is a tough one, can I pick 3?? It is quite situational. I’m loving my 50mm for newborns, children, and birth. But, could never ever live without my 24-105 for weddings and births, I love the freedom I get from it! Then of course the 10-22 and I have a really great friendship!

What you’ve learned the most since you started (photog. related): I think some new photographers (I did this too) think that you can “fix” a photo with post processing. Anyone can learn to create a decent photo with post processing (colours, crop, etc.). But I have really tried to make a great SOOC picture, and only enhance it a bit with post processing. That’s something I am constantly pushing myself to do, and keep practicing.

What are your strengths? I like to constantly better myself and my life. Both home and work related. I am becoming more aware of healthier living, eating better, using no chemicals in my house, cloth diapering, baby wearing, constantly learning and trying to improve the impact I make on the world. With work, I am scouring the books and internet, learning techniques, discovering better ways to improve my photography and work flow. I love to get inspired by other photographers.

Weaknesses? Sometimes I need more patience and need to slow down and take time for myself. I am a wife, a mother of 3 very young children (3, 3 & under), have a husband who works crazy hours, and my own business. I need to breathe and release the reigns a bit.

Why did you get into photography? I have always loved taking photos, I remember as a kid going somewhere (like summer camp) and being shocked that people wouldn’t bring cameras! How in the world would you remember all the neat things that happened? It was set in stone when I traveled Asia and only had a simple point and shoot, but I remember putting in the effort to take great shots, from various angles, trying to make tourist locations look different, not like something you would see all the time. I took some pretty amazing shots with that little point and shoot, until my husband (then boyfriend), decided to drop it into the Gulf of Thailand! But, being the smart man that he is it got replaced with a Canon I was happy!

Are you formally educated or self-taught in photography? I’m self taught, and I love that I don’t know all the rules…I am not boxed in by them, and I can discover what works and what doesn’t. It is a constant learning experience.

If you were not a photographer what career would you see yourself in? I’ve always loved any job where I could be around babies being born. So, now with birth photography, I get that opportunity. But if I didn’t have that, I’d say a doula or midwife. Which is something I might look into on top of my photography.

If you were able to photograph anyone who would it be and why? My first and most obvious answer is as many births as possible (which is my most realistic answer right now) But if I could dig a little deeper – it would be no person in particular, but I wish I could travel and take pictures of people’s faces. I loved being in Asia and capturing people at work in their day to day life. Weathered, tired and full of wonderful stories. I’d love to poke around in all corners of the world and find faces with stories.

What would be your dream shoot? What would be your dream shoot? Oh, there are so many!!!! Birth photography related, I would LOVE to capture a birth in a totally different environment then what us westerners are used to! Somewhere where it doesn’t follow any of the “rules” that we put onto childbirth -with a tribal woman in the depth of a jungle, etc.I would love to see the rituals that evolve around the birth of a child.

Who or what inspires you? Lots of things, kids, babies, love, passion, birth. LIFE!

Favourite photo that you have taken and why? I love so many of them. That is tough. I love when I get a squishy newborn. I love my fun trash the dress photos, and I am so proud I got the shot of my “nephew” being born. Most of all, I love the candid photos of my children.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start out as a Photographer? Just because you have a camera, doesn’t make you a photographer. I have a stove, I am not a chef. Work hard to get to know your camera. Don’t shoot in AUTO. Don’t rely on post processing to fix your photos. Don’t expect to REALLY make money…for a very long time or ever (you’ll always find something business related to spend it on, or it is gone before you make it ;)). There are a lot of photographers out there…what makes you stand out? Don’t copy other photographers photographs, get inspired instead.

What are the three words your spouse would use to describe you? Determined, stubborn, and loving.

Quick Answers:
Canon or Nikon? Canon
Prime or zoom? both

Natural light or flash? Natural as much as possible, but do use a flash

Studio or on location? On location

Mac or PC? I’d love a Mac, but I have a really hardcore PC. My husband is Asian..enough said 😉

Photoshop or Lightroom? Photoshop. I do have lightroom, and with having 3 kids, haven’t really had time to play with it just yet.

Color or black and white photos? Both, depending on for what. Birth, I LOVE in black and white.

Night owl or morning person? Due to kids, morning person.

Sunrise or sunset? Sunset

Heels or flip flops? Flip flops

Red or white Wine? White

Chocolate or Vanilla? chocolate

Your favorite movie of all time? Pretty Woman

Who would play you in a movie of your life? Tough one. I’ve heard a couple of times that Drew Barrymore’s character in the movie “The Duplex” is a lot like me.

Thanks Jessica for taking the time to sit down with me, I love your work and am excited to see what the future has in store for you!  (ps I agree with your husband- you are stubborn! ;)…)
Please head over to Jessica’s facebook/blog and send her some love

March 17, 2011 - 7:06 am

Amy - that’s great, Shannon! i totally agree about the SOOC shots. she had such great answers!!

March 18, 2011 - 11:36 am

Judy Chafe - Jessica is a wonderful person. She came to Newfoundland and did the photos of my daughter’s wedding last July. She has an amazing personality and has more patience than I would ever have. She had in tow her two most beautiful little girls and at that time was pregnant on her son. We were more concerned for her (especially being pregnant and on her feet all day) and she was more concerned that she get all the pictures and great shots. The pictures turned out wonderful (as we had no doubt that they would) and we were so glad that she was the photographer. She has such a busy life but always seems to get done what she wants to do. My hat is off to her. She is an amazing person.

March 20, 2011 - 5:34 pm

dawn - awesome interview….fun questions and awesome answers! great idea Shannon!

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