FAQ : How To Start A Photography Business

T
he second most asked question I receive from photographers is how I started my journey as a wedding photographer. As I mentioned before, I photographed three weddings in October of 2006, then shot 38 weddings in 2007...all without formal training or money. When I began, I dared myself to dream and fail. JD and I planned for me to give this whole photography thing a try for one year and if it didn't work, I'd go back and reclaim my scholarship to law school.

Okay, so that's the story, but most people who ask want to know the how. What was the lynchpin holding my dreams and reality? Well--at the risk of being repetitive--I can attribute my growth and development to three main things...although I'm the first to say I probably did everything wrong and this advice isn't worth the time to read it...but it's still my story nevertheless...


I started my 'business' with a Canon 20D and a 24-70mm, 2.8 lens. That's it. I had nothing else, but I took what I had and made it work...much like anyone else starting out. Now, I knew nothing about my camera. Nothing. I read and reread my manual then set out and practiced. And practiced. Then I scoured the web for answers when I didn't know what an f/stop was.
Practice and honing a craft is the key to growing success. Hands down. There isn't a magic pill to just get better. Trust me, I prayed for it. And it didn't come in a package on my doorstep...it came, rather, in the form of blood, sweat, and tears. Day after day of giving myself practice assignments with my camera, second shooting, and participating in photography forums to help my progress.
If you're not getting better, go and practice.


Because of a strong relationship my clients and I build throughout the wedding planning process (and, specifically, the engagement session), I'm invited into their lives during its most important part: Their wedding. When they see their images blogged and/or their slideshow, they're immediately taken back to their special day and they're quite appreciative. Their gratitude has taken the form of personal endorsement. My brides and grooms (and their friends and family members) have become a cheer squad of epic proportions and the only thing they're missing are pom-poms. Most of my clients have been referred to me by a past bride, or is someone who has seen one of my slideshows from a friend of a friend of a friend of the bride.

It's quite amazing and I'm humbled by the magnitude of it all.

The slideshows I link here on my blog have been the epicenter of my business growth...unknowingly, they have become a marketing tool...only buttressed by the personal endorsement from my cheer squad. When asked this question by other photographers, I'm proud to tell them I've never taken an advertisement or passed out business cards like they were on fire. My clients are my promoters-human commercials, if you will-and I wouldn't want it any other way.


This is the cornerstone. Of my business. Of my life. When I first started my business, I was one of hundreds of thousands who was trying to do the same. However, everyone else had everything better. A nicer camera, car, studio, sample albums, computer, lenses, lifestyle...nicer everything. And I had Polo. And a part-time job, an 11-inch MacBook, one 2G memory card, and a lot of heart. To put it plainly, I couldn't compete playing the established game.
So I changed the game.
Instead of resting on the laurels of things that purportedly made me a professional (camera, studio, lenses, etc), I simply showcased who I was. That's it. Where others showcased their everythingness, I merely wrote about life. My life. What I ate for dinner. The Lakers jersey I bought for Polo. Tropical Island lotion. You know, LIFE ALTERING THINGS.
And yet, strangely, it worked. Being myself on the web--on my website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter--has given people more than enough information to Like me or Dislike me. Both outcomes are fine with me.
I've come to believe when running a niche business, giving prospective clients an opportunity to connect (liking what you like, laughing at your jokes, sharing idiosyncrasies) or repel (they don't like Britney Spears, think you're as humorous as a door knob, think you're just weird) is worth its weight in gold.

So. That's it. That's all I got. When I first started, I couldn't have dreamed my photography business would morph into what it is today. Yes, there are days when I want to pound my head on the desk {repeatedly}, but the joys of doing what I love far outweigh the life I was destined to lead in the corner office in Downtown Los Angeles. For this, I couldn't be more thankful.
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Tara Kennedy - Jasmine this post is so inspiring to a beginner photographer like myself. I've been wanting to start a photography business for quite some time now and I've been feeling the same way you did when you first started (no fancy computer, all the lenses, etc.) - this post has really given me the confidence I need to JUST DO IT and not be afraid of "failing" at first. Thank you for this post!   02.25.13 - 6:22pm
Morgan - wow this post almost made me cry, I was feeling this exact way except i do know about my cameras and such but thats about it. I was worried that I will be just a spec in the art world nothing more but after reading your blog it re lit that fire that i had originally. Sincere thanks :)  12.18.12 - 2:45pm
Jeff Heredia - Thank you for sharing this encouraging story.   10.03.12 - 3:55pm
Travis - True to life and very inspiring! You just gave me the fuel I've been looking for to continue on my own quest. Thank you.   09.15.12 - 2:44pm
Chris Kervin - Great Post! Definitely an insight into a very successful, however quite uncommon strategy for building great rapport with your wedding clients! Congratulations on your success!  08.11.12 - 2:57am
Gina - wow I'm so glad i stumbled upon your blog. I'm 22 years old and hoping to have my own photography business one day, and I've been telling myself "I don't know anything about my camera, or any of the technically photography terms" I honestly feel God brought me to your blog to give me that little boost of confidence that I needed. Thank you for sharing your story! :) from and Aspiring photographer  07.04.12 - 12:06am
Mark - A great photography business to start is a real estate photography business and shoot HDR photos.  05.13.12 - 7:02pm
Rocio - Thank you for sharing this! Very, very inspirational.   04.28.12 - 8:27am
Billie Green Jr - Thank you for sharing on how you got started in the business. It was very helpful to me. May God continue to bless you and your husband. Billie G.   03.16.12 - 10:12am
John Liu - Thanks for your wonderful article. As with many who have commented already, I'm starting my own photography business. I especially love the way your article is based on your personal story. Your storytelling skills are awesome and so are the tips that you provided. Cheers!  03.07.12 - 3:23pm
me - i forgot to mention,im using the kodak c813......pliiiiz don laugh,im still making money  12.24.11 - 2:16pm
me - wooow,interesting ok first of all i live in a third world country in Africa,i had a chance to use a cannon 5d while studying photography in college(i did mass com)but since i finished Ive been doing business on a very cheap prosumer camera,the quality is so bad but people luuv ma photography,now today i just bought a hp photomart 3 in 1 printer n im planning to start a photo studio on jan 1,anywez big up urself n keep up the good work but i think a 20d is a good camera for business........but i think the 7d takes the price.thats ma dream camera n jah know soon i will be able to afford it  12.24.11 - 2:13pm
Mary Beth Westward - I have been posting photo albums on facebook for the past few years because I love being able to share my everyday life, my kids, and my beautiful town with friends and family. Now, all of the sudden, people are coming out of the woodwork, even people I don't know, asking me if I would do portrait shoots of their families. I just follow my kids and their friends around, so most of my shots are candid. But, as a result, they are a lot of fun. I am excited to try this on a professional level, but I am nervous about it too. I only have a Nikon D90 with and 18-105 lens (which isn't so great). I am getting a 50mm (because I have a very limited budget) and was also thing about getting a Lensbaby Composer. Are there any suggestions you would have on some good (moderately priced) equipment that would provide good results? Also, how did you decide what to charge people for a sitting when you started? BTW, it's because you show such personality in your posts that make you real. And, that's what makes all of us comfortable in just talking to you. Thanks!  09.27.11 - 7:09am
katherine - You inspire me so much and I want to do the same thing that you are doing. I am young and have a huge passion for photography PLEASE email me I really want to talk to you @ kakk1202@gmail.com   09.11.11 - 6:30pm
Carmen Smith - Thank you so much for posting this recently on your facebook page. I admire your work and you as a person tremendously. Every time I read something on your blog or facebook it inspires me, makes me smile, makes me believe in me and my potential. Now if only I could decide on a name for my "business"!!!!!  09.03.11 - 11:57am
Carmen - Thank you for the inspiration!! Would love to learn more about you!  06.12.11 - 4:44pm
Dawn - Thank you for writing this article, it is a great inspiration, I am trying to do the same thing. I love photography but dont have much, nor do I know a whole lot, I practice everyday. Then one day I took pictures at my brothers wedding, and a couple at the wedding loved my work and they want me to do there wedding. There was a professional photographer there and yet they wanted me, I am so honored. That will be my first job so to speak. I am nerves but its a dream come true. This article makes me feel like I can really do this, even when I dont have much. Thank You so much........Dawn  06.01.11 - 6:35pm
Amy Sullins - Thank you so much for writing this post. I've been researching on starting my photography business for weeks and was really looking for someone who I would identify with! I have a huge passion for photography but I am basically starting with what I have. I've pondered if I would actually make it. You truly inspired me to get out and learn...practice my skill! I've taken your words to heart. Thank you so much for this post! It's exactly what I needed!!!  05.07.11 - 3:57pm
Heather Golde - Not only are you a fantastic photographer but you are an amazing writer! Thanks for this post. Definitely inspirational. Especially to someone like me leaving behind a well paying more stable career to follow a dream.  03.15.11 - 7:52pm
Erin - I am new to following your blog, and I have to say a big thank you for these photography posts! I love how open you are here, and how helpful. It's truly a blessing and inspiring me to be a better blogger and photographer:)  01.17.11 - 3:34pm
Bridgette Marie - Thank you for you. I am one of hundreds of people telling you how imspiring you are as a photographer. That is the God's honest truth. However thank you for you and for this post. It's almost as if you have just given me permission to be more of whats in my heart. You're a gem in this sometimes stagnent buisness. Thank you for sharing, you help us all grow. :)  12.04.10 - 8:48pm
Mike Lindgren - wow! this post really motivated me. thank you so much for this :)  11.26.10 - 9:35pm
Eydie - This piece is not only written so well, it gives us novices' hope. Thank you for posting!  11.21.10 - 12:20pm
Brittani Bowling - Great advice from someone who has truly been there and worked from the ground up. I really love your FAQ posts and have never read one that lacks useful information. Thanks Jasmine!  11.10.10 - 7:55am
Wendy - Thank you so much for this post. I often feel intimidated and pressured to have all the "professional" equipment (like studio lights, backdrops, etc), and when that happens I lose my creative intuition. In fact, I put my camera down altogether for 6 months last winter because I was so stressed out about it. It's so nice to be reminded to follow my own instincts and that there's nothing wrong with keeping things simple.   11.09.10 - 7:06am
Stefanie - Great article Jasmine!  11.02.10 - 9:41pm
Stefanie - Heather Corporan, go for it honey. The want, the will and the drive really is half the battle to starting a photography business and the fuel to see it through. YOU CAN DO IT!!!  11.02.10 - 9:39pm
Erika Teague - Jasmine - you are a very special person! I loved this little blog and it really hit home. You are an inspiration and hopefully I can do half of what you have managed to do in four years :)  11.02.10 - 1:23pm
Neil Patel - Truly inspiring message for all of US!!! who wants to be successful in photography business. Thank you! Neil Patel   10.31.10 - 7:50pm
Victor Arias - Waoooo! you just inspired me :) I'm starting out like you did and i'm dreaming bigggg. Thank God for people like you that inspires others. God Bless  10.29.10 - 6:05pm
Ginette Sundin - I love when you write about how you started...it reminds me just to take a deep breath, stop "wanting" and to just be myself and capture other people's love; what I LOVE doing more than anything. Thank you!  10.29.10 - 4:56pm
Michelle Hebert - Your story of success is inspiring Jasmine! Your determination, vision and implentation is absolutely remarkable. Thank you for taking us along this journey and encouraging us to take the next step!  10.28.10 - 12:47am
Lyndsay London - Thank you so much Jasmine! I started in January this year and didn't know how to turn on my camera! I hope with time I will be able to pull off amazing images like yours! So inspiring! Thank you so much for the constant willingness to share! You have helped me in sooo many ways! I follow what you say and, well, I sort of have a business and it's going well :)!!!  10.27.10 - 12:57pm
JoAnna - I love looking at your pics, photography started as a hobbie suggested by my husband, but I absolutely love, so I started my business about 6 months ago. I have been collecting things, but I ache to do a wedding, DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET A WEDDING JOB? Thanks Jasmaine!  10.27.10 - 5:18am
JoAnna - I love looking at your pics, photography started as a hobbie suggested by my husband, but I absolutely love, so I started my business about 6 months ago. I have been collecting things, but I ache to do a wedding, DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET A WEDDING JOB? Thanks Jasmaine!  10.27.10 - 5:18am
JoAnna - I love looking at your pics, photography started as a hobbie suggested by my husband, but I absolutely love, so I started my business about 6 months ago. I have been collecting things, but I ache to do a wedding, DO YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET A WEDDING JOB? Thanks Jasmaine!  10.27.10 - 5:16am
jayvee - i am a current law student that lives vicariously through wedding photographers. i hope one day i have the courage to just go for this creative dream of mine and not be afraid to fail. thanks for this inspiration. it was much needed.   10.27.10 - 1:49am
Stephen Jackson - Seems like everyone trying to get into the business goes extreme on one asset and forgets others. Gather gear, but forget personal skills or whatnot.  10.26.10 - 9:54pm
Josephine - Grateful forever for your inspiring spirit always Jasmine! xo  10.26.10 - 8:40pm
Danielle - Great post :) I feel like this is me right now in my life. I Love looking at your pictures.   10.26.10 - 7:53pm
Cathy L. - Hands down, you are one of the most inspirational person I've ever came across. Thank you for your transparency. You rock!  10.26.10 - 6:47pm
Veronica - Your story inspire me and encourages me immensely! Thank you for being so open and sharing from a place of honesty and true. Great advices!!!   10.26.10 - 6:39pm
Christopher - Jasmine, It amazes me how many photographers do not practice shooting. (Kobe Bryant, arguably the best basketball player on the planet, practices for hours every day.) If you are interested in becoming a professional photographer - without practice - you're not only hurting yourself, but you're going to produce work that is not at a pro level for your clients. Especially with digital gear, there is no excuse because you can check your work instantly. I've been shooting for 20 years and I'm still constantly learning.  10.26.10 - 3:49pm
Natalie - Jasmine, you are a true inspiration. Thanks and thanks again for your transparency. It is hugely encouraging! You go girl!  10.26.10 - 3:24pm
Kat Epps - Not sure if u will read my comment all the way at the bottom of this blog but u have definitely inspired me and I just want to say thank you. Because I don't have the latest or fastest gear and have felt for months that I would have to give my first born just to keep up and become pro. So again thank u!  10.26.10 - 2:53pm
Cas - Jasmine-This is so encouraging. I just got my first dslr a couple months ago so this..........is soooo helpful! made my day!  10.26.10 - 1:51pm
Michelle Guzman - You are such a giver. I always love reading your advice. :) God bless. :)  10.26.10 - 1:13pm
Valentina S. - Thanks Jasmine for the wonderful words! I hope one day that I will be able to make photography my job because I could not live without!  10.26.10 - 12:52pm
Heather Ham - Amazing advice, and not just for photogs but for wedding planners like myself. You are an inspiration J* and I appreciate you wearing your heart on your sleeve.   10.26.10 - 12:49pm
Candace Prokopets - We've learned so much from all that you've been willing to share on your blog. Thank you, thank you for your generosity!  10.26.10 - 9:35am
Romonia Isaac - I never get tired of hearing your journey and how far you have come. It always motivates me and makes me feel like I have just listened to the anthem from Rocky when he climbs the steps!!! :D Motivation, persistence and the will to never give up and always press forward!   10.26.10 - 8:14am
Juanette - You so now won my heart even more! You're journey sounds so much like mine is now and I must admit that I refuse to get discouraged when I realise I actually do need better equipment or need to learn and practise so much more. But believe me all the frustrations make me even more determined to get better as this! Your post is such a great motivation that success is possible if you work hard and dream even more hard!! xxx  10.26.10 - 6:45am
Alex - Thanks for always sharing :)  10.26.10 - 5:52am
Willie - Great post. I've been on the periphery of this industry for a long time - never committing etc. Recently I have basically increased the level of work - almost organic growth - similar to your description of your own growth. It's about being oneself and the rest may/should/will/can come! Love reading your stuff. Kind regards.  10.26.10 - 5:23am
Fritz Photography - I get asked this question by young photographers all the time as well. I'll have to start sending them to this post! Thanks for sharing your story.  10.25.10 - 11:35pm
feuza - I love your story! so inspiring always, my one question is that today just giving it one year is a no no, it is taking longer than a year, how long do you think some one should try it for? thank you  10.25.10 - 10:51pm
VeronicaH - Thank you Jasmine for this post. I love to hear how you started because I'm just starting out. You have a great eye and awesome ideas. I hope to be like you, but with my own style. =) I'm such in a rush to run wild with my business that I kind of need to slow down and learn all that I need to learn. I love reading your posts, they serve as great inspirations. Thank you again!!!  10.25.10 - 10:10pm
Autumn - It is sad how addicted I am to your blog but you just make me :) with all your "realness" and goofy (in a good way) nature...God obviously had a good purpose for you Miss Jasmine- I am so glad you have gotten the opportunity to share your kindness, expertise and insight with the world- it means more than you could know for me to be able to just sit back and read your many stories and advice! You are awesome!!!  10.25.10 - 9:45pm
Bridget - Jasmine: I stumbled on your blog a year or so ago (through Jessica Claire's blog-site, which I also stumpled upon) and ever since yours is one of the blogs I read regulary. To get to the point, you are so right when you said you showcased yourself and it worked. I read almost every single post on your blog and it's not only the amazing photography that draws me. It's your personality. I truly enjoy your posts; it's sort of like reading the comics in the Sunday paper only with more depth-I promise that is a compliment. You are entertaining, knowledgable and such an inspiration. For a seventeen year old girl who has a fascination with photography, but is cluless as to what to do with that fascination, your blog is helpful in so many ways. Thank you for sharing.   10.25.10 - 9:05pm
Holli True - I can't imagine this industry without you in it. It NEEDED you. A breath of fresh air. A bender and a shaper. An innovator. An inspirer. You carved a new path for so many of us to follow and allowed us the freedom to know that we can also branch out and start carving our own path. Thank you Jasmine. :)  10.25.10 - 8:33pm
Marie Richards NZ - THANK YOU LORD.... for your inspiration, hope and confirmation through Jasmine's message today. YESSSS..... we can do ANYTHING our heart desires. Thank you....  10.25.10 - 8:28pm
Jana Rostron - Jasmine you are my inspiration. I just started my business about 6 months ago and I feel exactly how you did when you started...not prepared and not up to par..but I do have heart and that is keeping me going..oh and your blog..thanks for all the advice..if you get a chance check out my website I would love any advice you have to offer!!! Keep up the amazing work. - Jana  10.25.10 - 8:27pm
Marcus - Thanks f.or the inspiration  10.25.10 - 8:13pm
Matthew Saville - Dang it. I'm just weird. Only other photographers seem to "get" me. Not good... :-P =Matt=  10.25.10 - 8:13pm
Jackie Lamas - thanks for the uplifting post!   10.25.10 - 7:44pm
Lydia - Just added my latest wedding to fb and posted their +Site. Excited to see what happens!  10.25.10 - 7:37pm
Jessica Sweeney - Hey, thanks for this, as always. I need to remember that it can work out even without the best gear. People matter.  10.25.10 - 7:24pm
Detrick Bransotn - thanks for keeping it real and being real jasmine!  10.25.10 - 7:15pm
Victoria - After 3 days I've just finished reading your ENTIRE blog. Amazing! I want to print it and bind it and carry it around with me. This last post was exactly what I needed ~ I'm photographing my first wedding this Saturday. I may not have the best camera and lens, but I have a goal and a vision. I'm sprinting towards them fast as I can! THANK YOU JASMINE! You are truly and inspiration.   10.25.10 - 6:58pm
amanda thiessen - you are awesome :)  10.25.10 - 6:15pm
Anahy Ruelas - Thanks for being so honest. That is what is most pleasing of your posts.   10.25.10 - 5:52pm
Christine - And that is why I heart you. :)   10.25.10 - 5:10pm
Paul Couvrette - Very nice post Jasmine. All the best from Ottawa Canada.  10.25.10 - 4:36pm
Alex Krause - Thank you so much! I needed this boost today. :) xx  10.25.10 - 3:59pm
Sindy - Thank you SO much for this. Thank you.  10.25.10 - 3:56pm
maria - thank you for this... =) it's very inspiring...  10.25.10 - 3:41pm
vera - Thank you so much Jasmine for sharing anything and everything you know with us!!! You're awesome!!  10.25.10 - 3:23pm
Joelle B - Wow.. great story. Inspiring. Thank you for sharing! God's blessing & favor on your growing Business!!  10.25.10 - 2:43pm
Amber Katrina - I totally needed this today. Thanks for your inspiring words.   10.25.10 - 2:22pm
Evie Perez - Thanks for sharing this Jasmine!!! I am trying to better understand how to be me on the web. How do you interact with your clients up until their wedding day? You always remind me to work with what I have. Thank you for putting a smile on my face and reminding me to continue what I love!!!!  10.25.10 - 2:22pm
Jeanette Sanchez - Whether people like you or not, nobody can argue that you have worked hard for where your business is today. You're a fine example to all us!  10.25.10 - 2:16pm
Kelli Alfreds - You ROCK! As always, so inspiring. THANK YOU!  10.25.10 - 2:14pm
Holli Horton - Jasmine, you are such an inspiration! I have been working on starting up my business for almost a year now and it's been a lot of work as well as a lot of trial and error. It's good to know that you've been in the same position and blossomed into what you are today. It gives me hope!! =]  10.25.10 - 2:11pm
Lisa Cour - Your story is always an encouragement to me. Thank you for all you've done for the industry, too. Very inspiring!  10.25.10 - 2:04pm
I'm Kristen! - So well said, Jasmine :D I'd also had freaking-amounts-of-hard-work. You've really worked so so so hard. Probably harder then most people are willing to. And it shows :D Good "work"!  10.25.10 - 1:50pm
Heather Reed - Hi Jasmine, I feel like I get this question a lot too. You're right that it's not about equipment, ect. It's all about DRIVE. We can all want something to happen but putting in the work is what makes the difference. This is not a cake job as some people think It is almost life consuming, but like you said, "I wouldn't trade it.." You are an inspiration. It's good to know you want to bang your head on the desk too. Have a good week. Wear a helmet!  10.25.10 - 1:34pm
Alexandru - That was something totally inspiring. Thanks a lot! I don't think this is just the case of weddings but in every photography field.  10.25.10 - 12:52pm
wrenn pacheco - Thank you Jasmine for the great post. I am just starting out on my journey as a photographer and I like you have very little fromal training or lots of gear, but I am having fun. Thank you for the advice and the encouragement.   10.25.10 - 12:49pm
Millicent - Thanks for this...I am greatly encouraged!   10.25.10 - 12:47pm
Rob Goldstein - Great post. This is the post you should have done for Scott Kelby. This is beautifully said. Thanks.  10.25.10 - 12:35pm
Fabuluxe Photos - Nice post. Thanks again for sharing...  10.25.10 - 12:33pm
Tacey - I so love you. I love your fiesty spirit, your bravery, your 'shutzpa', and your will...I, like you, jumped into a world that I knew very little about (technically speaking) but recognizing that you have something special to give, a gift to share, is what pushed us through....through the learning curve, through the up's and down's and insecurities and doubt...And now...look at you! Cheers to perserverence and pushing through! We love you Jasmine! Thank you for keepin' it real and sharing your story...It certainly helped me along the way...  10.25.10 - 12:32pm
Daniela - Wonderful post Jasmine. Thank you. Let's get it started now!  10.25.10 - 12:22pm
Angela - I love this post! Thanks =)   10.25.10 - 12:14pm
Jocelyn de Moissac - Thankyou SO much!! I have always wondered how you did it, and its exactly as i thought. You just jumped in with two feet and made it happen. cheers to you for sharing all that you share with us!  10.25.10 - 12:12pm
Gabriela Fuentes - Once I read a story about a "magic book." You would have a question or doubt, and you would open this book, and it had an answer or it would shed some light to help you find the way. Today, I call your blog the "Magic Blog." Sometimes, I'm down, and it would make me smile. Sometimes, I'm lost, and it will guide me. Sometimes, I'm discourage, and it would give me hope. But I always always feel like I can find an answer or two.  10.25.10 - 12:11pm
Diana Rush - I love that you share these things!! Thank you for all your amazing insight!   10.25.10 - 12:09pm
Kristen - Love it - thanks so much for this post!  10.25.10 - 12:05pm
Beth Fleming - Jasmine! Thank you so so much for all the inspiration! I read your blog everyday (My husband teases me that I'm now a "stalker) :0) You inspire me to keep putting myself out there and give it a chance..and if I work hard enough and want it bad enough, I'll get there. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.   10.25.10 - 11:58am
Marissa Rodriguez - Wow. You went from 3 weddings to 38!!! That is amazing! I SO wish that would be my case. I've only shot three weddings on my own until' now and I don't have ANYWHERE near 38 for next year. Like, not even close. But this post makes me realize that it's different for everyone. And you use what you have and you do everything you possibly can. I think you are amazing and thank you not only for this post but for being you. Just you :) Congratulations on all of your success Jasmine!  10.25.10 - 11:52am
malia cano - jasmine, this post couldn't have come at a better time!!! thank you so much for sharing *your* story. it truly is a great one, & i love that you share you with all of us :)  10.25.10 - 11:49am
Karen Taggart - Thanks Jasmine! I was just sitting here in Leeann Chin tearing up about the flop sales session I just came from & wondering if I should give up. The timing of your message was perfect as usual! I also have a wonderful husband like you do. I'm very lucky! As I was reading your post this message from him popped up: "Don't be discouraged baby! You do a great job! It will come." :)  10.25.10 - 11:44am
Marianne Barta - Thank you:)  10.25.10 - 11:39am
Tori - Thanks for the post, Jasmine. This is exactly what I needed to hear today, what an encouragement to keep on going with my little Canon 10D and my one 50mm1.8 :)  10.25.10 - 11:36am
Angie Glaese - Thanks for the post Jasmine. You read my mind! Just moved to a new town and need to get established.... thx for the encouraging words! :)  10.25.10 - 11:35am
Marcie Jessee Photography - This was a great post. I love to hear how people really "made it" -- REAL stories where people start out with next to nothing and make it happen :)   10.25.10 - 11:34am
Jana Baker - Jasmine... I am always so blown away by how open you are and how you just continue to give in ways I am not sure you even aware of. It is such a breath of fresh air to admire someone who has "been there, done that" and shares those experiences. Sadly, there are a lot of people that would never share or help out of their own insecurities. It shows that you are so sure of the path that God has put you on and the gifts he has blessed you with, and you so honor Him by helping others. Thank you, so very much for being who you are!  10.25.10 - 11:32am
Melissa Corkum - Great advice especially for me who feels like I'll never have the right time, money, talent, and/or equipment. I love the encouragement to just be true to myself and to God's will in my life. Wish it was as easy done as said :) http://photography.thecorkums.com  10.25.10 - 11:27am
joan solitario - i love this post :D thanks for being so generous in giving advices! :D  10.25.10 - 11:25am
Jeff Almquist - Great post Jasmine!  10.25.10 - 11:12am
Mike Moore - Thank you Jasmine. This post is perfect timing. You always seem say the right thing at the right time. I love reading your blog and appreciate everything you share with us.   10.25.10 - 11:04am
Denise G. - Such timely advice! I'm equipment challenged at the moment, though I'm VERY grateful for my little D90 and my 50 1.8 lens. I decided just yesterday to squeeze every last drop of creativity out of what I've got before spending $$ on more equipment. Thanks for confirming that and for being real. Can't wait to get a D700 though... ;)  10.25.10 - 11:03am
Abbey - Oh Jasmine!!!! I am just starting out in the business and am working hard to pave my way and at times it can get discouraging. You are an amazing individual and a blessing to all of us who are trying to reach for the stars. Thank you for being you!!!!  10.25.10 - 11:02am
Juli L. - These are some of my favorite posts of yours. I agree with not needing all the fancy equipment and just being yourself. It's so easy to get caught up in the idea that if you don't have all that you can't make it, but you proved that wrong and are such an inspiration! Thank you!  10.25.10 - 11:02am
Judie - Thank you for always being true and sincere. You are such an inspiration to many of us and I know that its mainly because you are yourself! You relate with so many of us because you write about your mistakes and how you have learned from it. Your work speaks for itself!   10.25.10 - 11:01am
E Schumann Foto - Oh Jasmine, never put yourself down. Your advice is worth double its weight in gold. No joke! You may have not known a lot about photography, but you had (and still do) the eye and the passion. Although I must say you were lucky to start out with just the 24-70mm f/2.8 ... I have my kit lens (ick), a slow telephoto (ugh) and a 50mm f/1.8 prime that I basically use for everything because my other lenses stink. Oh yeah, I have a refurbished Sigma that isn't much faster either, d'oh! But that piece of advice, that you made that one lens work for you, confirms my own mantra about making my gear work for me. Because honestly, I can't afford another lens! And on those days when I feel frustrated about being limited by my gear, I tell myself my own mantra, but you just helped make it a little easier :) Because I can now say "If Jasmine did it, so can I."  10.25.10 - 11:00am
Kasia Gilbert - Thank you. I am reading this thinking...this is me! I have learned from the ground up and know in my heart of hearts that I can do this. So, once again thank you for showing that it can be done.  10.25.10 - 10:58am
angel - you don't even know how much you give me the courage to keep my head above the water instead of giving in and sinking. not necessarily on a professional level, more personally these past few weeks. you'll never know. but i'll pay you back someday. somehow. ;-) xoxo  10.25.10 - 10:58am
Valerie M - Thank you, you are an inspiration to those of us still in the begining stages. I wish I had half your great attitude!  10.25.10 - 10:56am
Becky - Your personality is just perfect! I wish I could get out of my shell more like you!  10.25.10 - 10:51am
Tania Aguayo - You did it again... thanks for the inspiration and for turning the light on in my head. More so, opening the door I knew was already in front of me. Thank you!!! :)  10.25.10 - 10:49am
Amy - and this is why this blog is my favorite! thank you so much for all that you have to offer, you have no idea how many people you help, motivate, and validate on a daily basis.  10.25.10 - 10:48am
Heather - Can you share some of those images from your first year of shooting weddings??  10.25.10 - 10:40am
Hannes Uys - Awesome info. Thank you!  10.25.10 - 10:39am
Kara - Thank you so much Jasmine !! Recently I've been on the fence about whether I want to jump into photography or not. Don't get me wrong; I love taking pictures and everyone seems to love what I take, but I'm always so overwhelmed by the industry & all the stuff everyone ELSE has. You are always such an encouragement to me and I love your blog & your work - and I love you for posting this for me to read during this crazy time of my life ! You're awesome ! :D   10.25.10 - 10:38am
Shannon Gray - Great advice! Thanks so much for all your help!! I told myself (and my hubby) I would give myself 3 months...but we ended up moving to a really small town and I am noticing it definitely takes longer for business to pick up!! Congrats on all your success!  10.25.10 - 10:37am
Megan Hulsey - Thank you. Thank you so much for this. I have been so discouraged lately and I've just felt like giving up completely on my dream. I second shot one wedding so far with a photographer who I didn't really mesh well with and ever since I've been thinking that there must be something wrong with me and that I am just no good at this. But really, why should I expect perfection on my first try? Thank you for the encouragement today to get back out there and do what I love. Jasmine, you are the best!  10.25.10 - 10:31am
Katie Jane - Thank you so much for being so honest about who you are, where you came from, and how you got here. You are such an inspiration!! Love it when you blog about stuff like this!  10.25.10 - 10:31am
Everardo - Thanks for sharing and inspiring!  10.25.10 - 10:24am
Maruska - Thank you for sharing this!  10.25.10 - 10:23am
Laura Cee - I am so happy you posted this today, I have been struggling with this question myself lately. I am in the same circumstance; in fact I have a camera that is a lesser type than yours. People think I have taken classes and have had training but I have not. I took a few work shops offered at my Parks & Rec department where I live and was advised to do exactly what you did, read my manual and practice, practice, practice. And I have. I tell people the same thing when ever they ask and I believe it to be truer than true. Your work is incredible and words are inspiring. I am going to stay determined. Thank You for sharing.   10.25.10 - 10:19am
Charisse R. - Can I ask you, since +Showit is more costly at this point then some other programs. Can you tell us why you prefer them to say LR, or some other less expensive options available?   10.25.10 - 10:19am
Dee - Wow...such a simple advice but something I will remember and set it as my guideline. Thank you for sharing this with us :)   10.25.10 - 10:19am
Katy Lunsford - I love love LOVE that you have done it this way, with so much passion and heart and realness. Thank you for being yourself and giving others the freedom to be themselves too. you continue to be a huge inspiration to me and my photography business. Thank you xxx  10.25.10 - 10:17am
Charisse R - I am a lurker Jasmine, however, I had to comment. As always, this was eloquently written, down to earth and concise. I love the part about you "couldn't compete playing the established game" so you CHANGED THE GAME! Love it! I am right there now where you were then, I is the end of October (ironically) and I am going to go out...continue practicing and attempt to play my own game as well. Your authenticity rocks!  10.25.10 - 10:17am
kristin brown - jasmine, i love your blog. i try to limit the number of blogs i read (especially other photographers') but i always leave yours feeling motivated by my potential rather than discouraged at what i lack. so thank you!  10.25.10 - 10:11am
Annetta - Thanks for the encouragement, Jasmine. Again.  10.25.10 - 10:08am
Dimitris Papadakos photography - It's been one month since I decided to do the same thing! I'm leaving university and a physics degree to start my own wedding photography business! And I have to say that you've been a great inspiraton for me Jasmine! Thank you, and I wish the best for you and JD!  10.25.10 - 10:06am
Melissa H. - Thank you so much for writing this. I am in exactly the same spot as you were in October of 2006, except not doing weddings (they scare me). I've had my dSLR for going on 4 years now and just switched the dial to manual a couple of months ago because I was scared to do so beforehand. Then it clicked...and I love it. Thank you for sharing where you were, because we can all see where you now are, and it's an inspiration to people like me who have no idea where this is going, but are passionate enough to try.  10.25.10 - 10:04am
kayla :) - you are such an inspiration, Jasmine. I love all your posts and all your insight. =) Simply put, you rock!  10.25.10 - 10:04am
aneL - WOW jasmine, thanks for sharing this. I'm still dreaming the dream and I've recently started taking the leap. It's so encouraging to know that it's fine to start 'small'... and as you said.. blood, sweat and tears :) THANK YOU!!  10.25.10 - 10:04am
Salwa - Very inspiring post! I'm a pretty new MN photographer and just found your website a week or so ago. I think your work is phenomenal and I love reading your posts! I will definitely be digging through your past posts to see what other fantastic information you've put on your blog :)  10.25.10 - 10:03am
Nadya Furnari - Love this! Always do never gets old, it's always helpful! Can't wait to mee tyou thursday at the expo!! yay!!  10.25.10 - 10:03am
Laura - This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. Thanks so much for sharing and for being so honest. You rock!   10.25.10 - 10:01am
Amy - You couldn't have given any better advice than this. Connecting with people thru every day things that we all have thoughts and opinions about, sharing yourself, is the key. This was informative and real. Glad I clicked to read it :)  10.25.10 - 10:00am
Life with Kaishon - I love when you share stuff like this. I learn so much from you. Thank you very much for all you do to shine your light in the photography community! It shines so bright : ) Love, Becky  10.25.10 - 10:00am
alicia schneider - Thank you for being so candid and open about how you got started! I Think its so refreshing to find someone different in a sea of "photographers" trying to make a go of it! You got it and I sooooo want to grasp your concepts! Thanks Jasmine!  10.25.10 - 9:59am
Leah Jung - Jasmine...you give me so much and drive to keep on keepin' on!! The way you started your business sounds exactly like me at the moment...And I know in my heart I can do exactly what you're doing if I keep at it! Photography is my dream- has been since freshman year in high school. You're the best resource I've ever run into, and I hope hope HOPE I get to meet you someday!! :) Thanks a million!   10.25.10 - 9:59am
Renee Booe - Amazing!!!! You saw a mold that you couldnt fit in, so you broke it. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.   10.25.10 - 9:56am
Aaron Greenwood - absolutely well said Jasmine. I could not be more grateful that you posted this! I shared it on fb via my personal & fan page. This is absolutely the road I am walking down. I went from one wedding last march to now being so booked I cant believe it. However, just being busy is not success to me. I want to learn more, constantly. Better hone my craft :) You said it in one sentence for me "so I changed the game." I think its amazing & am so glad that someone else agrees that a fancy studio does not establish you, it just gets you further in debt :)   10.25.10 - 9:56am
Jenn Thiebaud - Jasmine, you are such a generous soul and your charisma is unmatched. Your success is an inspiration to us all and your presence a gift to the industry. much love jenn  10.25.10 - 9:56am
Wendy - Thank you so much for sharing! Perfect timing for me and puts things into perspective! LOVE IT!  10.25.10 - 9:54am
Jessica Turner - Thank you for posting this, Jasmine. I always appreciate your genuineness and humility. I'm working on establishing my business and I have to constantly remind myself that it is about who I am and the work I'm willing to put into it, not how much I can afford or having the nicest gear, so I'm doing what I can and taking my business one day at a time by setting goals and trying to establish good relationships with my clients. This post was very encouraging; I hope we can meet someday!   10.25.10 - 9:54am
Jeremiah Daniel - I really enjoy these posts, even though I know your story backwards and forwards haha Its still nice to have it repeated. Most of my Clients so far have come to me this way, and the whole paying for ads and forcing my name and BC on people just never fit my personality, I did try it though, and I haven't had one call from my efforts in that direction, people just tune out the normal way people in our world advertise, but when you really put yourself and your work out there, in a way that touches people personally, its amazing the way they respond:) Thanks for being awesome Jasmine.  10.25.10 - 9:54am
Jackie - Thanks for the post. It's what I needed to hear today. :o)  10.25.10 - 9:54am
d a v i d m o l n a r - this post was right on time for me. thanks for posting this. being true, being honest. i need to stop acting like i have it together and be me. thanks for giving me permission to do that. -david  10.25.10 - 9:54am
Angelina - So I guess Im on the right track then :) Love your work and willingness to share, Ive told you before but just wanted to say it again, so thanks!  10.25.10 - 9:53am
Lorraine Daley - It is so wonderful that you have attributed your success to being yourself and being true to yourself. It can be difficult for people to feel confident enough to do so, when most marketing is overly polished. But people like foibles...they are what make us human....the good & bad...successes and failures all give depth and dimension. Kudos to you for being yourself and having to deal with some negativity because of this, and to shine through nonetheless. Kudos to you for not being afraid to be you!!! You truly deserve all your success.  10.25.10 - 9:53am
Tracey - Thank you for being honest, and humble and an inspiration. I believe that by trying to be someone else, you will be no one. You may like me, you may not and it's all good. I'm just going to try to make a career out of something I love, hope to get better with each day I pick up my camera, and inspire others to do the same. People are drawn to you for who you are, not because you pretend to be someone else. And that? It's awesome!  10.25.10 - 9:52am
LEOLAK - GREAT POST!!! Thank you thank you...again for sharing so much about yourself and advice. I keep struggling with really getting my photography business going....but will push through. Obstacles and all. Thanks for being such an inspiration!   10.25.10 - 9:51am
Stephanie Stewart - Love your story, J*! Thanks for constantly KIR!!! You rock!  10.25.10 - 9:51am
Hannah - This is just the question I was asking myself this morning. Thanks for being so unabashedly un-shy--a quality I greatly admire. Thank you for that.  10.25.10 - 9:51am
Steph - Fabulous post and great pearls of wisdom as always...thank you.  10.25.10 - 9:50am
Dion - Thank you for this! I am in the same place you were when you started your business. I am honing my craft and gathering my courage. Thank you for the confirmation! oxx  10.25.10 - 9:50am
Tanya - Thank you for sharing this!  10.25.10 - 9:49am
Marie - Ummm, I've got pom-poms and I shake em' all day long.   10.25.10 - 9:49am
Damaris Mia - Thank you for this, J. I am totally with you on the personalization. I have noticed that ever since I started being more personal, people were connecting with me a lot me. You can't buy that. You are such an inspiration, J!  10.25.10 - 9:48am
Becky S - Thank you for the inspiration. You have no idea how much it means  10.25.10 - 9:48am
Lora - Thank you. I needed to hear this today. I am trying to break out into my own niche and more often than not get discouraged. You go girl.  10.25.10 - 9:45am
Abigail - Totally loved this! Thank you for writing on this topic. I love that you don't just take pictures with your camera...you take them with your heart. And it's this heart that your brides/clients, etc. fall in love with. I've never posted on one of your blogs before but have enjoyed reading many of them. Your work and life is truly an inspiration Jasmine! Bless you.  10.25.10 - 9:45am
Robin - Really sound advice....I love that you did it without formal training...just a love for photography! Robin  10.25.10 - 9:43am
Melanie Molloy - The thing I always take away from your writing on these topics is this: Be who you are. Let people choose you for that. Shoot what you shoot and let people decide if it's what works for them. I really appreciate those reminders!  10.25.10 - 9:43am
P - ♥  10.25.10 - 9:43am
Tanya Petraglia - Thank you for this Jasmine. I needed this today. :)  10.25.10 - 9:43am
Susana Ferreira - Dear Jasmine You are a blessing in my life. You went to it because I started to like photograph, I love weddings and a fr