Thank you for coming to learn about me! While looking for a wedding photographer for your big day, it’s really important to know not just what their pictures look like, but who they are. After all, a highlight reel is just that. See if I mesh with your personality, learn my backstory a little bit, and if you think we are a great fit after learning about me, I’d love to learn about you!
READ ABOUT ME
Hi! My name is Jessica (and writing about myself feels SO strange!). I have a closet full of white, grey and beige so I guess you could say I am WILDLY adventurous. You could also definitely say I’m sarcastic.
I love the beach, Real Housewives, anything with pasta, and walking aimlessly around Ikea. All forms of cheese. Seafood. Wine. BREAD. All of the bread. I was a poli sci major in college and planned to attend law school after I received my bachelor’s in 2009, but God had other plans in place for me! I love meeting people and find it easy to talk and make new friends which makes this job a great one for me! I panic to find the remote the second an ASPCA commercial comes on or I will sob. I am originally from Atlanta and miss a big city. My hair lives in a messy bun while I rotate the same 7 white/beige/grey tops that I like. It becomes very easy to spot me in a crowd eventually!
I am SO good at getting people comfortable behind my camera, pulling out their personalities, making them laugh, but I am straight up Ricky Bobby hands when it’s my turn to be photographed. It’s awful. I’ll end my paragraph about me appropriately saying that without meeting Jesus in my early 20’s, none of this would’ve been as successful as it has been. I completely credit my family, our stability, the insane growth of this business, among all things to God and His glory. I thank him daily for this business, my family, and white, beige and grey tops.
MEET MY FAMILY
My husband and I grew up together and we didn’t like each other.
Matt thought I was rude in middle school. I thought he was a jerk in high school. At one random point in college years, we were both single at the same time and it all fell into place. That was ten years ago in 2006. After dating for about six months, he went to a recruiter’s office and signed up to join the Marine Corps, telling me afterwards. I could have killed him. My dad is a Marine, and he was not my ideal husband type at all!! What is my life!!!
Matt left for boot camp January of 2007, I bawled my eyes out and wrote him every day. My college roommates would check the mailbox with my every day and cry with my when I got a letter back. That three month time span gave me something not very many couples have- a really old school communication. We couldn’t call, we couldn’t text, we couldn’t visit, if I had news I had to wait a week for him to know and another practically for him to respond. It was so hard but I cherish it. I made all of our letters into a binder I still have. After boot camp, long story short, was a proposal and the very next day, a marriage, and the very next day, Matt left for his first duty station in North Carolina. I followed after dropping out of school (woops) about two months later. We made our first home in a little one bedroom apartment, if you are military you’ll understand this- the BAH rate was $750. Can you imagine now!
After two deployments came Cameron and three years as a drill instructor at Parris Island. I don’t know what was harder really. Having him deployed for so long, but being able to communicate, or having him a mile away for really long amounts of time, and just watching his voice gone, his feet bleeding, his weight dropping, his exhaustion, and I can’t help. That was a rough three years, but seeing the new Marines thank him, seeing their girlfriends and mamas cry at graduation and thank him, man that was a really fulfilling moment in my life. I couldn’t be more proud.
After getting out of the military in 2014, we moved to Columbia for a great job opportunity for my husband and to be near his family. The year after getting out wasn’t a cake walk for our marriage by any means. We are fighters for marriage, and 2015 was the year of the fight. We hadn’t lived a civilian life in a decade together, and add a toddler, Matt being a full time student, me running and moving a business, it was a LOT! I’m so happy to stand next to someone that fought for it with me, and I’m really thrilled to be photographing weddings for people who believe in marriage in its truest most simplest form- you and me together forever.
We permanently reside in Lexington and I am really loving having a Target again and a mall nearby. Now if we only had an Ikea…
Ohhhh this child.
Cameron is the reason why all of this got started. His birthday is the same backwards as it is forwards (2-10-2012). I bet you tried it didn’t you, haha! He is so smart. SO smart. Not the “oh all moms think their child is smart” kind of smart, actually shockingly smart. The things he can spell, add up, understand, read, they blow my mind for three years old. I believe he will become something great one day. All moms will understand how your heart just multiplies in size the moment your child is born; it’s the most amazing feeling in the world. I am so grateful that God gave me this little boy to raise. I think I’m getting it wrong more times than not, but I think that means overall I’m doing it right. I’m never really sure (I don’t think any of us are), but when I see him care for other people, or sing about Jesus, I know I’m heading in the right direction.
HOW I WORK A WEDDING
I get this compliment consistently from couples and it is seriously the greatest thing someone can say to me:
“You made us feel so comfortable.”
Comfortable! Sure I want you to love your images, but good Lord that is not going to happen with awkward silence, gritty teeth, nervousness, and feeling like your photographer is a stranger.
When I meet brides at a consult, we can start with a hand shake, but after an hour or two of chatting and laughing, we end it with a hug and exchanging numbers. I believe in connection and I believe it’s the linking piece between photos that are pretty and photos that are YOU. I work to make you comfortable.
When it’s time for your engagement session, we talk about how this feels weird for a little bit because it DOES! It’s not natural to cuddle up in a park with people everywhere and giggle and snuggle, people don’t really do this (or at least not the people I know!). We break any feeling of awkward by talking, laughing, I set up your poses, I give you complete clear specific directions for hands, smiles, rest assured I’ve got this! Within 15 minutes, your fiancé has found this isn’t that bad after all (when they tell me that, that’s the second best compliment!), and you two feel loose and comfortable.
I have dozens of couple’s posing techniques etched into my brain in a range of different height situations, I know exactly what we need and I make it happen. I get overly excited when we have great light and when we get “the” shot, and I’m a big sharer of the back of my camera to let you guys know how AMAZING you look!
HOW THIS BUSINESS BEGAN
As for me, I never dreamed of being a photographer.
I am type A, I am logic, I am numbers, I never labeled myself as a free spirited creative. I was going in the direction of courthouses; government! I left a paralegal position in 2011 when my husband came home from his second deployment because I knew we were getting stationed somewhere new shortly after his homecoming. He came home, we got orders to South Carolina, and news I was PREGNANT shortly after! Still at this point, no plans for photography and this was just five years ago.
After we moved to Beaufort, South Carolina and our little boy was born, my mom bought me a Canon Rebel t2i. I am so grateful because I was taking some AWFUL pictures of our first days together with a little old point and shoot. I had no idea what I was doing with that rebel, but I mastered it fast. I realized the limits of my kit lens quickly, and soon received a 50mm 1.8. Me and that rebel and that 50 1.8 did some really great things that I’d still stand by today, but as starter cameras go, there are definitely limits.
Fast forward to the purchase of the Canon 6D, my first full frame (but not my last). Throughout that year I started picking up L series prime lenses. The 35, the 100, the 135. I focused on families but never really felt like I was doing what I wanted to. A sweet friend (and one of my very first family clients) asked me to photograph her wedding, I charged just enough for the gear I would need, and I was hooked.
That was in fall of 2013. I had my second and third wedding in spring of 2014, and then weddings EXPLODED! Everything had to change. I needed to buy more lenses for weddings, I needed to lose all of my family marketing and make it weddings. I needed to lose my family pricing guide and make a bridal guide. I needed to meet vendors, to meet other wedding photographers, to advertise for weddings, to change the ENTIRE business. It was so much work but man, seeing your hard work flourish is so rewarding knowing that YOU did that!
The long story short of how photography began- I became a mom. I couldn’t bare to go back to a law firm, I couldn’t do it. I took a chance, sometimes that’s what we need to do. Thank the Lord it paid off!
Columbia, SC Wedding Photographer