Q1: How were you first introduced to photography?
Growing up, Nathaniel had always followed photographers and had admired their work and how they were able to really make pictures come to life and capture special moments. After admiring photography for so long, he decided that it was time he took a crack at it. In August 2016, at 22 years old, Nathaniel finally decided to go out and purchase a camera of his own and started taking pictures as a hobby.
Q2: How did you know you were passionate about what you were doing?
Nathaniel stated that the reactions he would get after taking pictures for people were really what drove him to continue pursuing his hobby as a photographer. Seeing how pleased his services made people quickly turned this hobby into a passion, which eventually led to him pursuing his passion as a side job.
Q3: What was your goal when starting your business and how has that changed?
As stated above, Nathaniel didn’t really have a goal when he first picked up his camera; all he wanted to do was have fun and begin a new hobby. However, after a lot of praise from people and after people started paying him for his services, he had an epiphany. Nathaniel realized that he could actually make good money doing photography and was determined to make a business out of his hobby and try to do photography as his only full-time job. He was able to quit his “corporate job” in October 2017, achieving his personal goal of being able to work for himself full-time. Now, Nathaniel has a business goal of continuing to do the best work possible for his clients, and being able to share their stories with those close to them.
Q4: How many employees did you begin with and ho many do you currently have?
“I am a one man operation,” Nathaniel told me. He started off just by himself, and currently doesn’t have any helpers. He stated that since he has been able to go all in on Nathaniel Jensen Photography and not have to work another job or go to school anymore, he does not see himself having to hire someone else for quite awhile since he now has so much time available to focus solely on his business.
Q5: Describe your business’ relationship with the Omaha community.
The Omaha Photographers Collaborative is a group where photographers meet up in person in order to discuss cool projects, share ideas, and just simply talk. Nathaniel started this group in order to create a solid photography community in Omaha. His vision when starting the group was to foster community over competition. He wanted his group to be different then just on online group where people post questions and others respond. Meeting up and communicating in person, he believes, is when true learning happens.
Q6: Were there any businesses or individuals in particular you looked up to or aspired to be like?
Nathaniel didn’t list any people or businesses specifically, but he told me that there were tons of other photographers and business owners who he had come in contact with who have really helped him and given him some advice. He said that these people were much farther in their careers than he is and have helped him with different tactics, strategies, and even with finding other people who would help him grow Nathaniel Jensen Photography, included a CPA, someone who helped him file his LLC, etc.
Q7: What has been one or two of the greatest challenges you have faced so far?
The weather! According to Nathaniel, Omaha gets too cold. Being the optimist that he is though, he quickly stated that the cold weather could create good opportunities for elegant fall pictures with colorful trees in the background, or even snow pictures, but that the photo-shoot itself is not as comfortable because of the weather. People don’t usually want their picture taken in their coat, so they end up taking their heavy clothing off, even in winter, just for the perfect shot. This is a problem because, in between shoots, people are often shivering. On top of that, Nathaniel does a lot of his editing work onsite and shows it to his clients in order to ensure that he has captured a good photo and that they are happy with his work; this just ads more time that everyone has to stay out in the cold.
Q8: What services do you offer?
Nathaniel Jensen Photography specializes in engagement and wedding photography. The company’s other areas of focus include: couples photos, family photos, high school senior photos, as well as general portraits. Nathaniel told me that he gets to travel quite a bit, and while he’s traveling, he enjoys taking landscape photos for fun.
Q9: As a small business, how do you determine the best way to spend your money?
At first, just like all photographers, the majority of his money went to continuously upgrading his equipment. Not just better cameras and more lenses, but also a nicer computer as well as editing software. Now that he has all of the top-of-the-line gear, he has been able to start focusing more of his money on marketing and advertising in order to find more clients and build a more unique brand.
Q10: How do you advertise your business, especially when competing with much larger businesses?
The main forms of advertising for pretty much all photographers are social media and word of mouth. Nathaniel made a note that advertising with social media is becoming more of a “pay to play” atmosphere, but fortunately he is at the point where he is able to throw some money into that. He was also a very strong believer of having a clean, professional website. According to Nathaniel, “Having that website that people can go to, view your full portfolio, see that you’ve done a lot of good work, and fill out the contact form is very important for clients to see.”
Q11: What is your favorite part about doing business in the city of Omaha?
Nathaniel Jensen grew up in Omaha, and has made a lot of connections throughout high school and college who have acted as mentors and even helped market his business by telling others about him. Through his business, he has been able to meet even more people and now knows tons of families and has even made many friends. The best part about doing business in Omaha, according to Nathaniel, is the people. He told me that the people of Omaha are really down-to-earth and friendly, which has made meeting new people and connecting with others easier and more enjoyable.
Q12: What’s your current view of Omaha and where do you see the city headed in the next several years?
From his perspective, Nathaniel believes that Omaha is a bit of a smaller city and still has a bit of that rural vibe. He stated that, “You can go drive thirty minutes and you’re literally in a cornfield, which can be nice actually for taking pictures if you want that! But it does have that urban flipside, which I really do like, and I feel like that part of it is growing.” Nathaniel mentioned how neighborhoods like Benson and Dundee are what define Omaha and are ultimately helping our city grow. He believes that there is a growing “urban mindset” throughout the city, which will help local businesses expand.
Q13: Why should someone from New York, LA, or Chicago move to Omaha?
“Cheap rent and Runzas!”