• studio3z photography {the blog}

    If you have landed here...bless your soul.  Welcome to our little tiny corner of the cyber world, based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Below you will see favorites from our sessions we do professionally, and also loads of personal nonsense that we hope at least will entertain you.  If nothing less, you can keep up on our adorable children.  Really, they are worth the trip back here time and time again in and of itself.

    My name is Jess.  My hubby is Brett.  We are crazy about each other, our 4 babies, and our art.  Welcome to our world.

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Category Archives: BALANCE

what’s in a name?

To us, quite a bit.

I can hardly believe the journey that we’ve been on over the last couple years. In fact, I find it difficult to even begin to share, but I will. Big changes are coming around here. I’ve been saying it for months (and some of you are wondering if it is really even true!) but we are getting so close. These changes are more than I expected, and also something I didn’t think would be so difficult to complete. We made the leap into the world of “re-branding” and along the way, I feel I found myself. Not sure if Brett would say the same thing, but me, most definitely. I figured out my part. I figured out I can be a good mom AND also run a business. And let me tell you, it is such a wonderful feeling when you figure out the how’s and why’s of your place in this world, and for us the world of the photography industry.

Two years ago we hired a designer. You heard that right, two years ago. (Bless you Ryan.) We’ve only been in business for a little under 5 years, but we never had a brand, look, or logo. Being “un-branded” became our brand.  In a way I feel we never really owned up to who we were because we just weren’t sure, and that’s normal. We were searching. We were gaining experience, building, shooting and growing. We didn’t throw down roots and call any “look” home….we just purchased the latest $50 website every 6 months or so, and hid there for a while. You know, “until we figured out what we REALLY wanted.” Right.

In the spring of 2009 I went to cheer my good friend Bobbi on as she spoke at a convention in Indy. It was there that I met Ryan Hunley and heard him speak. It was that day that I KNEW he would do our company’s branding. I had been holding off on getting a new site/blog because I wasn’t sure what we wanted it to look like, but hearing Bobbi and Ryan speak about the importance of your brand, I knew we needed to get going. Ryan was different……he didn’t speak business-y. Ryan spoke from his heart. He spoke with passion. He was honest. He wasn’t about to let a client walk away without feeling 150% satisfied with his work. He had energy and confidence, but was still incredibly humble. And, I was sold. I don’t think poor Ryan knew what he was getting in to. But then again, he’s a designer, and they tend to deal with indecisive people. But Brett and I…well….we’re of a different breed.;)  Sometimes Brett has trouble with decisions and over analyzing things (as in sitting at a restaurant for an hr. before deciding what to order), and I am admittedly picky as all get out. (Again, bless you Ryan.)

It was about a year and a half ago that it happened. Ryan sent over a round of studio3z logos, and they were rocking, but I just didn’t feel connected. I then realized it was the name. I knew RIGHT THEN AND THERE that we just couldn’t go on as “studio3z.” I needed a name that meant something more to me. Something that was a driving passion for us and what we do. Something people would hear and understand who we are a bit. So, the next day I (*gasp*) told Ryan I was ditching the name, and he was completely a gem about it. Then Brett and I began some serious soul searching. SERIOUS. Like praying, writing down words that we were drawn to, ideas of who we were and what we stood for, and things that were important to us. We had nights of sipping wine, mapping out our life on the chalkboard wall, and nearly coming to tears out of frustration. Imagine finally coming up with something awesome, taking it to Google just to find it belongs to someone else??! Ahhh! I just wanted the right name. Our name. Talk about putting the pressure on……

Last August we were having dinner with some good friends. They are the kind of friends who are completely honest-not afraid to lay things out there. They offered up a couple critiques about us. Ouch. But you know, the good kind of ouch you need to hear. The kind you grow from. I’m so thankful for friends like that. They listened to our dreams, where we were headed, and they were digging it. The next day Brett and I were reflecting on the previous night and we kept coming back to the same place. An idea that has consumed us and drives us. Something that sums up our mission. And then we knew…..we had found our name. And of all things, it was Brett, standing over a pot of food he was stirring at the stovetop, “So what about ________??!” Of course I was hesitant. But then about an hour later, I was sold. “It just makes perfect sense,” he said. “You’re absolutely right,” I concluded, with the biggest sigh of relief and smile across my face. We had it.

Then the journey began. That was August of 2010. This year we have dug so much deeper, and we can’t wait to share what we’ve come up with our friend Ryan, who I still can’t believe actually wants to be our friend.;)

We can’t wait to “own up” to who we are.

I plan to post quite a bit over the next week and then guess what…….


Thank you for sharing in this with us. We are giddy with excitement!!

(Photo props to Sarah Rhoads)

September 22, 2011 - 2:58 pm

tara - I am in the same space – rebranding – ugh. Not easy or fun. I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with. Gorgeous photo.

September 22, 2011 - 3:15 pm


That’s it. :)

Your friend who’s dying over here

September 22, 2011 - 3:18 pm

April - I’m beyond excited to see everything that you’ve come up with! I need re-branding (or rather branding) in the worst way. Reading this post has both inspired & scared me :)

September 22, 2011 - 3:34 pm

emily - AAAAHHHHHH!! and then you don’t tell us?!?! that’s just mean!

Can’t wait to hear more about your changes:)

September 22, 2011 - 4:04 pm

Tina - Yay for you guys!! Can’t wait to see what it is, branding is one of the toughest parts of our job in my opinion:) Cheers!

September 22, 2011 - 6:49 pm

Kylee - I’ve been following your blog for about 3 years now, and I love everything about how you do what you do. :) can’t wait to hear more!

September 22, 2011 - 8:02 pm

Vickey Weiss - Can’t wait to hear more!!! xoxo

September 22, 2011 - 11:43 pm

Maggie - OK seriously?!? The anticipation is killing me!! This post is awesome…I’m so excited about the journey this business has lead you on. You two put your heart and soul in everything you do…it is totally refreshing

September 23, 2011 - 10:00 am

Keaton - I’M GIDDY WITH EXCITEMENT!! Ahhhhh!! I’m so happy to see what you’ve been working on.


September 23, 2011 - 11:49 am

Donna - Can’t wait!!! So excited for you all!

September 23, 2011 - 2:13 pm

meredith - Torture!!

September 23, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Ellee - No kidding – I have been waiting for this day! So excited for you guys!!!

P.S. – were we those friends in August 2010????? We had a pretty intense conversation about this rebrand?

Miss you guys!

September 26, 2011 - 9:21 am

Amber - Oh man! Leave us in suspense why don’t ya?!! I’m dying to know!

September 26, 2011 - 9:22 am

Amber - Oh man! Leave us in suspense why don’t ya?!! I’m dying to know! Looking forward to more posts about this launch!


I have so much admiration for people who can move through life with a smile in their heart, and joy in their step, in most any given situation.

My Brett is a nature boy. A mountain man. A guy who would love to live primitively.  I often think he was born in the wrong time. ;)  When I met him he was long haired, had a burning passion to be a vagabond, learn more languages, and help people. Soon we were married with a baby on the way, and volunteering for AmeriCorp with a measly living stipend was not cutting it anymore. He had his degree in International Studies, but he had reached a crossroads of pursuing a career- to supply for his new family.

He went back to school for I.T. because that was “where it was at” in 1999. He settled into a job. He has taken care of us since.

I have so much gratitude for my husband. The love that he has for his family…..I have no words that could accurately express what his effort means to me. For almost a decade he has worked loyally and diligently at the same company…..and today he is moving on. Today he says goodbye, and life is changing a bit…..

I am so incredibly proud of him.

Brett- I can’t wait to cheer you on, hold your hand, and walk beside you through it all.  ~yours always, Jesse

Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes. ~Hugh Prather

April 19, 2011 - 10:38 am

kaila - this photo speaks volumes of love and caring
Many blessings!

April 19, 2011 - 10:55 am

mel - yay! he got the job! thats amazing news. great for the family too. daddy will be around more! so ask brett if i can twitter it now. (on my non existent twitter acct ;D )

April 19, 2011 - 10:56 am

Holly - And again I will say…I love you. You both are just wonderful…definitely an inspiration. The way you both continue to follow your dreams and grow is just beautiful.

April 19, 2011 - 11:01 am

KM RIEBESEHL (MOMMYKOGGIBOO) - This is beautifully done and shows the depth of your love and warmth and caring for him!!!O:) Great happiness and many blessings to you guys!:O)

April 19, 2011 - 12:00 pm

Cassie - One of the most beautiful pictures of fatherly love I’ve seen.

April 19, 2011 - 12:31 pm

Candice {The Beautiful Mess} - congrats! i think this is so sweet…and we hope that brett’s new journey is exciting and everything he’d hoped it could be! p.s. LOVELY photo.

April 19, 2011 - 12:58 pm

Alyson Gawrych - I love this. You two are amazing!

April 19, 2011 - 2:32 pm

meredith - Knock ‘em dead b-zwo.

April 19, 2011 - 2:46 pm

Donna - Prayers for you on your new journey!

April 19, 2011 - 3:52 pm

jen - beautiful post! love the pic…where was it taken?

April 19, 2011 - 5:14 pm

KK Photography - I have been following you for over a year now and I am finally getting enough courage to write and let you know how much you and your family inspires me. Thank you for your openness on your site.

Many prayers and blessings to you and your family in this new adventure!


April 19, 2011 - 8:48 pm

angela jackson - amazing photo. Good luck to you 2 :)

April 20, 2011 - 8:32 am

maggie - this is precious. go get ‘em Brett!

April 20, 2011 - 8:42 am

trish - This is an amazing portrait! Thanks for allowing us into your world. Your family is an inspiration to all who follow your blog! Best wishes on your new adventures, keep us posted!

April 20, 2011 - 9:14 am

Emily - Every entry of yours makes me fall in like with you and your family a little bit more.

My boyfriend is coming up to the crossroads of finishing his masters of education and what to do about a job. He has worked his butt off in school, but Cincinnati isn’t the greatest place to be a teacher in need of a job right now. So he/we are pondering different opitions and Americorp is on the board as one of his possible options, so I got all excited when I saw that you had been involved with it.

That’s my random fun story for the day:)

Congrats to Brett on his new adventure!

April 21, 2011 - 10:06 pm

Maya Laurent - That photo is so precious. And change is a good, scary, beautiful thing. So excited for you two and changes ahead!

April 23, 2011 - 8:13 am

Gabe - Brett i am sure whatever and where ever this path leads you will do amazing things. we all wish you much love and success on your new adventure.

April 25, 2011 - 2:42 pm

Gail - Congrats Brett! Excited for you to be working at home — and already looking forward to Jess’s stories of how you two are going to manage that new balance in life! Make sure to leave some time in your summer days for runs through the sprinkler with your kiddos :)

April 29, 2011 - 8:06 am

patty - congratulations to you both… life is an adventure, isn’t it?!
this photo is simply stunning!

May 5, 2011 - 1:06 am

Bobbi Sheridan - what a stunning image!!!!

January 22, 2019 - 3:35 pm

Kurtköy nakliye - Kurköy nakliyat ve taşıma

A look back at 2010

I have to apologize for my absence as of late. Our life has been going through some changes/shifts and I thought it was just going to last a couple weeks, but it appears that it may be our “theme” for the moment.  I don’t mean to sound allusive, but suffice it to say that for a person who struggles with veering from the routine, I am growing in my patience and spontaneity. Growth for me in this area is a good thing. We are jumping into major renovations around our house which are requiring many decisions and much research, we are working on a *HUGE* biz re-brand (WOW, it’s gonna be soooo great!!!), tax season appeared out of the blue (always FUN), as well as other big shifts. Much more to come….and no, I’m not pregnant. Sorry folks who are rooting for Z-5.;)

As we’ve been cleaning up around here and moving into our regular season of shooting again (yay!!) I have gathered together our personal photos from 2010.  Yes, I realize it is April and that 1/3 of our year is already gone (HOW CRAZY IS THAT??!), but we had SUCH a fun year in 2010 that I just had to compile it into a slideshow. Our blog also serves as a “family journal” of sorts, so having this to look back on is really special to us.

Last year we traveled to California, New York, New Mexico…..we had family dance parties, rode bikes and read lots of books. We celebrated birthdays and dear friendships. I saw my baby sister marry her true love. We cooked new foods and explored fantastic restaurants. We feel wonderfully blessed to share our lives with so many beautiful people. Here is a (very tiny) sampling of our 2010 year. Thanks for taking the time to view it and share in our lives.

April 12, 2011 - 10:07 am

Gabe - loved this glimpse into your year.

April 12, 2011 - 10:32 am

Emilie - This is great! You have such a cute family!!

April 12, 2011 - 11:16 am

Holly - i feel like all i ever comment on is how much i love you…especially after posts like this. but seriously, i love all of you OH so very much!

April 12, 2011 - 12:32 pm

Brock - To only have a family as sweet as yours! That is my goal! You guys are awesome!

April 12, 2011 - 6:10 pm

Allison - Glad to see you are back! I have been checking your blog for 2 and a half years and absolutely love your work. Can’t wait to see the rebrand! :)

April 12, 2011 - 7:09 pm

Gail - AHHHH…so glad to have been a part of your 2010 you two!

A few other thoughts: Your family is just so sweet and perfect. Add to that an Otis Redding tune and I watched this with a big ‘ol smile on my face :)

April 13, 2011 - 2:37 pm

Betsy - Love, love, love it! The only bad thing is that I’m not neighbors with you.

What a beautiful life!

April 13, 2011 - 4:37 pm

tara - Jess – i loved this. Great songs!
My fave was the shot of you pouring wine.
And I have that mustard target jacket too. Fave color!! :)

July 17, 2011 - 12:55 pm

Gem - These pics are amazing! Your work is as beautiful as your family. Nice to meet you guys! :)

spring painting

Spring weather and warm breezes tend to make mamas delusional.  At least this one. Having been so long since feeling the warmth of the sun, they start doing wacky things…..like sitting in the driveway with cushions to lay on with book in hand, letting the kids participate outdoors in the arts, physical ed, etc. part of schooling and put the more traditional schooling on hold for a feeeew minutes (ok, hours) to explore and play….pulling out nice watercolors, brushes, and paper for 3 year olds to go to town on.  Granted, his brothers and sister were riding bikes in the street which he is not allowed to do. Painting made his day and also made the tears go away!

He had to make sure to check on everybody’s bid-ness playing in the street.

Ahhh…nothing like the age when the kid starts doing the super cheesy awkward face when asked to smile.  Don’t lose that innocent, unaware smile Gavi! 

March 23, 2011 - 12:06 pm

Natalia - Ever since Jason shared the link of your blog I like to take a look every once in a while… and every single time i think exactly the same: What a lovely family and these kids must be the most adorable kids n the USA!
Your photos are amazing, I love the ones I’ve seen and how you manage to capture a whole story ;)
Specially liking this one! I would hang up that painting n my wall!
Greetings from Mexico!

March 26, 2011 - 8:04 pm

Maya Laurent - He is so precious! Love the serious painter face with the hip hat.