Friday, March 27, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday with Jasmine Star

If I were getting married right now, there is no doubt that I would do anything I could to have Jasmine Star shoot my wedding. I would even try to find out what days she was available before booking the church and venue...I'm not kidding. So when she agreed to be today's PhotoFANatic feature, in spite of being sick and at the last minute, I squeeled with delight!!!

Jasmine Star's blog and website are absolutely gorgeous. This girl is a writer who lays it all out there and shares herself from a place that is deep inside. Her images are some of the crispest (is that even a word?), clearest, and brightest that I've ever seen. They make me want to look at wedding pictures all day long!

What I find really cool about J* is that she seems genuine and real. She's been full-time in the biz for a handful of years, but is already known for the way she networks, lends advice, and shares her craft in a way that is anything but competitive or territorial. This year, she announced her first workshop and within like one day, that sucker was full! When I get a bit further down the road, you'd better believe I'll compete for one of those spots!!!

Okay, enough of my BLAH BLAH BLAHs and onto some really cool Q&A!

1. How did you first get interested in photography? In 2005, I studied at UCLA Law School and I was miserable. I was a fish out of water and I became tired of professors telling me I was wrong, and they were going to fix me. Any time a lawyer offers to 'fix' you, RUN AWAY! :) While in law school, my mother had a relapse with brain cancer, after battling for five years. When I was told it was time to make her funeral arrangements, my life flipped upside down. Even the most simple and mundane tasks became too much to bear and I became depressed. I woke up one Spring day and I decided to take a break from law school and stop living the life I thought I was supposed to lead, and--instead--lead the life I wanted. This decision changed my life dramatically.

That same year, I was proposed to and planned a destination wedding in Hawaii. During this time, my mother--against all odds--went into remission and was healthy enough to walk me down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams. Lucky for me, my amazing wedding photographer ( was there to capture each special moment.

In January 2006, it was time to return to law school from my hiatus. I sat at our dining room table with my newly-minted husband and cried. I didn't want to go back to law school, but I was much too scared to pursue photography as a profession. It was then when my husband grabbed my hands and told me: "I would rather see you fail at something you love, then succeed at something you hate." And, with that, my journey began. I photographed my first wedding in October 2006 and have since followed my heart.

2. What's your favorite thing to shoot?

I might not be as talented as my peers, nor have the abundance of awards they have. I might not even have their level of skill...okay, I can be honest, I totally don't have their level of skill! :) But what I do know how to do is make people laugh in front of my camera. How to make people feel wholly like themselves. A couple is at their most beautiful and most fabulous when they're laughing, and I've been blessed with a gift in guiding people to this point. Together.

3. Your images are always crisp and clean, what do you look for when setting up a shot? Light.

I always prefer a mediocre location with amazing light, than an amazing location with mediocre light. Light is magic, and makes pictures jump off the page. Light is dynamic and captivating and any time I can work with it, I do everything I can to use it to my advantage.

4. Your blog is your best sales tool. Why did you put so much value in it initially? Was it a hunch that it could dramatically develop your business or was it just because of your passion for writing? To be honest, I've never been one to keep a diary, although I collected them by the truckloads growing up. I'd start writing a few entries, then I'd give up and opt to take Barbie and Ken for a spin in their convertible instead. Many years later, I reread those scattered entries and I remember who I was; I remember the girl who I dreamt of becoming.

I started my blog to document my journey. That's all. It was an online diary for my friends and family to read, and a place I chronicled the ups and downs of starting my
business. I had NO idea it would morph into what it is today. And while it's my
biggest marketing tool, it was a natural progression and helped me define my business and brand on a whole new level.

5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out?
I was given a ton of advice when I first started. Some good. A lot useless. I, however, wish someone would have told me the following: Don't let anyone tell you NO. Don't let anyone scare you from your dreams. Don't let fear stop your fingers from pressing the shutter a thousand times a day. Don't be afraid to tell people you're chasing your passion. Don't measure your success in light of others. Don't settle for the ordinary. Don't stop laughing.

Wow!! If I didn't love her before, I do now! She's a rock star and after you see the following images, I'm sure you'll think so, too! (As always, these images were used with her permission...don't you go swiping pics off of other people's blogs or the blog police will git ya!)

To see more of the ultra-FAB Jasmine Star, be sure to visit her blog and website. J*, thank you SO MUCH for playing in my PhotoFANatic party today! I hope we can meet one day and that Mr. Right comes strolling along before you pack up those cameras...and if that's the case, you can pull them out of retirement and shoot us rolling our wheelchairs down the aisle! ; )
On a totally unrelated note, today I'm participating in Kimba's "Step Away from the Computer" challenge. I'm turning off the computer, flying to Denver, and spending the weekend with my brother, SIL, gorgeous niece, and brand new baby nephew! I'm going to focus on family and not let the BLAHgosphere distract me from them! Check out A Soft Place to Land to learn more about it!!!


laurelstreet said...

These are amazing photos! I love a good 'back story' too!

Have fun in Denver and take lots of photos!

laurelstreet said...

JJ - I just caught a comment on the Mogg Blogg from you all the while I thought you were abandoning the BLAHgosphere for the weekend! I caught you!

Jasmine said...

Jen, thank you SO much for allowing me to be featured on your blog. You rock. Hard.

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Wow! I am so glad that iheartfaces picked you this week. I love your blog. Thanks for these FAN posts! How awesome that you were able to interview Jasmine.