Capturing moments of life

Kate Figlmiller

Photography has quite the history even with cameras only having been around for about 200 years. In today’s world, most of us are able to take pictures by using the camera on our smartphones, but there is an art behind creating above-average photos. Focusing on the lighting, colors, lines, patterns, and overall visual effects and the display of ordinary scenes can make the viewer feel like these photos are from a different world. The ability to capture the subject in a good light is something that takes practice and skill. Jenny Olson is a very creative individual and has a lot of talent when it comes to digital drawing and photography. Since she is currently focusing most of her time on photography, that became the topic I was most curious about. Although she is often busy with schoolwork, Jenny is also interested in entertainment such as video games, anime, and music.

Jenny Olson has learned photography skills throughout her years of experience . © 2021 Kate Figlmiller

JCJ222 Audio File + – 12:20:21, 3.52 PM.mp3


(The following is responses to questions asked by Kate Figlmiller and answered by Jenny Olson)


Hello. My name’s Jenny. I’m 21, I’m an illustration major, and I’m from Luck, Wisconsin. I go to UWEC.

I started taking a lot of pictures on my phone when I was in middle school. And my phone would always be like, full of like, pictures. And I mean like, literally 8,000 to 10,000 pictures. It was a lot, and my phone would never run. And my parents noticed that I was taking pictures of everything. My dad bought me a camera when I was 16. Ever since then, I’ve just been taking pictures of anything and everything pretty much.

I really enjoy drawing digitally. Cause you can manipulate anything, pretty much, like I can even incorporate my photographs into my illustrations if I wanted, or just even using them as references as well. But yeah, I think I’d have to go with just digitally drawing.

I’ve participated in quite a few [mediums of art]. Those two are my main mediums, but I also like to use watercolor and gouache a lot, as well as just mix, mixed media. So maybe like, combining watercolor with ink and colored pencil or anything like that.

Photography is pretty different [from other art forms], I would say, in my opinion, just because it’s one image from a single moment in time, and usually once you’ve captured that image, besides the normal editing, like colors and lighting, you know, it’s pretty much done. You could definitely use it to create other things as well, like with a collage, I suppose. For the most part, it’s kinda a one-and-done thing, I think, and like, traditional media, you’re working on it for hours and hours at a time, and physically as well, like you’re not using a laptop or your phone to edit the photos.

I would definitely say I’ve been, for the majority of my life, interested in art. I was in art all through elementary, middle school, and high school and I participated in many art competitions in high school, and also, now, college as well. I would definitely say that I have done it for a while.

So, my most recent photoshoot was one I did for my photo class. The entire idea was to basically photograph fashion, but with a model who doesn’t have the most traditional body type. I photographed Kate for that. The photos turned out really good, but anyway, the process. So, the first thing I had to do was do a bunch of research. I had to look up artists who worked in fashion photography, and also just like their compositions, the way they did lighting and colors. So I found a couple that I wanted to emulate. After that, it was a matter of getting outfits, and also planning if I was going to shoot indoors or outdoors, and also where indoors and where outdoors.

The first thing I did was, I went to Goodwill, and I looked for some things that contrasted very well. One outfit I got was a brown turtleneck and a light green dress to go over it. They contrasted really well, so I was able to edit them, when I was all done, I was able to edit them easier because they contrasted. I got a couple other things as well.

Then after I got some outfits, Kate and I went around Eau Claire a little bit, and we found some plain walls that were easy to use as a background so it wouldn’t distract too much from her. We took a couple of them outside. It was kinda a long and weird process because there were people driving by constantly and looking at us really funny, but you do what you gotta for the photo.

During that entire time, I just have her trying a bunch of different poses. A huge thing with my project as well was making really interesting shapes with the body, so kinda contorting it in different ways, just non-traditional poses. In certain fashion photography, you can contort your body, but I feel like it’s definitely not to the extreme in certain poses that we did, so, I wanted to keep that strangeness and really make weird shapes with the body, but it’s still considered fashion photography.

After we did a couple photos outside, we shot a couple days after, as well, to finish my project, because I needed five photos total. The next photos we did indoors because it’s a lot easier to control the lighting, and you don’t have to drive around and find places as well. We basically took a corner of our apartment and stripped it of all its furniture and the wall hangings so it was a plain background. I had a lamp that I used as a light, and another really bright little study light that my friend gave me. We used those to light her, and we took a bunch of different outfits. Then out of those, I chose which ones I thought compositionally were the best, and also just the clearest, and the most interesting.

I edited them. It takes so long. It takes a long time just importing them, as well. After I finally had them all imported, I think editing-wise, I spent eight hours editing them, because I try so many different combinations to see which ones work best.

Then I printed them out, using the printers at school, then I hung them up and had my critique for them. It was very well received, my teacher was very happy with them, and I got a lot of good compliments. It was really exciting.

If you’re really wanting to get into photography, you don’t need insane equipment. I literally just have my camera, and that is it. I was able to use a tripod from my school, but you don’t need that either. I just have my camera, and honestly you could use your phone. The phones have insanely good cameras nowadays, so you can easily use your phone. I would just shoot everywhere or anywhere. You can find really interesting backgrounds, like I did, even just in my house. It just takes a little rearranging of some furniture and playing with some lights. If you wanna get into it, I would just shoot anything and everything.


Jenny Olson lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and is currently planning on graduating from UWEC this spring.