Jessica Lynn Benevolence Photography in SanfordYou may have noticed that we here at Sanford365 have really upped our game on some of our event photos over the past few months, and it’s all thanks to Jessica McCarty-Carvajal of Benevolence Photography, who is an indispensable member of the Sanford365 team. Jessica lends her great eye and technical expertise to the blog with her beautiful photos, and we are proud to have her as our August Hometown Favorite Sanford Selfie sponsor. Read below for an interview about Jessica’s company and her thoughts on photography in Sanford.

You can win a photo shoot with Jessica and Benevolence Photography by entering a #SanfordSelfie this month! For more details about how to enter, click here: Sanford Selfie Competition.

Why did you decide to become a photographer?

Jessica Lynn Benevolence photography in SanfordI’ve always had a thing for pictures; I loved to take them, I loved to put them in an album/scrapbook, I loved to reminisce, I have just always enjoyed that feeling of being in that exact moment again when I look at a photo. A photo can evoke so many emotions, like music (which is why I probably like music so much as well) and I wanted to be able to offer those moments, those feelings to others.

I honestly can’t say that I always knew I wanted to be a photographer, but I’m pretty sure I always knew I wanted a job that was freeing as well as one that I knew would bring myself and others happiness. Even as I was sitting in my photography classes in college I wasn’t 100% sure, but I kept going and I kept shooting and each time I was just filled; filled with joy, wonder and excitement. Each time I shoot I learn something new and I am pushed out of my comfort zone and each time I’m so very happy for what was learned and for the people that I was able to meet. As I continued to have these feelings grow rather than whither away, I knew that I wanted to continue on the photography path.


I’ve owned my business for a little over a year now, I recently went about completely re-branding my company originally Jessica Lynn Photography. Although I love my name I wanted something that spoke about who I am and what I want my company to represent and who doesn’t love shiny new things! I have already learned so much, I know I will continue to learn, continue to grow and continue to meet amazing people who inspire me.

How would you characterize your style/what are you going for?

I would say my style is more natural than anything and that is what I aim for. I love natural light, I don’t do a whole lot of editing and I pose as it seems fitting for each client as everyone is different. I enjoy seeing and capturing the love a mother has for her child, newly found love between couples, the goofiness that happens when a whole family is brought together, the confidence of a High School Senior as he/she prepares for their new life at college, the simple things that life has to offer because those are the things that truly matter and can never be replaced.


What’s your favorite picture you’ve ever taken in Sanford?

rsz_sanford365-8There are so many it’s so hard to choose, I think all of my clients are amazing and I can definitely say I have favorite portraits from all of my shoots. If I absolutely had to choose my favorite Sanford shoot though… I’d say the Orange Grove shoot. I photographed a small family in an Orange Grove that had been one of the places I had my eye on for a while, so when I mentioned the location to the family and they were up for it I was pretty darn excited. This was also a time when I was pretty fresh in my business, but I was having fairly steady work coming in so it was just an overall exciting time for me.

What are your top priorities when shooting?

My top priorities when shooting would be lighting, location being patient and having a good time. Ideal shooting weather is a slightly overcast day, but let’s face it that’s just not going to happen everyday. I prefer to shoot an hour within sunrise and an hour within sunset, but should you need to shoot when the sun is high; place your subject with their back to the sun (you’re background is going to be blown out, but what’s more important?), shoot high and low and find a sweet spot. You can also place your subject in a shady spot and have them face the sun; find a tree, an umbrella, a building awning and have your subject step close to where the shadow and sun meet without them actually stepping into the sunshine and shoot away, you’ll likely catch a beautiful reflection in their eyes, called catchlights. A location can be as random or as meaning as you want it to be, I find many of my places by just driving around and exploring new spots. I have a love for large open fields and old textured walls (Downtown Sanford is home to some of my faves!). Every single person you photograph is going to be different so be patient, make jokes and don’t take yourself too seriously.


What else do you like to do for fun?

On my free time you can find me spending time with my sweet husband or with my family and friends who always know how to make me laugh. Sunday mornings you can find me at church singing along with our churches awesome worship band (not to be confused with being in the band…yikes!). I love to be outside!! I enjoy kayaking, camping, hiking, pretending to be good at gardening. We just went on our first backpacking trip this summer with a few friends in Yosemite and we’re already planning for our next one, it was absolutely beautiful! I grew up with a wide variety of animals in the house so I have a BIG place in my heart for animals; I currently have a bunny named bunny (haha It just stuck guys, okay?) and a dog named Peanut and I like to think that they are best friends. I enjoy spray painting anything that can be spray painted, just this week I bought magnet letters from the Dollar Store and spray painted them all one solid color, my husband and I have fun leaving each other messages on the fridge that make each other laugh. I am a HUGE thrift shopper, about 90% of my clothes and my household items all came from thrift shops, Sanford has two of my faves!! People are always asking me about my clothes and I answer with a big smile on my face…GOODWILL! I’m always up for something new, I just enjoy trying new things and exploring our beautiful world!

Check out more of Jessica’s work on her website. She is available for a wide variety of photo work, including portraits and events. She can even make special backdrops to lend added flair to your party.

And of course, if you see her at a Sanford event, say hello and strike a pose!