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About Jennifer

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Jacksonville, FL, United States
I like to teach and I like to take pictures. When possible, I do both at the same time.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Defining Myself

Hello my dears! I don't have any photos for you to look at today, however I do have some stuff to talk about. Last night I watched a portion of the Jasmine Star presentation on Creative Live, which is to help wedding photographers grow their business. One of the things that struck me was how we as photographers need to really think about WHO our client is, who WE are, and how our websites can communicate and attract the people we want to work with.

I have had a myriad of clients. All ages, races, and shapes. But that's not what Jasmine was referring to. She was referring to the personality of her clients, the things they liked, the level of education they had attained, the things they value. She said she thought that all of her clients would be friends with each other, were they given the opportunity to meet! I thought about that a lot. She also said that it was important for her to like her to clients, and her clients to like her! I believe her words were, "If I'm going to spend 8 hours with a bride on her wedding day, I want to like her!"

(Truthfully, I've never had a client I didn't like, so I must be on the right track!)

But it got me to thinking. What kinds of weddings do I want to shoot? Do I want to be primarily a wedding photographer, or a portrait photographer who shoots a handful of weddings? Because that's what I am right now. I have three weddings slated for this year, and with my workflow the way it is, it's probably all I can handle. If I was doing mostly weddings, I wouldn't be able to do a great deal of portraiture, because of the time involved with wedding shoots and album design.

Of the weddings I have done, my very favorite one was a wedding that was held in the backyard of a family estate. The bride and groom exchanged vows under a tree where I imagine the bride played as a child. It was the sort of tree that could easily have held a tire swing years ago! The cake toppers were superhero action figures (Batman and Catwoman.) The groom's father officiated the ceremony, and the tenderness and sweetness which exuded from everyone was tangible. There wasn't anyone there who wasn't deeply invested in this couple's lives. Nothing was done for "show" and everything had meaning. (NOT to imply that the other weddings I have shot were showy and meaningless. Not at all!) You can check out their slideshow here!

This is the sort of wedding I want to shoot. The down-home, do-it-yourself, homemade wedding. Jasmine Star's target wedding client is the highly stylized, fashion-minded bride. And I'm glad that's her style, because that stuff STRESSES ME OUT. Jasmine is outgoing, energetic, and fabulous! I am also fabulous (so I've been told!) but in a more quiet, reflective, observant manner. My style of wedding photography is that of a fly on the wall. If you gave a fly on the wall a camera and just let him do his thing, he would get the same sort of photos that I get. (This is, of course, assuming that the fly knows how to operate a Nikon and has figured out how to bounce his flash off the ceiling.)

I could probably make a lot more money shooting weddings if I chose clients like Jasmine's. But I think I'd get burned out from wedding photography, because it's just not ME. Something else she said, and I will probably butcher this quote to pieces, was something like this: "If we go head to head on Photoshop, you will win. If we go head to head on photography, you might win. If we go head to head on being Jasmine Star, I will win." Her point was that too many photographers have the same camera, have the same shooting style, went to the same schools, are members of the same organization, but no other photographer can be Jasmine Star. We need to capitalize on being ourselves, knowing who we are as photographers, and once we do that we can build the business we dream of.

I love to shoot outdoor weddings.
I love to shoot at-home weddings.
I love to shoot weddings with lots of personal touches.
I love to shoot small weddings.
I love to shoot unique weddings.
I love to shoot images of the bride twirling in her wedding dress.
I love to shoot images of all the tiny details of the day.
I love to shoot couples who are madly in love with each other.
I love to shoot couples who value what I do as a professional photographer.
I love to shoot couples to trust me to capture their memories.

So, yes. I would love to be primarily a wedding photographer, with a handful of portrait clients. This dream is the complete opposite of the reality of my business as is it today. So I am going to try and start actively seeking out people who are having weddings like I have described above.

You know what else I would love? To shoot a wedding at a tiny New England inn. Much like the Dragonfly Inn on the show "Gilmore Girls" which is my all-time favorite. So if there are any "Lorelei Gilmores" out there, who own an inn and are having a wedding, please have your brides call me! That would be so much fun.

Much love,

Jen

1 comment:

  1. i can really relate to the definitions you gave for what weddings you want to shoot. I haven't done any weddings yet, but I think the big ones would really stress me out too. I hope to be able to emphasize that after I do my first one in June. BTW, we should chat on gtalk sometime so you can give me some pointers. I am super nervous!

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