Cincy Chic: How did you get interested in photography?
Jolene Kroeger: I took a photography class in high school and loved it! That planted the first seed. After having my first child, I became obsessed with scrapbooking and needed more and more photos to help with my habit. The more photos I took the more I wanted to learn about photography. I purchased a very expensive 35mm SLR camera and began learning about all the camera features. The more I practiced, the more obsessed with photography I became. Then came digital! I was terrified to give up my 35mm and go to digital. I decided to try a simple point and shoot digital to get used to digital and how it worked…well that was a HUGE mistake. The point and shoot was NOTHING like my film SLR camera. After eight months, I bit the bullet and purchased a very high-end DSLR camera. I found my camera! I carried it with me everywhere. Going from film to digital is very challenging! Once I got the hang of it, my photography improved tremendously. A friend of mine started her own business and needed someone to design a professional AD type postcard to announce the opening of the store. She contacted me to do it! I was so excited! I loved doing it so much that my husband convinced me to start my own business. That was 2 1/2 years ago.
Cincy Chic: You do a lot of child photography. Is that challenging… do you have any special tricks?
Kroeger: Child photography is very challenging and rewarding! You definitely have to have a lot of patience, flexibility, and the ability to get children to feel comfortable around you. I have five children ranging from 19 to 3! They each have their own individual personalities and have taught me so much! It's funny how becoming a mother changes you completely, at least for me it did. I always thought that when you became a mother you were the one to teach and guide your children, which in one sense you are, but in the other sense they are teaching and guiding you as well! I have learned how to be more patient, flexible, pick my battles, let go of the little things, love each one of them for who they are, find that special gift that they each have and encourage them everyday, what teamwork is really all about, a large family requires a lot of teamwork, love, and strength. I owe my patience and ability to work other children to my own children. Children want to be loved for who they are, they want to be encouraged, they need to be encouraged. We as parents have to discipline and be on top of our children all the time, so when someone else can come in and spend some time with that child and get them to shine and feel good about themselves it really makes a HUGE difference. That's what I do! Parents want and expect their children to behave, don't we all! What I do is get the parents to relax and let them know that it's ok for the child to act silly, climb the stairs, do flips, roll on the floor, even go outside when it's freezing. Yep, did that once because the two-year-old was just not happy being inside having his pictures taken. Took him outside when it was only 45 degrees out, put him on the swing with his older brother and captured the most adorable picture of him and his brother swinging together. The mother and father both cried when they saw it! I have actually found that the parents are more challenging than the children. I have to teach the parents that making me lie on the floor, climb the stairs, run across the room or even go outside in 45 degree weather is fine! You have to be flexible with children. You never know what expression or look you are going to get. I never go into a photo session with a set of poses/ideas I am going to do for that session…I let the child guide me. Sometimes kids will come up with a fantastic idea to show me and it will be the best pose and expression I have ever captured.
Cincy Chic: I understand you're a bit of a philanthropist as well. Tell us about that.
Kroeger: My mother and father have always taught me to give and you shall receive. God has blessed me in so many ways! I have my health, a loving husband, five healthy and beautiful children, a wonderful home, food and clothing for us all, as well as very supportive and encouraging family and friends. God also blessed me with a talent to photograph others. It is my pleasure and honor to share this talent and give back to others. I am honored to be a part of two non-profit organizations, NILMDTS & Celebrating Adoption. I have participated in the past with Kindervelt, EHMOTC and NKYMOTC. I will be participating this year in the Stepping Stones Center and the Arthritis Foundation Bone Bash.
Cincy Chic: Do you have a favorite photographer?
Kroeger: Well, if I had to pick one right now, it would be Lori Nordstrom. She has made a name for herself as an award-winning maternity and newborn photographer. That is my goal! I want to be an award-winning maternity and newborn photographer in Cincinnati.
Cincy Chic: Have a favorite photograph?
Kroeger: I don't really have just one. If you come to my home you will see a lot of favorite photographs of my children all throughout!
Cincy Chic: Where's your favorite place to photograph in Greater Cincy?
Kroeger: I don't really have one favorite place to photograph in Cincinnati. I will tell you that I don't like to go to the parks that a lot of the other photographers go to. The places I photograph are not where any other photographers go. I want my photos to be completely unique. I love trying new locations, especially when they are clients' homes. The best locations as usually in my clients back yard!