There are certain skills needed to take a good photograph, and they have nothing to do with wielding an expensive camera or enhancing a shot with fancy backdrops, says professional photographer Jan Sexson.
What every good shutterbug needs, according to Sexson, is the ability to read people well. And treat them even better.
“Probably one of the biggest mistakes I see young people cheap tramadol go to photography seminars make,Â” Sexson says, Â“is too many people spend a lot of money on a lot of equipment and lots of props.Â”
A good course in psychology, she insists, would serve them much better.
Sexson should know. The daughter of a career photographer, she grew up in Pana, Ill., learning the ropes from him Â— watching how he interacted with subjects who responded to his personal touch and respectful demeanor.
Sexson opened her new Milford studio, Sexson Photography, at 100 Lansdale Avenue last October. Her specialties include business portraits, children, couples and families, real estate and weddings.
Â“I learned how to treat people from my dad,Â” she says, recalling that clients sometimes would only deal with her father. Â“Elderly ladies would not even talk to me. They would wait until Dad would come in. He knew how to treat people, respect people. He knew how important the client is.Â”
That sensitivity goes a long way toward creating the best images, she says.
Â“There are a lot of photographers out there, very good ones,Â” Sexson notes. Â“But they donÂ’t always show the respect for the client.Â”
When photographers treat clients with respect they earn their subjectÂ’s trust, which helps bring out the clientÂ’s personality, says Sexson. Only then, when the photographer gets to know unique characteristics of her subject, can the photo really begin to take shape, she adds. It is at this point that she will start to suggest clothing and appropriate background, and devise just the right balance of light and shadows for the perfect portrait.
Sexson came to Milford from Illinois, where she had operated her own studio, after meeting Â“significant otherÂ” Hans Gawlitza. He helped her fit out her Milford studio, including refinishing the 1,115-square-foot spaceÂ’s hardwood floors.
Â“Hans is great with woodworking,Â” says Sexson. She did some remodeling but kept the approximately $35,000 start-up costs down by using furnishings she already had. She feels comfortable in Milford, having been welcomed by the chamber of commerce, she says. Many of the organizationÂ’s members have become her clients.
The sole proprietor of her enterprise, Sexson is now looking to hire a salesperson Â“willing to work on commissionÂ” to her grow her corporate photography clientele.
Sexson, who mainly uses a Canon 5D Mark II camera, has taught photography classes at community colleges in Illinois and is looking forward to offering workshops at her studio. "I shoot only digitally now," she explains. "Digital cameras have come so far in the past few years that I get excellent results with my Canon D5 Mark II.Â I love being able to take as many images as I wish, without being concerned about the cost. With professional film, every time I snapped the shutter, it cost about $1.25.Â”
Sexson also is a volunteer photographer with the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation, which provides professionals to take pictures of stillborn or short-lived babies so their families can have a remembrance. Sexson knows how important that can be, having suffered the heartbreak of losing a grandson.
A sample of Sexson's work
Â“When I got the phone call [about her grandsonÂ’s death], the last thing on my mind was taking a camera. I have no photographs of my little Zachary, and I would give anything to have a photograph.Â”
In order to effectively work with the foundation, Sexson has to maintain her professionalism in the midst of tragedy Â— another trait her father passed on to her.
Her dad, Joe Mrosko, was a Marine photographer during World War II. One of his assignments was photographing ravaged Nagasaki, Japan, following the second atomic-bomb attack in August 1945. He opened his studio after being discharged from the military in 1946.
Sexson never seriously considered any other profession.
Â“People ask me how long IÂ’ve been interested in photography, and I say ever since I was a twinkle in my daddyÂ’s eye,Â” she says. Â“I pretty much grew up in the studio.Â”
One of her pet peeves is seeing the decrease in quality of photos as more people forsake film for digital cameras and cell-phone cameras.
But people who are Â“settling for iPhones instead of top-quality portraitsÂ” need only compare a corporate photo shot with an iPhone and one professionally taken. Â“They can see the difference,Â” says Sexson.
For more information about Sexson Photography, visit sexsonphotography.com.
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