Little Bear Photography…how it all began

Little Bear Photography was established in October of 2010. The journey to turning a dream into a business was a long one. It started in 3rd grade when my Dad gave me my first film camera. I took a ton of pictures! Pictures of family, friends, everything! I became an avid scrapbooker for a really long time. Although once I had kiddos, it became harder and harder to keep up with. I took even more pictures now of everything we did, everywhere we went. When cameras went digital, my husband bought me my first digital camera, a Canon 20d. I started taking classes at the Lifelong Learning Center. I took every class I could take. Then I knew I wanted more.

Image of my girls in the backyard shortly after starting LBP.

I decided to attend an open house at Rocky Mountain School of Photography. I had received their catalogs in the mail for years but never saw myself actually affording to go. There was a critique lead by Neil Chaput (owner/founder of RMSP) . I was petrified since there was a roomful of people and I knew no one. I almost chickened out but I did it. Neil said really nice things about my images. It made me so happy, I was so honored. I did want to talk to him afterwards, but there were so many people I decided to leave. I was on cloud nine since Neil had said such nice things. A few days later I received a phone call from Neil asking me if I would like to come in and go over my portfolio with him. Oh my gosh I was so excited! Meeting with Neil was very inspiring. I knew I wanted more of photography, I needed more, I loved it so much! Then everything fell into place. My husband, Andy was helpful in finding a way for me to attend the career training program. My parents volunteered to come for the summer and take care of my girls who were 3yrs. and 6 yrs. at the time. I couldn’t believe it! I attended the career training program, adventure lifestyle pro studies, and the advanced intensive that was offered into the fall. I graduated the entire program in October of 2010.

Image taken while practicing in studio at RMSP.
Another image taken while working on my final project.

I was fortunate after graduation to be hired by RMSP as a workshop teaching assistant. I couldn’t have loved this more. I was able to work in numerous national parks helping people with their photography. I had anywhere from 7-11 workshops a year. I loved it. Unfortunately, at the end of 2019, RMSP decided to discontinue their workshop program. I will certainly miss working for them, however I am looking forward to assisting Doug Johnson Photography with his workshops. He has been my coworker for the past 10 years and he is carrying on the workshop program. If you are interested in learning photography in a beautiful place with an awesome instructor you should check it out.

Here is an iphone image I took assisting a workshop on the coast of Maine last fall.

Following graduation, Little Bear Photography was born. In the beginning I focused on specializing in children. In the next few years I realized my true photography love was photographing newborn babies. I have taken numerous workshops and education courses on photographing newborns and safety. I love every second of it. I started with a home studio, but a few years into it my husband, Andy convinced me to lease a room in his office. It was the best move ever. I don’t have store front, but I have a great little spot inside the PCI building on Russell St. I love photographing newborns, but having my clients return every year and watching these sweet little babies grow into such adorable kiddos is the best!

Lovely little Anna!
Emery at her 2 yr old Art Session!
Sweet Stella at a Holiday Mini Session

In August of 2015, I started taking pictures of newborns up in the Family Maternity Center at St. Patrick’s Hospital. It is hard to believe I will be there for 5 years this August! Time goes by so fast! I am currently at St. Pat’s Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Well I say currently but since covid-19 photographers are not back in the hospital taking pictures yet. Hopefully soon! I certainly miss all the awesome nurses and staff that I am used to seeing every week. Definitely looking forward to being able to work with newborns again soon in my studio and at St. Pat’s!

Photography at St. Patrick’s Hospital

3115 S. Russell St. Suite A, Missoula, MT 59801 ~ ~ Contact Jen 406.531.9726