08.18.09 Photography

FAQ : Discussion Board Questions

couple weeks ago, I posed a question on my Facebook Fanpage and asked if photographers could ask One Photographer, One Question, what would it be. The Discussion Board turned into something a little different, but it's all good! People started asking me questions (instead of asking others), so I decided to grab a few a post them here on my blog. I've had a fanpage for just over a month and it's been incredible to see the action on the Discussion Board, which has turned into a place for people to connect, ask questions, and offer advice...I love it! Be sure to pop on over and check it out!

Deanna asked:
Where do you start in becoming networked with other photographers who see you not as your competition but as their peer?
This is a difficult question to answer because there isn't just one response. There are a myriad of ways, but I think the most important is for a photographer to simply focus on what she's doing, and do it right. The minute a business person tries to convince another that she's a peer, it automatically disqualifies her attempts. It's like when I try to convince my friends I'm a great singer...I tell them so often of my greatness that they're well aware I'm going to suck by the mere fact that I'm all up in their faces about it. If I were to, say, sing quietly while I washed the dishes after a dinner party and they took notice, they'd think I was the next Whitney Houston. Obviously. In like manner, if a photographer runs his business and works hard at creating his work, others will notice and equate him as a peer, not merely someone trying to esteem himself by the use of his own smoke and mirrors.

Devon asked:
Is there ONE thing that you attribute more than anything else to your fast success??
I wouldn't say there was ONE thing that attributed to my growth, but I can definitely say creating an online presence helped me in more ways than I could ever imagine. When I first started my blog, I wrote about 3-4 times a week about my life, not about photography (well, because, I was just starting and didn't really have anything to show). I wrote about my struggles, my hope, and what I ate for dinner. It was so totally random, but I it helped readers connect with who I was a person, not a photographer. Once I launched my photography website, it further defined who I was both personally and professionally. Adding seasoning to this mix are online networks like Facebook and Twitter, which allows me to connect with clients, prospective clients, and photographers alike.
I believe growth is directly proportionate to effort, and exerting effort online is relatively easy with minimal risk...and greater odds for success! :)

Isaac asked:
What in your opinion is your competitive advantage? I'm going to ask a side-question as well that is related, but what do other professionals and/or your clients say draws them to you?
I'm going to be really, reeeeally honest right now. I don't have a competitive advantage. There are literally thousands of photographers here in Southern California. All who take good photos. Many of who shoot with the same camera I do. Most of who edit in Photoshop the way I do. All of who love the art of photography just as much as I do. What sets me apart? ME. So, if this can be a considered a competitive advantage, then by all means, I'll rock it out. However, this also means that anyone can be their own competitive advantage...which is awesome! Everyone is truly and uniquely created and that's precisely what photographers should leverage as they're greatest competitive advantage.

Amy asked:
Do you think that a photographer can become well known outside of CA or New York?
Yes. There are a ton of amazing and spectacular photographers around the nation who are creating waves and their names are highly regarded in the industry. I, however, want to point out that a common thread these photographers have is their innate ability to focus on their work, not on getting others to focus on their work. The mark of an awesome photographer is someone who is elevated by others, and not himself...someone who doesn't give a rip about medals and awards and, instead, shoots for herself.
Like I mentioned before, there are a TON of successful non-CA/NY photographers around the US, but here are a few that just few that blow my mind:
LaCour - Atlanta, GA
F8 Studio - Dallas, TX
JVS Pictures - Houston, TX

Madalina asked:
How do you balance photography with married life? I find that I either focus on one a lot or one the other but can't find the balance I need to steadily work on both at once.
Well, I'll be the first person to admit me and Balance are sometimes adversaries...and she's given me a black eye from our brawls in the past. However, I try extraordinarily hard to keep life balanced by maintaining a very scheduled and organized lifestyle. JD sometimes refers to me as The Machine. As in, don't get in my way because I may just RUN YOUR OVER WITH MY CALENDAR AND POST-IT NOTES. Monday through Friday are work days for me and I treat them as such, which means I wake up and start the work day as if I had any other job. Here's what an average work day looks like for me (and, no, not everyday is a work day as I have shoots and extended meetings some days):

Wake Up (it's just the time my body naturally arises...I abhor the alarm clock!) and Pray
Email (I dedicate just a small segment of my day to email...anything I don't finish in this time is transferred to the next day, unless it is a business or client email which gets answered in 24 hours)
Walk Polo with JD (this is one of my favorite times of the day...25 minutes to map out my goals for the day and simply enjoy time with my boys)
Walk Polo with JD (another opportunity to take a break from my computer and breathe a little in the warm sun)
Edit/Process/Meetings (if applicable)
Walk Polo with JD and Dinner

I will definitely close my computer at 6:30pm...most of the time. Yes, there are days when I need to cram work out for a deadline, but other than that, I try to keep the evenings for my family. I work long, hard hours, but I need to ensure I carve time to enjoy my evenings and just check out.
It's of utmost importance to keep your loved ones in the forefront of your life and when I first started my business, I lost sight of this notion. I was buried in work, glued to my computer, and generally frustrated. The minute I started organizing my life, prioritizing my work, and outsourcing, I gained back everything I wanted: Freedom to choose the lifestyle I wanted. There are days when JD and I decide to take an extended lunch in Newport Beach or watch a matinee or simply sit in a park under a tree. Having structure provides me the luxury of looking at my week and knowing where I can splurge and skimp, and always keep my family first.

This is a snapshot of how I spent most of last week...on a beach in Puerto Rico...enjoying life and appreciating life's smallest pleasures.

Happy Tuesday!
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Julia - Thank you so much Jasmine for your ever honest words and truths! thank you for taking the time to write bits of your life and heart , here! You are such an inspiration for me ! I was blessed to have come across the Restart programe on Creative Live and to get to know you and your personality ! You have changed my views towards my art and photography! Now I am not afraid to be who I really am ...unlike before when i struggled to fit in the box other people have set out ! I'm my own box now and i can do whatever I want with it:)thinking outside the box and living outside the box !(you get me :p ) :D Be blessed and a million thanks , Julia Dublin, Ireland.  03.15.13 - 4:46am
Josie Cole - Jasmine, I have come across alot of photographers on the website reading and researching. You are awesome! So natural, and I feel the love you have in photography. You do inspire me as a photographer, your work shows all about you, the clarity, the sharpness, the details. Your clients shows how much they enjoy being with you.....I have learned much more from you than anyone else I've met in the photograpy world. You make me laugh, you give me joy to learn from you. I look forward to read more in the discusssion board and watching your upcoming events and enjoying your portraits................ I'm 53 yrs. old it's "me time"no more tie downs or darma. Finally, I can focus on the love of my life, photography. I am so thankful yes I'm blessed to come across your website. Having said and done, your my mentor, you don't mind sharing your talent and gift to others. You have no greed and not one shelfishness in your heart. Even better it is so totally awesome to see you have a soul mate,a partner, a friend, in your life to share the same interest, "totally" blessed, and I know Polo is so lucky to have you both....he is addorable. God Bless you and your family in the world of photography.... :) "You Go Girl"!!!!   12.07.09 - 3:35am
Anna B. - Your schedule of the typical "work" day was something I was always wondering about! Thanks for sharing, but there is something that I'm still VERY curious about! How do you squeeze in grocery shopping, cleaning, making that lasagna that you promised to TOFU guy, or the dinner at 6:30pm. Or is that JD's job description? ; )  08.26.09 - 9:10am
nikka Colorado - J- where do you grab your discussion board questions from so i know where to ask =D  08.25.09 - 12:40pm
Bedazzled Photography - Thanks for sharing. Great FAQ.  08.24.09 - 12:47pm
Sarah - So do you outsource all of our post processing?   08.22.09 - 9:24pm
Amy - I was in puerto Rico too.. Wish I meet up with ya.. Love your work.. I did the same.. relaxing but it was so nice I wanted to shoot everyhting.   08.21.09 - 11:01am
LIA - Thanks so much for sharing, Jasmine..  08.21.09 - 7:00am
Kelly - Thank you so much for posting this. I am not a photographer, but I work two jobs from home (a fun, creative one and a pay-the-bills one), and it is so hard to learn how to balance. Looking at your schedule helps me to figure out a few things, although I don't think I am waking up at 6:30! Thanks again!  08.20.09 - 9:47pm
Ole - Thank you.  08.20.09 - 2:54pm
Jenna - I've been reading your blog for a while now but never commented. :) Just wanted to thank you for this post! It was very helpful! I am very new and just trying to get my business off the ground. I'm married with a 2 year old and due with another baby in about 6 weeks. Balancing my photography with family is important for me, because I tend to be "all or nothing" and really focus too much on one thing. It really helped me to realize I need some sort of schedule. Thank You!  08.20.09 - 12:20pm
Nicole Glenn - Can you call me and make sure I am up at 6:30 too?? :)  08.20.09 - 10:27am
Sarah A - Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. it is extremely wise advice and so helpful to me in this time of my business!  08.19.09 - 10:56pm
Christoph - Thank you very much for all your posts.. you are very open minded and definitely a big inspiration :)  08.19.09 - 3:27pm
Karen Slate - I really love your honesty, openness, and candidness as well as your willingness to share both personally and professionally. Thanks for another great post!  08.19.09 - 2:01pm
Bong - I love your comment on the first question! One of the best advice I've ever read. Your statement right here says it all! - "In like manner, if a photographer runs his business and works hard at creating his work, others will notice and equate him as a peer, not merely someone trying to esteem himself by the use of his own smoke and mirrors.".  08.19.09 - 1:49pm
Damaris - Jasmine*, you are truly an inspiration.. spiritually & the great photographer you are :]  08.19.09 - 12:31pm
Mary Marantz - Awesome post! In every way!! Love you! M:)  08.19.09 - 12:23pm
Ginger Murray - Balancing is always a struggle for me, too. I feel, though, that because you can get up and have a regular exercise routine in the AM, that your life is so balanced! I honestly feel that if I could do that, my life would be 100% balanced. So you're saying this is not true? :) Oh, of course it's not-- I like to think so though!  08.19.09 - 10:42am
Kathrina - Thanks for always being so free to give advice! Attending Skip's Summer School in Vegas right now, thought you'd like to know that your name has been thrown out there a few times by speakers. You're amazing!  08.19.09 - 10:24am
CMarx - You have stated time and time again that you meter to the subjects skin, Does that mean you use in camera spot metering on the face when the subject is backlit? I've searched all your FAQ's and cannot find anything on spot, vs the other types of in camera metering. Thanks so much!  08.19.09 - 9:46am
Becka @Studio222 Photography - Thanks for sharing your daily timeline. I've been trying to get mine down and feeling guilty for not spending 8 full hours editing and emailing so it's nice to see that I don't necessarily have to. And also, we're heading to PR in January and that photo just got me even more exctied!   08.19.09 - 7:56am
a home far away - Gosh! Your photos are amaxing! Hugs Gunilla in Singapore  08.19.09 - 7:51am
Alicia Swedenborg - So if you have a evening shoot or a wedding on the weekend do you sleep in the next day/take Monday off? Or is it work Mon-Fri plus shoots? Thank you so much for writing about this, as it is now I a.l.w.a.y.s. work and eventhough I love photography I also love my family and friends!! :)   08.19.09 - 1:16am
Kirsty-Abu Dhabi - Work/life/family balance is so important - having a supportive partner is key and setting schedules together that work for you both - esp when you have kids too (as I do!) - I couldn't do this otherwise - guess we're both very lucky to have found such wonderful guys to help us along this road!   08.19.09 - 1:09am
christy Eriksson - Thanks for the schedule post. I love to see prayer in there. When are you coming to Hawaii to do a workshop?  08.19.09 - 12:37am
Holli True - I know I've told you about a hundred times that I just LOVE your FAQ posts. You are so open and honest about your life, business, struggles and triumphs and I truly appreciate all of your gracious knowledge. You have been a true inspiration to me in so many ways and you just keep getting better. :) Thank you, Jasmine!!  08.18.09 - 11:12pm
Amy Wenzel - Where can I get me some of this, what is it called? Self- discipline? I'm going to go stand in front of the mirror and pep talk myself into waking up at the same time you do!  08.18.09 - 10:58pm
Siegrid - Thanks for all the great answers!!! will check out your fan pages!!!  08.18.09 - 10:27pm
Mindy - Thanks for doing your FAQs...every little bit helps!!! Rock on Jazzy Star!!!  08.18.09 - 9:46pm
Brian Fletcher - Good stuff, Jasmine.....thanks!  08.18.09 - 9:36pm
Angela - Hmmm. I emailed you once, asking about your services and whether or not you travel to NH but I didn't get a response within 24 hours. Maybe that was just a fluke.  08.18.09 - 9:20pm
Raquel Leal - Thank you so much for sharing! You are awesome!  08.18.09 - 5:08pm
Angel Canary - I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I found your blog and you have inspired me! I bought some of Kubota's actions and it has changed everything for me. Before I was just doing everything in LR. The shootsacs are FINALLY in stock, so I just got one and I am super excited because I change lenses a lot. I am in the process of updating my blog and website (using Showitfast) and hope to publish the new changes. Thank you for sharing everything, and being inspiring.   08.18.09 - 4:52pm
Valerie Acosta - Jasmine, thank you so much for this post. It was really nice of you to answer those questions, and to top it off with that beautiful photo of a beach in my beautiful island. I'm guessing by the waves that it's somewhere in the north shore. Maybe Dorado? I hope you enjoyed your stay in PR!  08.18.09 - 4:04pm
Jasmine* - @Kat: No, I only work out for an hour and fifteen minutes...the other time is spent commuting! :) @TiraJ: Yes, shoots this time of year start for me around 6ish, so I work late on shoot nights! ;) @Wayne: JD's schedule looks very much like mine, except we work out at different times. It's nice to have him work from home! @Lana: I use evaluative metering and shoot exclusively in manual mode. @LauraHana: Umm, I have NO idea how a baby would change things, but I'm also hoping I won't know the answer for a few more years! ;)  08.18.09 - 3:51pm
Narrelle McCrum - Thanks Jasmine. Great stuff. I love how you keep it real, and honest. Appreciate your insight here - some wonderful advice.  08.18.09 - 3:09pm
Kat Forsyth - You work out for 90 minutes every day? Holy moly. Sorry, that was the first thing I noticed because I'm a lazy-ass who doesn't work out at all! Thanks for answering these questions!  08.18.09 - 3:03pm
Marissa Rodriguez - Thank you!  08.18.09 - 2:54pm
Tira J - As always, you rock! Thanks for being so open and honest. You didn't mention anything about doing shoots during the week. Do those fall in the 1-6:30 block of time? Glad you and your family got to go to Puerto Rico.   08.18.09 - 2:25pm
Malia - Thank you for this post! I especially loved your response to the last question. Its nice to know how some like you balances everything! I'm just starting out and love hearing all of your insights! Jasmine you're awesome!  08.18.09 - 2:08pm
guen - i appreciate your honesty and insight. i needed to read this today, because i am feeling overwhelmed with all the projects that i have laid out for myself, reevaluating my business plans, catching up on unfinished projects, contemplating my housework and not having enough time for my husband and dog. my doctor said that i need to relax more, but i either want to keep going, like a machine, OR stay in bed and never get out some days. my brother recently said that i needed to be on a schedule. and he was right. i'm trying to get back to that point. so thanks for sharing how you do it. it makes sense. need to get back to my life again. thanks, jasmine!  08.18.09 - 1:37pm
Brad Peters - thanks!   08.18.09 - 1:22pm
Rachel Clare - I love organization! And it's great to know how you, being organized, have exactly the lifestyle you want. :) Also, I'm giddy at the idea of outsourcing some things! Thanks!   08.18.09 - 1:04pm
Kisha of Sahara Blue - I absolutely love your honesty & willingness to share. It's so refreshing :) You are truly inspirational!  08.18.09 - 1:01pm
Megan Kocher - Clicked over from Twitter to check out your blog. Love the post. Thanks for sharing from the heart!  08.18.09 - 12:45pm
Kayleen T. - Great post! Polo is a lucky little doggy with 3 walks a day! Makes me feel like a bad dog-mom! ;)  08.18.09 - 12:29pm
Emily Dobson Photography - Again, thank you so much for thinking of others! What a sacrifice it is for you - an amazing, crazy busy, professional photography - to take time from your schedule to help us. THANK YOU!  08.18.09 - 12:12pm
Lucy - Great blog. Thank you for your insights. Love the pic - simply breath-taking.  08.18.09 - 12:06pm
Alyse Woodward Events - I love this post Jasmine. So true that a set schedule produces a more balanced life. I enjoyed reading about your typical day!  08.18.09 - 11:55am
Breanna Powers - Your insight on balancing family/work and organizing things is a great reminder to me! Thanks for the refresher!  08.18.09 - 11:43am
Wayne Chesney - Puerto Rice looks wonderful! It was great to see your schedule. I just recently began working with my wife in her photography business, so my question is - what is JD's schedule? Thank you for always being so open.  08.18.09 - 11:03am
Lana - For the record, I don't think that Discussion Board went too off-topic. I mean, you asked what we would ask our favorite photographer if we had a chance to ask one question, and for many of us, that means asking YOU! :) Another great FAQ post. Yet I am still praying you will answer my FAQ- what kind of metering do you use? Thanks for the post Jasmine!  08.18.09 - 10:51am
Jennifer Rodriguez-Cruz - Wow, thanks Jasmine! Your honestt is soo refreshing =)  08.18.09 - 10:50am
Carrie Lambing - Thanks for sharing your schedule. I am looking forward to the day when my days are defined so clearly. Definitely a goal to work towards.  08.18.09 - 10:48am
Katherine Bowman - Great questions! My favorite would be what your typical work day looks like! Thank you so much for sharing! I'm trying to figure out how to restructure my days with a new photography business and a little one! :) Thanks J*!  08.18.09 - 10:46am
amanda thiessen - thank you for this!!!  08.18.09 - 10:39am
paula - thanks jasmine! i think we make it harder than it really is for ourselves. you put it all very well and encouraging!  08.18.09 - 10:38am
Tasha Prescott - Thanks for this post. I am trying to find balance in my day as well!   08.18.09 - 10:31am
Meg - I especially like the answer to number one- important to define yourself before you start letting others define you. Everyone appreciates a hard worker and riding to the top on someone's coattails won't feel as good when you get there.   08.18.09 - 10:25am
Mandy Sroka - WOW! I'd say this has to be my most favoritest post ever! Thanks for your honesty & truthfulness. You rock!  08.18.09 - 10:20am
anda marie - it's neat to see your M-F schedule. thanks for sharing some of your fav non-OC/NYC photographers with us!  08.18.09 - 10:16am
ohana photographers - balance. yes, still need to master this ;)  08.18.09 - 10:16am
Morgan Meredith - Hey Jasmine! I was noticing that you mentioned a few photographers you esteem and that 2 of the 3 were from Texas. :0) I recently spent DAYS looking through photogs in the D/FW area and was wondering if you had ever heard of Jeremy Gilliam? I think he's amazing and am telling everyone about him. :0) You should check his work out at I love your work and adore your blog! Have a great day!  08.18.09 - 10:12am
Morgan Meredith - Hey Jasmine! I was noticing that you mentioned a few photographers you esteem and that 2 of the 3 were from Texas. :0) I recently spent DAYS looking through photogs in the D/FW area and was wondering if you had ever heard of Jeremy Gilliam? I think he's amazing and am telling everyone about him. :0) You should check his work out at I love your work and adore your blog! Have a great day!  08.18.09 - 10:11am
Wayne Bradt - WOW! Thanks for sharing. That really normalizes the lifestyle very well.  08.18.09 - 10:10am
PUA - This was a great post - especially the answer to the question about balance. Always, always trying to find a happy medium between work, photography and family. Loved reading this - thanks for posting!  08.18.09 - 10:03am
Stephanie Greenwell - Structure & organization, I really need that. I have a new business in photography and it's rapidly growing, along with my belly as I'm 7 mos. pregnant. I also have a day job(6 hours/day) and 3 sweet, but full-of-life kids(7, 5, & 3) and I have 1-2 shoots per week. I squeeze every bit out of every day in hopes of growing my business, providing for our family, and giving me a creative outlet. I'm totally exhausted by day's end and will soon have to make changes to my already jam-packed schedule. Thanks for the reminder of giving yourself a little breather from the computer and editing and emailing and get the point. :) Have a great week!   08.18.09 - 10:02am
Chelsea McGowan - I needed this today! I'm trying really hard to maintain a schedule that allows me to maximize my business, while not stealing Mommy away from my family. You're such an inspiration, and really, a true blessing. It seems like when something's heavy on my heart, you very frequently mention it in a blog around the same time. God's using you, Jas!  08.18.09 - 10:02am
Julie Lim - Sucha cool post! I am almost done with my new fresh blog and I am waiting for cool post to start it off but I think I'll take your advice on how you did and just not wait around anymore. I don't say this a lot but I really do love you & your works! Rock on J*  08.18.09 - 10:02am
Maximilian Motel - Thanks for sharing! I hope that I'll maintain the same balance some day :)  08.18.09 - 9:58am
laurahana - Thanks so much for sharing but what I'd really wish you'd post is.... a recording of your singing! ;) j/k. You're hilarious! It's so great you have a healthy work/life schedule. Hmm, I wonder how that'd change with a baby in the mix? Cuz for me, it's just crazy!  08.18.09 - 9:57am
Shawn Cartagena - Nice way to enjoy your week. Great image it looks very similar to a few that I have. I thought that beach looked strikingly familiar. Love what you do.   08.18.09 - 9:55am
Kevin - I love that you always give to your readers. FYI the F8 studios link needs to be fixed.   08.18.09 - 9:52am
jamie delaine - So cute that Polo (and JD) get 3 walks a day. You're a much better dog owner than me. ;)  08.18.09 - 9:45am
Diane - - I just love these discussion you another angle to look at your situation and make changes to help where you are not balanced. Thanks for sharing all you know! Love it!  08.18.09 - 9:42am
Brandi - Thanks for sharing your schedule. I need to get more on a set schedule myself. I do take at least two dog-breaks a day though.. :) It's a little too hot here to walk in the middle of the day but we do play frisbee in the back yard!   08.18.09 - 9:39am
Cortney - Again, thank you so much for all you share with your readers! I am in awe of how giving so many photographers are with their tips and tricks and advice in an industry that is labeled as being so competitive. You make things just a little easier for those of us starting out and it means so much to me to have resources like you available. Jasmine, you're incredible!   08.18.09 - 9:39am
Stephanie Stewart - What a great post! Love to see how you maintain balance in this hectic world, you do such a great job, I know it's hard work! Thanks for the daily inspiration! :) And lovely beach by the way!!!   08.18.09 - 9:35am
Frances Mileski - Thanks for sharing all of your info. I so enjoy reading your blog.  08.18.09 - 9:33am
Jaleen - I LOVE that you keep your evenings for your family - something I really have to work on. Photography work (or any work really) can consume to much of us!!! And we are constantly surrounded by deadlines and people so EXCITED to see their photos...but balance is definitely the key and you are an excellent example for all of us to follow!!!  08.18.09 - 9:31am
Jessica - Thanks so much for taking the time to post the FAQs! They are always really helpful =)  08.18.09 - 9:28am
Marla - Thanks for the post. I love your Q&&A sessions. You rock!  08.18.09 - 9:24am