Where are you from and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to the area?
I was born and raised in Ohio, but have lived in Chicagoland for the past 12 years. We moved to Libertyville from the city 2 years ago (for closer proximity to my husband’s job), and are enjoying getting to know this community.
Do you have children? Ages?
Eloise is 6 and Mae is 3. We lost our middle daughter, Hannah, when I was 36 weeks pregnant in 2014. Eloise is my pride, Mae is my joy, and Hannah is my heart. Mike and I love our three girls so much.
What are your favorite things to do in the area?
When we moved from Chicago, I worried we would lose all of the experiences we enjoyed most as a family: the restaurants, the museums, the abundance kid-friendly clubs and activities. While we still visit the city with frequency, we have fallen in love with so much about Libertyville. Pizzaria Deville is our go-to restaurant, and we stop by Lovin’ Oven for sweet treats whenever we find an excuse. Eloise plays tennis at Lifesport Athletic Club and takes tap at the Libertyville Dance Academy. Mae and I love her mommy-and-me ballet class at Dance Center North and the “Hikin’ Tykes” nature classes through Lake County Forest Preserves. I don’t have the words to tell you how much we love A Village Green Montessori, and have been taken in by the warm and wonderful community at Grace Lutheran Church. We can’t get enough of the Farmer’s Market in the summer and fall, and have enjoyed Libertyville Days to kick off the summer, and find the village’s Christmas tree lighting charming.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor or in the corporate world? Please share!
I own my own photography business, Jen Soares Photography. I specialize in family and children lifestyle and portrait photography, and work on location with natural light whenever possible. I consider JSP my first child! It is truly a labor of love, and I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to get to know so many amazing families over the past 10 years. Watching them grow, sharing in their joys and sorrows, and getting to know my clients as friends has been the biggest honor and joy of my career.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
The Libertyville community is wonderful about supporting local, small business. I’m discovering that it’s a warm, tight-knit group of people who will go above and beyond to promote their business owners.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
While my interest in photography dates back to my early childhood (I still remember by first camera…it was hot pink, in true ‘80s style!) and runs deep (my great-grandfather had his own photography studio in the early 1900s), photography wasn’t always my dream job. I was a student journalist and creative writer in college, then worked in advertising for nearly a decade before I took the leap and started my own business. I love what I do…but I still have dreams of writing and publishing a novel someday.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another Mom?
“The days are long, but the years are short.” My mom reminds me of this with frequency, and it always helps me regain perspective on the manic days!
What is next for you?
I am very excited to launch a new chapter of my business this winter: the Jen Soares Photography Studio. While I still love shooting on location (whether that be at a park, on a downtown street, or at a client’s own home), giving my clients the option for quick, convenient, and comfortable studio sessions feels right. My studio is a natural light space, which is true to my basic photography style, and these mini sessions are perfect for newborns, birthday portraits, fun teen portraits, headshots, and holiday card photos. I am having so much fun being creative with backdrop ideas, and am excited to explore studio photography in my own style. I’m booking 2019 sessions through August now…email me at [email protected] for details.