Meet Your Fellow Member – Jane Beiles
Tell us about yourself: how long have you been in business, where do you live, and what type of photography do you do?
My firm was established in 2011, so I’m rounding out my first decade as a small business owner. I am based in New Canaan, Connecticut but will travel anywhere to shoot. My favorite shoot was “36 Hours in Copenhagen” for the New York Times Travel section. I specialize in interiors, architecture, and travel with some food photography sprinkled in.
What inspired you to become a photographer?
My mother was a very creative woman and a skilled watercolor painter. She instilled in me a love for visual arts. She introduced a “Learning to Look” elementary school arts education program at my grammar school and I can still remember her preparing for her Mary Cassatt program. An apt memory, since my mother was not only artistic but also a very nurturing mother.
What does your creative process look like?
My work is all about collaboration. So my process is right from the first call to find out my client’s intentions and goals for the images we will create together. I ask a lot of questions, shoot tethered so we are making creative decisions as a team, and listen and remember preferences so that, for repeat clients, each shoot builds upon the last.
Who or what are your inspirations?
My study of art history in college was a big inspiration to pursue a career in the visual arts. I’ve always been drawn to interiors, in particular those by Henri Matisse and Vincent Van Gogh, so it’s no surprise that interiors photography has become my specialty. In terms of amazing women who inspire, I count Frances Palmer and Cornelia Kavanagh as local creative friends who serve up endless inspiration.
What personal projects are you working on?
Like most photographers (and perhaps the rest of the world), I am behind on putting together my own personal family photos. I always put together a “best of” each year which I used to get done in a fairly timely manner, but I’m embarrassed to admit that while I file thousands of photos on time every year for my professional deadlines, my last family album was 2015.
What was the most interesting assignment you had recently?
I was absolutely enchanted by a Covid “pod” that I photographed for a recent New York Times Real Estate cover story on friendships forged during the pandemic. I loved meeting the subjects for my shoot, who were neighbors a generation apart who bonded to become close friends based on the unusual circumstances of the past year. I would reflect that along with many others, I have learned to appreciate the gifts within reach – there was a real silver lining to the inability to travel that many found so much to satisfy in our own homes and neighborhoods.
How have you been handling COVID?
My husband is a physician and worked long hours at the beginning of the crisis in the hospital Covid ward. Also, with three teenagers home for virtual school, honestly the first months are a blur of sanitizing countertops, cooking meals and doing laundry. Since most of my work is interiors, my photography work took a big dive but I felt fortunate to be able to have the flexibility to be home to support my husband and children. I also got involved in raising funds via flower stands and community fundraising to provide meals to hospital workers via community restaurants who were hurt by the shutdown.
Why is ASMP important to you? Why did you join?
I was encouraged to join ASMP by my architectural photography teacher in NYC at ICP when I was still a student. I love the community connections with the other professionals, continuing education and advocacy to protect intellectual property.
What do you think are the secrets to a successful photography business?
For me, enthusiasm and follow-up.
What do people not know about being a photographer that you wish they did?
It’s not always the assignment or the subject matter that makes the job most interesting or satisfying. My favorite assignments are those where I make a meaningful connection with my collaborators.
I am always amazed at the broad spectrum of Janes interests, talents and t he energy that supports her full life . A lively person as well!!