Small Business Entrepreneurs Project


Monday, June 19, 2017

Janell and Tony Harris - Java Jane Photography

Are you from Saint Louis? if not, where(and why did you come to Saint Louis)?

I (Janell) am originally from Washington State. I moved out to Troy Missouri in 2000, so my older two daughters could be near their father.

I (Tony) am from the metro St. Louis area and surrounding Illinois area as well. As a child we resided in Belleville and O’Fallon Illinois until 1983, where we relocated to the St. Louis county area.

Which High School did you attend, (if you attended high school in MO)? (If not from Saint Louis, you can opt out of this question)

Tony graduated from Normandy High School, I obviously did not. :-)

Which area is the best? Why? (County (North, South, West), City, St. Charles, Chesterfield, East Saint Louis, etc...)

(Janell) I love the oldest parts of the city! I have a major love for personal history so old homes, old buildings, the beautiful architecture that you just don't see anymore. Lafeyette square, the CWE, Cherokee Street. I would love to have a time machine and go back 100-200 years and see what St. Louis looked like then!!!

(Tony) I do agree with Janell regarding the architectural beauty of various St. Louis city locations. I also enjoy the serenity of the “country lifestyle”. It reminds me a lot of growing up in Belleville / O’Fallon Il. At the time (mid to late 70’s) most of that area was farm land.

Tell me something about yourself that you would like to share.

(Janell) I grew up in a small farming town in Southeast Washington State. Our entire town population was 1500 people. Our secondary school ran from 7th to 12th and had a total of around 200 students. My graduating class was 38 students. I am definitely a small town girl.

Between Tony and I we have 6 kids ranging in age from 26 to 6, 4 girls and 2 boys.

(Tony) I have a deep passion for the arts and history. This would include but not limited to music, fine arts, fashion, cinematography, photography and 20 century Americana. My favorite photography fashion style would be that of the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s fashion industry. This also probably explains why I have an appreciation for black and white movies and images. I also love the grainy film / tilt-shift look of the 70’s portraitures. Apparently my passion for photography was buried pretty deep and didn’t come to fruition until my 40’s. As I look back on my life it all makes sense, with my attention to detail with lighting, color, composition, posing and storytelling. Star Wars is to blame.

What is/are the name(s) of your business(es) and describe it/them (please provide a website and email address if possible). Why did you start it/them?

We own Java Jane Photography. We specialize in Weddings, couples, high school seniors and birth stories but we really do it all. We really enjoy working with adult couples in engagement session and then finishing it all out with their wedding. To be able to capture the story of a couple in love is amazing! With all of our sessions we really try to tailor it to who our clients are. To really tell THEIR story!

It is a bit different with a birth story session of course. It's all very photojournalistic in that we are capturing moments as they happen. Absolutely nothing is scripted! To be a part of something so emotional, to capture the first breath of a child, the look in the mother's eyes when she sees that precious gift for the first time, THAT is why I absolutely love birth stories!

Why did we start our photography business?

I had worked in studios for 13 years, but had gotten out of that to try something new. In that time I met and married Tony, who had a love for photography as a hobbiest. When a family member ran into some financial trouble, we were trying to help them out. In thinking of ways that we could make some extra income, photography came to mind. Of course, at first it was just a way to help someone else out, but very soon, we were both bitten by the bug. Our business has grown quite a lot in these last couple years and we are so ready to take it to the next level and really see it take off.

I think the one thing that sets us apart from our competition isn't necessarily our photography. There are a lot of great photographers out there, but what makes us different is our personalities! Tony and I love each other very much, and we love to be silly and pick on each other, laugh, and just be nuts.... I think it sets our clients at ease. They see us as real people. Our goal is to always give our clients a relaxed, fun and enjoyable experience they will talk about.

Our website is

What three words would describe your business(es)? (If you own more than one business please give three words to describe each business).

Fun, Timeless, Memorable

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