Hello!  It’s me.

I assume you’re here trying to find some more info on myself and my business — so that’s what I’ll be sharing with you!  If you haven’t already, I would recommend taking a few clicks around the site (like here, here, or here) to answer some basic questions about what Photography By Jaana is.

Ok, now that you’ve got that out of the way, let’s dig in!

My name is Jaana (pronounced yôn-uh).  It’s a Finnish name and if I had a nickel for every time someone misspelled or mispronounced it… well, I would probably have a highly paid assistant writing this right now.  I grew up in Ventura County, CA and after a few moves between Utah and SoCal, I ended up happily married to my handsome husband and living in Burbank, CA.

I started my photography business in 2009 and the following year we had our sweet son in December of 2010.  Little did we know at the time that this would begin the roller coast ride of a lifetime.

At 2 weeks old, our Stevie was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and had to undergo emergency open heart surgery.  He has since had 2 more heart procedures and 5 surgical procedures done on his eyes.  He has global delays in his development, so he has to work really hard to do things that come naturally to other kids.  Stevie will have more surgeries down the road, but has been healthy and growing, which is a huge relief.  He doesn’t have a diagnosis yet, but we feel like we’re getting closer.  Time will tell!

Understandably, I had to take some time off of photography to care for Stevie.  I not only had to be his mom, but I had became is therapist, personal assistant, and chauffeur.  So he has kept me plenty busy over the years.  Of course, in the natural progression of things, and as Stevie became ever so slightly more independent, I started getting that itchy trigger finger again.  Ready to get back to work!

But time away from my son was still precious, so I could only take jobs that brought me the most joy.  And that’s where vacation photography came in.  Who doesn’t love vacations?!  I’ve stopped taking all other photography jobs and have been doing vacation photos exclusively since Jan 2015 (with the occasional favor to a pregnant friend or two thrown in) and I just love it!

The reason I chose this field was not only because it was unique, but because each family I’ve worked with has been so fantastic.  Their vacation experiences are special.  The way they interact with each other when they’re free from the day-to-day stress of life is a beautiful thing.  In the short time that we’re together, I love getting to know who they are and having this shared experience.  It’s just as awesome for me as it is for them and builds wonderful memories on both sides.  If having Stevie has taught my anything, it’s how to connect on a real level.  Life is short and the joy we experience is everything.  And that’s my goal of each session.  Let’s just be besties already!

At this point, I have taken photos of people from all over the world, and I have to say I’m truly honored every time someone trusts me to come hang out with their family and capture those special moments for them.  I hope if we ever get the chance to work together, your experience is memorable too.

Thanks for checking in and letting me babble a bit about my life story.  I have a lot more to say on my personal blog, if you’re interested in following along.  You can also keep up with me over on Facebook or Instagram, and of course, if you want to book a session with me or have any specific questions, email away!