Jeni Dieringer (Wenatchee, WA)
“Don’t compare yourself to anyone else”
I'm happy to finally post this months Style Story with Washington Native Jeni Dieringer of Jeni Jo Photography. She's only been practicing photography for a few short years and professionally practicing since January 2017 and has already done so much! I asked Jeni to tell me a little about herself...
I was born and raised in Central Washington where I am still living. I grew up on a dairy farm, and I rode and showed quarter horses from 5 years old to 16 years old. At 17 I started to compete in bodybuilding and continued to do so until I was 20. I’m now 21 and have been a professional photographer since January 2017 and I can’t be more thankful for my mom buying be a Nikon D5500 for my 20th birthday.
I’m a self-taught photographer, I have a 2 year degree from doing running start in High School in Arts and Science. Running Start is a program that allows high school students to attend the nearest college for their last two years of high school and graduate with both high school and college credits. So I graduated from high school and college at the same time!
I would have never ever thought that I would be a professional photographer, so I never even took any photography related courses. My three biggest teachers are YouTube (if there’s a photography tutorial, I’ve watched it), my mentors (Allegra Messina, Tom Hines, and Roseanna Sales), and experience (just getting out there and shooting).
What is your favorite "subject" to shoot?
My favorite subjects to shoot are fitness athletes and equestrians. I’m naturally drawn to them because that’s what I grew up doing! Showing horses and competing in bodybuilding were both a huge part of my life and while I don’t do either anymore, I still have a ton of respect for the competitors in both sports and have so much fun working with those athletes.
What inspires you?
Other forms of art inspire me! I love paintings, drawings, sculptures, 3D and 4D graphics, anything art. My sisters comforter actually was the inspiration for a shoot I’m planning next month, lol so yeah literally anything.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“Don’t compare yourself to anyone else”, I probably saw it on someones Instagram post lol. But I have to remind myself of this all the time! I have to stay in my own lane because if I don’t I’ll fall into a deep dark hole of self doubt, which has happened plenty of times.
What has your biggest struggle been as an entrepreneur?
By far my biggest struggle is realizing my worth and staying true to it. Photography is my passion, it makes me excited and helps me feel connected to other people, but it’s also my job, and I need to remember that. So when people ask for discounts or trades, I want to help them out (especially if it’s family) but if I am constantly doing that then I'm not valuing myself as much as I know I should be. Of course I do a lot of trade work because I know the types of trades that will help my business grow in a round-about way and now I can spot the types of trades that wont help me or my business.
What has your biggest moment of "growth" been as a photographer?
I was on my way home from an all inclusive trip where I stayed with my friend who I met through bodybuilding; she hired me to take her photos in Santa Fe (her new home). We had an amazing time exploring New Mexico and one of our sets while we were in the Bisti Badlands was actually published in a fashion magazine! I was like wow I must actually be a decent photographer if someone wants to pay for me to travel to them this far. That trip definitely made it clear to me that photography is my thing.
Being from Vancouver BC we love to visit Washington, if we were going to play tourists in your town what would you tell us to do for a day?
Well, I live in Wenatchee which is a decently small town of 33,000 people. I think the best thing to do here is go for a hike on Saddle Rock or walk on the loop trail (if you like nature of course). Besides that, there’s some pretty good food here: India House is my favorite, Fire at Pybus is an amazing brick oven pizza place, and there’s plenty of sushi restaurants to choose from! Plus, Leavenworth is only 30 min away, and Lake Chelan is about 45 min away with lots of cool stuff to do in both of those towns!
What's next for you?
I’m planning on doing some traveling this summer! So actually next week I’m road tripping to Oregon and California. August I’m hoping to plan a trip to Hawaii. In September I may go back to California. Then October I’m hoping for Arizona! I’ll likely be shooting everywhere I go, but that’s not my main goal for traveling - I just want to experience new places. Next year I’ll be taking my travels international!