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Inspire Me Friday Interview #4} with Jodie Otte

Jodie Otte of Black Horse Studio in Maryland is the talent behind the Similac add campaigns. If you’ve watched anything on Hulu lately, opened Parent magazine or watched daytime talk shows, chances are you’ve seen her work! Jodie has been published in The New York Times, Fox News, The Big Book of Babies by J.C. Squares and thats just to name a few. If that wasn’t enough to impress your socks off (and I know it was) she is also incredibly brilliant on the business side of things with a true talent for making the passion you love a thriving business. To top it all off Jodie is a genuinely giving soul willing to share her vast knowledge and encourage newbies into the right direction. I am so proud to say that this weeks spotlight is on the incredibly talented Jodie Otte!

How would you describe your style?
I try to be realistic, classic, but with deep rich tones. My goal is for the viewer to find a warm “peace” about my images.

What’s in the bag?
Nikon D3. I’m constantly going back and forth between lenses. Right now, I’m attached to my 24-70/2.8 since shooting a major commercial gig with it recently. However, I am usually attracted to my primes – 85 and 135.

Do you shoot studio or location?

I have a historic 170-year-old studio located in the beautiful rolling hills of Northern Maryland in a very equestrian area. I love to be able to have the option of shooting inside the studio and on the property surrounding.

Can we get a peak into your studio?
I would love to show you my current studio but I’m moving to a new location in January 2010 on 8 gorgeous acres. While I have enjoyed having my current studio, I happened upon this new building recently and couldn’t pass it up. I’ll update with pictures on my blog in the near future.

How long have you been pro and how did it start?
I’ve done photography off and on for 10 years, but 6 years ago, I went full time. I used to paint portraits in oils and pastels when I was younger; this was just a natural progression of things.

How do you market your business?

Word of mouth is huge. I love to let my images speak. I’m not a salesperson at all.

How do you present images to your clients?
I do online galleries and utilize collections to help clients decide how to order. 95% of my clients come from at least an hour away. To my surprise, many come from other states. Because of this, I can’t necessarily bring them back to the studio for ordering, but I do give an option for in person ordering.

How do you like to display in your own home (and will you show us)?
I like big prints in my own home. Unfortunately, my kids’ portraits are outdated because of course, I never have time to photograph them 😉 Here’s a view of my living room.

What has been most beneficial in helping you grow?
Realizing that I’m a business, and to always act as one, not letting my emotions get in the way.

You obviously have a fantastic sense of business!! Where does this come from?
I started my first successful business 13 years ago in the medical field. When I decided to become a full-time photographer, I had already worked out all my beginners’ mistakes in that business, and it was a fairly easy transition. Owning a business should be the same concepts across the board. Income vs. expenses vs. profiting is what I’m about. I’m not about to have the life of a starving artist.

What are the biggest mistakes you see new photographers making?
I unfortunately see so many photographers get into this and think “wow, I made $200 for doing something I found fun” when in reality – that $200 is not profit; they are making less than minimum wage, not realizing how many hours they really work, because they just don’t understand basic business management. With that mentality, they will never ever be a booming successful business. I think all new business owners should take some business management classes. If you don’t have a good business management foundation, your business will eventually crumble.

Where might we find you when you’re not shooting?
Enjoying my family – my husband of 15 years, and our 13-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter — Up at the barn riding our horses or down in Cape Hatteras.



  1. Mohammad says:

    greaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat job

you said:

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