Posts with tag: "Portraits"


Are you Mom to a teenage daughter?  

Are you looking for connection, encouragement, and tips on how to navigate these crazy teen girl years?

Then grab your camera and your coffee, and join us! 




By Jennifer Lebo
Pin It

Have you ever had those moments where you think, “No way is this a coincidence!”?  

Ever find yourself talking to someone and just know that you were meant to meet this person?

That’s how I felt a few weeks back when I found myself on the phone, talking with Stephanie LaBonte.  A friend of mine had referred me to a website in order to connect with someone she knew had a similar business mission to mine.  Five minutes into that search, I found Stephanie’s website and mission, and was so excited about our common values that I immediately reached out.  Ten minutes later, we were chatting it up on the phone, giddy over the similarities in our vision, discussing ways that we could share each other’s ideas with our own tribes.

Which brings me here, with you, today.  As most of you are moms to daughters, it excites me so much to share Stephanie with you.  Stephanie is the creator and founder of Empowered Girls Rise, an organization that strives to nurture self-respect, confidence, and purpose in girls from middle school through college.  Seriously, how awesome is that!

Why don’t I let her tell you a little bit about herself and her amazing business herself. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your story?  How did your path take you to creating Empowered Girls Rise?

As a high school teacher in an urban school district, I started to notice that with social media there was an upward trend of girls bullying, cyber bullying and fighting. I really wanted to do something about this. I knew the reason why girls were increasingly being mean to one another, it was because they had low confidence, self-worth, and had not found purpose in their lives. So I made it my mission to find a solution for these girls. What I did was start to bring strong, successful and highly motivated women into my classroom to talk to the girls. I figured if it came from outside of me and our world of the classroom the girls would listen more.  It started with just one woman and 30 girls in my classroom 5 years ago and blossomed to now over 200 girls per rally plus hands on workshops, incredible keynote speakers, panel discussion, breakout sessions and networking power hour.


What is the purpose and mission behind Empowered Girls Rise?

Our mission is to nurture self-respect, confidence and purpose in girls ages 11-25 through education, personal development, mentorship and community. I want to help girls globally to find their purpose and connect them with community members that will help them develop and thrive.  We do this through Girls Movement Rallies (1 day events- conference style), District Partnerships (1 year programs working very closely with a school), Girl Leadership Series (online).


Why did you decide to focus on middle school, high school, and college aged girls?  Share with us the WHY behind your audience/tribe.

I decided to focus specifically on these three age groups because I had taught in a middle school and currently teach in a high school. I have college aged girls too because I feel that there are so many real-world skills that they need to know before getting a job.  Some are struggling because they still don’t know what they want to be and these girls rallies and connections will help them come out of themselves and into their power. There is one instance that really made me do this- it was my very first year of coaching cheerleading in high school (I had coached middle school prior) and the team was a mess- they were so mean to each other.  There was a huge verbal fight with some of the girls and they quit. It was right before a major competition. On the bus ride to the competition, the girls told me the girls who quit were bashing them on Twitter, saying they were going to cause trouble for them at the competition. I was so upset that these girls were tearing each other down and were going to come to a big competition to just bully them? It was in that moment that I knew it had to stop- girls needed to spend their time raising each other up- not tearing each other down.

I can’t forget my babies, though!  I do this so that my own daughters can grow up in a kinder world where opportunities for girls are endless!


What is your favorite part about what you do?  On the flip side, what’s the greatest struggle?

My favorite part is bringing all of the women together who speak and present at these rallies and hearing the testimonials from the girls. Girls normally can’t believe that these women want to come and talk to them. They will often tell me after, “She is so amazing, I can’t believe that she wanted to even come here and talk to me”.  This is the magic because I will often tell them, “Of course they wanted to talk to you, don’t you know how special you are?” I can also give them their contact information and they can connect with the woman that they were drawn to. The greatest struggle is finding funding for the events. Sometimes schools cannot afford this LIFE CHANGING program for girls and that should not be so- I always try to help them get funding for these events if I can and am always looking for sponsors.  Sponsors help make the magic happen.


Can you share with us moms a few tips for how to help empower our tween and teen daughters if they are facing bullying at school?

Yes, if they are facing bullying at school Moms should:

  • Be calm about the situation, it is most likely going to be a difficult and emotional conversation.
  • Let them get out the full story, listen, don’t react- which is our first instinct.
  • If they won’t talk about it, have them write it or text it to you.
  • Teach them to step into their power (through meditation and positive affirmations)
  • Empower them to tell a teacher, school counselor or principal.
  • Remind them why they are special to you

I would also advise not to confront the bully themselves since it is not their job to worry about that- if it continues however, that is when you must advocate for your daughter.  All kids deserve to feel safe in school and it is the job of the staff to make it so.


Do you have any exciting events or promotions coming up on the calendar that you can share with us?

I have a Girls Movement Rally on April 26th with extra special keynote Adriana Carrig of The Little Words Project!  I also have a confident, savvy girls workshop coming up on May 5th. Girl Leadership Virtual Series will be reopening June 1st for enrollment- this is an online class for girls teaching them to find their purpose. Girls get a certificate at the end as an Empowered Girls Rise Leader and have to complete a project doing something for the community (example, planting a garden, filling in for the school janitor, kindness rocks, volunteering etc.)


How can moms everywhere find you?

They can find me on my website

Facebook Empowered Girls Rise

Instagram @empowered_girls_rise

Twitter @empowered_g_r



And there you have it!  How wonderful is this program?  How awesome is this lady! I’m so excited to have connected with her, as she has such a heart for teen and tween girls.  She’s passionate about serving young girls, and I’m passionate about serving their moms. Coincidence? I think not!


I would love to leave you today with two treats!

First, Stephanie has a wonderful resource for you.  She has created a FREE printable that you can download here, "Five Tips To Have a Conversation With Your Daughter About Staying Safe Online".  



And I would love to treat you as well!

If you haven't joined us already, I've created a Facebook Group called LOVE THROUGH THE LENS, where moms of teen girls come together to support and encourage each other as we raise strong girls.  Please come join us!  It's such a wonderful community!

Thank you again, Stephanie.  I look forward to seeing what’s coming next for you, and for all the girls you help empower!


***Special credit to Marisa Balletti- Lavoie of Sassy Mouth Photo who took the beautiful photos of Stephanie shown here.***

By Jennifer Lebo
Pin It

I think that Mother’s Day might be my favorite holiday of the year.  


Not because all the attention in the house falls on me, (although that’s nice, too!) but because it’s a celebration of the greatest role I’ll ever take on.  It’s a celebration of the greatest and most challenging job I’ve ever had, a celebration of my babies and me, and a look at what we’ve created together.


It’s also the day where I get to stop and look around at all the other amazing women crushing it as this motherhood thing, from my own mom who is STILL crushing it, to all the newbie moms out there, sleepless and elated over celebrating their first Mother’s Day as a mom.


I just love Mother’s Day.


However, while the concept of Mother’s Day is so precious to me, the gift giving has sometimes been… well, maybe a tad disappointing.


Wait.  Hear me out!


My husband is the BEST!  But when it comes to gift giving in our house, I run that show.  Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, you name it. It’s my job to consider, shop for, buy, and wrap the gifts.  After almost 20 years, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I love it. It makes me happy. My husband loves that I love it.  It’s one less thing on his own chaotic plate.


So when Mother’s Day comes around, he’s out of practice.  And that sometime leads to disappointments. No one’s fault, just fact.


Your home too?  Yeah, I thought maybe.


That’s why I’m sharing this post with you today!


I’ve learned that rather than going into Mother’s Day with my expectations high and hopeful, only to be let down by an out of practice and very busy husband and 3 young kids, I just do what I know how to do.  I either get my own gifts, or I simply share with my husband exactly what I want, which he then gladly gets me.


Win win!  


My family celebrates me, I’m not upset over lofty expectations undelivered, and we all spend the day enjoying our family.


So here I am, to share some of MY FAVORITE Mother’s Day gifts with you this year.  You’ve got about two weeks now to share this with your husband, or just skip the middleman and treat yourself.  


Either way, you will LOVE these ideas because they are all about mom and they come to you from some other strong and wonderful moms.  Moms gifting moms. What could be better?


So here it is, my collection of FABULOUS Mother’s Day gifts that you can give yourself!  


Oh and one more thing!  Each woman has created a SPECIAL TREAT for YOU, my reader, so read through each gift and grab your special discount, or extra treat.



1. The Gift of Gorgeous Makeup & Self-Confidence: Younique with Stephanie


I met Stephanie in a FB group for women entrepreneurs.  I love Stephanie’s business, and her desire to empower and build up women through her products.  She has great tutorials on her business page, too. Here she is to share her gifts with you:


Younique’s mission is to uplift, empower and validate women all over the world. Younique is a cosmetics and skincare brand with the goal to help women feel more confident and beautiful, while at the same time teaching women about make-up application.  Younique follows the EU guidelines for product safety, and has banned more than 1200 harmful chemicals from their ingredient list. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. Best known for their 3D Fiberlash and Epic Mascaras, Younique products are both high-quality and effective.


Since I joined Younique last year, I heave learned so much about make-up application, and feel more confident and beautiful. I love sharing this brand with others and encouraging women to focus on self-care and self-love.  I have discovered that many people do not wear make-up because they do not know how to apply it. This is how Younique is different. Support, guidance, and advice is readily available.  They have a Love it Guarantee to make sure that every customer is satisfied.


I am offering an exclusive offer for Mother’s Day. I will offer a FREE Epic Mascara to anyone that hosts an online make-up class with me. Value is $24. Just reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram.


Facebook Page:


Instagram Page: makeup_junkie_mama


Like my business page to learn more about make-up tips and tricks and how to feel your best.


Check out my website  to view the products.




2. The Gift of Healthy & Glowing Skin: Rodan + Fields with Dayna

OK, so Dayna may not have people who call her mama, but she is definitely mom to her fur babies and to me, that counts!  I’ve known D for almost 20 years, first as her HS teacher and coach, and now as her friend and fan. She’s out on the west coach, balancing life as an actress and as an R+F "fempreneur", and she’s crushing it!  Let me let her tell you in her own words about her gifts for mom.


Did you know that 80% of your skin's destiny is in your hands?  If you think that crows feet and dark marks are just signs of bad genetics, think again.  Your gene's account for only 20% of your skin's aging process, the rest is up to you. Our skin is our bodies largest organ, and taking care of it doesn't need to be complicated.  Set aside just 5 minutes each night to get in a great skincare routine.


Rodan + Fields dermatologists have created 4 clinical grade skin care lines to address and reverse the signs of premature aging, sensitive skin, tired looking skin & even adult acne.  But that's just the tip of the iceberg...


  • Maybe you've heard of Lash Boost, the award winning, lash growing serum that creates longer, thicker and fuller looking lashes?  ($135 for 60 day supply)

  • Or Active Hydration Serum, a powerful restorative serum that instantly hydrates and plumps your skin to look more youthful & smooth.  ($98 for 60 day supply)

  • Maybe tired eyes are your nemesis.  Fear not, our Multi-Function Eye Cream will knock those dark circles out.  ($56 for 60 day supply)


Start by taking this brief online skin care assessment to find out which core regimen is right for you.


If you have been thinking of giving Rodan + Fields a try, now is your chance:

  • All mom's will receive $20 off their first preferred customer order between now and May 12th, 2018.  

  • Be one of the first THREE (3) to redeem this offer to get a monthly supply of microdermabrasion paste.

  • Email to redeem this offer.  


Lash Boost Link:

Active Hydration Link:

Eye Cream Link:


My Website Link:



3. The Gift of Fitness & Health: KatFit with Kathrine

Kathrine is another one of those ladies who once knew me as teacher (she ran track, so hubby was her coach), and who is now crushing it as a mom and business owner.  Kathrine runs a thriving health and fitness business where she coaches and trains women of all ages and lifestyles. Here’s Kathrine to share with you her gifts.

KatFit empowers moms in all stages of life to breakdown their preconceived limits, revealing their stronger and revitalized selves through fitness and nutrition. I believe your exercise routine should be the right recipe for your lifestyle. We are all juggling so many things, and working out and training is just one aspect of your life. I can help you find a fitness plan that you look forward to completing- without it feeling like a chore. Clients work with me in person and virtually through my fitness app.

To learn more about KatFit, visit Be sure to follow us on FaceBook: @katfitstudios and on Instagram: @katfitstudios.  

As an exclusive offer to the Jen Lebo Photography Community, I am offering Free Initial Consultation (in person or video conference) and 10% off your first program purchase.

4. The Gift of Clean Crafted Wine with Good Friends: Scout & Cellar with Karin

What goes better with good friends celebrating each other than really good wine?  Well, that’s why I have Karin here on this list. Karin is a founding leader at Scout & Cellar, a business that delivers clean-crafted wine right to your home!  I met Karin through the same FB Group where I met Stephanie (pretty awesome group, huh?), and would love for her to share with you this gift of hers!


Mom’s love Wine! After a hard day of chasing the kids around, getting everyone to sports practices, piano lessons and helping with homework, doesn’t the special lady in your life deserve to enjoy a nice glass of wine?

One that won’t give her a headache or make her feel bad the next morning?


Give the gift of clean crafted-wine with four of our best selling wines for only $99 + Free Shipping. Order by May 3rd to ensure delivery in time for the big day.


Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted Wines tell a story and give you a sense of place and time. They are grown naturally—without the use of synthetic pesticides—and bottled consciously—without added sugars, chemicals or sulfites.


They are Organic, non-GMO and Vegan. Grown organically and/or sustainably from small family-owned vineyards.  


The result is wine that is clean, delicious and better for you.


To take advantage of this great offer email

Have the perfect gift for the wine loving mother in your life, delivered straight to her doorstep!


Mother’s day Package includes:

1 bottle Chateau Roubie Picpoul de Pinet

1 bottle Hannes Sabathi Sauvignon Blanc

1 bottle Girasole Hybrid Red Blend

1 bottle Qupe Grenache


More details on all Scout & Cellar wines can be found at


5. The Gift of Memorable Portraits with Your People: Jen Lebo Photography with Jen


One of my favorite ways to celebrate Mother’s Day is by having portraits taken with my kids.  It’s amazing to see how they’ve grown throughout the years, and whenever I look at these portraits, the memories come flooding back.  Another powerful and precious way to spend my Mother’s Day.


Today I want to gift my local readers with a special Mini Session package.  Because I know my moms are always pressed for time (because what mom ISN’T???), I made my 30 minute session the treat here, and I’ve taken 25% off for my Moms!  AND I’ve added a 30 minute pre session consult call to the package, so I can help you prepare for a great session.


But I’ve also got treats for those moms who are not local!  


I’ve got a collection of FREE resources for you, so that you can take your own portraits, of your own kids, or so that you can best prepare for a portrait session wherever you might live.  These are all FREE! All you need to do is CLICK and you’re on your way to more Mother’s Day gifts!




OK, Moms!  Consider yourself gifted!  I hope one of these gifts will make its way to your home this Mother’s Day.  Heck, I hope they ALL do! Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate all the amazing and challenging and special things that we do as mothers.  Let these women treat you on your special day!


Don’t forget that you can use these gifts to treat the special moms in your life!  Gift others with these treats.


And share this post with other moms!  Let’s all treat ourselves this year!


Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, especially to one special mom… MINE!  Love you, Mom.


By Jennifer Lebo
Pin It

Years ago, I decided that on Mother’s Day my kids had to sit for portraits with me.  It was the only thing I insisted on for the day, and I knew my husband would make the kids do it for me.  I loved the idea of getting a few precious portraits of the kids with me each year to celebrate how much I love being their mom.  I envisioned looking back years later, cherishing the photos and memories that we had created around my special day.


Ummm…. Yeah.  You’re a mom, so you know where this is going right?


It may have gone off without too much of a hitch that first year.  I set up the camera exactly as I wanted it, and just asked my husband to press the shutter when we were ready.  I got the kids dressed and we simply went out to the back yard. So easy!


But with each passing year, this wonderful tradition because such a chore.  The kids hated having to sit for photos, and they would drag their feet, complain, and usually bicker with each other over details.  My husband would get stressed because he knew that “simply pressing the shutter” was not as easy as I made it sound. I was never satisfied with the first few shots, and made him and the kids try again and again and again.  


One year, one of the boys actually ran back into the house between takes to vomit!  I’d like to think it was just a stomach bug and not the stress of the morning.


True story.


Each year got more and more difficult until I gave up.


I’m also sharing this story with you because it’s the WHY behind this post.  May my own personal suffering bring solutions for the moms in my tribe!


(Is that a little too over-the-top melodramatic?)


Let me share with you THREE SIMPLE TIPS that can help you the next time you decide you want photos with your daughter (or any or all of your kids).  



All the self-help books out there tell you to visualize what you want and you will achieve it.  Dream big. Picture your perfect situation, down to the last perfect detail, and you’ll be that much closer to achieving it.


When it comes to portraits with your daughter, I’m going to say the opposite.


Ground yourself in reality and prepare yourself for what’s coming.  Because it’s coming. The snarkiness, the eye rolling, the complaints.  They’re all coming. Know this, and prepare yourself for it. Have a positive and gracious response for when she asks “WHY???  WHY do we need to do this? Why are you torturing me? Why do you need photos???” Have loving answers for when she says she has nothing to wear.  Help her (or stay out of her way), and gently redirect her when she chooses that outfit that you really just hate.


Promise yourself that you’ll bring the good attitude so that your kids won’t have to.  They’ll simply (hopefully) feed off of your positive energy and find the experience fun.


But be realistically ready for that to NOT happen either.



Beyond preparing mentally, it’s a great idea to prepare yourself in every other way.  Don’t wait until the day of your photos to talk clothing, location, details. Talk to your daughter about the photos, and ask for her input on what to wear.  Make sure she approves of what you’ve chosen for her to wear, or make sure you approve of what she’s chosen to wear. Decide together on a location, and keep it simple.  You don’t need fancy, you just need good light.


Bottom line is, the more prepared you are beforehand, the smoother it will all go during.



I think this is the most important rule of all.  Make an experience out of the outing, whether you splurge on hair and make up before, or grab coffee or lunch together afterwards.  This does not have to break the bank, but if you attach something that your daughter would enjoy to this photo event (that you are dragging her to, remember), then you are creating a memory for her that she’ll love.  


In fact, ask her to come up with the event.  Coffee? Shopping? A movie? Or just a walk downtown together.  Tell her you want to make this fun for her, and get her input.


This way, when you look at those photos later, you’ll remember the talk you had over coffee afterwards.  You’ll remember how you laughed over dinner. You’ll remember good things.


That’s it!  THREE SIMPLE TIPS to make portraits with your teen girl bearable- even potentially FUN!  


And of course, the timing could not be better, as we’re just weeks from Mother’s Day.  Are you going to try for photos? Do you think I should take my advice and try again? I’m thinking I will.  But only if I use these tips.


These tips, AND the FREE GUIDE I created to help moms get comfortable in front of the camera!


Now I’ve given you TIPS AND A GUIDE!  Happy Early Mother’s Day to you!


One more thing…


If it’s really gonna be that bad, and you want to just skip the attempt, call me.  


I’m taking new clients and will be offering a Mother/Daughter Portrait special for the holiday.  


Maybe I should have led with that tip!


By Jennifer Lebo
Pin It

I have been telling my husband the same thing for almost 20 years.  I tell him, “Honey, you never need to worry about me looking at other men.  I’ll be too busy looking at the women with them.”  Some of you women know exactly what I’m talking about.  But for those who might not, let me set the scene for you.


You’re with your husband (or boyfriend, or partner), and you enter the party.  Maybe it’s an office party, so you recognize some of the faces and smile hello.  Maybe it’s a birthday party for a friend’s spouse, and so most of the faces look unfamiliar.  That’s not what’s important here.  What’s important is where your eyes go.  And where your mind goes.  Because from the minute you walk into that party, your eyes leap from woman to woman.  Her gorgeous dress.  Wow, I wish I looked that gorgeous in a dress like that.  Ooh, her hair.  Is that her natural color?  How is her hair so shiny?  I’m already hiding way too many grays.  Or how about her smile?  Her teeth are so white, so gorgeous.  She must have had braces as a kid.  No way can teeth naturally look that beautiful.  Yikes, I can’t smile at her, or anywhere near her.  All night long, your eyes bounce from woman to woman, from gorgeous figure to beautiful skin, to impeccable taste.  And your mind jumps from judgement to judgement.  Not at them.  At yourself.  Every time your eyes fall on another woman, a judgement falls on you.  You cannot stand with her, or her, or her.  You fall short over and over and over again.


Does this sound familiar to you?  


This is what many of us women do every single day.  Comparison.  We spend day after day comparing our bodies, our jobs, our families, our minds, to other women.  And we come up short.



This quote by Teddy Roosevelt sums up most women perfectly.  So much, so that I almost want to pretend that maybe he first heard it from his wife.  Too many women know the painful truth of these words.  The joy of any moment can be stolen by our comparing ourselves to other women around us.  Once the comparison is made, the joy is gone.  The fun outing at the pool with the family?  Gone in one glance at the mom with 4 kids and a fantastic figure.  The afternoon trip to get ice cream?  Gone in one moment as you spot another mom whose kids are much better behaved than yours.  Lunch with the girlfriends?  Stolen away in self-judgement after self-judgement.  


OK, let me stop here and turn to you, reader.  Are you finding yourself agreeing with every point I’m making here?  Are you nodding your head with every sentence, murmuring in your heart and mind, “Oh my goodness, yes!  This is me.  I do this all the time.”?  Can you relate to my story?  To the stories of so many other women who live this life of comparison?


Well, there it is.  The fork in the road.  The crossroads where we women stand, right now.  The crossroads of comparison and connection.  Of isolation vs. relation.



If comparison is where you always find yourself, perhaps it’s time to consider the other path.  Where comparison isolates you from the women around you, connection brings you closer.  While comparison hurts both you and “the other woman”, connection benefits you both, through encouragement and compassion (for both you and her).  Comparison is a losing battle.  Connection is a win/win for sure.


But how can we move from comparison to connection?  I ask this with all sincerity and honesty, as I all too often find myself stuck on the rocky, downhill, comparison road.  How can we stop comparing ourselves to others and start connecting with them?  How can we move from self-judgement and self-loathing, to self-compassion, and self-kindness?  How can we stop seeing those other women as unapproachable, unrealistically ideal, or completely separate from who we are?


Let’s brainstorm a few ideas.



1. Exercise Vulnerability

I think the first thing we can do to move away from comparison and toward connection is to look inward.  Be courageously honest with yourself.  Call yourself out on your comparison, as soon as you recognize it.  I have been catching myself a lot in these moments, and am trying to call myself out.  It’s not easy!  And it doesn’t mean I miraculously move forward, away from self-judgement and into self-compassion.  I wish!  No, it’s not always that easy, but I think, like anything else, practice is making perfect.  And so I’d encourage you to try the same thing.  Try to recognize in yourself the specific moments when you find yourself comparing.  Is it at the park surrounded by other moms and kids?  Is it at the office, surrounded by other creative professionals?  Take a look inward, and recognize where you tend to self-judge.  Then gently call yourself out when you do.


2. Empathize

Not only is it important to recognize our own personal tendencies to compare and self-judge, but it is equally important to look outwardly toward those “other women”.  Chances are they have their own tendencies to compare and self-judge.  You might see a perfect waistline, but what she might see in herself is her lack of patience with her kids.  Where you might see her power in the office, she might only see her self-doubt with her financial capability.  Remember that many of us women tend to compare.  So chances are high that the woman you’re putting yourself down to is doing the same somewhere else.  


Take the time to recognize the struggle for all of us.  This will help you see other women less as stars on pedestals, and more as women just like you.  Ah, the connecting has begun.


3. Be Beautifully Brave

We’ve all heard that saying, “The most important thing a girl can wear is her smile”.  Cheesy, maybe.  But consider it here.  How brave would it be to stare right into the eyes of that woman you just compared yourself to, and smiled?  How kind to both of you, to make her less an object of comparison, and more a fellow woman?  Your smile is beautiful.  I know it is.  I’ve never seen a smile that’s not.  So share yours with other women.  Even the gorgeous ones.  Even the powerful ones.  Even the best moms.  Chances are you need to offer it.  Chances are they need to see it.

What other ways can we women move away from comparison and closer to connection?  How do you help yourself move away from self-judgement and toward self-compassion?  Help us women grow more connected by sharing your ideas in the comment section below.


And remember, next week I’ll be sharing my new Self-Compassion Startup Workbook right here on the blog.  And it will be FREE!  Make sure you’re subscribed here so you don’t miss it.








By Jennifer Lebo
Pin It

Have you ever had an idea that felt so outrageous, you knew you had to pursue it?


Ever felt a stirring so deep in your heart to pursue that outrageous idea, that you believed the only really outrageous thing would be not pursuing it?


Ever heard that voice in your head whispering, “This doesn’t matter.  It won’t succeed.  Don’t do it.  It’s a failure waiting to happen.”


Well, I have too.  I’ve been hearing it every day for the past several months, Today is the day that I tell that voice to SHUT UP and move on, because I’ve got important work to do.



Maybe I should back up a little, and tell you a bit of my story.  


In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t written a blog post in quite a while.  I haven’t shared but one or two portrait sessions in the last few months.  Haven’t posted that much on social media, nor shared too much about Jen Lebo Photography.  Because I had been preparing to walk away from it.  I had been planning to give up my portrait business and quit calling myself a photographer.


A lot contributed to this decision, but the gist of it was that I felt like a fraud.  Over the past few months, I took a look outside my own little bubble, and discovered that the portrait photography industry was so over-saturated, that I could find more than a dozen photographers in a 5 mile radius from my own home.  I began comparing my work (no, let’s be honest here- comparing myself) to them all, and I would constantly come up short.  It became a journey toward self-loathing.  It grew old fast, and I was ready to quit.

I shared this struggle with a good friend, who completely understood, being a portrait photographer herself, and having walked a similar road.  For weeks after, she would touch base with me and gently ask how I was doing with the decision, and whether I needed to talk.  We would meet and share our stories, and even though I wouldn’t leave her any closer to a decision, I always left feeling encouraged, and feeling better.  My discussions with her always resurfaced when I would toy with that decision to quit.


I realized that I was comparing myself to all the other amazing photographers around me.  Constantly comparing.  Never connecting.  Never enjoying.  Just comparing.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was doing this in almost every area of my life.  I compared myself to other women, and saw myself as less beautiful.  I compared myself to other moms, and saw myself as less gracious, loving, or nurturing.  I compared myself to other teachers, to other friends, to other wives, and I always came up short.


But then a beautiful thing happened.  I shared that pain with that friend.  And with a few other precious girlfriends.  And they all said the same thing.  They said “Me too”.  They said, “I understand.  I feel those things too.  I struggle with comparison.  I struggle with my aging body.  I struggle with being a better mom, with being a smarter professional, with being a closer friend, a more loving wife.  I know how you feel.”  Being vulnerable with each other connected us, and gave us a bit of courage.


It was so powerful to realize I wasn’t alone in this struggle.  Powerful, also, to discover that this struggle seemed to grow in us women a bit later in our lives, as we moved into our 40s and 50s.  A little less naive and confident, and a little more worn down but wise, walking through these mid-life years is not easy, but discovering I didn’t need to walk the road alone made the hard beautiful.  


And then I realized something more.  I discovered my purpose, my passion.  To create a place where all of these beautiful women might share their stories, through word and portrait, in order to connect, encourage, and empower each other.




That’s when the voice showed up.  The one that said “You are absolutely INSANE!”.


I know that if you are one of these women, you are probably thinking it too.  It is insane!  Very few women my age (myself included) have the confidence or the courage to step in front of a camera, especially on their own.  Very few of us feel courageous enough to share our stories, to be vulnerable.


It should be noted that this is also insane from the viewpoint of most photographers.  Older women are not a sought after target market.  High school seniors, weddings, newborns, families- that’s where it’s at.  Not older women!  


But it’s that exact mindset that has me wanting to pursue it.  As we women grow older, we become less sought after, almost invisible, if not to society, then at least to our very own selves.  And I want to change that.  


I want to show women my age that they are still beautiful today, maybe even more beautiful than they were yesterday.  I want to teach older women that vulnerability takes courage, and that it is never weak.  It is always beautiful.  I want to connect women like me to other women like them, so that as we share our stories, and hear those precious words, “Me too.”, we will stop comparing ourselves, and start connecting.  

I don’t just want to recreate a business.  I want to create a movement.

And so here I am, standing at the bottom of this beautiful, powerful, tremendous mountain.  I have so many ideas, so many plans, and I will create, and build, and share them, one step at a time.  This is just the first step up the mountain.  Telling that voice of doubt to go away, and sharing my story with you.


The changes are already starting.  Jen Lebo Photography will become something new, both in name and in purpose.  It will have passion and connection and a powerful vision.



Sure, it might fail.  It might be my greatest failure yet.  But I’ll be ok with that, because to me, the only failure would be in not pursuing it.


Please stay with me through this journey.


And connect with me if you want to be a part of this new endeavor (either locally or online), or if you know someone who might.  I can’t wait to walk this journey with friends.


Join The Movement!

Click here to subscribe to the blog, and stay updated on what's coming next.