How I became a Fashion Model, Actress, Producer, Director…….and now…ta-da…Photographer and Lifestyle Image Consultant!

Welcome to my Lifestyle! I’ve been wanting to do this for many years, and it recently dawned on me that 2010 is the right time. I’ve been blessed with a very exciting life that has taken me all over the world. It all started when I became a fashion model. That was my lucky break–my “pass-go” key out of the  “hood,” or “gulch,” as we used to say. It was my ticket to the world. Like athletes, models have a window of opportunity to really shine. My model friends and I used to say  “take the money and run!”  Luckily,  I got to run for 20 years with Ford Models  http://www.fordmodels.com/

During that time, I also had an acting career in LA and started three different businesses. After periodically appearing on television and starring in a “feature film” (a C movie…ha! Check it out at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149016/ ) I landed a contract role on ABC’s All My Children (http://www.soaps.com/allmychildren/). After memorizing a zillion sentences every night  and realizing that the soaps were not my strong point, I  started mustering up the courage to do my own thing. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit (I had a bicycle paper route at the age of 11), so I didn’t consider it a big stretch to shoot a video documentary on becoming a model. My  high-8 camera and favorite Nikon f4 became my constant companions on every modeling gig, worldwide, as I shot scene after scene. I christened my “baby”–the finished 60 minute video (now a DVD)–The Art Of Modelinghttp://www.amazon.com/Art-Modeling-VHS-Kristen-Jensen/dp/6305020914/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=video&qid=1268231384&sr=1-6)

I was lucky. I grew up in a house with a mother who has incredible style and impeccable taste, both in clothing and home decor. When my parents came to Northern California from Europe, they brought with them many antiques and unusual things that our neighbors had never seen. My school friends would come over and hang out because our house was so “cool”. This early exposure to beautiful and unique things left an indelible print on me. Over the 15 years I modeled in Europe, I always loved Paris–not only for the nighttime activities (more on that later IF you promise to behave), but also–and mostly–for the flea markets. I also went scouting for antiques in Denmark, Germany, and Provence, France (http://www.provence-hideaway.com/303.html) often tagging along with my mentor, European agent, and friend, Soni Ekvall ( http://www.modelteam-hamburg.de). A group of us blonde model girls would meet in Nice, France every summer and spend a week with Soni, cooking, giggling, sun bathing, giggling, drinking wine, and giggling some more. Naturally, we all shopped till we dropped, too.

I’ve dabbled with interior design, and discovered that I have a natural gift for it. After falling in love with Connecticut during the early ’90s, I bought a circa 1700 farm house and fixed it up, roof to basement. There’s something about an old house that makes me feel super cozy, although I also like modern furniture and design. My current house was built in 1900. It’s a much better vintage for me because I can stand up straight. I think people started getting taller around that time period–and so did the ceiling heights. The down side to interior decorating is having to wait forever for fabrics and furnishings to arrive. That’s a real bummer for me, the queen of fast action and immediate results!!

I started my photography business in the summer of 2003, and it has been growing steadily ever since. I LOVE it, and feel amazingly blessed to have discovered my passion and turned it into my livelihood. Seeing life in pictures is like breathing air for me–it’s the most natural thing in the world.  My calling as an artist and photographer transcends the simple smile, say “cheese,” and point-and-shoot. Instead, I get to know my clients and the things that make them tick. The result: insightful, natural portraits that truly reflect the person’s unique personality. As I say to my students, “it’s not about the camera…it’s about what you see.”

I do informal image consults for just about every shoot. However, news flash: I am now offering an upgrade pre-shoot image consult, which can be done either through a meeting at my house or through Skype.  This little dash of extra effort gives my clients–whether captains of industry or small business owners–a real marketing edge, by ensuring that they are prepared and looking their absolute “game on” best before I take a single shot.  I also work with my clients to create a cohesive imaging strategy that threads through their web site design, company/product literature, logo, and even their personal look–including hair, makeup, and wardrobe. I even offer a full SEO web service package. This attention to detail that I bring to the picture (no pun intended) is what separates me from the average photographer. You’re not only buying me, my talent, and my time–you’re getting the KJ point of view (POV) on what works and sells. And from what my clients say, the KJ POV sells, baby…it sells!

I have to run, but please come back and visit often! I welcome your comments and will be posting the fun and interesting ones. So of course you’ll be dying to see if you made the cut, right?

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