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jen dederich

Why have I been so quiet on social media lately?

Why have I been so quiet on social media lately?

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Hi friends! I'm sure some of you have noticed that I kind of dropped off the face of the earth as far as social media goes. Yes, winter is naturally my down time for my business, but to be honest I just haven't had any desire to post anything! Haha well, that's not something terribly new for me, I've said it before how I'm really not a huge fan of sharing my life online, but that's been especially true lately!

I've been taking a step back because my life was turned upside down this past December. The man that I had hoped and planed to spend the rest of my life with was supposed to be finishing up his battle with one disease only to be diagnosed with a new one that we were told was terminal. Not something you expect to hear and have to deal with in your early thirties! So, needless to say my priorities had shifted a bit and I've been focusing my thoughts, time, and energy elsewhere. Fast forward through a second opinion which led to more tests and now a different diagnosis which will hopefully prove to be correct when he goes in to remission after treatment!! What does this all mean? Why am I finally sharing about it? What have I learned?

First, people are what matters! Thinking that I would only have him in my life a short while longer just made me want to spend every moment possible together and have as many experiences together as possible! Along with that, you need people to get through life with! One afternoon after we first found about all of this I was sitting in a coffee shop with a good friend and we both ended up crying, not able to talk, having to type messages to each other, all the while I'm picking at my lettuce hoping that it'll help me to stop crying. Guys, as great as lettuce is at helping you cope, people are much better :)

As self serving as this may sound, I really have a new appreciation for having pictures of us! Trust me, I am the last person who wants a picture of myself, but suddenly none of that mattered anymore and it meant so much to have those moments to look back on! Take the time, make the effort, spend the money on professional portraits, because honestly they will become some of the most valuable things you have!

Lastly, I know we hear it all of the time, but I'm going to say it again because it's important, and that please do not take time or your health for granted! You honestly never know when something may happen. Also, please just remember to always approach people or situations with kindness! You never know what someone may be going through or dealing with and the simple act of kindness and understanding may be just the thing they need to help them get through their day!

I know this post may seem a bit random, but I felt that I need to explain a bit of what's been going on before I jump back in to normal life. I know the points I made earlier seem a little scattered and short, but I could go on for days about all of these thoughts and more! So, my goal was to just explain why I took a bit of a step back and maybe remind you to be grateful for what you have, appreciate the people in your life, and to just always start with kindness!

Photo credit: April Zelenka

A Personal Post | A Fresh New Year Ahead

A Personal Post | A Fresh New Year Ahead

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Whew. I don't know about everyone else, but for me 2017 was a crazy year! It was definitely a year of personal growth, and that in turn means changes for my business. Lessons that I thought I knew and beliefs I thought I had were just reinforced! I know I've said it many times, but I believe it now more than ever, that life is short and experiences with people are what matters! You honestly never know what life is going to throw at you and even though you think you've got everything planned and figured out, something will happen and you've got to adjust and change your course.

I like to think that one of my strengths as a photographer is my calm and easy-going personality and that lends itself perfectly to wedding days and even portrait sessions when the unexpected happens. But I also like to think that helps to attract the kind of people that I want to work with! I have been so blessed to have so many wonderful people that have come in to my life through my business, and I am honestly so grateful for the opportunity to preserve so many important memories for them! I have said numerous times that weddings and portraits should be about creating an experience, that's why I suggest making the extra effort to hike to an epic location or really think about the parts of the wedding day and things that matter the most to the two of you.

As you can see from the collection of images I've put together above I really try to practice what I preach in my life, but have I really done this in my professional life? Well I don't think I'm quite there yet in my professional life, but I'm more at peace with that! One of the new things that I've learned is that it's not always about the end goal, that the journey can be even more important! Haha basically I'm going in to 2018 with a more zen mindset. It's so easy to get caught up in the unfairness and unpredictability of life that I think sometimes we forget to just stop, slow down, and appreciate all that we do have. I'm grateful for my amazing friends and family, a very special guy that makes me feel loved and special, a job that I absolutely LOVE, and good health which allows me to eat all of the pie that I want :) Outside of that, I'm still working on improving and growing my business, but my focus now is about really creating those experiences that I keep talking about!

My Story | A Closer Look Into Who I Am

My Story | A Closer Look Into Who I Am

Hi Everybody! It's me, Jen. Haha as if you couldn't tell by the crazy red hair :) Most of the time I use my blog as a place to showcase more images and give you an better feel for a whole session or wedding, but I decided to switch thing up a bit and share a bit more about me. Something that honestly isn't easy for me to do!

One cold winter day in November, my parents rushed to the hospital with the anticipation of their favorite child being born! Lol, okay I'm really not going that far back and I know my brother probably won't read this so he really won't be offended! All kidding aside, I did grow up in a super small town (like 500 small) in central Wisconsin and I am honestly so grateful for the idyllic little bubble we lived in when I was young. As cliche as it may sound, I really did love photography from a young age, and couldn't wait to get my rolls of 35mm film developed from my very not fancy point-and-shoot cameras. Fast forward past a degree in Accounting and one semester abroad that taught me that life is too short to not be happy, and that's when I made the best decision of my life to go to photography school in Massachusetts!

Did I ever think or imagine when I got to photography school that I would move back to Madison and start my wedding photography business? No way! I started second shooting weddings to make money and just kind of fell in love with being a wedding photographer. So how the heck did the girl that can't travel enough end up back in Madison? Well, I was spending a lot of my free time traveling back to visit, so I figured if I lived here I could travel more! And of course being closer to my family and friends was a perk.

So, here I am, in Madison, Wisconsin building a business as a wedding photographer! I've learned a lot about myself in the last few years and what I want for my life and my business. As much as I struggle with putting more of myself out to the world on social media, I've realized that I want to attract more clients like me! Lol, I mean come on, who doesn't want to hang out with people just like themselves ;) To do this I'm starting with this blog post and describing my ideal client and business which really describes me and who I am!

I love to work with couples that want to create an experience for their friends and family on their wedding day. I want to photograph people that are madly in love and want to celebrate their commitment to each other with all of the people that they love :)  I have worked very hard to get where I am and after spending several years focusing on work, I've decided it's more important to focus on people, relationships, and experiences. Traveling, going on adventures, and being active outside are what I love to do and try to prioritize! This is also something that I tell to all of my clients, that you should prioritize what is important to on your wedding day and really make it your own to reflect you two as a couple and the type of day you want to have. I know that may be a very general description, but I really think it's as easy as that!

Speaking of being easy, you'll should also know that I try to keep things pretty easy, simple, and stress free! You'll notice I've kept my website pretty clean and simple and that's intentional! There are so many complicated things in life, and I don't think photography should be one of those things. I always tell my clients that I am here as a resource for them (seeing as I've photographed 125+ weddings and I don't even know how many portrait sessions) and I always feel so honored that they put their trust in me for these special moments.

To sum it all up, I never thought I would be a wedding photographer! I never thought I would be living in Madison after college. I never thought that I would get to preserve memories for people, but I truly am incredibly grateful that I get to!

ps - Photo credit to my talented friend, Katy Weaver

Explore North Workshop | A Wedding Photographer Workshop

Explore North Workshop | A Wedding Photographer Workshop

Hosting and teaching a workshop has been something I've been talking about and wanting to do for years. I am so SO excited to finally be making it happen and to be working with two other amazing photographers, April Violet and Shaunae Teske! Together we are all hosting the Explore North Workshop on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior.

Our workshop is going to be very unique in that all 3 of us have different styles and ways that we run our business, but we all believe in community over competition and we want to help other photographers grow their businesses and reach their goals. That's why we're going to be giving very detailed information on exactly how we do things. Blogging, client experience, accounting, organization, branding, and design are some of the main topics we will be talking about.

But wait, there's more! Haha I totally feel like an infomercial right now. What other things would be valuable to a wedding photographer? New portfolio images, a new head-shot for your website, networking with other photographers and vendors, and just a few days to have fun. As important as all of that other stuff is, being a wedding photographer is draining. You need to take time for yourself to re-charge and get inspired!! This is why we're doing this, and all of this is why we are so very excited to be making this happen :)

Travel Diaries | Big Sur Coast, California | Destination Elopements

Travel Diaries | Big Sur Coast, California | Destination Elopements

If you read my previous blog post (which you should definitely check out if you haven't) you'll know that I started a road trip with 3 awesome ladies in Yosemite National Park. After spending just a day and a half there, we headed west for the coast!

It has been a while since I've taken a trip with just other photographers, and I have to say I've missed it!! Being around other like-minded and totally awesome photographers is both energizing and inspiring. We all understand each other, the struggles we go through being photographers, and our desire to make many stops and take portraits of each other all day! Most people have co-workers that they're with Monday - Friday in person each week, but I work from home by myself. This trip was a good reminder for me that I need that community and support more often. I am so grateful to each of these awesome ladies and the things that they taught me and the many laughs we shared :) Again, here are just a few of the landscapes, portraits, and random moments driving down the California coast through Big Sur!