Ready to capture a moment
By Denise Baran-Unland For the Herald-News October 25, 2012 1:20PM
All photos copyright 2012 by Jenni Kenney Photography and Design JENNI KENNEY | PHOTOGRAPHER firstname.lastname@example.org www.jennikenney.com
Updated: November 27, 2012 10:15AM
Jenni Kenney’s favorite family picture features her husband, Steve, talking with their oldest daughter Kyra while Kenney holds baby Jackson and chases after Carter, their toddler.
“Because we weren’t standing there smiling at the camera,” Kenney said. “The photograph showed us how we really were.”
That’s why this 36-year-old Minooka mother of three children and owner of Jenni Kenney Photography and Design will only shoot candid pictures of her clients. Spontaneous shots capture the individual’s true personality.
To facilitate the perfect blend of art and a person’s psyche, Kenney takes her time getting to know clients so she can stage the session to complement them. Most shoots occur at Kenney’s house, but she’s also gone to private homes, forest preserves and parks.
“I can get true emotions when people are outdoors,” Kenney said.
Each session is as unique as the client is; Kenney duplicates no experience. For poses that include children, clients bring items that encourage spontaneity and natural smiles, such as kites, bubbles, tea sets, balls, cowboy boots and tutus.
“A lot of times the kids start crying when it’s time to leave,” Kenney said. “When they want to stay, that’s how I know I’ve done my job.”
Occasionally, Kenney takes her staging concept a step further with themed play sessions to encourage children to really loosen up: pirate, lemonade stand and farmers market. She offers poses with Santa Claus at Christmas and adds baby chicks and ducklings during Easter.
“I did a ‘Field of Dreams’ session at the Joliet Slammers baseball field where the kids got to run the bases, sit in the dugout, eat peanuts and drink Coke while wearing their favorite baseball clothes,” Kenney said.
Senior sessions are especially fun, Kenney said, because older people display terrific energy. She invites them to share stories and anecdotes unique to them and even to laugh and act silly.
With pregnant women, Kenney offers a “belly and baby” package that feature photos of the woman during pregnancy and then with her newborn. Kenney also gives women the option of exposing or not exposing their abdomens during the shoot.
Why such a passion for immortalizing those nuances in personality? Perhaps it’s because Kenney treasures the one image she has of her father, who died when she was 2 years old. That image is part of the lone family portrait of Kenney’s childhood.
This may also be why Kenney specializes in newborns and offers a first-year package to memorialize their growth and development. Kenney is poignantly aware of the rapid passage of time, which is all too evident in a brand-new baby.
“Babies change so much in those first two weeks,” Kenney said. “People will say, ‘But my baby has such scaly little toes,’ and want me to Photoshop that out. I tell them, ‘They’re wonderful. You need to remember. That time goes away so quickly.’”
Contact Kenney at 815-791-9613, visit www.jennikenney.com or find Jenni Kenney Photography and Design on Facebook.