We are so excited to welcome the amazingly talented Jessica Q to the Pretty Forum Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her amazing wedding photography, and be sure to visit her website Jessica Q Photography. Thank you so much Jessica for taking the time to share your work with us today!Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My inspiration for photography begin when I was searching for my own wedding photographer back in 2012! I was blown away by all the different styles and approaches of each photographer and set out to see if I had what it took to be one. Originally I started out in just portrait photography but I kept getting requests to photograph weddings so I just jumped into it and never looked back. I didn’t think that my first year I would book 14 weddings but I did! It was so surreal to have all these amazing couples trust me with their wedding day. How would you describe your photography style?
My photography style is very fun and candid. Since I mainly photograph weddings, I approach a wedding day by capturing the moments as it happens, but with a curated eye. I love having fun with my couples and doing anything I can to put them at ease. Sometimes this involves some jokes (sometimes it’s even funny!) and other times it’s just building a rapport with my couples so that they feel comfortable in front of my camera. I love images that captures emotion and natural interaction so most of my prompts includes ways to engage my couples to be natural and be themselves. Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am 100% self-taught! When I first started, I made all my friends pose for me and did shoots anytime I can. One of the best things you can do is practice, practice, practice! I spent a lot of time on the computer googling, reading articles, and watching videos and just trying to absorb everything I can. Then once I got the hang of it a little bit, I took workshops from more veteran photographers. I am still always learning. You never really stop learning about photography and I don’t think anyone ever gets to a point where they know everything. I just always aim for self-improvement and how can I better myself to serve my clients.What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
Ahhh I LOVE gear questions! I am a Canon girl through and through! I recently upgraded to a Canon 5d Mark iii and let me tell you that I am in love! I also have a variety of L series lens that I shoot with but my absolute FAVORITE lens is my 85mm 1.8. It’s not the most expensive lens in my bag but I tend to have it on my camera about 75% of the time. There’s just something about the focal length and the way it captures images that I just love. The 85mm 1.8 is the less expensive version of its L series sister the 85mm 1.2 but I just found that I didn’t like the 1.2 version as much. It takes a longer time to focus and it’s a pretty heavy lens. It all boils down to personal preference of course. Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I love golden hour lighting and typically plan my shoots during that 1.5 hour before sunset. Personally I LOVE shooting into the sun and I will always place my clients with their backs to the sun. I absolutely love the way the sun backlights them and creates a soft halo around them. But I can’t always shoot at this golden hour, especially on wedding days so in that situation, I find open shade. I will typically look for big buildings or really tall and lush trees to place my couple in and go from there.
As far as shooting bridal prep, I tend to bring my bride in front of a window or the doorframe to the patio if there is one and shoot her getting into her dress there. I try to leverage natural light as much as I can especially when most of my brides get ready in hotel rooms with all sorts of competing light sources. I’m including an image here where I had my bride slip on her dress, then I placed her in the doorframe of the patio so that she’s illuminated by the natural light instead of orange and tungsten lighting inside her hotel room.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?
I would say the timeline. Couples usually don’t know what to expect on their wedding day and part of my job is to be a resource for my couples and provide them with my personal and professional experience. Brides are not going to know that 1 hour isn’t enough time for family formals, bridal party photos, bride & groom photos etc. Or they’re not going to know that you need time to take ceremony and reception photos before all the guests arrive. It’s part of my job to educate them and help them maximize our time together. Personally for me, I enjoy putting together their timeline for them. I find that it really helps set the tone for the day, helps me get the images that I need for them, and helps them stress less. If I wasn’t a wedding photographer, I’d definitely be a wedding coordinator!What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
I’ve learned so much in my 3 years that it’s hard to narrow down one single thing. But a huge part of being in this business that I am still learning is to be yourself! There is always going to be others out there who does things differently and who will try to tell you how to run your business. But you have to do what is best for your business and stay true to who you are. It’s okay to have a style and be passionate about that style even if others might not like that style. You can’t be in this business and not be passionate about what you’re doing or producing images that you’re proud of just because someone said that’s what you should be doing. If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other photographers and ask for advice and mentoring. I am part of a great community of photographers here in Arizona and we’re believers in community not competition. Practice, practice, and practice some more. You’re going to make mistakes, your style is going to change all the time but trust that everyone goes through it. No one comes right out of the gate and knows what they’re doing. It takes time.What do you love most about being a photographer?
This goes back to before I started my business and how I feel towards our wedding photographer. I absolutely love her to this day and feel like she’s not JUST a vendor on our wedding day, but a friend! With that being said, I absolutely love being the person to capture my couples biggest day in their lives and to see how each couple’s love story started. It warms my heart that most of my couples become my friends as well and I am able to share not only their wedding journey, but as they start their own families and being able to grow with them. My first ever wedding couple has a baby girl who’s almost 2 years old now. I was there to do their maternity photos, her newborn photos, her 6 month photos, and her one year cake smash. What’s better than that?Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully I am running a flourishing business, with an associate photographer or two! I would love to travel more with my husband and explore the world! About the Artist: I’m a fun sized wedding photographer in Phoenix Arizona. I am addicted to Starbucks and need to have my coffee every day. I have a love for shoes and currently own over 60+ pairs that I know of and love the color mint green! I also regularly quote lines from FRIENDS and Harry Potter because I am obsessed! Even though I am an adult, I love reading mushy young adult dystopian novels and wind down with a good book. My husband and I also love going on cinematic adventures together every Friday to see the latest new releases.