The name Jade Norwood Photography is now synonymous with beautiful photographs of newborns, amazing wedding portraits, stunning photos of families and striking portrait shoots. But before she became a regular in our Facebook feeds and in the photos on our walls, she was just another person following their passion and being told to give up because it was going to go nowhere. With a never give up attitude and a genuine talent for her passion, she sure showed the doubters. This is the story of Jade Norwood Photography.
At age 15, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. I was told that I had to give up my 2 greatest loves, netball and my horses; otherwise I would be in a wheelchair by age 21. That was an incredibly scary thought. When my parents told me I had to sell my horses I bargained with them; if I had to give up my horses, they had to let me have a rottweiler and a camera! In those 6 months of being in a wheelchair, I knew giving up what I had was the right option, but I didn’t realise how much I would love the opportunities it gave me. And so, my love of my Rottweiler Ray and Nikons had begun.
At first, it was landscape photography that sparked my passion. During the week I worked as a youth worker and spent much time travelling around local areas which enabled me to take landscape and seascape photos and really start to find my way around my camera.
My passion for my camera had been noticed, and local families had started asking me to take family photos. It was around this time that my partner and I decided that we wanted to travel around Australia, and so to save for the big trip I continued my job in youth work during the week, and added doing massage after hours, and photographing family and kids on the weekends for some extra cash. It wasn’t long before I started thinking that studio images were the way to go for me!
We travelled through WA where I was able to meet so many lovely people and was given opportunities to continue my passion for photography shooting for fashion, and even Justice Crew! I soon learnt that when I combined my original love of landscape photography along with my new found skills in portraits, it really took my photography to another level.
To me, photography is more than just a file on a computer. There is so much more meaning behind a photograph and the memories it provides for people. The significance of this has grown so much in the last few years, amplified by my sister getting married and then blessing me with 2 beautiful nieces who I love to watch grow and am thankful that my skills let me capture the amazing stages of their lives so we can never forget them. On the sadder side, I have realised the true value of photography when people close to me have passed away, and photographs and the memories that go with them are all we have left.
When my long-term partner and I split, I was able to really throw myself into my photography and give it my all. This drive has really opened doors for me and I was able to meet lots of new people that shared my business through word of mouth– in fact work got so busy that to grow the business and brand I needed help. After putting the feelers out I connected with a past bride, Beej, who now helps out with all of my marketing and communication, basically taking over as much of the writing and behind the scenes admin work as I can handball so that I can concentrate on the photograph itself. I also sourced quality editors so that I can outsource some of my basic proof editing and really stay on top of my game.
I am always looking to improve my skills and grow as a person and a professional. For this reason I am constantly researching, reading and practicing, and recently I attended a 3-day workshop based on the elements of a photography business. This one was a life (and business) changer, and I wish I had attended it years ago! What I learnt at this workshop is going to really help with my workflow, which in turn is going to increase the client experience and their product turnaround, and hopefully keep me more behind my camera than behind my computer!
In the past, I had to fight against all those who doubted me and my dream. For a long time I had to put up with people telling me ‘you will never make a living out of photography, when are you going to get a real job?’ But photography has led me to things that I never thought possible. I was lucky enough to shoot at an Australia VS New Zealand netball game in Adelaide, I was so close that I actually got a touch during the game! My photographs have been featured in magazines, on television, in newspapers and online. I have met so many wonderful people that I have worked alongside, who I have photographed and those who find joy in my photographs and I thank each and every one of them for being part of my journey. And I especially thank those who doubted me, because they were the reason I kept going – to prove them wrong. I certainly have made a life that I truly love and that is what matters to me.
Thank you so much to Marie for taking these photos for us in May 2014… My family is so so special to me. I am on the far right hand side…