Jenn LeBlanc is a Colorado girl living in a California world. She's an award-winning author and photographer, and her two latest novels are The Trouble with Grace and The Spare and the Heir, available exclusively on iBooks.
What do you do best?
I see. That may sound odd to people who aren't visual communicators, but those who are will readily understand. It took many years for me to realize that everyone doesn't see the world the way that I do. I have a very intense relationship with the visual, which is what makes me the photographer that I am. I notice things nobody else does. I see things nobody else notices.
What makes you the best?
What makes me the best at what I do is how I see the world. My visuals are obsessively controlled down to the most minute details in costuming, movement, talent, and setting. I approach every image as though it were a complete story of its own. I want the viewer to have a visceral reaction to the image. It isn't about the general technical content of the image - it's more about the emotion the image portrays.
What are your aspirations?
My personal and business goals are very closely intertwined because photography isn't merely what I do, it is truly who I am. I was born to be a photographer and excising that from my personal life would not leave me the same person. Photography saves me on a daily basis. I have actually been thinking a lot about goals lately. My previous goals were around really wanting to work with certain authors and models, but since I’ve recently achieved those goals, I now need to strive for something new, possibly bigger, and more exciting. I haven't quite figured it out yet, but after this book launch, I intend to really sit down and daydream about what I would like to happen in my wildest dreams, then set about making that come true. Because, in reality, the things I've done this year were all unattainable pipe dreams to me five years ago.
My newest release, the illustrated romance duet The Trouble with Grace and The Spare and the Heir, is my biggest success to date. I am so incredibly proud of the work that went into these two novels, from the research and the subject matter to the character development, to the imagery and the photoshoots and design...this is the best work I've ever done.
Most Challenging Moment?
About three years ago, I was wrestling with the idea of walking away from stock imagery for romance novel covers. I started in the romance industry as an author and that was something I wanted to pursue, but my stock imagery site had taken off and stock imagery is a numbers game. To be competitive and make money you have to constantly provide new content. I was shooting constantly and had no real time for my own creative needs in writing and shooting my own stories. Ultimately I made the decision to go exclusive, and I haven't looked back. The level of quality in my imagery is such that exclusivity is entirely sustainable as a business model for me, and it only increases the demand for my images. It was a turning point that truly brought me to where I am today doing exactly what I want. Crafting exclusive images for a few clients as well as writing my own stories and illustrating them.
Happiness is my motto. It's rather simple, but it really is. If I'm not having fun at what I'm doing, I'm going to move on. But right now, I'm still having fun. I want everyone who walks into my studio to have fun as well. I want them to walk out with a smile and want to return.
Favorite People/Role Models?
In the romance industry, I love Tiffany Reisz for her brave bold stories and drive. I love Tessa Dare for her intimate and beautiful stories and her smart wit, both in and out of her storytelling. I love Courtney Milan for her groundbreaking and powerful stories. In photography, I have always loved David LaChapelle for his incredibly bold use of color and space, for his impossibly saturated imagery as well as his bold work that departs from the visual to the strictly emotional. I love the father of the decisive moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson, for showing me patience in imagery, how to wait and watch and pay attention. I also love the Victorian painter John Singer Sargent for his attention to detail in his portraiture, which is something I carry into my studio with me for every shoot.
There are a few places in this world that bring me peace. Garrapata Beach of the Pacific Coast Highway near Monterey. The Gulf Coast, particularly Grand Isle in Louisiana and Oh My God Road in Colorado, though it's slowly being stripped away to the gambling towns of Black Hawk and Central City.
I'm a Canon girl, a Jeep girl and a Mac girl... in pink. My first camera was a Canon and my last camera will be a Canon. The bokeh is unmatched in digital SLR lenses. My 5D MKIII is my baby, and although they have a MKIV coming, I absolutely love this camera. I'm also a Mac girl, and though my beast is getting on in years (she's a 2010 17"MacBook Pro), I am really not looking forward to replacing her. She has been a workhorse and a powerhouse for so many years. I can't imagine my photography workflow without her. The third is my Jeep - I do a lot of driving in my work. I haul a lot of gear and do location shoots in strange places and Betty, my 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, is my home away from home. As for pink, if it comes in pink that's how I'm buying it. My Alien Bee strobes are hot pink. My gaffer tape is hot pink. My Nikes are hot pink. I love pink. Everything else is negotiable.
My current passions are the two books I just completed, The Trouble with Grace and The Spare and the Heir. I'm excited about sharing them with the world and I can't wait to hear from my readers and fans about the story and the images. I am so engrossed in the success of this project at the moment that I haven't reached beyond it for some time, but to be perfectly honest, this is where I love to be. I'm not simply a woman who writes and does photography for a living. I am a storyteller, this is who I am at my core. I am truly blessed to be able to do what I am passionate about every single day. All day long and into the night. Writing and photography are my passions. They are my world, and I'm in love with everything about them.