Getting to know the Incredible Jenn Cooper

Who are The Canon Collective? They are a variety of hand-picked photographer extraordinaire’s that have been selected by Canon Australia to encourage and grow photography throughout our communities.
But, in light of International Women’s Day, we would like to introduce to you on one of Canon Collective’s female members and focus on her story as a mum first with a passion for adventure.

Meet Jenn Cooper. Jenn’s love for photography started from a young age and has since taken her to some incredible places. Whether it is rubbing shoulders with the King Penguins in Antarctica, or being one with the locals in Ethiopia, her travel experiences are those to dream of. She has a very inspirational take on photography which we think you will all enjoy.

So tell us, Jenn, where did it all start for you?
As a child we travelled regularly and often met photographers working overseas or on-board cruise ships. From then I promised myself I’d be a photographer who travelled the world. I thought that would be the coolest job, and here I am today doing just that.
I spent most of my schooling hours either on the sports field or in the darkroom. My photography teacher was so supportive of my passions that she gave me a set of keys for the darkroom. I remember developing my own images and experiencing the magic of a photo coming to life in the developing tray. It’s really what sparked my love for photography, and inspired me to pursue a formal education in the field.

Evidently, you obviously love to travel. Where is your favourite place??
I love to travel, and the more I travel the more my list of ‘places to visit’ grows.
I’ve been very lucky to tick all seven continents off my bucket list, even Antarctica. But my favourite has to be Africa. It warms my soul on another level. The people, the wildlife, and the landscapes feel so familiar. In fact, I recall the very first time I was on safari in South Africa I experienced the greatest sense of déjà vu, I was convinced I’d been there before. I recently returned from a photography tour in Ethiopia with the Canon Collective where we spent time in the Omo Valley visiting the tribes, which was a photographic delight.

What a great experience. We can only imagine that being a part of the Canon Collective has opened up so many opportunities like this for your photography. What does it mean to be apart of such a creative and inspiring team?
I’m very grateful for the opportunities that Canon Collective has opened up to me, especially being a full-time mum and full-time employee. Being apart of a team that’s supportive, creative and inspires me to constantly push myself to achieve greater things is crucial for both my success and happiness at work. Consider how many hours we will spend working in our lifetime, now imagine that every hour we spent working was doing something you absolutely loved! That’s the feeling I get being apart of the Canon family.

In our eyes, you are living the ultimate dream. Do you have any advice for any aspiring photographers?
My favourite saying is, “Say Yes! Then figure out how.” I remember when I started at Canon; the Canon rep recruited me from my retail position to be Field Account Manager for Canon. I didn’t have a car, nor did I know how to drive but I said, “Yes, sure I’ll take a job that requires me to drive all over the state – no problem!” I’ve never been so passionate about learning how to drive. Never, ever, ever give up and get as much experience as you can!

You’re a mum to 2 beautiful kids and it is so nice to see that they have inspired you to venture into the “portrait” area of photography. So much so that you now actually teach about capturing those special moments, and we were hoping you would share some of those teachings with us?
Sure!
1. Find the best light – Soft light is best, early morning or late afternoon when the light isn’t too harsh. Shooting in the middle of the day can be done, just look for a shady spot.
2. Use your zoom – If your camera has zoom use it. Taking a portrait too close to your subject isn’t as flattering as taking a few steps back and zooming in. This also assists in blurring the background.
3. Remove the clutter – Keeping the shot as simple as possible creates a beautiful, timeless piece without distractions. Look for simple clothing without patterns or prints and watch out for unnecessary distractions in the background. A quick tidy up makes the world of difference when the image is framed on your wall.

So please tell us!!! On a normal day, what would we find in your camera bag?
Allens snakes! You need to always be prepared for a big shoot. The majority of my work is shot on Canon EOS5div and these 4 lenses;
• EF16-35mm F/2.8
• EF24-105mm ii
• EF70-200mm f/2.8 (favourite lens)
• EF100-400mm
I also carry 100 memory cards and spare batteries. I don’t know how many events I’ve been to and another photographer has forgotten their memory cards. I like to be prepared to help people in need.

It sounds like you have great reason to love what you do, and we sure are envious. So tell us, how important is it for you to keep telling your stories through you’re photography?
I need to keep travelling, I’m not sure what I’m searching for, but I know I need to continue building memories for as long as I can. Photography is all about storytelling, and being able to share my stories and experiences from the places I’ve been allows me to build my legacy… 1TB at a time.

So where do you find your inspiration these days?
I find inspiration in the light. It sounds simple, but when I see a beautiful portrait in perfect light I’m inspired to shoot. The way the golden light transforms a landscape inspires me, seeing the light is important. Helping people achieve their goals, coaching people on their photographic journey is also something I enjoy.
We couldn’t agree more!
Thank you so much for your time and sharing your story with us. We think it is only fair if our last question is our favourite one to ask. Who gets the lucky status of being your favourite photographer?
Great question! Richard I’Anson, travel photographer and adventurer. His approach to photography is to be admired. Having travelled to Antarctica with Richard and shooting alongside him on various occasions I’ve observed that he’s always in the moment, camera in hand, set and ready to fire. He doesn’t worry about whether F/5.6 would be favoured over f/8 is ISO200 or ISO400 better for this scene? The settings don’t matter as long as you got the shot, too often I see photographers fiddling with their camera and missing those fleeting photographic moments. There’s nothing wrong with shooting in TV with auto ISO and letting yourself be immersed in the moment! Richard’s work inspires me to continue travelling and documenting the world as I see it.

See more of Jenn Cooper’s work here.

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