Jasmine Star is an international wedding photographer based in Orange County, California. She developed a voice and online brand by leveraging social media and developing techniques to empower clients to become the voice of her brand. She lives with her husband and fabulous dog, and at times struggles to determine who is her favorite. She love to eat chocolate, run on the beach, and spend too much time writing on her blog. She hopes to take the wedding industry by storm. Or learn how to make meatloaf. Whichever comes first.
Here are some of her latest photography tips:
1. Shooting in Bright Sun
Like any wedding photographer will admit, there are things that happen on a wedding day that are completely out of a photographer’s control. Sure, I can plan and strategically approach a wedding in a myriad of ways, but every ounce of work can be tossed to the side because of bad weather, schedule delays, or a bridesmaid’s missing shoe (yes, it really happened). The most important thing to keep in mind is to stay in control. And smile.
Last Saturday–due to the expansive nature of the wedding venue–I orchestrated where I’d photograph bridal party and family portraits in advance. The bride and groom opted to have all formal portraits taken before the wedding ceremony, so the coordinator and I planned to meet in a place that could accommodate the 24-person bridal party in open shade.
Then plans changed at the last minute.
The reasons for the change don’t matter, because–let’s face it–every wedding photographer has been in a similar pinch at one point in time. But what particularly left me flummoxed was the fact that I had to photograph all the bridal party pictures in full sun. My insides went to mush and I wanted to panic, but instead I smiled and said, OF COURSE!
So here’s where the rubber meets the road: it was bright and hot and I needed to photograph 12 groomsmen, two ring bearers, and the groom on a small patch of grass in the blazing sun. I positioned them on the small patch of grass in front of the hotel suite, with the sun just overhead, and captured this photo using the 24mm lens, also using the light-colored sidewalk in front of the groomsmen as a natural reflector to pop light back into their faces. I was able to light their faces in post a little as well, but the use of the natural reflector made it easier to highlight later…
2. How to Get Likes on Facebook
ometimes my patience wears so thin it’s translucent. It’s almost as if I expect people who are close to me to read my mind and when they don’t, I want to chew on coconut rinds. I heard coconut was good for your teeth, but I think it’d be better used as a way to express how frustrated one might be. Gnawing on brown, hairy fruit might give juuuust the right impression of all my toughness. Or my healthy gums.
In other news, I received a question from a reader (Hi, Ashley!) who asked how to get more Likes and interaction on Facebook. I’ll be the first to say I’m not an expert on the matter, but I’d be honored to give my opinion. Facebook has been a game-changer for my wedding photography and I’d be happy to share how I approach it. This video will focus on…
*Why I don’t sync Twitter and Facebook updates.
*The importance of sharing more personal updates than business updates.
*Why the more you talk about your business from your page, the less people will listen.
*How I get clients to Like my business page…without even asking!
3. Choosing an Engagement Location
I have opinions. In fact, my opinions have opinions, almost like my mouth is a factory mass producing opinions by the nanosecond. There are times when JD is like, LET ME GUESS YOU HAVE ANOTHER OPINION, RIGHT?! I just feel my thoughts will go wild if they stay locked up in my brain, so cut me some slack!
A few weeks ago, I mentioned my clients choose the location for their engagement session and I don’t have much say in the matter…and I prefer it that way. I want my clients to be invested in the shoot and take ownership in how their love is documented.
Last week, however, I received an email from a client who told me she and her fiance brainstormed locations and thought shooting at Santa Monica Pier would be “easy and fun”. Then she asked for my opinion. This is the part where JD is standing somewhere in the distance whispering, NOOOOOOOO!
The minute she asked for feedback, I knew she was still searching for the right spot and needed a little guidance…here’s my response:
What great email timing you have! Love it!
Okay, so here’s what I think (and please know I’m only ever honest with my clients)…
I will shoot wherever you think is best and wherever you and Eric will feel most comfortable. More than anything I want the session to truly reflect everything you are and how you love. In light of this, if the beach/pier is a place you spend a lot of time and really oozes how you love, then great! Let’s go there.
If, on the other hand, the location is easy to get to and pretty, then maybe we can add a layer to the shoot to personalize it….because sometimes easy doesn’t necessarily mean the best place for you. If, say, you’re beach goers and it fits your personalities, which beach do you go to? How far do you live from the beach? Is there any way we can find a location that incorporates who you are and how you spend time together? The sky’s the limit!
I’m great with either option, I just want to make sure you know of all your options. Once we lock in a place, I’ll solidify the time (as it’s based on the available light in that given location).
The important thing for me was to act as a guide and ensure the engagement session was a true reflection of their love and this is how I did it. Sometimes offering an honest opinion is difficult with a client, but I couldn’t be more proud of her new location of choice. After thinking things through with Eric, they chose the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica to start their shoot, as it was where they celebrated their surprise engagement party.
Educating clients, offering insight, and (dare I say) pushing them to define what they want will yield a better experience and likely produce images that appeal to clients’ sensibilities and sentimentalities. I hope this adds a little more insight into how I work with my clients and engagement sessions. When I started my business, I tried to navigate these sometimes difficult conversations so, perhaps, this might help one person find their voice and grow their business stronger in a shorter amount of time.
4. Engagement Shoot Tips
There was a point not too long ago when I came to the realization that I’d lost control of what I wanted. Heck, who am I kidding? I wasn’t even control to begin with. It got to a point where I almost dreaded shooting an engagement session because I didn’t know what to expect. Once, during my first year of business, a client showed up an hour and a half late to an engagement session. Hold on…lemme pause for dramatic effect…AN HOUR AND A HALF!!!
But I soon realized it wasn’t my clients’ fault…it was mine. How could I expect clients to know just how important arriving on time was if I didn’t explain to them in advance? How were they supposed to know the intricacies of shooting with natural light? How could they know what I needed if I didn’t tell them in advance?
Through the years, I’ve grown to lovelovelove engagement sessions and part of why I enjoy them is because I work with the clients in advance to ensure we’re on the same page. This installment of Shooting Star, I’ll be discussing Engagement Shoot Tips given to clients before their session for an optimal experience. They’re as follows, but I go into depth in the video…
1. Send Links to Past Engagement Sessions to Ensure Clients Know What to Expect
2. Explanation of Natural Light and the Importance of Arriving on Time
3. What to Wear on an Engagement Shoot
4. How to Choose and Personalize the Engagement Session Location
5. Explain the Goals for the Engagement Shoot
If you liked these tips or have anything else to say please comment down below to let us know! We would love to hear from you.
PS: Don’t forget to check out Jasmine’s site if you haven’t already!