Ona Janzen, on creating images with feeling

Ona Janzen, on creating images with feeling
February 6, 2018 Sandra Henri
Ona Janzen Blue Mountains Photographer

Only a quick peek is needed to recognise Ona Janzen’s work, such is her talent. Moody, soulful, honest portraiture that captures what is most important on your wedding day…the feeling, the love. We chat with Ona about what she holds most dear, and how she translates this into her wedding photography. We’re completely honoured to have Ona join our Blue Mountains purpose-driven tribe.



Tell us a little about yourself, how would your friends describe you?

I am relaxed and social, love catching up with old friends, making new friends. I thrive on personal growth and change…am not afraid of doing what feels right to me. I have absolute trust that the universe will somehow lead me to where I need to be. I’m a deep thinker and feeler, in a lighthearted way – if that’s possible!



When it comes to wedding photography, what makes your heart sing?

I LOVE real true love, couples who have a deep mutual respect and connection, and I love witnessing that kind of love with the weddings I get to shoot. I love that the couples I tend to attract have a true sense of equality with each other and this carries through with a very apparent respect for all the people in their lives. 

Witnessing those moments when couples are alone together, the real sense of the commitment they’ve just made – is a really beautiful part of the day. Creating poignant memories for them is really very special.



How do you see photography as part of an eco-ethical wedding? What makes an eco-ethical photographer? 

I think most people want some kind of reminder of the day, photography is a perfect way to give them that. There is something timeless about photography, the freezing of moments. I can see why it is a priority for many couples! The day itself is so ephemeral. So an eco-ethical photographer…to me, that means being conscious of the choices I make in my own business and in my approach to the day. I don’t set things up needlessly, that aren’t real. I keep things simple on the day. I often wing it, knowing that for me that’s usually how things work out the best. I make business choices that I feel make a difference, however small that may be. From things like using local suppliers, to choosing packaging options that aren’t harmful to the environment.



What is the philosophy behind your work and lifestyle?

Be honest. Integrity is huge to me, it means everything. Show goodwill and understanding to others. Trust. Intuition. I am highly sensitive and intuitive, over the years I’ve learnt how to trust that, listen to it. When I’m in a space where I’m doing that well…I find work easy, the right people and situations come to me. In work, and in personal life. Even when it seems they don’t or that things mightn’t work out, I have learnt that if I listen carefully to my feelings…understanding will come, and that it is all ok. Perspective! Oh my goodness, maintaining a healthy perspective, and not taking things personally. Having compassion and empathy, as well as healthy boundaries…for any relationship, clients or otherwise! Taking pride in my work, and being ok with that. I’m not into false humility…I truly aim to deliver the absolute best that I can and be proud of that.



What interesting ways have you seen couple’s going their own way for their wedding?

I really love it when couples do exactly what THEY want! Making choices true to who they are, not necessary what is ‘expected’. I’ve seen couples walk down the aisle together, ‘elope’ but not secretly, make commitments to justice, as well as each other. That was pretty special.

When couples and families are thoughtful and considerate, in ways that might seem to have nothing to do with the wedding itself. At one wedding every single person that gave a speech – gave an acknowledgement of country and traditional land owners. I found that very moving, and such a small action – but energetically…very beautiful. I had a couple recently walk back down the aisle as newlyweds to ACDC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ at full volume and that was totally rocking and unreal, so much fun and so them! With Nanna in the front row and all 😀


Blue Mountains Photographer Ona Janzen


What would you like to see more of in our industry?

Less focus on MORE MORE MORE. Weddings aren’t a competition, they are a very significant and intimate day in the lives of the couples and their loved ones. I am always mindful of that. It is not about me, it is their day.


How can couples feel comfortable in front of the camera for authentic wedding memories?

 This usually comes pretty easily, I really don’t get in couples faces with directions, or ‘ideas’. I mostly shoot how they are naturally together. I find that if I let them do their thing, it turns out best. I’ll give them directions to ‘walk over there’, ‘stand on that rock’, ‘go up those stairs’…but shoot how they do that naturally. It mostly works, sometimes even magic happens. If someone’s a little awkward I’ll shoot a bit from a distance, and tell them what they are doing is perfect, then move in closer when I can see they’ve relaxed. Once they see that I’m not expecting them to be a specific way, or stand in a certain pose – they ease up and I get what I want. Which is natural moments and emotion! And of course I’m doing all this while choosing the best locations and light wherever I might be…because that’s my job!




Your Blue Mountains Mindfully Wed crew includes:

Photography: Ona Janzen of Whisper Studio

Film: Cloud Herd Film Co

Floristry: Floral by Nature

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