Overcoming Impostor Syndrome as a Photographer

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Jen H.:

Give yourself permission to love your art.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

There is an unsettling, nagging worry that accompanies impostor syndrome, that somehow, someday, someone is going to find out that you’re a great big phony.

Impostor syndrome is the pervasive feeling that you’re faking your way through success, and that your achievements are attributable only to good luck. There is an unsettling, nagging worry that accompanies impostor syndrome, that somehow, someday, someone is going to find out that you’re a great big phony. That you’re really not as really good as you’ve cleverly convinced people that you are. That you’re a fraud.

In today’s post, I’ve decided to focus on impostor syndrome in the photography community, but everything herein can be easily extrapolated onto any professional field or any creative pursuit. I’ve collected some thoughts from a few of the I Heart FacesCreative Team; Amandalynn Jones and Julie Rivera, as well as Texas photographer Karyn Kelbaugh

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Identifying Your Photographic Inspiration and Style

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Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Today’s technology makes the creation of a photograph a trivial thing. With the rapid improvement of cameras within mobile devices in the last decade, we are rarely without the ability to take photographs of the minutiae of our daily lives. We can share images with others with the tap of a button, and the feedback in the form of likes and comments is addictive. With the trivialization of photography in an age of selfies, latte art, sunsets, and vintage color filters (all of which I love, if I’m being honest), some of the heart and art of the craft seems to be getting lost. As a photographer, do you take the time to identify and understand what really excites you when you find it in front of your lens? If not, do you wish to start?

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —…

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Perspectives on Watermarks (and Various Methods to Protect Your Images)

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Jen H.:

A reblog of the Daily Post roundup that I contributed to, on watermarking online images. Great information from eight other WordPress photographers.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Photographers sharing their perspectives on watermarks:

Jeff Sinon, Jeff Sinon Photography
Mary McAvoy, The Ripest Pics
Karla Aguilar, Traveller Soul
Richard Smith Jr., Reckless Pixel
Marcus Kazmierczak, Mkaz.com
Jen Hooks, Light Candy
Pam Kocke, Pyjammy’s {Identical} Triplets
Donncha Ó Caoimh, In Photos
Stephen McLeod Blythe, All My Friends Are JPEGs

Many photographers display watermarks — commonly known in the form of a visible marker such as text, a logo, or a signature — on photographs for various reasons, while others strongly prefer not to add them. Here, we’ve asked a handful of WordPress photographers their takes. You’ll read a mix of opinions from bloggers who take pictures for different reasons, their various experiences and methods, and links to other sources of information.

Like other roundups on The Daily Post that compile the best practices of bloggers, our goal is not to tell you what’s “right” or “wrong,” but to present a range of perspectives so you…

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Ensuring Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

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Jen H.:

Really great post about making sure your site is mobile-friendly, from my colleague Krista!

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Today, Google released a change to its algorithm that gives higher search scores to sites it deems “mobile-friendly.” Curious WordPressers might be asking:

  1. How can I be sure my site is mobile-friendly?
  2. What can I do if my site is not mobile-friendly?

1. See if your site is mobile-friendly

Visit Google’s mobile-friendly test link and enter your site’s address (e.g., http://dailypost.wordpress.com or http://automattic.com). Google will then analyze your site and declare it mobile-friendly or not.

Did your site pass? YAY! Pass GO and collect $200 from the Community Chest.

2. What can I do if my site is not mobile-friendly?

If your site failed Google’s test, you might be using an older theme that’s not responsive. Responsive themes change their layout slightly when someone visits via tablet or mobile phone to ensure that important content like the site title, post titles, and post content can be read on smaller screens.

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Columbus, Ohio, USA

Jen H.:

It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Actually, it is kind of a tough job. But it is rewarding, deeply satisfying on a personal and intellectual level, and I get to work from coffee shops and wine bistros.

You should click that blue “Work With Us” button, and check it out.

Originally posted on Office Today:

Working from Cork Wine and Dine – great wifi, great atmosphere.

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The post where I catch up on 2013.


I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself today.

Today was supposed to be the first day of my holiday vacation. My mom was going to come and spend a few days before the rest of the family came, and we were going to shop, eat sushi, and get up to our elbows in sugar and flour and bake until our wrists and feet ached. We’d been planning for months.

But I’ve got the flu.

Last year, we had strep throat over Christmas, and missed out on a lot of revelry. This year, I’m the third in the house to get influenza in the span of two weeks, and we’re holding our breath (literally and figuratively) that Peanut and Panda don’t get it.

So instead of a day of baking and Bing Crosby and much needed time with my mama, I’m having a sick day. I have a hard time being idle, so I tried to think of something low-key that I can do that is both restful and mentally stimulating. I decided to make this post.

I haven’t really blogged regularly since May of 2013, when I was still pregnant with Panda. I never blogged about his birth, I didn’t blog about our massive, impulsive, practically-instantaneous move from South Carolina to Ohio, and none of the minutiae in between. The supreme irony of it all is that I work every day supporting bloggers, and barely do it myself. My resolutions for 2015 are to be less busy, get back to photographing my family more, and blog more.

In this post, I’m going to catch up on 2013, in photos. Let’s start with Panda’s birth on July 27, 2013.

I was almost 42 weeks pregnant, and my labor started around 2:00 am, with my contractions only about two and a half minutes apart. We got to the hospital just before 5:00 am, and my water broke around 8:30. I joked that he was going to be born before 9:00 am, and he made his entrance after five pushes, at 8:59, at 8 pounds, 3 ounces. Almost seven hours to the minute, after my active labor started. He had to spend a few hours in the NICU because of meconium, and I didn’t get my hands on him until around 11:00 am. I don’t remember many times I’d felt so bereft in my entire life. I pumped eight milliliters of colostrum for him while he was in the NICU, and obsessed about it affecting his nursing. My worries were unfounded; he was still at his birthweight when we left the hospital two days later. He was our smallest newborn, but now, he’s enormous, just a few pounds lighter than his three-year-old sister.

The girls settled right into life as big sisters once we were all home on Minstrels Way.

Two Little Monkeys Photography did an amazing newborn photo session for us.

My sweet boy even slept for mama for some photos at twenty days old.

Days at home alone with the kids were long, but looking back, I realize that the time was incredibly short. This feels like a lifetime ago.

Peanut turned two (covered with bruises from daycare tumbles) and Panda turned one month old on the same day – August 27th.

At the end of August, we took what we didn’t know at the time would be our last trip to Myrtle Beach as residents of South Carolina. We decided about a week after we got home that we were going to try to move to Ohio. I’m so glad the kids got to see their Great-Grandmother Rose.

The only photos I have from most of September and October are iPhone photos. The first POD arrived at our house in South Carolina on September 13th, five days after we officially decided that we were going to move. Before our house was officially on the market. Before either of us had jobs or house prospects in Ohio. And a nine week old. Wow.

The only photo that I can find of Pumpkin’s birthday was an iPhone photo, taken the morning before she went to daycare. You can see the air mattress on the floor of our bedroom behind her; we were two days away from moving. I’d posted the following message on Facebook along with the photo:

“Today, she is four. Frazzle haired, her face sporting scratches from her baby sister’s fingernails and a scraped nose from a fall at the park, she’s my feisty, mighty little girl.

We’re going to have cake and balloons on Saturday at grandma and grandpa’s. Today will be her last day at “school”, so they’ll sing her happy birthday there. She is so excited to be a big girl now.

Happy birthday to my firstborn!”


We stayed with my mom and dad for about a week before finding a one-bedroom suite at the StayBridge extended stay hotel in Dublin. It was close to the zoo, which we got a membership for immediately. It was a very hectic time, with house hunting, job hunting for Keith, and the beginning of my Happiness Engineer Trial with Automattic. It was also blessedly simple; breakfast was made for us every morning, and three days a week, dinner was included with our stay. There was no cleaning to be done, we were close to family, we lucked out and found a great daycare that was close, Keith found a job very soon after we moved, and I loved every second of my trial with Automattic. The realtor we started working with was a dream, and she helped us find our dream house, within just a few weeks.

I didn’t take many photos of the kids or of our new house for the first few weeks of being there, but I did get my camera out to take some photos of my handsome fellow on November 16, when he was just shy of four months old.

By Thanksgiving, we still had boxes everywhere, and weren’t even remotely settled in. I got my camera out for a few snaps throughout the day, but it wasn’t near a comprehensive story of the day. We had snow on the ground, but despite that, we stuck with our fledgling tradition of grilling out on Thanksgiving. None of us are big fans of turkey, so The Captain grilled baby back ribs, and I made some yummy Brussels sprouts, dressing with cranberries and sausage, and sweet potatoes.

December 2nd was my first day as a full-time Automattician, Peanut discovered my beloved old teddy bear Theodore, and Panda discovered video games with daddy.



On December 7th, my parents came over, and my mom and I did our annual holiday baking. Panda loved playing peekaboo with his cousin.

On December 15, the kids’ grandma “GeGe”, and great-aunt came for a visit from South Carolina, and Ohio treated them to some even more frigid weather than usual. A good time was had by all, though I’m fairly sure that the sharing of the joke teeth is when we all dosed each other with the strep throat that held us hostage over the holidays.

Christmas morning 2013. I can’t believe it is seven days until Christmas 2014, and I’ve just now gotten around to editing and sharing these.

Finally, the last two photos I took in 2013, snuggles with my two littlest after Christmas morning revelry. Here’s to a less busy, more photographed, healthier, bloggier 2015.



Field Notes: BlogHer PRO 2014

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Jen H.:

I went to BlogHer PRO 2014, and it was super neat. My colleague Cheri wrote about it. Read more here!

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Automatticians, the people who build WordPress.com, participate in events and projects around the world every day. Periodically, they report back on the exciting things they do when not in front of a computer — from talking about making great products to using design to tackle social challenges.

Recently, Story Wrangler Cheri Lucas Rowlands and Happiness Engineers Carolyn Sonnek, Deborah Beckett, and Jen Hooks attended the third annual BlogHer PRO ’14 conference, an event for professionally minded bloggers looking to take their blogs, brands, and businesses to the next level.

A conference is a great way to dive deeper into your passion of blogging. You invest in specific skills you want to hone and get inspired by big ideas, and also take a break from that glowing screen. It’s fun to immerse yourself in an inspiring setting where avatars become faces and Twitter handles become real people.

2014_dec_jenhooks_blogherpro-130 Image by Jen Hooks

BlogHer PRO ’14 was a…

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