Hangin’ with Jocelyn Gardiner
Words cannot describe the being that is Jocelyn Gardiner. She truly is so charming and a light. If you ever want to take the dreaded headshot, Jocelyn puts you at complete ease as she goes to work, making your face into a work of art! She specializes in creating authentic images for families, artists, and professionals. Raised in Utah, Jocelyn has spent most of her adult life in the South and Midwest, where she discovered her passion for capturing people through photography. Now happily back in Utah and living in Midway with her two daughters, Jocelyn continues to find joy in exploring photography and preserving memories for clients of all ages. Today we had the chance to chat about travel and how that has helped her expand her worldview and step outside of her comfort zones. Upon meeting her and hearing her laugh, you already know the world is a better place. Hope you all enjoy this podcast!
Visit Jocelyn’s Utah Portrait Photography website to book a session!
Who Is Jocelyn Gardiner?
Describing Jocelyn Gardiner is perhaps the hardest thing to do because words could never emphatically describe her. She’s a juggernaut in the realm of photography with a specialization in portraits and headshots. Her genius did not come by fluke, as she always had the knack to capture moments at their natural state. Only when she started taking snaps of her baby girl did she really get the hang of photography.
She is a multi-talented photographer with an amazing ability to capture authentic personalities and bring life to pictures. If you’re ever searching for a dependable and trustworthy professional, Jocelyn is your best choice. Her artistry pulls out captivating and fantastic photo shoots.
Jocelyn is originally from Utah, where she grew up. As part of her adult life, she moved away from her hometown to explore life and possibly discover herself. However, her desire to live in the perfect town eventually took her back to Utah, where she had her best childhood experiences. Her desire to give her daughters the same experiences and a good life was the nudge she needed to move back to Utah.
Now living in Midway, Utah, she finally enjoys the serenity and charming landscapes, the great weather, and even greater neighbors. Her crazy love for the bakery with the best and biggest cinnamon rolls was a bonus to convince her to go back home.
Jocelyn is a divorced mother of two adorable daughters, with the eldest born around 2013 and the youngest seven years later. Jocelyn had to move to three states for her family and work before finally settling back in her hometown.
Her Photography Debut
Having her first daughter was a moment to relish and relive. Jocelyn bought a simple digital camera to capture her daughter’s every growing moment. Since it was her first time taking pictures, she wasn’t very good at it, and she quickly realized her baby photos lacked the oomph they needed.
A couple of baby photos later, Jocelyn still wasn’t convinced she was doing a great job — her photos were somewhat low quality because of poor focus and inadequate exposure. At this moment she realized that, though a central part of photography, a camera wasn’t enough.
She embarked on studying YouTube tutorials, manuals, books, and whatever else she could get her hands on to learn more about photography — all to take cute pictures of her daughter. And with her quest she became an exceptional photographer through motherhood.
Jocelyn’s photography skills did not blossom overnight. It took time to master her art and craft, and as her daughter grew up, Jocelyn’s photography skills became sophisticated enough that people wanted her to take their family photos.
After moving back to Utah with her family, Jocelyn experienced a challenge that put her art in jeopardy. While Utah is known for excellent weather, the better part of the winter season isn’t so great, particularly for her business. She had to close up shop during the winter because she couldn’t take good pictures without the natural light often missing in winter, and the snow was less of a motivator for clients.
She finally opened her own home studio where she could continue to work even during the winter season. As with any new business, Jocelyn had to jump some hurdles to build a successful photography studio. The concept of a studio was a new idea to Jocelyn and, understandably, it became overwhelmingly frightening.
However, she recalled why she strived to become a photographer. With this realization, she did everything she could to make her photography studio a successful business. She later bought all her equipment. Her studio became a sought-after service for professionals, artists, families, and musicians.
Jocelyn Gardiner loves being a photographer. She is enamored with portraits and headshot photography of kids, individuals, and families.
Jocelyn Gardiner’s natural photography talent makes her a force to be reckoned with. Her work attracts a myriad of praise, compliments, and referrals from her clients.
One client described how Jocelyn’s photography and editing skills are better than Botox! Another went on to say that she has a calm personality that makes people, especially camera-shy people, comfortable enough to pose for photos.
Many of her clients continue to bow to her art, saying that they cannot recommend Jocelyn Gardiner enough!
Jocelyn Gardiner Podcast Transcription
Charan: All right you guys, welcome to the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast. I’m your host, Charan Prabhakar, and I’m just so delighted out of my mind to be with the lovely … words can’t describe how delightful the human being across from me is.
Jocelyn: I was waiting for the adjectives.
Charan: Yeah, I can. I can, because English wouldn’t even do it justice. But this-
Jocelyn: Try in French.
Charan: Okay. [foreign language 00:01:52] No, you guys, across from me sits the delightful Jocelyn, I have to say Parker, because that’s how I’ve known her, as Jocelyn Parker Gardiner, who is the most wonderful human being I know. She’s so delightful; she brings peace and joy just by her presence.
Charan: I know, hang on. There’s a little bit more, I’ve got a couple more things. Her laughter soothes nations or, in fact, it soothed our high school; it soothed our high school.
Jocelyn: This is getting more and more ridiculous.
Charan: It really isn’t, it’s the best. So Jocelyn and I had the privilege of going to high school together, and she was the girl that everyone was madly in love with. There’s no lies there; it’s the truth. She was a year after me in high school but just so much more wise than I am. And Jocelyn and I, we never even hung out in high school, I don’t think, we never really did, just because I was far too intimidated. Anyway, but we connected after high school briefly, lost touch for 20 years, and then we reconnected at our mutual friend Alicia’s wedding, and you were taking her photos there, the wedding. And it was so great to catch up, and you’ve become an incredible photographer, and we’ll really be diving into that. But Jocelyn, thank you so much for coming on this podcast with me and having … just the willingness to do so which has just been so fun.
Jocelyn: [crosstalk 00:03:22] very welcome, it’s great to be here.
Jocelyn Gardiner’s Lemonade Stand Story
Charan: Yes. Yes. So the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast is all about lemonade stand stories. It’s about people’s journey into becoming a creator of some sort. Whether it’s an entrepreneur or, like, actors, producers, I interview a lot of people like that, photographers, but have you ever started your own lemonade stand when you were a little girl?
Jocelyn: I never had a lemonade stand. However, one summer I thought it was going to be a really good idea to start selling worms door to door.
Charan: It is always a good idea.
Jocelyn: And I thought my neighbors were just going to say, “Yes, please more worms. We need more worms.”
Charan: Did you watch Dumb and Dumber? Is that what prompted you or is it just your thing?
Jocelyn: No, I loved digging up worms and I thought, “Oh, everybody needs these in their yard.” So my friend and I, his name was Cameron Ashton, haven’t thought about him for 30 something years, but we dug up worms and we put them in little Dixie Cups, and we would take them around to my neighbors and try to sell them. Nobody was buying.
Charan: That’s so weird.
Jocelyn: I know. I know.
Charan: That is so weird.
Jocelyn: Shocking, but there was one neighbor across the street, his name was Ted Stevenette, we showed up at his door with, like, I don’t know, five or six cups of worms, and he goes, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been waiting for you guys.”
Jocelyn: And he bought all of the cups with all of the worms and he said, “I’ve been looking for worms for my garden. Thank you so much.” And I think we were charging 25 cents a cup.
Jocelyn: But I didn’t quite understand how change worked. So I knew that you would give people money, and sometimes you’d get money back, and I didn’t get how it worked. So he paid for the worms and then I tried to give him half the money back. He was like, “No, no, no, no. It’s okay, you keep that.”
Charan: What a generous investor.
Jocelyn: I know, right? He was a very special guy.
Charan: That’s so great. And so you could say he was your first seed investor that took you to the next planet, to the next world.
Jocelyn: Literally, like a seed investor.
Charan: A literal seed investor. No, that is amazing. Of all the people I’ve had on this podcast, not a single one mentioned worm-selling as a thing, so …
Jocelyn: Not everybody knows the secret.
Charan: Yeah, truly. How long did this job go for?
Jocelyn: That was it.
Charan: That was it? One thing and you’re like …
Jocelyn: We had one customer and thought we’d made it, so we retired.
Charan: And you did. How many, could you go to the Nickelcade with all those quarters? I have no idea.
Jocelyn: It was going down to the pharmacy and buying those Smarties suckers. Remember those? Do they still make those? Those were so good.
Charan: Smarties suckers … Oh, I think I know what you’re talking about. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Jocelyn: On the white sticks and [crosstalk 00:06:07].
Charan: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Jocelyn: So we bought as many of those as we could and why keep going? We’d made it.
Charan: Yeah. Look how far worms took you. That’s what I think.
Jocelyn: It’s where it all started.
Charan: It’s where it all started. You know, that is amazing and I did not know that story about you, so that’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing that with me. So after your worm career died out, did you do any other entrepreneurial ventures or anything like that?
Jocelyn: No, I wasn’t one of those kids that was always like, “What can I sell?” I was very just in my own little world doing make-believe and losing myself in the woods and pretending I was really lost, and I was one of those kids.
Charan: No. Hey, that’s fantastic, because here’s the thing. You have such a beautiful imagination, you know? And I can tell, because when you take your photos, it’s so amazing and they capture so much beauty. So I really think that part of being an entrepreneur is having a creative mind to imagine and to do those amazing things. And there’s all kinds of different entrepreneurs, right? So let’s fast-forward a little bit, because I want to talk to you a little bit about this trip that you took to Europe, okay? Because from our conversations before, I remember an incident happened where you wanted to go back home and your mom was like, “Nope, you’re staying out there.” And I think that was a big pivotal moment from our conversations before where it was like yeah, this is where I was like, “Okay, I’m going to take ownership and start doing things and not feel like I can be a victim or whatnot.” right? So can you share with me that story?
Jocelyn: Sure. So I’d been out of the country only one time previous. It was when I was 13, and I went with my sister and a big touring group, and we traveled all over Europe. And even then it was a very overwhelming experience because I mean, I’m sure I had left Utah, but not very much. So coming from Utah to Paris and just the overwhelming … everything about the culture, it was almost too much for my 13-year-old brain to handle. But my mom, when I was a freshman in college said, “Hey, after the school year is done, I think you should go do another program in Europe.”
Charan: “Study abroad” type of thing.
Jocelyn: Yeah. This time it was actually through UVU and it was drama studies. So we went to all the plays in London and just immersed ourselves completely in theater over there and it was amazing. It was amazing, but it also meant that I had to leave my boyfriend and that I wasn’t going to have a summer with all of my friends. And it was a very childish, not childish, but kind of transitioning from being a teenager into being a young adult, I still kind of wanted to hang onto a traditional teenage summer. And when my program in London was over I thought, “Oh great, I’m going to come home. And then I’ll finish the summer with all my friends.”
Jocelyn: And I was on the phone with my mom in one of those little red, the stereotypical London telephone booth, and my mom said “Actually, no, no, no. I think you should go to Germany and stay with your cousin who’s in the army over there.” I was like, “No. What are you talking about? I don’t want to do this.” I wanted to come home and spend 4th of July with my friends and do all that stuff. And she said, “No, no, no, no. It’s all arranged. You’re going to Europe, you’re going to Germany.” And I hung up the phone with her. And I remember I was sitting in Trafalgar Square. “I’ll just run away.” That was my plan. “I’m going to run away from home.”
Jocelyn: I don’t know how that makes anything better. It was a very like kind of throwing a temper tantrum to no one, because no one was there to see it, or everyone was there to see it and nobody cared. And I said to myself, “Okay, I could go to Germany and whine the whole time about how I miss my friends who are still going to be there when I get back. All the stuff that I care about is still going to be there. Who knows if I’ll get to go to Germany again, especially with someone who’s living there, speaks the language, can take me around.” So I went. I had an amazing time with my cousin. I had some other family members come over, we toured Germany, we toured Austria, and it was kind of a moment where I thought, “Oh my gosh, I could have missed this or not have appreciated it while I was there and whine about coming home and I’m so glad I didn’t do that. And then I had so much fun, I got to go back the next year.
Jocelyn: I begged my parents to send me back. So the next year I went back to England and I did another summer studying English Literature at Cambridge and then stayed after my program was done and toured England for two, three weeks. And I haven’t been back since and I’m dying to go. It was such a paradigm shift in my young adult life that the world is actually massive, and I can’t get enough of it and so yeah.
Charan: Let’s talk a little bit about that paradigm shift, because the truth is … And I was talking to another friend of mine on this podcast about travel and how travel is actually such an incredible thing for people and not just because you get to leave the country, but your perceptions of life change completely, especially when you grow up in a certain place, and you’re only used to certain thought processes and ideologies, to go outside and to see the world from different people’s eyes and perspectives, it’s massive. It’s massive. So from your own perspective, how has traveling and exploring Europe and Germany, how has that changed your perception of life?
Jocelyn: I would say it’s one of my highest priorities, because every time I leave the country, it’s not just that I get to experience different people, get to hear different languages, get to eat different foods, you know how a big deal that is.
Charan: Yes, of course. It really is a big deal. Very big deal. Yeah.
Jocelyn: It’s also how I start to see myself in the context of all of that. And is this uncomfortable? Can I push past this discomfort and enjoy myself or not enjoy myself, but at least don’t stay in this tiny little bubble that I’ve created where I feel safe? And every time I do that, I learn more about myself. I learn more about what I really want and what I think the purpose of this whole experience we call life is and these last, I don’t know, year and a half where we haven’t been able to travel, it’s killing my soul.
Jocelyn: It’s so hard, because as an adult I’ve made it a really high priority to have at least one international trip a year and not being able to do that … This is a “first world” problem, I don’t want to sound like too much of a complainer, but it’s become a big part of how I try to grow as a person.
Charan: Yeah. Well, the thing that you just really mentioned, which I love, is the idea of pushing past your personal comfort zones, and traveling really allows for that to happen, right? Where you’re put into a whole different … it’s almost a whole different set of rules, you know? And you’re like, “Wait, what? What is going on? And how do I interact with these people?” and especially if you don’t speak the language and then you’re like, “Wait, how do I deal with all of this?” If you couldn’t tell, I’m from India and … I know.
Jocelyn: Oh my gosh, you are just tell me this now?
Charan: I’m so sorry. I know I should have told you earlier, but I grew up in India for, like, six years, moved here, but I have had the opportunity to go back as an adult several times, and it’s been a lot of fun going as an adult with your friends and you’re not with your family. Because when you’re with your family traveling, I feel like you’re always kind of bound to what they want to do, just hanging out at home and not doing anything fun. For me, I was more of a … I wanted adventure. I know I want to go see different parts of India that I’ve never even seen before. And so the last time I went to India, I went with some friends and we were road-tripping and it was very interesting, because especially the area that we were at, I didn’t even understand the language other than when they would speak English. It was funny because my friends would notice I would automatically put an Indian accent on, and they’re like, “Charan, that’s racist.” I’m like, “Guys, I’m Indian. It’s not, it’s not. How is this racist? I’m just trying to connect with them.”
Jocelyn: Why did you feel the need to do that?
Charan: Because they wouldn’t understand me if I had an American accent, and that’s the thing and because they asked that exact thing, “Why do you have to do that?” And I said, “Okay guys, go ahead and order food. Go ahead, I want to see how this is going to go.” And they started ordering food and the people there were so confused, and they turned and they looked at me, and I had an Indian accent, and I told them exactly what we wanted. They’re like, “Oh, sir, no problem sir.” And then they went back and got it and my friends were like, “Oh my gosh.” I’m like, “I know. I cracked the code.” You just speak with an accent, it’s going to be great. But it was such an interesting experience going there and experiencing the culture and from a different perspective. And we went to New Zealand, and the people in New Zealand, they have such a beautiful way of experiencing life themselves, you know? And so it’s so interesting to me to see how traveling and seeing the world influences the way we perceive life and how much bigger life becomes as a result of it. So how has that helped you expand your own mind as you’ve gone to Europe, as you’ve gone to New Zealand and the other places you’ve been to?
Jocelyn: Well, that’s a pretty big question.
Charan: It is, but New Zealand is big place.
Jocelyn: I could go on tangents about seven different answers for that. I think most recently, though, you and I got to go to New Zealand, what was a year and a half ago, which was super fun, and earlier that year I was able to travel to Ireland which was incredible. And kind of when you come home from those big trips and you decompress and you look at all the pictures and thinking, “Oh my gosh, this was so fun.” and then after it kind of fades, at least I try to ask myself, “Okay, what did I learn about other people? What did I learn about myself?” And I think the thing that keeps being confirmed to me is there is not really a right or wrong. We have our way of doing things in the States. Some of it works and some of it doesn’t. People in this country have a different way of doing things — some of it works and some of it doesn’t — but just being able to empathize with people from all walks of life, from all different parts of the world, and understand that their beliefs and actions are very much shaped by where they’re from, and it doesn’t make it right or wrong.
Charan: Yeah. I love that answer, because then you have this more of an approach of love instead of judgment, and you can go to different places, different cultures and see that at the end of the day, we’re all human beings and we’re all trying to just live life and be good people. And at the same time, it’s like the way we may approach life here in Utah, and the mentality that we may have here is not what the rest of the world is like. And so I think traveling is a fantastic thing for everyone to do and especially for an entrepreneur, actually, because when you’re creating things and trying to do good things out in the world, having a broad perspective helps you to understand people. And I think being a very successful entrepreneur is all about understanding people and connecting with them.
Jocelyn Gardiner Talks About Getting Into Photography
Charan: So I want to shift a little bit more to your passion for photography because that’s kind of … I don’t know, in my mind, I’m like, that’s where you shine and you kill it, and it’s so amazing and it’s so exciting. And here’s the thing. I have a passion for just being alive, just feeling alive, and I love it when people find something that makes them come alive. And my goodness when you’re doing photography, it’s like you’re 10 feet tall. You’re just so excited about it. You just love doing it. It’s like it’s your soul. It is your soul and I love it when you’re taking pictures of your girls, because you get so excited about that, but tell me how this passion for photography began because it wasn’t always a thing, right?
Jocelyn: No. I took a photography class in high school, and this was back when there was no digital anything, and I thought it was kind of cool hanging out in the dark room and watching your images kind of materialize out of nothing on the paper, but it didn’t stick, it wasn’t like, “Oh my gosh, I’m really into this. I want to keep pursuing it.” It was just a really fun elective. But then I think there’s two reasons I fell so in love with it so hard and so fast. One, I had a baby and I just couldn’t imagine not being able to remember every second of her life, especially in the first six months, because everything was a first. This is the first time she’s having a banana; this is the first time she’s whatever it is, seeing a dog and I just …
Charan: And you were seeing life through her eyes again.
Jocelyn: Yeah, it was a very … Becoming a parent for the first time is overwhelming in so many ways, but it’s almost like starting over through someone else. You get to see the first of everything for another being and it’s pretty powerful. So I was taking pictures of her like crazy on my phone and then I thought, “You know what? In 30, 40 years, these are not going to be great. They’re going to be low quality; they’re probably going to get lost somewhere. These won’t be tangible photos for her, like I have in my albums. So I invested in an entry-level DSLR digital camera, and I got it and I took a couple of photos and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m amazing. These looks so good.” and it was just because it was the first kind of fancy camera I’d ever had, but I thought, “Okay, there’s an automatic option on here. That’s what I’m shooting in, that looks pretty good, but there’s 17 other options on here. I wonder what these do.”
Jocelyn: So when I kind of started playing around with that thought, I realized, “Oh, this is actually really hard. This is a lifetime pursuit of understanding what’s possible in the realm of photography.” And it’s funny, because now I look at those photos that I took of my baby on that first day and I say, “These are pretty terrible.” But at the time I was just so fascinated with what I could do with even very little limited knowledge of the camera. So I read my camera manual, front to back. I started watching YouTube tutorials like crazy. I went to some in-person workshops. I got a ton of books and I just couldn’t consume it fast enough. I knew the kind of photos I wanted to take and I wasn’t there. So I just tried to learn as quickly as I could to start capturing those moments the way I wanted to so that when my daughter is old enough, she can look back and have these really, really authentic candid photos of the beginning of her life, which otherwise she would never remember. I mean, my childhood is in albums, because I don’t remember what life was like before I was six.
Charan: Sure. Yeah. I mean, yeah. I have very, very minimal memories of India as a kid.
Charan: Thankfully, we have some photos, but even then I’m like, “Wait, what?”
Jocelyn: You do have some photos, they’re amazing.
Charan: They are amazing.
Jocelyn: Does everyone know-
Charan: Oh gosh.
Jocelyn: … that you had your ears pierced? And that it’s the cutest thing in the whole world?
Charan: There are things that we don’t talk about on the podcast, and I’m just kidding.
Jocelyn: Well, we should, because it’s awesome.
Charan: Yeah. I know. There was a picture of me, ears pierced and I think I had like a … I don’t even know what it was, I was wearing some kind of yoga, like some kind of weird tunic thingy and I don’t know what it was, but my mom was obsessed with having girls and she had me first and so that did not stop her from dressing me up as a girl. There’s a lot of problems in my life still. No-
Jocelyn: Aren’t you glad that you have photos to document that?
Charan: I do. I’m like, “This is why I need therapy, Mom. This picture right here.”
Jocelyn: It’s evidence.
Charan: It’s evidence, yes. It was great to have those pictures. And it’s like you look at those pictures and you’re like, “Oh my gosh. That’s crazy; that was my life.” and so for your daughters, I’m sure it’s going to be so exciting for them to to see that. But what I love is … Excuse me, because of your daughter, because you wanted to have the memories of her and have her remind herself of like, “Oh look, this is what happened to me when I had my first banana, you got so excited about this new passion and it came alive to you. And I love that idea of you poring into books and you poring into YouTube tutorials and stuff like that. Was that an obligation for you at all?
Jocelyn: Oh, well, it was a necessity.
Charan: It was a necessity?
Jocelyn: I am not technical, and photography, it’s an interesting medium where there’s a lot of creativity and artistry, but you’re working with a machine to make it happen. So it is a very technical process; it’s a lot of buttons. It’s a lot of, “If you change this, that affects everything else.” So I used to believe that talent was just something you had and if you had it, lucky for you, and you were going to make it because you were born with talent or you had the brains or whatever. The older I get, the more I realize it doesn’t matter how talented you are. If you don’t figure out how to work hard and work through understanding and learning and everything, it doesn’t matter.
Jocelyn: I would spend hours in Lightroom, post-editing software, making some really terrible photos and getting really frustrated. But because I spent so much time doing it wrong, I figured out how to do it right. And I’m sure there are lots of people who could go in and figure it out faster, but it was just a really long process, but because I loved it so much, it kept me motivated. I knew what I wanted. I knew the kind of photographer, maybe not the kind of photographer I wanted to be, but I knew the quality of photos that I wanted to produce. And so I was just very, very motivated.
Charan: Well, it’s interesting. I remember I was doing a movie and I was very privileged to have you as a photographer on that movie, and I remember even those filmmakers afterwards, they are like, “Dude these are the best behind behind-the-scenes photos ever.” and I’m like, “I know, she’s so good.”
Jocelyn: Oh, that’s so nice.
Charan: No, they loved them. They’re like, “We need to hire her again.” And the thing is, we talk about in this acting course I put together, one of the things we talk about, the greatest compliment that you can have as an actor is to be re-hireable, to say, “Hey, we worked with you once and we want to bring you back on because we just loved how you did.” And that’s how we feel with your work. It’s like, people want to keep working with you again and again, not just because you have this ability to make people feel comfortable, but you’re an excellent photographer; you’re great at your craft. And so it makes people say, “Hey, yeah. Let’s do that again.” because it wasn’t just a great end-product; it was the experience, yeah right?
Jocelyn Gardiner Talks About Headshot Photography
Charan: And I’ve shared this with you multiple times. I hate getting headshots. I hate it — and not just me. There’s multiple actors that just hate getting headshots, which is weird because we’re always in front of the camera, but we’re playing a different character, we’re having lines, it’s a totally different head space, but when it’s us and we have to smile and look a certain way, it’s just painful because it’s like, oh my gosh, suddenly our insecurities and vulnerabilities come out. And I remember you taking my headshots and I got them and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. I’ve never looked this good in my entire life, nor will I ever in the future.” So it was a good experience but then to refer my friends who also came by, took pictures with you and said the exact same thing. It wasn’t just like a one-time only my experience; it was like they felt the same way. So how did you get into headshot photography first of? Because that’s a very specific niche. And then what is your process for helping people feel comfortable and taking pictures?
Jocelyn: I’ll answer the second question first.
Jocelyn: I’ve never gotten on the phone with anyone who wants to book a session and heard them say, “I love being in front of the camera. This is going to be so easy. I’m super natural. I’m never awkward. This is going to be awesome. I can’t wait.”
Charan: That doesn’t happen.
Jocelyn: The sentiment is generally what you just explained. Nobody’s excited about it. Everyone feels really awkward, and so I understand that because I also don’t like to be in front of the camera, but every year on my birthday I do a self-portrait. One, so that my kids will know that at one point I was young, because I’m generally not in any of the photos because I’m taking them, but also so that I can have empathy for people on the other side of the lens and know how to direct them. Not only to get a great shot, but so that they don’t feel like, “Oh my gosh, what do I do with my arms? Where do I look?” Suddenly, when you’re sitting in front of the camera, you’re aware, hyper-aware of everything on your body and it’s like you don’t know how to move it.
Charan: I know. I know.
Jocelyn: So I try to have empathy and know that it is awkward and it takes … I always just discount like the first 200 photos. I know that for the most part they’re not going to be awesome because it takes a while to get used to the sound of the camera and how I move and how I’m directing them to move. And so it is kind of a “We’re going to ease into this.” You can’t mess up; it’s digital. We could literally take 3000 photos until we get this right. So I just try to take the pressure off people and then when it starts to work, I let people know this is working. This is looking amazing. You’re doing a fantastic job. And I know I go overboard once in a while, but it’s a very genuine reaction when I see that we’ve captured an authentic expression, the light is amazing, and we’re making magic. This is a moment that is literally saved forever, and when that happens I get goosebumps and I can’t hold it in.
Charan: Oh I know. I know you can’t hold it in. Even you thinking about it, I feel like you’re getting excited about it. No, here’s the thing, I’ve been the experiencer of one that sees you get very excited, but then to even … I remember when you took pictures of Corbin, you were getting so excited about it, and that made him way more comfortable and way more relaxed, because I know he was very nervous as well, but it’s like this really cool thing because that natural excitement is not something that’s artificial at all. It really just comes from you and it makes people feel comfortable. They’re like, “Oh wow.” It instills confidence in them, just your excitement for it, and I think that’s a beautiful quality to have, because it makes people relax. They are like, “Okay, cool. I’ll just keep relaxing a little bit more and doing more things.” Other than me, have you ever had other people that were like, “Oh man, this is a very difficult person to photograph”?
Jocelyn: Some people are easier than others. Even though no one says they feel super natural, some people do just move, especially if they have a lot of experience, they can move more naturally in front of the camera. But I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever sat down or had someone sit down and have just been like, “Oh man, I don’t know how I’m going to pull this off.” Sometimes it takes longer to get to that space where they’re just looking not miserable, but we always get there.
Charan: It’s amazing. So if people wanted to book you as a headshot photographer, what’s the easiest way for them to do that.
Charan: That’s awesome. And is most of your work word of mouth or Instagram or how does it work right now?
Jocelyn: It’s a little bit of everything. Lately I have been doing primarily headshots, and usually when someone comes to get a headshot, they know exactly what they’re going to use it for. They’re going to put it on their website; they’re throwing it up on Instagram. If they’re a Realtor, they’re putting it all over their marketing materials. So people see it really quickly and then call and say, “Hey, who did your headshots?” So I’ve had a lot of referrals lately, but with Lemonade Stand doing my website, I’m very confident that most of my leads in the future are going to come from that.
Charan: That’s awesome, we’re very excited to do your website and excited for the marketing behind it as well. And it’s cool, because you have a beautiful home studio that people can just come in real quick, like quick half hour, hour and boom, they’re done and they have amazing pictures. It’s amazing because even if you don’t think you have self-esteem issues, once you get headshots and you leave, you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I feel so good about myself.” and that is the best feeling.
Jocelyn Gardiner Talks About Turning Lemons Into Lemonade
Charan: So I want to shift conversation just a little bit. Now, every entrepreneur goes through this and every person goes through this, but sometimes we get dealt lemons in life, like just hard, hard lemons and sometimes it can be personal, sometimes it can be career, but either way they’re lemons and the way to move forward is to make lemonade, is to figure out a way to switch that situation somehow. So has there been a particular situation or anything like that that’s been, “Well, that was a lemon. That was a pretty big lemon.”
Jocelyn: Yeah. Oh man, life is life. Everybody gets handed stuff; nobody gets a free ride. I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I think I’ve had it pretty good. There are lemons in there and then there are, like, real lemons. I have healthy children, I’ve been healthy and especially in this last year where we’ve seen so many people go through so many difficult things, and it just seems like the universe is piling stuff on top of us one after another. So, I don’t want to whine too loudly about hard things that I’ve been through, because I know that it could be a lot worse. But yeah, I mean, life has definitely not turned out the way I imagined it would when I was a wide-eyed 24-year-old, and it’s taken a lot of different turns, but there isn’t anything about it I would change. And so I have a hard time considering it a real lemon; it’s just the experience of life. If life had turned out the way I wanted it to when I was in my early 20s, I’d be so bummed.
Charan: That would be a lemon.
Jocelyn: That would have been the lemon because I just didn’t know what else was out there. I didn’t know what was possible for me and for my kids and travel. Seeing how big the world was and how many different ideas there are and how many different ways there are to find happiness. I don’t think I would have opened myself up to that if I had followed the trajectory that I planned for myself when I was in my early 20s. So being a 40-year-old single mom with two young kids, there are definitely days when life gets on top of me and I think, “Oh my gosh, where’s the chocolate? I can’t do this.”
Charan: I know — bar of chocolate.
Charan: Right? Yeah.
Jocelyn: So, actually that’s the answer to everything.
Charan: It really is.
Jocelyn: Just enough dark chocolate. But I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t have anything to complain about, and I’m not saying that to be like, “Oh, I’m so humble.”
Jocelyn: I complain plenty when things really get to me, but I am a very lucky person and I really view my life that way. I’m very lucky. I have an amazing family who supports me and I have incredible friends. We share a lot of mutual friends. You know the quality of friends that we have. And I have healthy, amazing, wonderful children. And if I didn’t have anything else except for that, I’d be fine.
Charan: Joss, that’s great and the truth is, like your perspective on life right there, already leads to that happiness, right? Leads to that joy, because there are people that tend to focus on what they don’t have, tend to focus on this going bad or that going bad and they put so much of their energy in this negative thing that they don’t have that that’s all they see, but for you, we have the pandemic and I know that was hard for you because you wanted to travel and we weren’t able to travel but to understand like, “Hey, I’ve got two beautiful girls. They’re both healthy, I’m healthy, we get to do some fun stuff together.” that’s amazing. And to make those memories and to have a wonderful family that supports you, to have a wonderful home, that you understand that those are the long-term things that can sustain you and keep you happy.
Jocelyn Gardiner Talks About Joy
So I guess in addition to that, is there anything else that you would say this truly brings me joy?
Jocelyn: Besides food?
Jocelyn: There are times when I feel great, very intense joy and then I feel like five minutes later, it’s gone. I do feel this overwhelming sense of urgency to get a lot of things done, because you never know when it’s all going to be over. And so with that comes a pretty healthy level of anxiety …
Charan: Yes, of course. Of course.
Jocelyn: And I think all of that is exacerbated in this environment that the entire world is in, where it’s, like, we don’t know when things are ever going to be back to normal. And the truth is, they won’t ever be back to what we considered normal before this all happened and so that unknowing, that uncertainty is not easy to navigate. But being with my girls, especially in the summertime, we’re lucky to live in a beautiful place. The mountains are a three-minute drive away, and we spend a lot of time up there watching the sun go down and looking for bugs — and I was just going to say it, — they have not gotten into worms yet. I got to change that this summer.
Charan: You really need to.
Jocelyn: I really love what I do. I feel real joy when I’m taking photos, when I’m editing photos, because I view it as this gift where you’re freezing time and handing it to somebody and knowing that not only they can enjoy it, but their kids could enjoy it and their grandkids. I mean, over last Memorial Day, I was looking at a photo of my great-grandpa, who served in the Civil War. I’d never seen this photo before, and he was in his full Civil War uniform. It was such a powerful moment for me that never would have happened if someone didn’t have a camera. So I feel this pretty … and maybe it’s unrealistic, but this responsibility I have every time someone asks me to take their photo, to give them something that their kids and their grandkids can look at and say, “This was my dad. This was my mom. This is who they were.” That brings me a lot of joy.
Charan: No, that’s amazing, Joss. My goodness, that’s a profound answer. I wish I’d took a picture of you saying that answer. Thankfully, this is all on video, so that’s great. It’s interesting, speaking of all those things, one of the great disappointments of last year for me was, we went hiking to Timpanogos, were hiking Timpanogos, and I was so looking forward to seeing how excited you would get when we got to the meadow to take photos, and then flowers hadn’t bloomed yet or something.
Jocelyn: I was promised flowers, and you did not deliver.
Charan: I did not deliver, I’m so sorry.
Jocelyn: The mountain didn’t deliver.
Charan: Yeah. But I took responsibility for the mountains. I think we went the wrong season or we should have waited a little bit longer before the flowers came up. I was so sad, because I’m like, “Oh man, she’s never going to forgive me for sure.”
Jocelyn: I mean, shame on me that that was my first hike up Timp. I’ve lived in Utah most of my life. I should have done that sooner. But it was a really, really fun hike with our friends and the photos weren’t memorable.
Charan: No, they were not. Not as memorable as you wanted.
Jocelyn: Yeah, but I’m still glad we have the photos because maybe otherwise I wouldn’t remember it.
Charan: No, you would not. And the thing is, I remember, and this is something that I think is so great about you, we got to this point on the mountain, we were hiking back where it was so slick because there was so much snow still there, and so the only option was to slide down-
Jocelyn: Wasn’t the only option, but it was the fastest option.
Charan: It is the fastest option and I knew it’s like … I was trying to see, “Okay, how is Jocelyn’s mind working right now?” Because it is so-
Jocelyn: Yeah, because Jocelyn has a pretty healthy fear of heights.
Charan: Fear of heights, for sure, but it’s like, what’s stronger? Her need for doing things immediately instead of being patient or …
Jocelyn: My impatience or fear of heights.
Charan: … your impatience or fear of heights. And so I was thinking, “Okay, who’s going to win this battle? This is going to be great.” And I knew that sliding down initially — there’s just no way.
Jocelyn: Okay. First of all, let’s explain what this actually was. This wasn’t like you’re sledding for 20 feet on your tush. It was like a 100 feet down, super steep.
Charan: It was steep. It was steep.
Jocelyn: Very steep.
Charan: There was snow. Yeah, it was all snow, right?
Jocelyn: I didn’t know if my yoga pants would hold up. I didn’t know if I was going to end up rolling down this thing and smacking my face on a rock.
Charan: Yeah. There were a lot of things that instilled fear in you. But then I remember you looking at that and then you’re looking across to see the actual traverse we have to do, and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, that looks even more terrible. Which one’s going to be worse?” And I’m like, “Okay, I need to make this decision for you.” So I went first and you got to see that it was actually a lot of fun. And so I remember capturing that video of you going down, and you were just so happy, laughing your head off. It was so fun.
Jocelyn: It was laugh-screaming.
Charan: It was laugh-screaming. It was laugh-screaming, but when you got down and at the end you’re like, “Okay, I’m so glad that we did that instead of going across, right?”
Jocelyn: Yeah. The impatience won.
Charan: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. But it’s interesting, because whenever I see you face fears, it’s like, “Oh, there’s no way. There’s no way.” But once you do it, it’s like the sense of aliveness and the sense of joy that comes out of you is incredible and I love watching it. So that’s why I’m always like, “Okay, what’s the next thing I’m going to get Jocelyn to do?” [crosstalk 00:43:36].
Jocelyn: If I’m in physical danger it does take me … If the probability of getting really injured is high, usually I’ll still do it, but it takes me a while to get there.
Jocelyn: With other stuff, that talking myself into it, time is a lot shorter. But we had just watched a girl fall down the mountain, remember? And she was terrified.
Charan: And I remember seeing that but not only knowing if she was okay, but I knew what that did to you.
Jocelyn: I stopped then. You guys kept going and I just said, “I’ll chill here, you guys. I’ll wait.”
Charan: “I’m good. I’m good.”
Jocelyn: “Leave your backpacks with me.”
Jocelyn Gardiner’s Advice to Her Younger Self
Charan: Yeah, exactly. Well, it’s great, because I love it when you face your fears. To me that is this cool thing of, like, “Hey, you have joy from doing that.” But I want to kind of wrap this up with one last question, okay? And the last question I have is what would you tell that wide-eyed Jocelyn, the young Jocelyn, the one that’s just out of high school, that one that has all these plans, expectations of the future, what would you tell that Jocelyn?
Jocelyn: Oh man, I feel like this is the moment to say something really profound.
Charan: Yeah, this is.
Jocelyn: I have conversations with 24-year-old Jocelyn all the time. I also have conversations with 55-year-old Jocelyn all the time. I am hoping that 55-year-old Jocelyn is easier on me than I am on the 20-year-old version of myself. I would just tell her, whatever it is, just go for it. Whatever it is, just go for it. Forget about feeling dumb, forget about worrying what other people think, forget about disappointing everyone, letting people down, just go for it. In the expanse of time, my existence is a teeny blip. There is no reason not to go for it.
Charan: I love that. I love that. And I think it’s such a great insightful comment, because too many times we let our own thoughts and fears and expectations and all these things stop us from doing what we could have done. And I don’t know. I think having those dreams and going for it, it’s so exciting. And I love just what you said about photography of seeing your great-grandpa, the uniform that he had and thinking, “Wow, this is him, this is who he is.” And now to be able to preserve that memory and to be able to do that for other people, it’s amazing. So, Joss, this is so great. I always love talking to you. You’re so full of insight, so full of life, and I know people are going to listen to this and feel so joyous. And I’m hoping that every listener here will have the courage to say, “You know what, I need a new headshot” and go to Jocelyn for that. But yeah, thank you so much, Jocelyn. Any last words to wrap things up?
Jocelyn: No, thank you. This was fun.
Charan: Awesome. Thanks so much and have a great day.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you used to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and reviews and if you or someone you know has an awesome lemonade stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.