LIVE BLOGGING!! {Jasmine Star -Creative Live-Online Workshop}

Last year I was delighted to stumble upon Jasmine Star’s 5 day Wedding Photography Workshop.
From the first minute I fell in love with the person, the photographer and the brand that is Jasmine Star.

Today she is doing her second installment: Building your Wedding Photography Business. I’m sooo excited. I’ll be doing some LIVE blogging below with important bits that I’m learning as the workshop progresses…2 Days!  If you’d like to watch and learn with me, make sure you click on the link below:

Here we go!

18:40 {History and Intro}
Jasmine Star spoke about her life before becoming a photographer. With a full scholarship to Law School she realized she was incredibly unhappy and so quit. She called her then boyfriend JD and told him that she quit Law school. Her mom was diagnosed with brain cancer. A short while later she got engaged and as a lover of photography she started searching for her Wedding Photographer. On page 63 of Google, she found David Jay. She fell in love with his work and so decided to ask him to be her wedding photographer. When getting married in Hawaii she connected with David Jay and his work, she then soon after decided she wanted to be a wedding photographer. When mentioning this to JD that she wanted to build a business as a wedding photographer he said: ” I’d rather you fail at something you love than succeed doing something you hate.” From then on she worked. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she worked part time for a radio station and JD was working at a start up company. Their financial situation at that time was very average and simple. They lived in a very simple apartment. But they were happy. The neighborhood was what she describes as “ripe”. The area wasn’t the best, JD would walk her to the door from her car when she got home and they could hear their neighbors shouting, but they were happy.

 18:59 {Starting Out}
Jasmine is talking about how she started shooting. She didn’t even know how to switch her camera on when she first got it on Jan 1st, 2006 . She decided that the most natural thing to do for anyone who really wants to succeed is to practice, practice practice. Every day, every hour, every minute even if it sucks.
She always loved fashion photography and felt let down because she realized her photos suck. She just wanted to understand what her camera did. After a week of trying to prove to herself she “had it” – she still felt she sucked so she wanted to find out how to improve. She opened her camera manual and started on page 1. She then went to Google and started to compile her own curriculum. With little access to photographers and not a lot of money, she started finding information and learning online. The process was painfully slow and agonizing, and she decided on a wim to apply to Pasadena Art Academy. 30 000 dollars a year at that time. When she got the course catalog she discovered she already knew the basics. She was looking for the easy road. She then decided to study what she had to do through setting herself little projects.
At that time she would practice shooting things like her chair in her living room. She practiced back lighting from every perspective…chairs, trees, anything…trying to understand shutter speed and ISO settings before she ever started shooting in front of people.
She used to go to the “University of OSP”  – anonymously. She read all the questions on forums that other people had the nerve to ask… it took a long time but it was free.

Reading a blog post from Feb, 2006. Why am I such a chicken…? She reads it to keep herself grounded and to look back on how far she has come. There’s a long way to go, but she’s ok.
– Get involved –
-Write down goals –
“We are selling an educated service to an uneducated audience- Just be yourself”.

 19:23  {Second Shooting}
-Goes hand in hand with: FORUMS –
-Create trust with your allies (other photographers) Trust is your currency on the web.
-Offer feedback and constructive criticism only when asked.
-Creating trust only happens when you put yourself out on a personal capacity

19:29 {How to get a second shooting opportunity}
-Gage in online forums, give back, chat about everything and comment on blogs.
  (People want to know that you like them)
-Talk back consistently, show that you care on a personal and much deeper level.
-Build other people up when you don’t have that opportunity
-Search on Blog ~ Second shooter tips
-Leverage your assets – What makes you different and an advantage to their team? Advertise your skill set.
-Help each-other- Do stuff that makes you accessible, shake what your momma gave ya!

19:30 {Things to not do}
-Do not pass out your own business cards at a wedding if you are second shooting. EVER!
-Do not Tag someone else’s clients on Facebook. It is not your business you are only there for support.      Create trust.
-If there is ever a question of credibility- your future is SHOT.
-Never Blog before the photographer.
-When the wedding is Blogged, ask the photographer if you can blog crediting him/her for the opportunity.
-Refrain from telling guests how you would do things differently. You don’t know the pressure of a first shooter. It’s not your wedding. Make friends with the bride and groom on a different capacity. Not criticizing the 1st photographer.
-Never be above schlepping bags.- Do whatever it takes
-Don’t stand in the same position as the first shooter. Being a second shooter gives you the opportunity to find a different angle and perspective.

19:35 {Talking about resilience and self belief}
Read: “The War of Art“- Steven Pressfield. (Dog-eared every page)
– If you are feeling like the cards are stacked against you- they are- It’s because of your mindset.
– Whatever you put out in the world comes back to you.
-Look at potential for growth and what you DO have
-Come from a place of YES
-Jealousy and envy can eat you.
-Our work is a by-product of ourselves. Do you like who you are? If are not, assess how you can change.
-Acknowledge and move on. – Help others if you are not happy with where you are. Try to help others because it will help you realize that there are people who have far less.
-Create a schedule for personal growth and helping others. Online- Anywhere!

It’s not important to be the best. It’s more important to be DiFFERENT.

-10 Minute Break- 

20:15 {Finding a Photography Mentor}
Why would somebody invest their own time and money to help lead your business? Forget it. No one will be helping you run your own business.

Jasmine talks about an event that was set up through the forum. Once there she met Greg. She stayed in touch with him and then was offered a third shooter opportunity.Then 3-4 weddings in she progressed to being the second shooter. OOOOHHHMMYYYYGOOOSSHHHH!!! She was so happy she called JD. She expected not to get paid but then got a Chilli’s gift card. What the card represented to Jasmine was: TRUST

Now she’s thinking: “oh this guy must really like me…He trusts me…”
At the end of the 4th wedding she second shot, she got paid a very fair amount. She went home that day incredibly happy. Being consistently invited to go back and shoot with the same person again, Jasmine knew she was on the right path.

Initially her blog was just like a diary. Everything she did on a day to day basis. When she helped shoot a wedding, she’d post a few pictures on her blog. At a certain point Greg approached her in the kindest , most gracious way and suggested she post a link back to the 1st Photographer’s website… she started from zero…Greg guided her and still paid her for her work. She feels she was given a gift with a big red bow. Greg was it.

For over 2 and a half months Greg was helping her get a stronger portfolio. He started passing her name around. So Jasmine started second shooting with other photographers. After second shooting around 38 weddings Jasmine shot her first wedding as a first shooter.

{Finding a photography mentor}
Get uncomfortable- Do something outside your comfort zone.
When you start getting uncomfortable you will show your true colours and show exactly who you are. Be a 100% yourself and you will move forward. Care about the person- Not just the photographer. Be interested in them as a person.

20:25 {Luck is when preparation meets opportunity}

Out shoot- Out run- Out hustle… “If your not uncomfortable, your not working hard enough”

What will make you stand out? It is as much a game in a competitive nature. That’s how to approach it. Take care of your team. Educate as you shoot. People often think that overcast is bad. Educate them on light..etc… That creates a level of expectation of what they want and what you can give them.

Under promise and OVER-deliver. -This can be applied to anything in life.

20:37 {Working with your spouse}
NO-NO-NO Don’t do it. It takes a very unique dynamic to work with your partner. It doesn’t mean that you have chosen the wrong person to marry. It just takes something VERY unique for it to work.

HIS and HER perspective.
Jasmine telling a story about telling JD to put gas in the car, JD suggested something differently. Guess what, on the freeway they ran out of gas. Jasmine approaches weddings like “game-time”. On that day she didn’t fight.
Jasmine asked him not from wife to husband but first shooter to second shooter. “If David Jay asked you to put gas in the car would you have done it…”

-Have clear roles and responsibilities, clearly defined goals.
-Set a schedule
-Jasmine wakes up at 6-6:30 finish work at 6:30 (Don’t lose your relationship)
-Assign project leaders. Be in control of distinct aspects of the business.
-Play to your strengths.

20:44 {Business financing}
Initial investment $3000. (Post Feb 2006)
Camera: 1200 Canon 20D 24-70 2.8
Business Cards $500

70-200 2.8AF
24-70  (something…gosh she speaks soo fast!!)

1st wedding
Rent to own- First wedding was booked for $1500

Anything that was earned for a wedding was used to re-invest in more gear.
June 2006- Applied for a business license and Tax ID
Jasmine then got personal liability insurance.

20:50 {Sole proprietorship}
If Jasmine starts with a new product she would then become incorporated.
You should ALWAYS apply and charge tax. Service included. The state requires this.

Paying taxes quarterly is not as much as paying yearly.

Jasmine has a $1000000 policy on all her camera gear. That costs around $350 a year.
Stash your gear with the DJ at a wedding. Make friends with him/her.


//Lunch in the US\\ (Dinner for me in the UK…)

Free marketing: Remember names!Even the helpers names…
Make sure it’s all fun and never expect anything from your clients. It is our job to make them look good.

22:39 {Booking the first wedding}
Jasmine talks about what her first potential client wanted. David Jay referred her to a bride. David Jay charged $10 000 for a wedding so immediately Jasmine thought: ” Damn, I made it…! Now I can charge like $9000 for a wedding!!” The bride had a budget of $1000 and wanted 10 hours, a second shooter and full service.  Jasmine took it. That was her first wedding, but that was not where she wanted her business to go…
Before shooting her first solo wedding Jasmine had 2 wedding packages to offer clients.
She charged for the trust, the service, the experience, 10 hours, and a second shooter. BUT… If the bride mentioned above wanted the disk with images it would be an additional $500.
She placed value on the tangibles…

22:45 {Contracts}
Model Releases: As part of the contract the guests should know that their guests will be in the pictures. It is the bride’s responsibility to let you know if any of the guests would NOT like to be in any of the photos used online.
Pre-Booking: If a bride would like to be booked for the next year or two years ahead, they won’t necessarily get booked. Jasmine prefers for the clients to contact her closer to the time and will give them an idea of what she will charge taking into account the venue. If clients really want her as the photographer they should wait. And will then have priority.

What goes into a contract:
A list of expectations from Jasmine’s end. This is my work, and as a division of that, don’t put the images on an online gallery or sell it.
Write your own or pull parts that are relevant to your service or product from online.
Album process
Rights for reproduction and use online
The disc and users of the disks
Worst case scenarios

Retainer is not refundable but the deposit is. Cover your butt even if it’s via e-mail. If a client e-mails you saying they’ve just sent you a deposit. Reply with saying: “Thank you for sending me the retainer” That way you are covered.

23:06 {Pricing}
This is where my evening of blogging ends. As this course progresses I realize that it’s sooo incredibly worth it to purchase this course which will contain so much more information than what I have already noted above. It’s definitely worth $99.
Check out the rest of day 1 here…or on USTREAM. Day 2 of Jasmine Star’s CREATIVE LIVE workshop will start tomorrow at 18:00hrs (GMT) Make sure not to miss it!


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