Caroline Jensen is a photographer living in rural Minnesota. She sees portraits most often in black and white, and favors color for landscapes. She is an avid Lensbaby shooter and a Mentor at Clickin Moms.
When & how did you first discover your passion for photography?
I have always loved art, especially the Dutch master painters, like Johannes Vermeer. It was a great source of anxiety for me when I couldn’t draw or paint very well. Early on, photography didn’t interest me because I didn’t feel I could be creative enough with it. I was under the impression that deep depth of field was preferable and that didn’t feel natural for me. Film was expensive too, so I pretty much gave up on the idea in college. In 2009 my interest in photography bloomed when I discovered that DSLRs had lenses with shallow depth of field and you could post process in Photoshop. My husband sold his motorcycle so I could buy my first DSLR. I am forever grateful to him for that. I have been inseparable from my camera ever since.
How did you first discover Lensbaby? What was your first Lensbaby lens, and what lens or optic is currently your favorite?
I saw my first Lensbaby at Imaging USA in 2010 I think. I had a great time playing with the lenses at the Lensbaby booth. I tried to convince my husband that I needed a Lensbaby right then and there, but I had just upgraded a lot of gear that year. Had I known then what I know now, I would have bought everything there on the spot!
I finally was able to purchase a large kit from Lensbaby last summer. I purchased the Sweet 35, Edge 80, and Macro Converters. In all honestly, those lenses propelled me to where I am today. They filled a void that even my very expensive glass couldn’t fill. I love the organic and imperfect and my voice was found when I first tried those lenses. I spent the summer capturing everything and fell more in love everyday. It is hard to pick a favorite. I honestly use all three lenses every week. If I had to choose one, I guess it would be the Edge 80. I love that it can work as a normal lens when not tilted and it gives me the most options as a walk around lens, especially when I can extend the front and get in closer. That is a great option!
What inspires you photographically?
Art, music, movies, and poetry are my biggest inspirations outside of my children. My daughter has been my constant companion since I got my first DSLR. She was the one who allowed me to pester her while I learned the exposure triangle and she continues to work with me to create concept art.
Your style is quiet, dreamy, with lots of muted colors, yet also very powerful. Have you developed this style of shooting and editing, or did it just come naturally?
It came naturally after Lensbaby. Honestly, the perfection found in the really expensive glass hindered me. I couldn’t get the softness and emotion I really loved. I love to create my vision in camera if I can and just enhance it in post processing. I think my style was born out of years of studying nature and art. Life is chaotic and those two things are my retreat. I want to create images that reflect how I want life to be and not necessarily how it is.
What are your favorite Lensbaby images?
My favorite images are the ones I took while my daughter was getting ready one day. When she saw them, she said that she felt like a princess. It made my heart smile to hear that she loved the way she looked on just an ordinary day. I didn’t have a very good self image as a child and I hope that I can show her how beautiful she really is.
How do your kids feel about being the subject of your photographs so often?
My boys are less enthusiastic, but my daughter is always willing to help. She often colors or draws concepts that she would like to do. We also work out feelings though images. Some people journal, we take pictures. My boys do like to be in images when they have something to share and my oldest likes to have new images for Facebook quite often, haha! I try very hard not to push them to “perform”. When they are the subjects I hope they feel that they are in control of the process and like the outcome. There is no better feeling than to see my kids beam in happiness when they see an image of themselves.
Any tips for photographers new to Lensbaby and manual focus?
Use the lens a lot. Not just once a week, but use the lens that you are learning every single day. It is very hard at first, especially if you are used to auto focus, but it really does become second nature after a while. I think that using the macro converters is probably the best way to learn to manually focus. I grew by leaps and bounds when I started doing regular macro work.
Click here to see more of Caroline’s work.