Our featured artist in the Creator Spotlight is Jules Bianchi, a talented photographer and sculptor working in needle felting. I love her artistic vision and the professionalism of her commercial photography combined with the whimsy and charm that she infuses into her custom felted animals and pet portraits!
Jules got her start taking photographs in her teen years using film and a Canon Ai1 film camera. She learned to develop her own color, black and white film photos in a darkroom and mastered the technical aspects of using cameras. In 2004 she added digital expertise to her list of skills and switched her professional equipment to all digital.
After a successful 20 year career as a wedding photographer in California, she was ready for a change.
Jules graduated from her two year community college with a recent completion of a certificate in Video Production and Editing. Adding video creation and editing onto a resume for commercial accounts is a natural fit for her.
Jules currently takes wonderful lifestyle branding photos for private and personal accounts seeking outstanding branding via photography and video.
If pressed for a favorite subject to shoot, she loves to shoot personal branding over products because there is a synergy that emerges when she is helping her clients determine the best way to showcase their personalities.
What strikes me immediately about Jules’ portfolio is that she manages to capture the personality and uniqueness about her subjects. I can tell which person is introspective, which one has a twinkle of mischief in their eyes and which ones are socially outgoing.
It takes a combination of an artist’s eye, knowledge of structure, composition, all the technical know-how of a master of their medium PLUS a super high degree of person to person communication and relationship building to pull all that off.
For her food styling shots, I asked what is the key to her wonderful compositions.
“It’s about knowing specifically what you need to focus on with your subject. What special story do I need to tell to the viewer about this subject? Usually there is a unique characteristic that I need to communicate to the viewer. For instance, if it’s the twist of smoke coming off of a cocktail with singed rosemary sprig then the goal is to use techniques – shallow focus, leading lines etc. – to lead the viewer immediately to that detail.”
I wanted to know the secret to this alchemy! Jules surprised me. I thought it would be lots of technical know-how like the best camera settings, filters and equipment. Instead she says the number one thing is to really understand the story your client wants to tell. Only then can you ‘see’ how to showcase their personalities and individualities. Along with the years of skill building and effort, Jules learned how to assess a person or business to be able to show who they uniquely are through her lens.
When asked what she wished someone had cautioned her about when beginning a professional photographer career, her answer surprised me again! Of course gain a competent set of skills around your tools before you start charging for your work. But here’s the kicker:
“Marketing is just as important as photography skills. Self marketing is huge. ”
“Photography is less about talent. People skills are paramount.”
“Know your market and your local vendors for that market. Show them your work. For example, if you want to do wedding photography, get to know the best wedding planners, caterers and venue locations for referrals and collaborations”
Great advice for any creator trying to make a living!
If that wasn’t enough awesomeness
Jules has used the 2020 – 2021 Covid lockdown crisis to expend her world into new arenas. She started creating needle felted animals as a satisfying hobby and has discovered a surprising and rewarding market for her custom pet portrait sculptures on Etsy. Check out her unique and charming creations:
Her clients often hire her to create memorial portraits of beloved pets, or buy them as a stand alone artwork.
Jules loves to infuse personality, charm and quirkiness of each pet into her felted animals, rather than having a stark, uber-realistic taxidermy look. The results are uncanny and utterly irresistible!
She is currently building a following on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook in photography, video creation and now, felted animal sculptures.
Current influences and inspirations
Jules loves stop motion videos and is currently melding her love for photography, felted creations and video creation into something wonderful. It will be exciting to see what she comes up with.
You can find her work and follow her evolution here:
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jules_felt_like_it/