We chat to the woman behind Lucky Fish Photography and some of HK’s most beautiful modern family portraits
If you’re familiar with our “The Bump” series, you are probably already aware of Jenna Louise Potter’s gorgeous work. She’s the fantastically talented photographer behind some of our photoshoots with previous “Bumps” such as Jennifer Woollford, founder and director of Neon Marketing. So when she told us that she was pregnant with her second child, we simply, absolutely, 100%, had to have her as the next women in our series of inspiring, expecting ladies! We chatted to her about her experience of leaving her native South Africa for the 852, what she loves most about her work, meeting her husband, and her pregnancy story. Oh, and of course, we couldn’t not ask her about how to get that elusive picture-perfect family shot!
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in South Africa and grew up in Durban. Five years ago I married a wonderful man named Simon and we live in Sheung Wan. We have a two and a half year old, Florence Rose (Flossie) and a rescue dog named Pepper. I love to travel and experience different cultures and lifestyles. We have just returned from an incredible week in Japan. I love that we are able to expose Flossie to so many special places. It really is a huge perk of living as an expat in Asia.
When not travelling, we love to socialise, explore Hong Kong’s amazing foodie scene or chill at home on our terrace with friends after a hike along one of the many scenic trails.
How did you end up in HK and what was your first impression of Hong Kong?
The excitement of living in Asia was the main draw card. It was 2010 – I was young and single and prepared to take a risk. I fell in love with Hong Kong immediately. Everything just fell into place. I was fortunate to meet a “friend of a friend”, who introduced me to the most amazing people, some of whom are my closest friends today. And to top it all, I met my British husband, Simon, two weeks after I arrived. This was where I was meant to be, and I have never looked back. Hong Kong has an energy that is exciting and fascinating and the attitude here is that “anything is possible.”
How did you get into photography?
I have always loved creativity in all forms. I studied drama, media and film at the University of Cape Town. I also have a love of fashion and as a teenager, designed and made my own dresses. So, after graduating, I went on to become a fashion buyer for a prominent South African retail group.
My move to Hong Kong afforded me the opportunity to leave the corporate world. I took a job as a nanny, to pay the bills. The hours were great, I loved the children I looked after, and it gave me the time to get to know Hong Kong and enjoy settling in.
I started taking photographs of the kids I was looking after – natural images of them, going about their daily lives. Before I knew it, every weekend was booked up with family sessions, parties, celebrations and babies and all of these bookings were made through word of mouth. As sad as I was, when the family I worked for moved back to the USA in 2013, I knew it was the push I needed to focus wholly on my photography. It is so rewarding and I keep learning and growing in my approach to capturing special images.
What do you enjoy most about taking family portraits?
There is nothing more important than family. So to capture images of a family, that show their love and connection with each other, is a reflection of what life is really all about. I feel so privileged to do that.
This is your second baby. What have you learned from your first pregnancy? Is this one any different?
With my first pregnancy, I was so desperate to meet our baby. I feel as though I wished away my pregnancy. I’ve tried to be more patient this time and enjoy the journey. I can’t wait for Floss to have a sibling, but I am trying to be present in the moment, and enjoy special time with her, before our world gets turned upside down with a newborn!
I am also so much more grateful this time. I suffered a miscarriage at ten weeks, when Flossie was 16 months old. It was devastating and taught me what an absolute blessing and privilege it is to be pregnant and to be a mother.
So far I have felt very similar with both pregnancies. The standard nausea, food aversions and complete exhaustion in the beginning. Then a wonderful, energetic and healthy middle trimester and now the exhaustion and “heaviness” that comes with the last few weeks.
How do you find living in HK while pregnant? The medical services, getting around, the heat, etc.
Firstly, we have the most wonderful helper, Joana. She keeps me sane and has played a huge role in making it possible for me to continue working throughout this pregnancy. I would not survive without her!
Flossie was born at the Queen Mary Hospital and the staff and medical services were great. There are no frills but considering it’s basically free, the service is amazing.
I would suggest getting to check up appointments at least 30 minutes early, then the wait isn’t too long. Take a book, a fully charged phone – Instagram!, water and a snack!
Public transport is so efficient in Hong Kong and taxi’s are so affordable and plentiful – the transport infrastructure just works. Being pregnant in the Summer is tough but thankfully, indoors, everything is air conditioned.
I am shooting right up until 39 weeks, which is probably a bit ambitious, in the June heat! Thankfully regular foot massages, and Netflix really help!
Do you know the gender of the baby? Are you keeping it a secret or doing a reveal?
No we don’t know the gender. I love a surprise. We didn’t know with my daughter either and the moment my husband told me it was a girl is still one of my most special memories.
I love a baby in plain white so we are stocked up on white onesies and if this baby is a boy, we can get some gorgeous stuff delivered asap. I’m a huge fan of Next Direct and Bonds, both of whom deliver quickly to Hong Kong!
Got any tips and tricks you wish other mums told you before you became a mum?
I don’t think any tips really prepare you for motherhood! Each experience is unique to that mother. But I do believe new moms need to be kind to themselves and just do the best they can. There is no perfect mother. But we need to remember that we are perfect for our baby, just by loving them unconditionally and caring for them, the very best we can. In the beginning, the days are long but the years are short. We need to try and be patient when things are tough. Everything passes and a colicky baby soon becomes a delightful toddler.
Breastfeeding can be so difficult in the beginning. Seek help, if you need it. Once you get it right, life becomes so much easier. And don’t beat yourself up if you decide to bottle feed. Always do what’s best for you and your baby. Don’t make comparisons.
What have been your favourite moments during pregnancy and what have you struggled with?
The sound and flicker of the very first heartbeat, is an incredible moment. And then, the first time you feel your baby kick, makes you aware that this new life inside you, is a miracle. I really miss all the movement, once the baby is born. It’s almost an empty feeling.
I love dressing a “bump”. It’s such a relief when you start to look properly pregnant. Second time around I popped a lot earlier, which was great. I find the puffy, “ate too much at the buffet” look difficult to work with!!
I never buy maternity clothes, but rather upsize my favourite brands to accommodate the bump. A fitted body-con dress with a loose kimono type jacket or shawl (to cover the back bump!) is my go to. One of my favourite brands is Hatch Collection. Their pieces work so effortlessly well before, during and after pregnancy. I truly think the investment is worth it.
I’ve been going to regular prenatal yoga classes at The Yoga Room in Sheung Wan. I love the “gentle” exercise and hope it will help in the delivery room.
On the downside, dealing with acid reflux is awful, especially at night. I try to avoid big meals as it literally feels like my throat is on fire! I’ve also really struggled with exhaustion, especially with a second pregnancy. Dealing with a feisty toddler is not always easy, especially when patience levels are low!
Finally, do you have any tips on how to take a great family photo (or how to get the kids to stay still long enough to take one!)?
It’s so important to establish a connection with the family and to understand the type of image that they feel is authentic. I always encourage the family to choose a location that they are comfortable with and that has meaning for them.
The best images are the ones where kids are having fun and doing what they love to do – be it kicking a ball, jumping on a trampoline, reading books etc. My favourite images are the ones where families are interacting and engaging with one another. These are the images that will be cherished the most because you can really feel the connection and facial expressions will be beautifully authentic! However, I do always make sure to get at least one great family portrait of everyone looking at the camera – one for the grandparents – by any means possible, be it bribery, treats or just plain begging!
Jenna gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Saturday, 16 June 2018. Thanks to the talented Jenna (and her husband Simon!) from Lucky Fish Photography for all of the beautiful images above! Follow her on Facebook.