3. I am not self-taught. I majored in photography in college. This is where a lot of people say “Really? I didn’t know you could go to school for that!” Yes, you can. There are even very expensive schools you can go to to learn photography (alas, I did not go to one of those schools). While I originally picked that major because I wanted to take “fun” classes at college, I soon learned it wasn’t all fun & games. Photography 101 covered a lot of technical things that were hard for my 18 year old brain to grasp. I learned on a 20 yr old Canon AE-1 and spent many hours in the darkroom with my film & paper & chemicals. During those college years, I not only worked with black & white film and paper, but also color negatives, color positives (slides), printed on color paper, and used large format cameras with sheet film similar to what Mr. Ansel Adams himself used.
4. I’ve got more experience than the average Jane. After a few years of college, I had gotten to the point where I thought I would learn more from hands-on experience and so I went in search of a job. I’ve worked at a children & family portrait studio, done yearbook pictures at high schools, and assisted a wedding photographer in Las Vegas. I did my first solo wedding nine years ago. Nine years ago! (If you’ve been paying attention, you could take a good guess at my age at this point) I have been free-lancing weddings & portraits since then, and officially started my business Jessica B Photography at the beginning of this year.
5. Photography is not my passion. Did I really just say that?? One of the first things I’ve noticed some photographers say in their “bios” is “Photography is my passion!” Webster defines “Passion” as (among other things) an “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” I’m sorry, but I don’t wake up in the morning and think “What can I take a picture of today????” While I do enjoy a good session, taking my camera out for fun, or learning a new technique, I would have to say that photography is not my passion.
6. What is my “passion” then? Having a good time. I enjoy laughing and having a good time with people (who doesn’t?) especially my favorite people, including my family and close friends. Life should be enjoyable, shouldn’t your employment be enjoyable, too? In doing photography, I strive to have a good time, to make your session a fun non-stressful experience for you, to capture special moments of your life to last forever, and to enjoy the celebration of your wedding or birth with you, otherwise… photography turns into work. And we don’t want it to be work, do we? No. And in the end, I would like us to be friends. I have met many wonderful people through photographing them, and have developed friendships with many of them, and I like it.
7. If I could go back, I would spend more on my own wedding photography. We did not do professional engagements, professional bridals, or professional pre-wedding formals. On the day of the wedding, I did not hire my photographer for nearly long enough. I now have a minimum requirement for weddings, due in part to my own experience. I would spend more thought, more time, and more money to get exactly what I had envisioned and the photographer who suited us best.
8. I’m a casual person. I’m good with jeans and a T-shirt and my hair is most likely going to be in a ponytail or bun (I know, that’s totally not what I’m wearing in the image above). I’m not overly trendy, but I do have certain styles that I totally dig. While I do believe it is important to dress for the success of your portraits, I as the photographer will come dressed in jeans and tennis shoes (to portrait sessions. Yes, I will dress appropriately for weddings!) . I will most likely be running around or standing on things to get the perfect shot. I have been known to climb trees or lay in the dirt during portrait sessions.
9. I’ve given birth to all of my children at home. This is always a great conversation starter. The short of it is that even when I was young, hospitals were the place you went if you were sick or dying (however, I don’t think I want to die at a hospital, I’d rather die at home too). The process of giving birth is neither a sickness nor death, so why would I want to go to the hospital for that? There are many other things that factored in to why I choose to give birth at home, but mostly it’s because it is the best experience for me. I love giving birth. I get excited about it and actually look forward to the next time that I can give birth again.
10. Other random facts: I am a fan of strawberries, ice cream, Vans old skool shoes, Jimmy Eat World, hammocks, hot tubs, the beach, and snowboarding in a T-shirt. I LOVE vacations (destination photography = work + vacation, right?). I was once asked what I thought the most beautiful sound in the world was, and I answered “children laughing” and this was before I had any of my own. I am a Las Vegas native, but I’m a small town girl at heart. I looooove date nights with my husband. Anything outdoors makes me happy. Except for the blasted summer heat. I really think I could do without days over 110 degrees. I also dislike spelling errors.