Bicoastal photographer and HoneyBook favorite Jennifer Sosa always seems to serve up images with an extra bit of light and love. Her ethereal frames capture the unique nature of every subject, whether it’s her hometown of New York City, a glowing bride, or a storefront in her native Los Angeles. The images that populate her mega popular Instagram, expertly captures both her brand and the photographer herself. It’s her ability to convey both herself and her subject that keeps her inbox overflowing with inquiries from both coasts. Learn more about how she manages her booming business and her methods for building an online brand that appeals to her ideal client.
One of the notable things about your business is that you’re bicoastal, how do you suggest other photographers who want to be bicoastal get started?
Building relationships with people in the area you would like to live in is key. While competence is a wonderful quality to have, personality is what makes someone memorable. Technical skill can make you inspirational but it’s your personality is at the core of growing your business. Finding like minded people who share a common vision and aesthetic is key as well. Having a genuine friendship within a community of other artists and vendors will make you stand out among the crowd. Some of my closest friends were met at weddings and on social media. These relationships naturally turned into some of the most beautiful work I’ve ever created. I don’t go into my new relationships thinking how can this person benefit me. It’s more like, “I really like this person and they’re really talented. I wonder what would happen if we were to collaborate on something.” That’s usually where the magic begins when you’ve found a group of like minded creatives. It’s this community that drew me to LA. The thought of leaving NYC kind of terrified me. The friends I’ve made out here have become my second family. I owe the successfulness of my bi-coastal dream to them.
You have a very strong following on Instagram, what do you think drives that popularity and how can other creative professionals build a following?
That’s like the million dollar question everyone keeps wondering about. I’m still working on how to hone in my voice and grow as a brand. I think it’s important to know your brand and be consistent with it. Once you’ve found your visual voice you will naturally attract people who want to be a part of that. If you don’t know what your voice is, then be intentional about commenting and contributing on other photographers posts. Be authentic with your comments and you will be noticed. Perhaps it’s asking questions to get a dialogue going or inspiring people to see something in a different light. The iphone is quickly becoming one of my favorite cameras. I love using instagram as a way to push myself to see similar scenarios differently or just experiment with light. I post images that inspire me and have found that I’ve attracted creatives that appreciate who appreciate my world view.
Whenever we meet in person, I’m always impressed by some new challenge you’re trying out. What’s something you’ve done recently that scared you and how do you think creative experimentation can impacts your business?
This summer I shook things up by taking an improv comedy class at UCB. What the class did was highlight my fears and insecurities but also learn to embrace them as well since that’s what makes for good comedy. Like my improv, creative experimentation is taking a risk that may or maynot payoff. Experiments are vital to nurturing your creativity. Without it it’s easy to plateau and run on auto pilot. While playing it it safe can lead to good work but let’s face it, we all want to be great at something. The only way to do that is to try so hard you can potentially fail. Sometimes a perceived failure can actually be one of the best things that could ever happen to you. It awakens you from the slumber of auto pilot and enlightens you to a new way of thinking and being. That’s when you start to thrive.
Something I often hear from vendors is that while they’re getting clients, they don’t feel like they’re the RIGHT clients. What do you think you do differently to attract your ideal client?
I create and show what I love, which then attracts people who want what I have to offer. What it all boils down to is vision and being constantly connecting to it. I started shooting weddings in NYC when weddings weren’t the popular thing to do yet. The wedding photographers I saw seemed to take themselves too seriously or have really cheesy poses. I remember thinking, if I were a bride I wouldn’t want to hire any of these people because they wouldn’t get me! So I became the photographer that I would want to hire. Coming from a design background I decided to create a road map which ended up being a 50 page PDF document of my ideal client and wedding. Let’s be real, I was my ideal client so it was pretty easy. I thought of things like where would these couples shop and why? What are their values and what are they drawn to?
Basically, I did the homework. If you don’t know where to start, I’d say attending a workshop or hiring a branding consultant would be super beneficial on helping you hone in on your vision.
What are some trends in wedding/event photography that will be popular in the coming year/years?
I’m not quite sure about what’s to come but I’m excited to see people grow and push their creative limits. There was a point in time where wedding photographers were seen as the people who couldn’t make it in the commercial world. In fact you were often told not to admit that you shoot weddings. That stigma is gone now, and I think the quality of wedding work is only going to keep improving as more commercial photographers take that leap into the industry.