My name is... Jensen Sutta

Picture making in Parker and around the world

Posted 7/25/16

Picking pictures as a career

I decided I wanted to be a photographer when I was in the second semester of my senior year in college. I was riding in a van driven by a student and we were in a terrible accident and rolled six times into the woods. …

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My name is... Jensen Sutta

Picture making in Parker and around the world

Posted

Picking pictures as a career

I decided I wanted to be a photographer when I was in the second semester of my senior year in college. I was riding in a van driven by a student and we were in a terrible accident and rolled six times into the woods. It was during my yearlong recovery that I gained the perspective that life is short and I desired a profession I would enjoy each day.

Probably my most memorable job was photographing a government official from the People's Republic of China. I was able to drive my vehicle in his motorcade. It was exhilarating to fly through the stop signs and have police cars block off the intersection to speed through red lights. Wish I could have motorcades more often!

A second thrilling experience occurred after covering a Jack Johnson concert. I was lucky enough to have stage access, and after the concert ended I exited the backstage door. When I opened it, a crowd cheered thinking I was Johnson. For that brief moment, I was able to experience what it feels like to be a rock star.

Making pictures and making a difference

My biggest passion is nonprofit work — it makes me happiest when I can help others. My wife and I have been volunteering every Christmas, and some Thanksgivings, for the last eight years to serve those in need in downtown Denver with the Craftworks Foundation. Most recently, we have been to Haiti with the group Believe in Haiti. I have visited four times now, and have learned that it's so very easy to make a very big difference in the life of another.

If I could photograph only nonprofits for the rest of my life I would. There are many people who give time and money to support nonprofits but are curious or weary of where the time and money is going. I want to be the person telling the story and illustrating the work and impact of the nonprofit.

Tricks of the trade


Taking pictures is only a portion of the job. There's certainly the business aspect of the career and also the editing, but I believe the most important part is the people business. Taking pretty pictures is only the start. If clients don't like you, they won't refer you. Customer service is paramount to success as well as the ability to be comfortable anywhere, whether in the White House, in Haiti or on the Hollywood red carpet.

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