Jasmine Star – ProYou

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jasmine-star.jpg
Jasmine Star is a bride turned wedding photographer from southern CA. Creative photographer, and talented blogger, Jasmine takes part in this “Pro: You” series of lessons learned from before success blossomed. DPS thanks Jasmine for the time she invested interviewing for this story.

 
It was five months since she officially begun diving into the wedding photography business as a second shooter. She learned many lessons along the way. She knew this is what she wanted to do. And now, she was about to take her progress to the next level.
 
“This is it.”   She rolled over in her bed, tossing and turning again. She couldn’t sleep. Her brain was fixed on the incredible opportunity that has presented itself to her. Tomorrow, the testing of her skills would officially begin. It was her time to shine.  She was not “proud”, but she knew that she would get “those shots” that no one else had captured before. She was going to prove that she could be in this business and she would rock the world.
 
In the morning, she cycled through her thoughts before heading out:
 

  • Professional outfit [which she choose the previous night]
  • Camera bag packed [with just cleaned equipment]
  • Batteries charged [for both camera and lights]
  • Lights [handy 580 EX speedlights]
  • Aperture Priority set [her best shooting friend]
  • Mental Shot List

 
As she drove, she tried to get herself into the zone but it seems that the harder she tried to focus, the more her mind turned into molasses. She met up with “The Photographer” whom she admired and respected to discuss assignments. Before she even began shooting the Bridal preparations she was sweating bullets. She tried to pull out creativity, but instead, felt completely blank.
 
And then, the nightmare of wedding photographer nightmares took place: Her camera wigged out. She didn’t know what happened. She didn’t know what’s wrong. But even worse, she didn’t know how to fix it. She tried to calm herself, deciding to fake it till she made it. In the pit of her stomach, she knew that there was no way that philosophy is going to work. But what other choice did she have?
 

She met up with “The Photographer” and hoped that she wasn’t showing the panicked desperation. “The Photographer” hands out the ceremony assignments. “You take the groom, I’ll take the bride…” She heard the first few words and blink. “Okay, right, yeah…” She paused, not sure if she really wanted to ask the question. “But what are you shooting on? I mean, what are you exposing for?”

 
“The Photographer” looked at her in a long pause, then finally sighed.”Manual, ISO 400, Shutter speed 50, Aperture 2.8. Okay? Let’s go.” The instructions may have as well been in Farsi. Her brain wasn’t translating. She took another deep breath.  “Okay. Don’t panic.  Don’t panic.”
 
But it was too late for that. The tension was building. She felt so completely screwed. She wanted nothing more than to disappear. Run away. But she knew that was not an option. She gathered herself feebly. “Just shoot first. Fix later.”
 
She didn’t change her settings. Not once through the ceremony. Not through the reception. She continued to stick to her creed: “shoot first and fix later”. It was her only solution.  “Maybe it won’t’be so bad after all.” She thought it may work. But then “The Photographer” turned to her. “When the wedding is over, we’ll head back. On the way and you can upload your images to my laptop as we drive.” 
 
This is the worst case scenario. Her only hope was a miracle. The Bible said God did miracles right? “God, please just let something happen to the cards…make them empty or, better yet, make the pictures just perfect! It could happen right?”
 
It doesn’t. She left “The Photographer” with an undeserved check in hand. The emotions were raging.  Her performance was horrible. Her images were awful.  After some tears she decided to let the pictures rest a night.  But the images were just as bad as she thought. She cried the next day when she looked through the pictures. They really were awful.
 
In those moments, her dreams of being a professional wedding photographer gave away. She decided not to shoot anymore. She knew that no one would trust her after this episode. Even worse, she didn’t think she could trust herself. She turned to her spouse. “I quit.” She managed through a shaky voice. “I’m giving up.”
 
She received a compassionate look and a kind word. “If this is what you really want, you can’t just give up. You have to figure out what went wrong and fix it so that it doesn’t happen again.”
 
The words echoed through her mind and she realized something: She had the details, she had the opportunity, she had the gear, and she had the desire. When the rubber met the road, she wasn’t good enough – yet. But that didn’t mean she could never be there.
 
That humiliating experience turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to her. The lessons carried with her for the rest of her shooting career. Now she encourages others with those lessons:
 

  1. You can’t let one bad experience determine your passion
  2. It’s okay to ask questions, even if it is humbling.
  3. If you have a dream, you must be willing to work through all the challenges you will face with courage.
  4. If you want to be a pro, you have to do the “Pro Way” – like knowing your camera as well as you know yourself.
  5. You have to learn from your mistakes so you can grow through them.

 
And who would have thought that such an experience could have shaped Jasmine Star into the Pro she is today?

Thanks again to Jasmine Star for her time in putting together this story.

Read more from our category

Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

  • I think a lot of people neglect the point 4. Wedding photography or any other event photography for that matters does not allow re-shoot. You have to get it right the first time and knowing how your gear works is a critical part of that process.

    Thank god she was a secondary shooter because I have seen this kind of story happening to the first (and only) photographer more often than I would like to believe.

  • We love you Jasmine. Thanks for your transparency – for keeping it real – especially for all of us newbies just starting out in the business. (like myself) We appreciate you. We adore you. Keep rocking it out girl. You da’ bomb sista’! 🙂

    PS…Thanks for returning my email the other day. (regarding my confidence being squashed by the stiletto heels….??? Ha ha!) I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write me back. I know you are a busy gal.

    Blessings, Angie Seaman

  • Martin Barabe

    I think this is a great lesson of life in general that applies not only to photographie but to all you desire trully. I have seen Jasmine’s work a few months ago and found it really inspiring. Maybe one day i will have my chance as pro but for now i am just enjoying a beautifull hobby.

  • I’ve been following Jasmine’s blog for a while, and she provides some great refreshingly honest stories – definitely worth adding her blog to your rss reader!

  • Chantal

    I agree, this is a great story, and it applies to everything you do, not just photography! I’m new to this website, and I’m impressed – I want to go into more professional photography one day – just trying to make a little bit more money so I can get a better camera, hehe…

  • Robert

    Jasmine shoots in manual exclusively. You can read that on her blog in the FAQ posts.

  • Thank you for a wonderful life lesson. For me you’re experience goes far beyond photography. I’ve saved this article in my documents file to read again a few thousand times. Again thank you for sharing. Jim

  • Petty

    Thanks Christiana for this article. It’s funny…I needed this encouragement just at the right moment – actually today I’m getting lots great advice from different sources and people.(lucky me)

    As a new photographer I’m going thru the same stumbles and learning curves to meet my goals. It’s uncomfortable but needed. I’ll know I’ll do great in the end. Thanks again. 🙂

  • Petty

    Sorry name error Christina

  • I love reading her story, again and again and again…it’s so inspiring! Thanks for sharing Jasmine, and Christina, thanks for putting it all together!

  • Silverzz

    I could easily imagine something like this happening to me!

  • Jan

    Great article.
    I am a big fan of Jasmine work, and to know what she went through before becoming the great photographer she is, is really inspiring.

  • Tereza

    Yeah, I’m a big fan of Jasmine too, and she inspires me with every single post on her blog. Every words, every pictures, everything. And I did panic while I was reading her story for the first time. I’m working in a studio, and I’m trying to learn everything I can, ’cause I’m dreaming of shooting weddings and other special events. I hope I can take such beautiful pictures like Jasmine’s!

  • Great post. As Dirty Harry once said “A man’s got to know his limitations” Wedding photography is beyond me. It’s too high stress since there’s no do-over.

  • my last wedding..this is my last wedding- and my last job. I decided not to pursue photography anymore because this happened. I was lucky, not all of my shots turned out horrible, they got a lot of beautiful ones- but at the most important time- all of the family and group shots- I totally screwed it up. I was literally sick when I looked at the entire grouping of images. Anyway, thank you so much for the article. It has given me so much to think about…

  • I am going to print this off and keep it in my reach!!! Who would have that someone like JS would have ever endured such trials on her way to victory!!! Wow… I want my camera to be an extension of me ( know it inside and out)!!!!

  • JMarkLabbe

    Awesome post!,.. My Wife and I are serious amateurs and have a great time taking pics, and are learning more and more along the way,.. with each new opportunity we get, we apply what we learnt the last time, to the next time,.. we use friends as guinea pigs for photoshoots to experiment,… that way if anything goes wrong its not a blow to us mentally or emotionally,.. then when more serious opportunities come,.. we know how to navigate through the glitches,.. years of photoshop experience has bailed us out a few times,.. but we strive to be more camera purists,.. as time continues we will!

    Jasmine Star is truly an inspiration to us in every area,..

  • Beroiz

    Yes!!!!!
    That exactly happend to me! with ——-i don´t want to remember, when I shaw the pictures I wanted to die.
    But I am still here, each time more secure.
    Thanks!

  • Thanks, Christina…you’re the best! 🙂

  • Sophie

    Wow! This story has echoed a similiar experience. I felt the same anxiety when I did my first professional event. The camera didn’t work!!!! I was on the verge of crying too! But fortunately for me, the pictures came out great. There wasn’t a lot to choose from, but there was enough.

    Thanks for the inspiration to push forward!

  • Personally I too am on a mission to go pro, & this is an invaluable inspiration to anyone in the same boat, thank you for the story!

Some Older Comments

  • Jennifer Martinez August 6, 2009 11:25 pm

    Personally I too am on a mission to go pro, & this is an invaluable inspiration to anyone in the same boat, thank you for the story!

  • Sophie August 1, 2009 07:11 am

    Wow! This story has echoed a similiar experience. I felt the same anxiety when I did my first professional event. The camera didn't work!!!! I was on the verge of crying too! But fortunately for me, the pictures came out great. There wasn't a lot to choose from, but there was enough.

    Thanks for the inspiration to push forward!

  • Jasmine* August 1, 2009 02:39 am

    Thanks, Christina...you're the best! :)

  • Beroiz July 31, 2009 08:23 pm

    Yes!!!!!
    That exactly happend to me! with -------i don´t want to remember, when I shaw the pictures I wanted to die.
    But I am still here, each time more secure.
    Thanks!

  • JMarkLabbe July 31, 2009 02:07 am

    Awesome post!,.. My Wife and I are serious amateurs and have a great time taking pics, and are learning more and more along the way,.. with each new opportunity we get, we apply what we learnt the last time, to the next time,.. we use friends as guinea pigs for photoshoots to experiment,... that way if anything goes wrong its not a blow to us mentally or emotionally,.. then when more serious opportunities come,.. we know how to navigate through the glitches,.. years of photoshop experience has bailed us out a few times,.. but we strive to be more camera purists,.. as time continues we will!

    Jasmine Star is truly an inspiration to us in every area,..

  • Tracy July 31, 2009 01:48 am

    I am going to print this off and keep it in my reach!!! Who would have that someone like JS would have ever endured such trials on her way to victory!!! Wow... I want my camera to be an extension of me ( know it inside and out)!!!!

  • Rebecca July 31, 2009 01:41 am

    my last wedding..this is my last wedding- and my last job. I decided not to pursue photography anymore because this happened. I was lucky, not all of my shots turned out horrible, they got a lot of beautiful ones- but at the most important time- all of the family and group shots- I totally screwed it up. I was literally sick when I looked at the entire grouping of images. Anyway, thank you so much for the article. It has given me so much to think about...

  • Zack Jones July 27, 2009 11:54 pm

    Great post. As Dirty Harry once said "A man's got to know his limitations" Wedding photography is beyond me. It's too high stress since there's no do-over.

  • Tereza July 27, 2009 03:51 pm

    Yeah, I'm a big fan of Jasmine too, and she inspires me with every single post on her blog. Every words, every pictures, everything. And I did panic while I was reading her story for the first time. I'm working in a studio, and I'm trying to learn everything I can, 'cause I'm dreaming of shooting weddings and other special events. I hope I can take such beautiful pictures like Jasmine's!

  • Jan July 27, 2009 12:15 pm

    Great article.
    I am a big fan of Jasmine work, and to know what she went through before becoming the great photographer she is, is really inspiring.

  • Silverzz July 27, 2009 05:58 am

    I could easily imagine something like this happening to me!

  • Jessica Shae July 27, 2009 05:17 am

    I love reading her story, again and again and again...it's so inspiring! Thanks for sharing Jasmine, and Christina, thanks for putting it all together!

  • Petty July 27, 2009 02:32 am

    Sorry name error Christina

  • Petty July 27, 2009 02:31 am

    Thanks Christiana for this article. It's funny...I needed this encouragement just at the right moment - actually today I'm getting lots great advice from different sources and people.(lucky me)

    As a new photographer I'm going thru the same stumbles and learning curves to meet my goals. It's uncomfortable but needed. I'll know I'll do great in the end. Thanks again. :)

  • James Johnson July 27, 2009 01:54 am

    Thank you for a wonderful life lesson. For me you're experience goes far beyond photography. I've saved this article in my documents file to read again a few thousand times. Again thank you for sharing. Jim

  • Robert July 26, 2009 09:15 pm

    Jasmine shoots in manual exclusively. You can read that on her blog in the FAQ posts.

  • Chantal July 26, 2009 06:27 pm

    I agree, this is a great story, and it applies to everything you do, not just photography! I'm new to this website, and I'm impressed - I want to go into more professional photography one day - just trying to make a little bit more money so I can get a better camera, hehe...

  • Martin July 26, 2009 03:09 pm

    I've been following Jasmine's blog for a while, and she provides some great refreshingly honest stories - definitely worth adding her blog to your rss reader!

  • Martin Barabe July 26, 2009 11:44 am

    I think this is a great lesson of life in general that applies not only to photographie but to all you desire trully. I have seen Jasmine's work a few months ago and found it really inspiring. Maybe one day i will have my chance as pro but for now i am just enjoying a beautifull hobby.

  • Angie Seaman July 26, 2009 09:37 am

    We love you Jasmine. Thanks for your transparency - for keeping it real - especially for all of us newbies just starting out in the business. (like myself) We appreciate you. We adore you. Keep rocking it out girl. You da' bomb sista'! :)

    PS...Thanks for returning my email the other day. (regarding my confidence being squashed by the stiletto heels....??? Ha ha!) I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write me back. I know you are a busy gal.

    Blessings, Angie Seaman

  • AlainP July 26, 2009 07:15 am

    I think a lot of people neglect the point 4. Wedding photography or any other event photography for that matters does not allow re-shoot. You have to get it right the first time and knowing how your gear works is a critical part of that process.

    Thank god she was a secondary shooter because I have seen this kind of story happening to the first (and only) photographer more often than I would like to believe.

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