Jennifer Blackwell has photographed weddings. She's photographed quinceaneras. She's taken senior portraits and family portraits, and she has shot family events.
Once someone asked her to take a picture of him and his car, so she did.
A professional photographer, Blackwell is open to all kinds of photo requests from clients — within reason, of course.
“Nothing is considered too off the wall,” said Blackwell, whose studio, Jennifer Blackwell Photography, has been named Best Photography Studio in the Yuma Sun's Yuma Best reader poll for 2012.
One thing she does avoid is staged or forced photographs, which she believes detract from the vitality of an event or an occasion. Blackwell opts for what she calls “lifestyle photography” — photography that captures people in their natural elements.
Take, for example, the occasion of a recent birth. Blackwell snapped the photograph just as the new mother was grasping her husband's hand.
“What I liked about it was that his wedding ring was next to her hand. That was just a special moment.”
Photographing the moment as it unfolds — as opposed to manufacturing the moment to be photographed — is Blackwell's guiding principle, she says.
“I think it's just being genuine, because when you are yourself, you can bring that out in others.”
Blackwell opened her studio about nine years ago, and 2012 is the fourth consecutive year it has placed No. 1 in Yuma's Best.
“I enjoy what I do, and I like working with people, and I think that brings people back to me year after year. But I look on that not just as building a client base, but also as building friendships.”
When not taking photographs, she serves as news director for Z93 and Outlaw Country radio in Yuma and placed No. 2 in voting in the category of Best Local Radio Personality in same poll.
Born and raised in Safford, Ariz., Blackwell says her earliest photography influences came from her grandmother Viola.
“She had a camera ready for every family occasion,” Blackwell recalled. “While everyone acted like they hated it, they loved the fact that she took the time to capture those moments.”
She then had the opportunity to acquire and refine her photography skills as editor of her high school newspaper and later as editor of the college newspaper.
A resident of Yuma since 1993, Blackwell is assisted in her studio by her her husband Jeff Blackwell, their son Jace and by Theresa Straub.
“I just want to thank the community for thinking of me and coming back to me, so I can capture the important moments in their lives.”