Welcome to our bi-monthly series: Corkers Uncorked.

These are some of my most treasured interviews — mostly because I get to know my readers (you!) on a whole different level. We focus on your astounding biz-related superpowers and origin stories. Bonus: you get to learn more about your fellow readers, gain some insight into what makes someone successful, and hear how others got their start. (Wanna be one of our Uncorked stars? Start by raising your hand here.)


Meet Holly Higbee-Jansen.


Holly’s been a member of our Digital Dining Room group for nearly a year now and also spent a few sessions with us in the Biz Bloggers’ Mastermind group.

She owns a photography business with her husband, Mark: Jansen Photo Expeditions. And together they take their clients on some very cool adventures (always with cameras in-hand).

What’s your super power, Holly? What do you do really REALLY well? And what advice would you give others who want to shine in the same arena?

Mark and I both know photography inside and out, and can teach the concepts clearly. We help our clients reach a level of confidence with their camera they never thought they could achieve before. On top of that, we’re experienced world travelers, which allows us to give our clients memory-making experiences in locations throughout the globe.

For others who want to teach photography, I’d recommend they learn everything they can about their photographic subject and their clients before starting out on this journey. (If you’re a landscape photographer, know landscapes backwards and forwards. If you like to shoot sports, know the sports genre.) And keep learning!

[NOTE: Holly’s not joking when she says she knows her way around a camera. Go check out her portfolio. There are truly beautiful images there.)

What inspired you to start your business?

We spent many years out in the back country, attending photography workshops and honing our landscape photography skills. When we were ready, we brought our images to the art festivals and craft shows.

We found that many people loved our photography, but wanted to know more about how we captured the shot. There was a lot more discussion about how shots were designed” than about purchasing our art. People really wanted that “mantle” image captured with their own camera, but didn’t have the skills to achieve it.

Because of our experiences attending photography workshops, we knew what we liked about them and what we’d change. So, Jansen Photo Expeditions was born.

What’s the story behind your biz logo?

The logo has quite a history. As a child, my father took photography workshops from Ansel Adams in the 60s. Our logo is actually the silhouette of Ansel taking a picture of my sister with his large format camera!

CorkerWho inspires you? If you could have dinner with ANYone (living, dead or fictional), who would that be and why?

All throughout my childhood, our conversations around the dinner table were about Ansel Adams and photography. So, of course it would be Ansel. (That was an easy one.)

Because my Dad took photography workshops with him in Yosemite, we spent some time with him when we’d visit the valley at Christmas time. I’d love to rewind the clock and get to know who that man in the white beard was who was hanging out with my Dad in the Yosemite Lodge. 

[Note: Holly wrote a fabulous blog post that talks about her winters in Yosemite and her brushes with the great Mr. Adams. You should totally read it.]

What would you like to get the word out about right now?

Our multi-day photography workshops. We’re currently enrolling for a few different adventures: a trip to the Eastern Sierras and one to Big Sur (both in October). And we’ve got a other options for folks who want private workshops in and around Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

 The workshops are fun, educational and inspirational. We work with each client on an individual basis to be sure their needs are met and their goals for the workshop are set ahead of time. We have intimate knowledge and years of experience shooting in each of our locations which allows us to know when and where to go based on changing weather and light. That means we can make sure you’re in the right spot at the right time.

Why do you read the Story Bistro blog and emails?

You’ve helped me get on track (and stay on track) with my marketing and blog writing. One small example? Your monthly challenge to blog on a certain topic. The prompt is always related to marketing my business, and it’s always timely.

[NOTE: this month’s blog prompt features tutorials. Check it out.]

I’m so much more aware of what I’m doing with my marketing now and not stabbing around in the dark anymore. Thank you!


Are you doing remarkable or astounding things? Do you have some advice you can share with us? Be a Story Bistro “Corker Uncorked” by raising your hand here.