How the %#*& do you eat light anyway…?

//How the %#*& do you eat light anyway…?

How does one even eat light?

We’ve all read those photographer’s bios. You know the ones.

I’m a photographer who’s been passionate about photography since I was a foetus. My dad used to recite shutter speeds in increments of 1/10th stops to me before I could tell the difference between my bum and my face. I love  light so much I eat, sleep and breathe it. I’ve got 4 billion cameras and carry at least 15 of them with me at once. I have no friends because they all got the shits with me shoving a camera in their face every single time I see them. But it doesn’t matter… What matters are you… my clients, and YOUR passion. It’s my passion to make your passion a passionate reality for the things you’re really passionate about.

How does one even eat light?

Don’t get me wrong, I love photography, and have probably been guilty of a cliché biography or twelve in my time. But I reckon having a really well rounded skill set is one of the most important things you can have as a photographer. I can see how every job I’ve ever done has given me skills I use in my business today. Okay. Not every job. I don’t see how dipping McFries in liquid fat for three years has helped me. But it sure did wonders for my 15 year old skin and self-esteem for the next five years.

My Forensic Science degree… What did that teach me? Well for one thing the lecturer is serious when they say to first year students ‘use your hand to waft the scent of the test tube towards your nose, don’t shove your nose right in there’. They really mean it. Especially when the experiment involves ammonia. But it also taught me critical thinking skills. How to analyse a subject, pull it apart, really understand what’s required to achieve the outcome. A skill set that is vastly underrated by creative types.

My training and experience as a rural fire fighter with the NSW Rural Fire Service help me to remain calm and think really clearly in high pressure situations. It also taught me the importance of continually practising your skills so that when the big moment hits you’re not thinking about technique, you’re thinking about strategy.


Jen Dainer. Looking Cranky.

Jen Dainer. Professional photographer, video producer and arm folder. I think the photographer just told me how they used to dream about focusing charts when they were young.

My experience as an accident investigator has taught me that when someone uses the words ‘heavy landing’ they really mean ‘crash’. And that even the most experienced, intelligent, well meaning humans can get tired or lose concentration, killing themselves/their colleagues because they weren’t paying close enough attention, or didn’t rest when they needed to.

Even with photography there are skills that I apply elsewhere. I’m often employed as a lighting director for my video production colleagues who are too busy gesticulating signs of affection from their groins towards their Red cameras to worry about making sure the scene is lit properly.

How does all this help me in my business? Well, it helps me

  • Think critically before and during jobs to figure out the best way to achieve an outcome
  • Act safely on sites, all the time.  Not just when the Safety Manager or WHSO is around
  • Critically analyse my successes and my failures as a business owner and photographer
  • Talk with clients and find out what they really want.  Not just what they say they want during the first conversation.

Also it helps me understand not to lick my fingers after a three hour chemistry lab session.


Jen Dainer, inside the engine of the PM's plane. The engine was off. Obviously

Another ‘sit in the engine’ shot 🙂

Here’s me… a little less cranky – loving my job!