My name is Jenika.

I studied behavioral neuroscience at Yale, finished with honors and distinction in the major, and went on to earn a master’s degree in psychology.

I’m the person you see walking out of the library steadying an armload of books with my chin. When something interests me, I learn everything there is to know about it and I don’t quit until I can both explain it in under thirty seconds and hold a three-hour conversation about it.

Psychology for Photographers leapt into the world in 2011. In a way I did not expect.

I'd gone to to graduate school intending to become a professor.  While still studying, I started a photography business - and here's what took me by surprise:

Everything I'd learned about people applied directly to my creative work.

And I mean everything. Attention! Decision-making! Irrational reasoning about money! Mental health! There wasn't a topic I wasn't drawing on to make my life less stressful.

The best part was, these ideas weren't just something that worked for another business owner one time - these were well-known hallmarks of the human mind that had been rigorously studied across situations. I could count on them to work.

I started writing Psychology for Photographers to share the wealth.

Now with seven years of prestigious psychology training and another seven years of writing and teaching behind me, I still pull treasures out and translate them into posts, emails, classes and talks that show you how to apply proven concepts. Not only do you get info that works, but by nature, these ideas apply to multiple areas of life. (I love efficiency.)

I keep teaching this because I adore creative people like you. I love the guts it takes to run a business, especially one that feels both public and deeply personal. And if you understand people, you will run a better business - full stop. You’ll waste less time wandering in circles and spending money on things that don’t help. You’ll know why people buy and what makes them click faster, and that gets you back to doing what you really love.

My first little audience of photographers in 2011 grew rapidly into thousands, then expanded to include graphic designers, dog trainers, coaches, dentists, eye doctors, lawyers, and a whole lot of other people who adore what they do (even more than the ‘running a business’ part). Today my audience spans the globe with many even using Google Translate to follow along. I'd love to have you join us.

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P.S. One other thing you should know about me: I notice other people’s gifts and talents as soon as I meet them, the way others might notice clothing or haircuts.

My eyes go right to someone’s empathy, or their ability to speak up, their capacity to pump people up or calm them down.  Within minutes I can already see the shining possibilities of their particular gifts.

Usually, it’s also clear that they only have vague ideas about what these gifts are - they’re so used to them they stop noticing them, the way you stop noticing the sound of a desk fan that has been on all day.  My real job in the world has always been to help people see anew what’s already there, and how they’re more capable and incredible than they realize.  

I believe there’s an audience of clients you’re uniquely suited to serve, and who will be wildly enthusiastic to hear from you if you give them a chance.  Let me help.  

42 Comments

  1. Andrew Allen on October 18, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Sounds like a very familiar story – I got my B.S. in Psychology and my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. I am now a photographer both by choice and circumstance. I do alot of street shooting and feel like I’ve learned more about people in that capacity than I ever did through mental health work; it’s also a lot less draining and much more rewarding.



    • Lisa Levock on January 2, 2012 at 4:42 am

      I can relate…BA in Psychology and an MA in Counseling…it’s funny how these studies do prepare you for a career in photography 🙂 I’m glad to have found your blog and facebook page! I look forward to catching up on all your posts…Happy New Year 🙂



      • Kristen Clayville on January 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm

        Ha! I have my undergrad in Film Production and Master’s degree in Social Work. Thank god we have these mental health degrees because I seriously feel like we can work with any person on the planet. Give me an overbearing mother-in-law any day, that’s easy!!!



    • Megan K. on June 22, 2012 at 3:45 am

      This is so interesting. I got a BA in Studio Art, then got a Masters in Social Work. Haha. I have worked with all kinds of people in the mental health world, that I feel like I’ll be able to handle any kind of client now that I’m getting ready to start my photo business!



  2. Susan on January 27, 2012 at 5:27 am

    BA in psychology, mom of three girls, stay at home homeschool mom turned photographer and trying to make a go of it. Loving your website. Thanks!



  3. Marie on February 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    “Non-fiction junkie”! Love that very much.
    Great site. I look forward to seeing your updates.



  4. Phil on April 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I clicked on your “About” link to learn your name… and it still eludes me. I’d like to give due credit when reposting your articles, which are always well written and worthy of the time it takes to read them. Perhaps this information is posted elsewhere on your site – am I simply not seeing it?



    • Jenika on April 4, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      LOL, sorry Phil! Name is Jenika. Thanks for sharing!



  5. Laura on April 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Stumbled upon your site and am already loving what I’m reading. I have an undergrad is Social Work and a partial Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy AND I too have a background in mental health! I have always loved photography but until recently haven’t been “serious” about it and am in a “soaking up knowledge” phase. Thank you for writing great articles to learn from!



    • Jenika on April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

      Thanks Laura! 😀 So cool to see how many people with psych backgrounds ended up interested in photography.



  6. Mark on June 12, 2012 at 6:59 am

    great idea for a website! It’s very interesting to read your thoughts on the client/photographer relationship. Keep up the good work!



  7. Megan K. on June 22, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Ok, I just saw you’re based in Kansas City! Me. TOO! Haha.



  8. Michelle Blair on September 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Jenika-
    You are an answer to prayer! Last year, I dropped $3400 to go to a workshop with a very highly respected photographer. Although it was a fun experience….I left feeling like I had wasted my money. I gained some knowledge in Lightroom, album design, and the importance of branding…. but I still had no idea why i wasn’t booking more clients or what to do about it. When I got home, I told my husband that I wanted to research and write about the psychology of photography and prospective clients. With a degree in psychology, I always find this stuff fascinating. It was a great idea, but I had no idea where to start or the time to even attempt it. I came across your website this week and almost started crying… All the information that I could want, right at my finger tips!!! I haven’t closed my browser in days…. I’m just soaking it all up and loving it.
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and time spent to accumulate all this information in one place. You are truly a God send.
    All my best,
    Michelle



    • Jackie Spell on March 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

      Amen! Amen! I stumbled on this website and I lost it (due to new computer etc…). Well, I am back and I am glad you shared this story.



  9. rebecca massimino on December 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I just stumbled across your blog and I can’t wait to get home tonight to read all of these amazing articles… Wow, I’ve never come across anything like this before!!



  10. Ryan on December 28, 2012 at 6:52 am

    Ha. I’m a traffic engineer (with a thriving psychology hobby), a portrait photographer, and blogger.

    Busy – but I love it!



  11. Dan Waters on January 6, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Loving the website. It’s very interesting to get a psychologist’s view on things. Sales and marketing is all about psychology so your website is a fantastic combination.



  12. Naor Cohen on January 9, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Hi Jenika, I love your blog and website. Much like you, I’m too, an academic that turned to photography. I have M.A in political psychology and a PhD in communication. I think that it is not surprising to find lots of photographers with an advance experience in academia. I find photography–among many other things–to be almost the exact opposite then academia.

    Photography comes from the heart first – it gear to and aimed at people’s emotions rather then intellect.
    Although it is a mediated form of communication, it reads as unmediated.
    And most importantly (at least for me as a researcher) it is immediate and fast. You feel, compose, and click – you capture an aspect or element of reality. No hypothesis, stats and validation is required.

    In any case, I really love your writing and hope you continue sharing your experience and wisdom. They are much needed!
    Cheers,
    Naor



    • Kathy Radford on August 24, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Love your comment Naor. I have “Shot from the Heart” on my business cards. I am a very emotional photographer and love people. I’m 74 years young and only have a high school education and am a self taught photographer. I painted in oils for many years but have been doing photography since I was 8 years old when I talked my grandmother into buying me a camera at an estate auction she dragged me to.

      Now retired I am in the process of making it as a professional photographer after my husbands business lost its major account. It is that warm fuzzy emotional feeling I’m after. Each and every landscape or seascape I capture I feel such emotional ties to each photo and want my customers to feel as they are standing there right beside me when I take each shot. Taking scenery shots is like standing in a part of heaven with such beauty and peacefulness.

      I think it is fascination that so many psychologists are interested in photography. Interesting topic. Glad I found this site.



  13. Murray on January 21, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Hi Jenika,

    Hope you are well?

    Just posted a link from your blog in a linkedin discussion on wannabe’s and pro’s versus fee’s etc.

    I didn’t bother entering into the discussion as your fine blog will give all food for thought and some more followers for you too I think.

    Best wishes

    Murray



  14. Rachael May (Portland Family Photographer) on April 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I LOVE this blog. Seriously…finally….someone speaking from a logical point of view. Thank you….it’s the conversations I’ve been craving to have with someone who WON’T get offended.



  15. Erika Kruger on June 23, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hallo Jennika I am so excited about finding your website. I am involved in many different activities that overlap with yours. I am a post-grad psychology student, I am a massage therapist and I am the studio manager for Martin Van Niekerk, a commercial photographer in Cape Town. It has taken me a while to conceptually integrate them all and to formulate a summary of that which underpins what I do. At the moment I describe myself as helping people and companies to enhance their image – body images through massage, self-image through body-mind integration and pain management and photographic images in the studio. I look forward to hear your opinions and experiences. Best wishes. Erika Kruger



  16. April Maura on August 20, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Wow, you have quite the story. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I am excited to see psychology and photography work together. I love both studies.



  17. Michael on September 14, 2013 at 3:03 am

    I too am currently getting my masters in mental health counseling but would like to pursue photography and see where it goes.



  18. Sheree (shereeEclark Photography) on September 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I am laughing. I love how there are no coincidences in life! I have literally just begun the process of creating my website when intention landed me smack dab in the middle of your dreamland-of-a-site 😉 bc you were linked in the first email I received from another blogger’s newsletter I *just* signed up for! Also cracking me up is my dire interest in psychology and passion for photography!!

    Gotta love it!
    Namaste

    Sheree



  19. Chris on October 11, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I am loving your site! So much great info. I think it’s really interesting to learn why people do what they do. Thanks!



  20. Kristin on January 15, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Same story here! BA in Psychology, Master’s in Experimental Psychology from Dartmouth, emphasis in cognitive neuroscience. Now I’ve (mostly) turned away from academia and am dreaming of pursuing photography. I’m soaking up all the information I can get, trying to get the courage to take the first steps. LOVE your website, thanks so much!



  21. Annette Burke on January 17, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Great site



  22. Miranda on January 24, 2014 at 5:24 am

    i am really happy to find this blog and just subscribed. Psychology is the thing that works behind everything and every action. Thanks for focusing on this very important aspect and keep up the good work Jenika 🙂



  23. jana on March 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Hi Jenika, I am very glad I have found your site. It’s since ever I love connection between photography and psychology. I have studies Academy of fine arts, but it was always my interest psychology, so for last 3 years I have been studying NLP , became Master Practitioner. I think it’s amazing connection.
    I will follow your blog and thinking about buying your products.
    Good luck and thanks for your work!
    Jana



  24. Florian Marschoun on August 31, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Thank you for writing your blog! I love to read your articles and start smiling when I see how much difference the little “tricks” make. I’m looking forward to keep reading.



  25. Douglas White on April 12, 2015 at 3:56 am

    I found your website in an article in Turning Pro magazine. I like what I’ve read so far and looking forward to spending more time reading your blog.



  26. Margie Heath on June 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    I am excited to learn more from you.



  27. Ania on January 19, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I am happy to find this blog . Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.



  28. Trang ps on April 18, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Hello Jenika! My name is Trang, from Vietnam, people call me Trang ps blogger :)) Today I by accident read your blog and really really enjoy it. I also love making friends with you and learn from you more. Thank you so much ^^



  29. Ann McMahon on June 2, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    You are a talented and smart young woman and your efforts are certainly appreciated by me after reviewing your website. In addition to making people have fun, while you photograph them, I suspect you take much satisfaction from helping us all with the website. Good for you and good for us!:>)



  30. Nick Wood on November 23, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Jenika, I have just come across your site and I am blown away – what a great slant on an old topic. I will be recommending this to all the photographers I know – thank you.



    • Jenika on November 23, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      Thank you for the kind words, Nick – I appreciate it and appreciate your recommendations to others! Have a wonderful week!



  31. Rebecca Hailey-Tompkins on December 2, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I stumbled across your blog just in time to save a little of my sanity. I only hold a Bachelors in Psychology, yet I love how you tie everything in.
    Thank you for this blog!



  32. Lisa on December 18, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I was amazed at how similar we are. Your site is awesome! Lisa



  33. Lisa on December 18, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Your photos are stunning!



  34. Jayna Green on November 20, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Jenika, I’d like to be able to cite one of your posts for a paper as I was presented with the task of trying to come up with a marketing plan for a new business in one of the courses I’m doing this semester. The business we created was a coffee bar and in the positioning I emphasized how the atmosphere contributes just as much to our business as the product. I thought you had some great points in your post “Is your business the coffee or the coffee shop” and would like to be able to properly cite your name. If you could help out with this it would be great!

    Thanks,

    Jayna