Darren Rowse and Digital Photography School

hat it felt like was a really weird version of high school. Alright, alright. It was JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL. Complete in its awkward glory and social cliques. But I knew SXSW was going to be like that. I was prepared and I was actually excited to get lost in the mass. Until, that is, I got lost in the mass.

On Thursday night I sat in our hotel bed with the SXSW catalogue/schedule and planned the following day's events. And JD just sighed. You know, in that Oh-woman-you-kill-me kind of way. And I shrugged and ignored his non-verbal communication. Because, really, I'm the Emperor of NonVerbalVille, so don't get it twisted. I let out a hmph and in that single moment I let him know I was planning our day...because as we all know, I need to PLAN TO HAVE FUN. Because I'm cool in that geriatric kind of way.

Friday was spent in social media and technology presentations, but the one event I was most excited for was Darren Rowse's. Darren is a mega blogger and I've grown to respect him in epic proportions. Most of this is due to his passion for helping others...he does it better than anyone on the web. If you're a photographer and haven't checked out Digital Photography School, you're missing out. It's a completely free resource for photographers of all levels, so be sure to check out the blog and the forum. Anyway, I was stoked to hear what he had to say, but five minutes into his presentation, the emergency alarm goes off and thousands of people are asked to leave the Austin Convention Center. Awesome.

I was hungry, grumpy, and bummed. So I wallowed at a nearby Pita Pit...nothing says comfort like a falafel. Later that night I forced myself to be social and go to a SXSW mixer. JD and I walked in and I was immediately overcome with the noise, the trading of tech business cards, and the stench of tequila. I lasted all of ten minutes. Before we left, JD noticed I was bummed so he offered to introduce me to a couple girls sitting at a table. Oh, riiight, that's exactly what I need...HELP MAKING FRIENDS.

We ended up grabbing a late dinner at Peche (seriously, the best meal we had in amazing) and chatted the night away. Yes, I was in a funk. But what could I do to change it? Exactly that. Change it.

I got back in our hotel room and I emailed Darren. The note was short, but I offered my services to Darren in case he needed new headshots. Truth was, I simply wanted to meet him and thank him personally for all he's done. If taking his picture was my way to do it, then rock on. The next morning, I received an email from Darren and the shoot was planned.

Darren, thank you. I'm not sure in the blur of our shoot if I was able to express my appreciation for what you're doing for the community, but thank you. If you're any indication of where the industry is headed, then I'm stoked to keep moving forward.

Our shoot was really, really short...maybe like 25 minutes or so...and it all took place in one square block. I love Austin...I could shoot there everyday!

One thing I was really impressed with was Darren's quiet adoration of his family...he mentioned his kids are the calm and peace of his could you NOT like this guy?! :)

The light in Austin was pretty awesome...I love shooting in cityscapes!

I was sort of nervous asking Darren to sit in this smelly alley, on these filthy stairs, but he was so awesome and agreed...and I'm extra happy pictures don't capture the smell! ;)

For more information on Darren, you can check out his sites: and Digital Photography School.

And as a quick reminder, be sure to snag a seat at the Escalate Conference in Newport Beach this May 17-18, 2010...the introductory seats for $179 are going fast! :)
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Corso Fotografia - Great job. Nice pictures.  10.14.10 - 11:47pm
Jeniffer - Nice Pics.. Foliofox is a website providing a platform which delivers professional websites to photographers, designers and artists. Foliofox helps you to showcase and endorse your work online. It helps you to describe individual work style and creativity.  09.13.10 - 1:18am
Yaeko Photography - Love the pics, great job Jasmine.  07.11.10 - 8:50am
rick - Looks like I'm a little late on being the first commenter...but in any case..Love the photos. You are to photography what Darren is to blogging!   04.13.10 - 11:28am
Apple - P.S. I love DPS!:)  04.05.10 - 7:21am
Apple - Ooooh! i love falafel too!!!!:D and jas, i just can't help but wonder, when will you have kids? gleaning from how awesome your family relationships are, i'm pretty sure you'll make a fabulous mom!:)  04.05.10 - 7:20am
Hannah Lundberg - Eeee, and he's a fellow Aussie, too! /lame  03.23.10 - 12:28am
Hannah Lundberg - These are great, Jasmine. It is a very 'dude' sort of shoot :) I LOVE DPS! I haven't read ProBlogger, so thank you for the link.   03.23.10 - 12:25am
Carl Reid - Hey Jasmine, Thanks for the post. I'm a huge fan of Darren Rowse and follow his blog religiously. Thanks for sharing. By the way, wifey Nicole says hi!!! Regards, Carl from T.O.  03.22.10 - 6:20pm
Rick - Your use of dof as a compositional technique is fantastic. I love the portraits where just the mask of the face is in sharp focus.  03.21.10 - 8:06pm
Romy Israel - I love the shots and nice to see Darren Rowse being featured here in your blog Jasmine. He's been a great help to me even I'm on the other side of the world... DPS is just great. And I actually found out of you in DPS.   03.21.10 - 1:54am
mary - Love everything  03.19.10 - 1:36pm
Miguel Carvajal - Finally, now we have the (current) face (and body) of Darren to go with the wonderful tips and tutorials from the DPS. Thank you for sharing!  03.18.10 - 6:04pm
Anna Avirett - You are awsome Jasmine and very lucky! I may not have joined any forums and lack a lot of confidence but I have learned a great deal from Darren and his DPS and someday maybe I may just have the honor of taking his portraits. You two are great and I thank you both for very much for sharing.  03.18.10 - 3:43pm
alex - I am loving your work, I am studying photography at school and look forward to your tips, hints and photographs Amazing  03.18.10 - 3:42pm
Mama Kat - Love these!!  03.18.10 - 2:30pm
Red Poppy Studios - Beautiful pictures! I've been following his blog for over a year and he always has great tips.   03.18.10 - 12:14pm
CA - Another reason to thank Darren: He provided his readers a link to your blog. I'm looking forward to exploring your site more. Thanks!  03.18.10 - 10:59am
Cara Lumen - I love the twinkly eyed 2nd black and white shot but I also love the texture and tone of the gate background. It's calmly contemplative. Very nice work.  03.17.10 - 7:19am
Manikandan - Hey its really cool to see Darren photos..these stills are really cool and make me felt so nice to watch..  03.17.10 - 4:31am
Juha Ylitalo - BlogDarrenRowse0004.jpg is definately my favorite photo on this set. There are some others, which I liked as well, but I like the relax mood on this one.  03.17.10 - 4:14am
Juli L. - Thank you so much for posting his link. I love all the info. on his Digital Photography cool!   03.16.10 - 9:55pm
Amber Fox - I LOVE the Digital Photography School! I use that site on a regular basis in my classroom. It has made me a better photographer, but it has aided me tremendously in the classroom. Thanks Daren! And thanks Jasmine for taking his head shots and posting them, because now I can see the face behind the blog! :)  03.16.10 - 9:44pm
Rita Quinn - J* it was so wonderful to meet you and JD in person at SXSW! Highlight moments for me. You and JD are just as lovely in person as you are in eWorld. The shots of Darren are fantastic and like everyone else, I totally adore him too! In fact, I would say that he opened my mind to photography and you opened my heart. Luv and hugs! (PS: Oh and yes, what WOULD it take to get you to come do a workshop in Austin... ? I'm sure my husband would be happy to babysit Polo!) :)   03.16.10 - 9:42pm
Jodi Friedman - Darren is an amazing person. I occasionally guest blog at DPS and he is fun, supportive and helpful. I read ProBlogger every morning when I wake up. I can hear his voice in the words I read. He has such a passion for what he does. I love how you captured him. I would love to meet and interact with him in person some day too. Jodi MCP Photoshop Actions  03.16.10 - 7:20pm
Vanity Bride - Great shots Jasmin. We're a big fan!  03.16.10 - 5:07pm
Lucy - Cool. I have been following you both for a long time. Synchronicity is such a nice thing.   03.16.10 - 2:54pm
Barbara Legere - Are you still in Austin!? How about a spur of the moment teaching session!:) Lots of us photogs in Austin would love to learn a bit from you! Thanks for sharing!  03.16.10 - 1:33pm
Shane Hudson - This blog looks great, just came here from ProBlogger. Will look around the rest of your site!  03.16.10 - 1:06pm
Tim Ebbs - Darren's site is amazing, he's the reason I subscribed to your blog! For anyone that hasnt, check out the list of 50 photographic things to do this year  03.16.10 - 11:35am
Paola - I, too, love what Darren is doing. I signed up as soon as I knew I wanted to start in my photography business and the wealth of information given is, well, the best thing ever!!  03.16.10 - 10:29am
Daniel Chee - Darren Rowse is one of the most articulate and actively giving blogger I have read to date. His guidance to new photographers is insanely valuable. Congratulations on your amazing success. You really do deserve it!!  03.16.10 - 9:21am
Linda Sherrill - I've been following Darren's information now for a year or so. He really does a great job. Love the photos you got of him!  03.16.10 - 8:02am
Jackie Beale - I always love reading their articles on DPS, it's a great source!  03.16.10 - 7:58am
shuhada hasim - i love his photography school!  03.16.10 - 5:46am
Resi - Thank you Jasmine for the link to Darrens website! It is a great resource... I've started to read and can't stop! And thanks for your video, your photos, you keep inspiring me to more with your beautiful photography! Best wishes from over the Atlantic, Resi  03.16.10 - 2:43am
-brittany- - amaze me! seriously seriously amaze me! muah!  03.16.10 - 2:40am
Neil Creek - Jasmine, thank you for sharing your story about your shoot with Darren. I'm fortunate to live nearby him and have the opportunity to create content and business opportunities with him (Most recently, the book Photo Nuts and Bolts). I agree completely with you that he is a kind, generous, gifted and driven man. Your photos are outstanding and really did him justice. Congratulations!  03.16.10 - 2:13am
Vanessa Rowse - Great shots Jasmine. Thank you!  03.16.10 - 1:56am
steve p - love your comment regarding his adoration for his family with the accompanied image. draws your eye right towards his wedding band.  03.16.10 - 12:06am
Laura - Hey Jasmine - Just had to say thanks for validating something I've felt for a long time. It's not all in my head after all!! I'm a native Austinite and usually steer clear of SXSW for exactly the same reason. My husband and I went to an event Sunday night and I just can't get over all the people who can't get over themselves! Very clique-ish, lots of "can-you-top-my-trendiness" going on. I know, know, know that there are lots of wonderful people who attend the conference, and there are a lot of stellar things going on. But you're right - the vibe is kind of sickening for those who don't play the game. Bleh. I love Austin and am glad you do too. Come back some other time and do a workshop for us!  03.15.10 - 11:24pm
Becka @Studio222 Photography - LOVE that last one. The lines....yum.  03.15.10 - 11:23pm
jenny - digital photography school is awesome ! it's nice to put faces to the people behind good websites ! Good photos I might add !  03.15.10 - 11:06pm
Lisa H. Chang - OK ~ I so relate to staying at a crowded party for exactly 10 minutes before skipping out! Great photos ~ you rocked it!  03.15.10 - 10:25pm
feuza - don't you love last minute unplanned shoots? I sure do cause you are off guard and actually more creative, love the chair scenery ones, and so love what he is doing for our community  03.15.10 - 9:45pm
Terrah - Excellent coverage on my fellow Texan Darren.  03.15.10 - 9:37pm
Lyn Ismael-Bennett - Thank you for sharing! I haven't heard of the Digital Photography School until you mentioned it. Oh, love the headshots too!  03.15.10 - 9:19pm
Nellie Guerrero - I heart Darren :) Always so helpful!  03.15.10 - 8:27pm
Damaris Mia - Great photos! Checked out his sites and am hooked! Thanks :)  03.15.10 - 7:52pm
marissa - that is a great site...i love it. thanks for the info.  03.15.10 - 6:31pm
Sue McFarland - Jasmine, YOU are the one I am impressed with. You are so generous in your admiration for other photographers. It is so very nice to see someone that is a success give kudos to another for simply helping a community!! I do love the DPS and I love your endorsement of Darren and his site!!! Thanks for being so awesome!!  03.15.10 - 6:07pm
Leora Shiff - Love this story and the pictures!!! I love DPS!!  03.15.10 - 6:04pm
cheryl spelts - is one of the very first RSS feeds I subscribed to way back when - it's such a great resource! Very very cool that you reached out, and let Darren know how awesome he is!  03.15.10 - 5:43pm
Carlos Velez - My world's are mixing and I like it. My wife and I have been big fans of your photography and your business for some time. I've also been following ProBlogger and DPS since September as I am building a career in blogging. Brings a smile to my face to see you two rocking it together. My wife saw you speak at WPPI and we anticipate doing that together next year and hitting SXSW's cool to hear about your own experience with it. Now relax for a day or something :)  03.15.10 - 5:03pm
Sacha - Hellooo! Love this post for so many reasons! I just discovered his site myself and think it is such a great resource for all levels. And then I also just started wanting to profile people I admire and whom I think are doing things that make a difference, and of course my readership is so weensy, but still, it makes a diff to the people who are featured so thank you so much for sharing the love. And the funniest thing is when you mentioned about photographs not capturing smell and how happy you were about that. Just this weekend, I blogged about how I wished wished wished they did for I photographed my daughter in the freesias and the smell - pure heaven in the air but sadly, not captured on my blog. So thanks for the post, the kindness, and in this case, for sparing us the smell. xx  03.15.10 - 4:48pm
Shari - J- love that you got to meet Darren! and that you got to photograph him! I love DPS and it has really helped me in my photography education!!! I'm jealous! :) in a good way!  03.15.10 - 4:11pm
Christina Lee - I love Austin as well! My husband went to the University of Texas so we visit Austin often since it is just a three hour drive from our house. Had I known that you were going to be in such close proximity to my house I probably would have driven to Austin to find you...and probably buy you lunch, because you are that awesome!  03.15.10 - 4:06pm
Marissa Rodriguez - It's funny I just wrote about WPPI feeling like high school today! So I totally GET how you felt at SXSW! Except your a waaaaay better writer and explained it so much better :) I agree with Harmony, you two are amazing people doing amazing things!  03.15.10 - 3:15pm
Darren Rowse - Jasmine - you know that 25 minutes was just what I needed in the craziness of SXSW. I so enjoyed it and wished we could have hung out for longer or had a meal. Lets try to do that next time - I'd love to have gotten to know you and JD more. As for the photos amazing - love your work, your professionalism, your ability to connect and make a subject at ease and your spirit. Thanks - it was an honor to be photographed by you and more importantly to just let our worlds collide a little and share a few moments on the streets of Austin. Darren  03.15.10 - 3:08pm
The Bing - Darren is so awesome, I'm so glad you took the time to give him the praise he deserves.  03.15.10 - 2:56pm
Katherine - Oh, I am so glad you featured Darren!!!!!!!! His Digital Photography School is awesome!!!!! Rad!!! Amazing!!! Incredible!!!!  03.15.10 - 2:49pm
Lydia - Jasmine, you're pretty much awesome! Great shots!  03.15.10 - 2:47pm
nena - Loved this story and the pictures are great. I luv hearing people giving back to each other. =-)  03.15.10 - 2:35pm
Evie Perez - I could not see Jasmine in a funky mood. I hope you are feeling better and got some rest. Thanks for the post. I 've never heard of Darren until now, and can't wait to check out his sites. You did an astounding job on his fotos!  03.15.10 - 2:29pm
Karen C, Florida - Especially love the top right photo of Darren, but they're all great! Have been following DPS for almost a year now. Both you and he are at the top of my "follow" list!!!  03.15.10 - 2:26pm
megmanionsilliker - i love DPS too - and you got some great shots of him - isn't it great you networked like that! good for you jasmine. squeaky wheel!! xo  03.15.10 - 2:03pm
Laurie Bracewell - I love DPS! Darren is truly a wealth of information. Thank you for blogging about him so that others can learn of and appreciate this amazing man!  03.15.10 - 1:48pm
Jackie Lamas - I love Digital Photography School. I used to follow that blog like 5 years ago before it got its facelift. It was so helpful and just a great resource. So awesome you got to meet him!  03.15.10 - 1:24pm
s h e r r y - I love DPS! :) And you captured some great shots of Darren!!  03.15.10 - 1:21pm
Nathalie - Just subscribed at Digital Photography School. wonderful website! Thanks J* and Darren for charing your knowledge with us!   03.15.10 - 1:08pm
Aaron - Darren is a great resourcer for bloggers. You have captured the man in your usual way, brilliantly. Do unto others as you would llike them to do unto you. If only more people would understand that concept we would have a caring and sharing world. keep up the good work Jasmine  03.15.10 - 12:58pm
John p. - Love the idea of giving back. Two cool people.  03.15.10 - 12:53pm
Jessica Feely - I <3 DPS!  03.15.10 - 12:48pm
Jessica W - I came across Darren's Site and really love that he tries to help photographers learn....its great for newbies like me that literally are trying to learn everything on their own!   03.15.10 - 12:42pm
Amy McTeague - Thanks for this post Jasmine! Great job on the headshots and paying it back for someone paying it forward! Speaks wonders of who you are!  03.15.10 - 12:40pm
Mireille - Can you imagine that DPS is how I got to your site! The had an article on who people had a photography crush on. A lot of people said they had one for Jasmine* so that is how I encountered this site. DSP is really a great resource where I can find something useful every time!  03.15.10 - 12:29pm
Kellie Riess - You were able to capture that inner peace that he has.. awesome work.. I enjoy following your blog, you have such a confidence about yourself and that's awesome!  03.15.10 - 12:25pm
Angel Pope - You are a rock star! Darren is a rock star! I love you all for helping the little people of me! ;)  03.15.10 - 12:21pm
Crystal - I agree - lovely photos. I was able to goto your Encore Presentation Tuesday and I loved it - way to preach it sister! Hopefully you are feeling better too.   03.15.10 - 12:21pm
Melissa Papaj Photography - Awesome experience Jasmine! I bet you were STOKED!  03.15.10 - 12:20pm
dawn beirnes - I love DPS! I constantly read articles on the site. You got some awesome shots too! I agree...Tequila smells awful!  03.15.10 - 12:19pm
Joan Solitario - A 25 Minute Photoshoot!? What are you?? A superphotographer or something? Cause these images are AWESOME for a 25 minute shoot!!!   03.15.10 - 12:18pm
kira lauren photo - Jasmine, thanks for reminding me that helping others will get you far... in life first, then business. You must have been EXHAUSTED to go from WPPI to Austin, but still offered up your time to shoot headshots. You have an awesome heart, and I'd love to visit you next time we're in SoCal, and even take you out for some headshots of you if you're up for it! Take care of yourself =)  03.15.10 - 12:17pm
erica clark - How fun to see two of my favorite photography sources in one spot. Love this post!  03.15.10 - 12:16pm
Stacy Hughes - Great photos! I can't imagine you getting lost in the masses. I can't wait to watch the Elevate presentations. Unfortunately I can't make it to CA, but I'm so thankful they are going to be broadcast live via the web.   03.15.10 - 12:13pm
Kelsey - I am so impressed with you how you reach out to others! I remember your class from WPPI about the workshop and offering your help and the doors it opened for you! I am encouraged to do the same THANK YOU!! Off to check out Darren's blog!  03.15.10 - 12:12pm
Harmony Loves - Darren is fabulous!!! And so are these images! You two are amazing people doing amazing things! Love it :)  03.15.10 - 12:11pm
AmyPunky Photography (Emilie) - Great photos!!!   03.15.10 - 12:10pm
Amanda Rae - You really are amazing. Not even a week ago you were telling me (and about 2000 other people) to go out and do exactly this and then you go out and do it to show us it really works! Ok, ok, I get it. I'll go email people now. ;) It was so great to be able to give you that hug I owed you in Vegas! Your presentation was AMAZING! :)  03.15.10 - 12:02pm