Small Business Friday – Holly Clouse Photography

Small Business Friday’s are back! I have some absolutely amazing photographer’s lined up for you in the months to come, we’ll be interviewing them every Friday morning! First up is Jessica of Jess Renee Photography. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Jess when she lived here a few years ago, when she was stationed at Fairchild, and she is the most bubbly, fun person to be around. I have watched her work grow and become even more amazing. You rock, Jess!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself! (name, husband, kiddos, business name etc.)   

Hi!  I am Jessica Fountain, owner of Jess Renee Photography in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  My home is in sweet home Alabama.  I joined the Air Force in 2003 and I was stationed at Fairchild AFB, WA.  In Washington, I met & married my husband and brought my beautiful son, Henry, into the world.  I separated from active duty in December 2010 and joined the Washington Air National Guard so that I could work on finishing my BA and pursue my photography business.  Shortly after joining the Guard, my husband received orders to Germany.  I am currently out of the military and decided to put school on hold.  I love that I have the opportunity to solely focus on my business and to see where it leads …it’s very exciting!  

2. Tell us something most people don’t know about you! Crazy, funny, embarrassing, etc.  

I totally have a crush on Giorgio Tsoukalas, one of the hosts from Ancient Aliens.  I love the passion he has for his job and his enthusiasm in his interviews.  And his hair…how can you not love that hair?  Haha!  Yes, if you do not know who he is, go Google him now so you can laugh at me. 🙂

3. What are your favorite movies or books? 

Books: Getting Things Done by David Allen, Poke the Box by Seth Godin, & How to Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  
Movies:  My all time favorite movie is What Dreams May Come…it is beautiful.

4. What are your favorite foods or drinks?

I love all food…seriously, living in Germany is not good for that fact.  I want to try every restaurant along with every beer & wine.  This has not been good for my waist line!  

5. What does your typical day look like?

I find it really hard to be on a consistent schedule these days.  At the moment, my husband is on a two month TDY and my son is no longer in pre-school, so it is a little chaotic in my life with the fall busy season.  The balancing act of being pretty much a single mom and business woman is hard.  Thankfully, my son is a great sleeper, so I typically try to wake up before him around 0530-0600 since he sleeps until about 0900.  This allows me to drink my coffee, respond to emails, and edit in peace.  I have a play room in my office where Henry can play while I work, so I try to get as much accomplished during the day as possible since I have zero energy at the end of the day.  At night, I like to relax & recharge in front of the TV with wine and/or chamomile tea.  I love my TV shows!  

6. Tell us your business name, and give us all and any link so your website/blog/social media.  

Jess Renee Photography 

7. Give us a brief description of the business,and how long have you been in business.

I am primarily a family photographer and I have started incorporating Fusion ( into my work the past few months.  I consider myself to have been officially in business since I moved to Germany a year ago.  I never made a profit while living in Washington.  The tax office basically said, “Sorry hun, but you are a hobby, not a business.”  Washington was my time to practice my craft and figure out myself as a photographer for a couple of years.  I was lucky to have fabulous people that trusted me with their memories while living there, but here in Germany is where my business has truly blossomed.  

7. What do you love most about having a small business?

The freedom.  Well…some freedom, haha.  I like that I can set my own hours & schedule to a certain degree.  I love having something I can take in any direction I want.  It’s all mine.  It will always be my vision.  

8. What is the hardest part about having a small business?

Being all alone.  I miss having people around me all of the time like I did during my military career.  I miss having companionship during the hurdles, the struggles, and the good times.  I miss the camaraderie.  The fact is, the majority of a photographer’s work is completed behind a computer screen if they shoot digital.  A very small fraction of my job is the actual taking pictures part (the fun part!), so socializing with clients is very minimal in the grand scheme.  My husband gets an earful the moment he steps through the door because I am dying to converse.  I am very social and miss having an actual person to talk to while I work all day…the wall is kind of boring and doesn’t say much. 🙂

9. What is your biggest inspirations? (other photographers, the outdoors, family etc!) 

I have a lot of inspirations, but my favorite inspirations are my friends…my friends who are photographers, graphic designers, and other creatives.  I find inspiration from all of them in how they run their businesses, how they communicate with clients, and their work.  I love the friendships I have built since entering this industry.  Life is sweeter when you have people rooting for you.  I think it is really important to remember that when you find someone who is rooting for you, make sure it is a two way street and be their biggest fan back.

10. Where do you see your business in 5 years?

Well, in 5 years I will have moved again to who knows where.  I will probably be in year one or two of a new business in the states.  I would love to hire an assistant and I would like to be more into weddings again once I am in the U.S.  I would also like to make a better profit, haha.  I mean, who doesn’t? 🙂  A lot of what I make right now goes straight back into my business.  I know every business should have a 5 year plan, but it is difficult for me to really plan anything being a military family on the go.  I am enjoying being along for the ride.
Thank you SO much, Jess! Go find her on Facebook, HERE, and give her some love!
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  • Elizabeth holderNovember 4, 2012 - 7:28 pm

    I just spent some time catching up on posts and I am loving your small business Friday posts – it is soils poring to read others stories and know that we are not in this alone – I’ve been busy but will have my interview to you this week – a huge thank you to you for taking time todo this!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth holderNovember 4, 2012 - 7:29 pm

    Ok darn spell check it was supposed to read it is so inspiring to read others stories sorryReplyCancel