We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenna Truong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenna, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
The most important lesson my photography business has taught me is to be 100% authentic. During the early stages of building my photography business, I morphed myself into what my clients wanted me to be to the point I didn’t know who I was anymore leading me to feel creatively-stunted. In the beginning, I’ve always thought that in order to create a successful business meant I had to suppress my true personality and activate my business personality instead. For example, this meant I posted photos of what the audience wanted and not what I wanted. It was to the point I was even scared of voicing my own thoughts and opinions on social media because I was scared of losing amazing clients. Then I realized that if I wanted to enjoy my photography career then I needed to stop being so polished all the time even if people do not agree with me. When I learned how to be myself, I noticed I started meeting many clients who wanted to work with me because they liked the authentic me not the business me. I started enjoying my photography career more because I realized how much fun I was having working with all kinds of people without having to suppress who I truly was. When I fear being myself, I always remind myself that not everyone will like me and that is totally fine but that should never stop me from being 100% authentic because it is much easier being myself.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I run a photography business called Jenna Truong Visuals. I capture people’s happy moments whether it is their wedding day, graduation, or even their dog’s birthday. The sky’s the limit when it comes to photography! The one thing I am most proud of is how much I have grown as a person because of my photography business. It has helped me develop my interpersonal communication skills as well as my confidence. It also taught me how to be more patient which benefits my work life as well as my personal life. I started my photography business in 2018 with an agenda of turning photography into a job. The process of building my business was not easy because doubt and fear was one of the biggest challenges I had to face. I was afraid of people’s criticism and judgement every time I posted a photo because I thought it would define the worth of my work. Due to this male-dominated industry, I had to encounter a lot of harsh sexist comments from men in the field online as well as in person. It led me to a lot of moments of questioning myself like if I deserve a place in photography or if my work was worthy enough to be called a business. However, I realized that if I let those thoughts persist then it would just shape me into a person I did not want to be so I stopped. I overcame those challenges by being my authentic self while pushing aside any negative energy that came my way and I do not regret it one bit! One of the many lessons I’ve learned along the way is that there will be people who won’t have the nicest things to say about my work. Their comments or judgements do not validate who I am or the worthiness of my photography business. I think people have to remember that we can’t make everyone happy or control people’s judgements because we do not live in a perfect world. However, we as an individual can control the way we react to negative judgement and as long as we stay true to ourselves then that is the only thing that matters! I want the world to know that my photography business advocates authenticity. I work with not only people’s happiest moments but also the moments when they are stressed, sad, or nervous. I want my clients to be themselves and when they are themselves that is how I know I did a good job of making them feel comfortable. My business is not just about capturing photos I also want to be an emotional support and a friend to talk to during important events because I understand that people go through many emotions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
1. Buffalo Bayou Park – the best place to get a view of the Houston skyline. Great for picnics. 2. The Black Walnut Café – they serve great coffee as well as tasty breakfast. 3. Le Peep – another breakfast place that has so many kind staff that care about your experience at the restaurant. 4. Gen Korean BBQ House – one of the best Korean barbeque places you can go to with good quality meat. 5. Oishii – though this place gets pretty crowded they have amazing sushi with reasonable prices. 6. Tiger Sugar – I think it’s one of the best boba spots if you are craving something sweet! 7. McGovern Centennial Gardens – this park is a must visit because of the amazing scenery and garden. Best to go during the weekday since it gets pretty crowded during the weekend. 8. Houston Arboretum & Nature Center – this was newly made but still worth the visit! 9. Axelrad – they have comfy hammocks that you can chill at while drinking good quality cocktails. There also a small pizza shop next to the bar as well. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to my boyfriend, close friends, and clients. My boyfriend was actually a photographer who taught me the ins and outs of photography. He let me practice photography with his camera back in the day and encouraged me to turn photography into a job. He is my motivator and the person who has seen the ugly and pretty side of my photography business but still supports me no matter what. Secondly, my close friends have unconditionally supported me throughout the growth of my business even during the times my career didn’t get a lot of attention. Lastly, my amazing clients who have given me the opportunity to capture their happy moments and financially supported my business. My photography business would not be where it is today if it weren’t for my clients. I am appreciative of any support I receive and I will forever be thankful!