Local photographer helps families make memories

Photographer Jenn Gyles, owner of PBJ—Photos by Jenn, has recently relocated to Princeton from Lunenburg, and is enjoying the tranquility of her new surroundings, as well as its beauty, which she finds both relaxing and inspirational.


Gyles is a portrait and event photographer, specializing in family, child and senior portraiture, graduation photography, sports events, and school photography. She had a studio in Fitchburg, which she’s in the process of closing, preferring on-site locations for shoots, where she can take advantage of natural settings and lighting, and local scenery. Gyles works throughout the Central Mass region.


Gyles is a graduate of Fitchburg State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in communications with a concentration in photography. “That’s when I fell in love with photography,” she says. “I love the entire process. I especially loved developing.”


After graduation, Gyles interned as a photographer at the Boston University School of Medicine, where she did patient and operating room shoots. “It’s a teaching school,” she says, “so it was important to use photography to document cases and procedures. It was very interesting work, to say the least.” She was subsequently hired by Boston University, and worked there for about a year, commuting from Lunenburg, until the daily commute became too onerous.


She worked at various companies closer to home, mainly in communications and sales, while raising a young family, then decided to start her own business in 2004. “We enjoyed living in Lunenburg,” she says. “We liked the school system, and the area worked well for us.” But as her two daughters grew older and chose different schools, Gyles and her husband Mike, an electrician, made the decision to move to Princeton, where they could be close to both children.


That’s especially important to Gyles, because her daughters, as well as her husband, help out on shoots and assist her in running her photography business. Erin, 19, helps with sports posing and sets up shoots, while Taylor, 16, assists her father with taking orders, minding the cash box, and generally looking after the business side of the operation. They all help Gyles with the task of hauling large amounts of equipment, including a 30 by 40 foot tent, setting it up, and dismantling it at the end of the shoot.


Gyles counts Leicester Soccer Club, Lunenburg Little League, Leominster Flag Football League, Miss Tanya’s School of Dance in Fitchburg, and Fitchburg State University, among her clients. She’s also the photographer for Lunenburg Public Schools. She’s a member of Professional Photographers of America, which helps her to keep up-to-date with the industry.


In her shoots, whether of individuals, families or sports teams, her goal is to bring out the individual and their personality. “You have to have an eye for detail,” she says. “I’m very particular about little things, because that’s what makes a photo memorable.”


She says that making memories is something she thinks about a lot while on a shoot. Gyles recently did a series of photographs at Fenway Park in Boston for a family that had occupied the same seats for generations. She photographed different family members in the same seats, spanning generations from grandparents to grandchildren. When the eldest member of the family died several months later, the family was especially grateful to have such a poignant memorial to the times they had spent together at the ball park, enjoying each others’ company, as well as the games.


According to Gyles, most portraiture shoots last about an hour, while event shoots can last a full day. She works in both color and black and white. “I’ve taken photographs in perfect weather conditions, and in the pouring rain,” she says. “I always do my best to make it work.”


Gyles attributes her success to the unwavering support of her family and to her love of her profession. “I enjoy what I do, and I put my whole heart and soul into it,” she says. “I’m so fortunate to have a job I love and a fantastic support system with my family.”


For more information, visit photosbyjenn.net, follow Photos by Jenn on Facebook, email jenn@photosbyjenn.net, or call 978-729-2152.

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