Today we’d like to introduce you to Janeris Marte.
Janeris, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have been photographing families since I graduated from college in 2004. It started out as something that I enjoyed doing and thought I was good at. I received the highest award at graduation and was motivated to start my business. In 2010, I opened up a physical location so that I could meet clients and be taken seriously as a boss lady. But in 2011, I got so sick from lupus issues that I had to close my doors. I didn’t think I would live much longer. Photography was unfortunately pushed to the back of my mind but I continued to push to get back to work.
It took me a couple of years to fully recover as I worked from home. I then realized I was ready to have kids. My doctors advised me not to get pregnant and so my husband and I sought out alternatives. We settled on foster care and that’s where my passion shifted from doing something I loved because I was good at it to doing something that could make a difference. A printed picture is all foster kids have to remember the “good times” They may have a picture of grandma, mom, or siblings to remind them of home while they’re going through this traumatic experience. I know now the confidence and joy that comes from having a picture of your family and I want all families to have that. Last year I helped start an organization with some friends called A Sweet Chance. We take pictures of teens in foster care for their sweet 16s. Teens in foster care barely celebrate birthdays. So, celebrating a sweet 16 is unheard of. My friends and I made it our mission to find 15 and 16 year olds in care and give them a glam session.
We get dozens of volunteers. Hair, makeup, stylists, photographers, and videographers. We all come together to make the teens feel special for the day. We then take their pictures and give them albums of their special celebration. People donate locations for the shoot and getting ready, dresses, shoes, accessories, gifts, and more. Last year I heart Radio was able to give them an actual party. We got lots of donors to help with cake, food, music, limo, flowers, and everything that a typical teen would get. It has truly transformed my passion. Every sale in my company gives to this organization. I truly believe in helping children and I’m glad that my company allows my clients to take part in foster care while getting to have beautiful memories of their families on their walls.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been hard running a business on my own. I’ve made lots of mistakes. I love working with people and bouncing ideas off myself is so not fun. I would have loved having a partner to help the business grow. But I’m sure that comes with its own challenges. Pricing and finding the right clients have been my biggest hurdles, mostly because I didn’t know who my ideal client was. Last year I began taking a lot of business courses online. I figured out what I was doing wrong and why my business wasn’t growing. I hired coaches and studied my butt off. This year it’s like I am a brand new start-up because I finally started doing it right. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. But I’m way better today than I was yesterday.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Janeris Studios – what should we know?
I’m a family photographer and specialize in young children. I’m very goofy and playful with the kids. My style is very candid. I love getting the kids to just be kids while I photograph them. Mom will always want a smiley picture and I make sure to get those. But there’s something special about that face your child always makes or the way he plays with his sister. And I love being able to get that on camera. I want to be known as the foster mom photographer. I think it being a foster mom gives me a slight advantage. If I can successfully and happily raise dozens of kids with so many different personalities, I can definitely make you smile. I focus on the busy mom. The mom who’s taking their kids to gymnastics and karate while going to the gym. The one who is building her empire while being supermom at home. I want to make life easier on her. I come to my clients’ homes and show them our modern products, schedule hair, nails, and makeup if needed. I pick out outfits with you and shop for you if necessary. We then have what I call a fun session. I let everyone play, laugh, tickle, and hug so that their loves shows in their pictures. After the session I come to you again for an amazing reveal of your images. There we pick your favorites. A few weeks later, you have beautiful part of your family in your home. It’s all done comfortably and pressure-free.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I am a self-starter and very driven. I don’t know it all but I want to. I don’t let myself stay down. When I was sick, one of my doctors told me all the things I would never be able to do. I shut him down time and time again. Today, I stand as a miracle in his eyes. God has allowed me to go through many challenging situations. And He has taken me out so much stronger. I’m a leader and don’t need anyone to guide me but I absolutely love instruction and mentorship. That has been the most important aspect of my growth, both personal and in my business.
- Pricing starts at $400 and goes to $3000 for a family session package
- Website: www.Janeris.com
- Phone: 786-897-5064
- Email: Janeris@Janeris.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/janerisstudios
- Facebook: FB.me/janeris.studios
- Yelp: Janeris Studios
- Other: www.sweetchance.org
Janeris Studios, Karizma Photography