For those of you who are attorney tuning in, um, I can't thank you enough at all. I told the crew earlier this morning how nervous I wass I don't ever think that I get used tio doing this it's not like what I do think it's a by product of being able to do what I love, but I would not be here if it wasn't for people who are genuinely interested and supportive and overwhelming just a support structure. So, like this morning I woke up and I will come to people who were really offering the nicest supportive words, so I can't thank you enough for that. Um, so thank you again for the thousandth time and I'd love to repeat myself really dio um, I want to start this course, letting everybody know what happened since the last course. So, um, creative lives was an awesome opportunity, and it was it was great and it was phenomenal, and I could say that now in like, a retrospective, but to give people like, behind the scenes look of what was happening a tte the end of last year at the end of creat...
ive live, it took me a little bit of time to reel back from the experience let's see, so the course was five days and I had prepared myself mentally and emotionally for the wedding or at least I thought I did um I had no idea what was up and I said it before and I'll say it again I really felt like um emotionally and mentally and even physically I felt like my body was like exposed wires like I was constantly on the like the virgin like oh my god oh my god oh my god and tio approach the wedding and have everybody watching like a live environment was more than I could have one ever appreciated, but I couldn't understand the gravity of what was happening and um after we finish the wedding we were exhausted and we went back to the hotel room and the next morning I got up and I was super excited and I even like danced in the hotel room and I was like we did it is awesome high fiving great so we came to class and night I showed like the work and I was just talking and I don't think that I was mentally prepared for everything that was going to come as a byproduct of that. So at the end of class craig's down with me and he's very much a straight shooter and he just said, okay, so this is what happened today you basically showed everything to everybody and there are a ton of questions and maybe it's not so much what you might want to have out there for, um, your brand or are we connecting the dots? And, um throughout the course, I tried not to get onto social media try not to get onto facebook or anything like that because I knew that there was gonna be aa lot of mixed reviews, and he knew that teo, because of how I was feeling to deal with any sort of like meanness or criticism, it was gonna hit me a lot harder than it would have otherwise, because usually I don't care about that stuff, but I knew that I was extraordinary susceptible, but of course, since my willpower is that of, like a five year old, I went on and I was just like, okay, like, I just wanted to check it out, and I just wasn't ready for it. I think that between the criticism and or the feedback between feeling like I had shown or exposed like way too much, I feel like I had dropped the ball. I wasn't mentally prepared for a four day for and went back to the hotel room when I sobbed and sobbed and ice saab jd and I actually had dinner reservations to go out that saturday night because we were, like, excited, we're going to celebrate. And I couldn't even put myself I couldn't even collect myself I was in the rental car like shaking and he's just like, okay, we're not going to dinner, so I'm back to that motel room and I laid towels out on the floor and I just cried I just cried and I cried and I cried because I just felt like something I felt like, I think we just made the biggest mistake that's how I felt at the time and so then jd, whose iq so extraordinarily different knocked on the door and he let me have my cry because I needed to I needed just to like, get it out he's like, okay, so now what we're gonna do? And they think that that's the option that everybody has is like you get to a point and it might not be it could be the proverbial creative life wherever you guys are, it could be the point, really? God, I think I just really messed up and I don't want it to be agnes and, um, we stayed up to like two or three in the morning trying tio collectively say, this is what happened, we're gonna walk you through beginning to end, and yeah, we did expose ourselves in a whole new level, but we do think hopefully it's for the greater good and I still thought like when we get back home I didn't even get up out of bed that following monday I was just so depressed and I was so like in a funk and then um the support after seeing everything that people put out online just like moves me get like oh god like it's already a girl course like I'm having a girl moment yeah no no so here's the thing um I was so indebted to people's kindness on the web because it was such a hard point my life because I felt like I did it wrong there had never been a template like that and then for people to say like, hey, we appreciate it and I was like, you know what? That's what was supposed to be like for people to say you don't have it together and you're still succeeding if that's what the crux of the course became I'm okay with that if that's how people both criticize and applaud me that's fine so that's going to be the template for how we go forward with this course I want to be as open as raw as like I don't give a flip and I will say I live and I know my mom is watching should be praying for me I know no another thing too is I do want teo let people know that I'm going to answer questions and I'm going to be open and nothing is off limits about me if I do refrain from a question it will only be because it would have to involve to talk talking about somebody who I'm not sure I want to talk about your situation that I don't think it's necessarily good toe have out there but as far as it comes to me it's going to be completely open I want people to know on the web I'm completely accessible this class more than anything is going to be driven by you and not by you made here yes in the classroom but it's going to be on the web because the course initially started with ah wedding photography business course and conversation with jasmine star that's how that's how it was pitched to me and that's what I'm going to stay because that's why I started creating the curriculum for the course and it's slightly changed after just changed into building your wedding photography business, which is fine but I'm going to stick with the conversation because I it's just gonna be a conversation like I'm going to sit here and talk about how I did it I didn't go to business school I didn't go to photography school I do not have it together and I don't have all the right answers if that's what you came here for I am so sorry log off save your time on your friday and go do what you d'oh clearly, like that's, not it. We're going to talk and I will share about my experiences not thinking or ever pretending that that was like, this is the right way. I have my ish together, so you just follow me. We're gonna change it on up. You're gonna take what I can say and you're gonna if you like it that's awesome. And if you don't like it that's equally as awesome because I'm gonna push you closer to what you want to do if everything you think I was saying is trash great. Now you know exactly what you're not going to do, and it will then further mold what you want to do with your business. Having said that, um, for those of y'all who, um, are in this last three, all in class, like it's, a little pixilated online, those pictures, they look okay, I put to get in this course and I was like, oh, like funny. So a brief introduction for what we're going to do here. So I gave an introduction of who I was and where it came from. In the last course for people who are tuning in for the first time for people who haven't heard the best. Story or even people here in class this is for them so please forgive me we're gonna take two minutes just to talk a little bit about the backstory because in order for me to tell you why I made the decisions I made I think it's really imperative for you to understand what was going on behind the scenes this is what this course is about because I have been quite open how I grow my business I talk about it on the web and I even talk about it when I go and speak in different cities but I want actually use this as a real course I want to talk to you about where I was working, what my house looks like I was meeting in starbucks the whole night because what people see now is a very different version in of huai of who the what the business looked like four years ago so that's what I want to talk about today but before we get to that point wanna talk about the backstory um I going too fast and I just like flying because I'm just okay because I'm just like uh yeah like if I'm going too fast that just means you're slow okay, here we go no, but really if you guys have something just stopped me and be like, okay what's going on all this good stuff so basically I was on full scholarship at law school I um I went there and I thought that that was what I was supposed to do and be and that's when I thought my business was going to become I was gonna be a lawyer and I was so unhappy there and but I just thought well it's not like you know law school's supposed to be disneyland I just feel like it's gonna be a lot of hard work it's going to be what we do and getting to law school was a big deal not only for me but for our family and furthermore for the people that surrounded us like the network or otherwise known as the body o okay, so uh when I went to law school it was not only a big thing for my family it was a big thing for the people who supported our fate are our family my mom had was diagnosed with brain cancer my jaeger of college and the people who rallied behind us really became the spinal cord to our to our survival mechanism. And when I went to law school my parents threw a party and it was like, you know, the beans and tortillas it's like, you know, like, you know, your point last school you know, like it was like a big thing and so being there was I didn't feel like it was just me I felt like it was the byproduct of a representation of um my family and the people who supported our family so for me to walk away it wasn't just a personal decision I felt like I was letting people down my mother relapse with brain cancer my first year of law school and uh that coupled with the fact that they just didn't like being there just was that the most depressed point of my life and I felt like I was moving backwards so I went into law school one day and I simply said I'm leave thing I'll be back to get my scholarships if that option is available for me they said you have five years to come back and get your scholarships just be with your mom right now because the doctors had said that they were stopping chemotherapy and it was just going to be the quality of her life not the quantity and so because I was on scholarship they covered my housing if I was no longer a student I lost my housing I call jd on a whim and he said, hey I just left law school and she's like okay great do you want to get dinner and I was like no I really left law school and I didn't consult anybody about it about ah oh my god seriously I really love my words all the time I didn't make it my own words in my language seriously keep a list it will be like five pages long um so I didn't consult anybody about it. I just literally packed up my stuff packed in judy's car he drove me back home to my parents house so there I was twenty five years old and, um I thought we won was dying and I went to bed that night thinking I had made the best decision and it was the bedroom where my cheer uniform was an instinct posters were on the wall and I was like yep you did it ahh yeah. And then the next morning I woke up in the same bedroom out sick oh my god. You just made the biggest mistake of your life and dealing with this whole mix of emotions and trying to figure out like what the pulse was and about three months later maybe home and b may be lost but being with my mom um jd proposes and j d was my boyfriend for eight and a half years prior to our wedding so we definitely were took like the slow track I always joke with people that I was slow mover and definitely uh being with the same guy for eight years is indicative of this decision so we decided to plant a destination wedding in hawaii we wanted my mom to be there so we plan the wedding in about five and half six months and twenty five people of our closest friends and family and um we hired are we hired a wedding photographer from the mainland. And so when I came across his work, I was so moved with who he was and what he did. And I became extraordinarily jealous. And when we're out and I became against talking his blawg, I knew everything about him, my husband's. Like, if I wasn't so confident in us, I would be like a yo, like who's, this other guy, uh, and so, actually, when we booked in as our wedding photographer, um, uh, we went out to dinner to celebrate like I was so I know I was so excited to be booking our wedding photographer on them. Forget you into lucille's barbecue, which where I was slinging went ribs. Before I went to law school, I left my corporate american job to study for the lsat. And then I realized nobody wants to hire a girl who's gonna be leaving their company in seven months. So what did I do? I went back to the core of what I knew and what I did to college serving I was a waitress slinging ribs, prime rib. He wants talk about brisket. I'll talk to your brisket, I was the best thing about tri tip I'm a vegetarian, I will. Straight sell you st louis ribs no lying straight dry rub you want to do that like I'll talk you up you come in wanting a cell and you leave with leftovers in desert no lie s oh yeah so planned a destination wedding and I saw what my wedding photographer did, um we flew him there and put him up in the hotel and then he waited him a very basic rental car, but he upgraded my own and you got like, a convertible and I was checking his block the day of the morning of my wedding, and I saw that the day before he had cruised on the island like this convertible and I was like, lucky, you know, I'm getting married and I'm looking at what he's doing it I was just like he has the best life ever, and so what happened was he took our pictures and I feel like he changed my life he changed our purse expected because my mom wasn't supposed to be there at our wedding and she wasn't supposed to walk me down the aisle and she did he documented miracle in a way that nobody else ever could people ask me now that I'm in the industry, what would I do now differently? Like what? I changed my wedding and I said no, my wedding was perfect the way that it was even now till this day if I were to get married again I would still have david j come back and photograph our wedding because he was in tuned to something that wasn't seen on the outside and I think that was a skill set specifically for him so I got married in september I had to go back to school to make the declaration to go back to school in a brown november and it was around this time where I decided I wanted to be a wedding photographer and he has always been in you know as a sort of process it already kind of already been there underneath the surface but I had never vocalized it and so I got the letter from u c l a say you have to come back and complete the second semester where you left off because I never took second semester finals and so I got the letter when I was eating dinner with jd and I was crying because I don't want to go back I'm so unhappy there but who leaves law school like who leaves like you know you're there for three years you leave your job and you have a corner office and you have a scholarship all that stuff and um he said ok if you could do one thing for the rest of your life what would it be and I said I wanted the wedding photographer and he was like what? On you know I mean I could've said I want to be a magician it was like that far out he was just like okay that's that's okay like fine so we kind of just did it and he said, you know what you have you have five years to get your scholarship like worst case scenario is that you get a camera and you get business carbs and it doesn't work out for you and you go back to law school with a nice camera and business cons like that's the worst case scenario and he said something that will serve as the cornerstone of my business which is what I say again and again and I will keep on saying it for every person who's willing to listen he said I would rather see you fail at something you love then succeed at something you hate and never more headed ever resonated with me because my mom was I was looking and standing at death's door and I thought she's fifty and I'm twenty five five, twenty five years left in my life so I want to be a lawyer so I want to be unhappy and how foolish of me to think that I had twenty five years I might not even have twenty five minutes so that I wasn't just all of a sudden became an easy decision I'm going to take a year I'm gonna see if this works and that was the best decision I ever made, and I say, it's a decision, but when I'm at the time, I thought I was the biggest risk, so I could look back with rose tinted glasses and be like, yeah, it was a cool decision, jasmine, but it was a risk because, um, we didn't have very much money. I had never touched a digital camera. I had never had any formal photography training on we didn't have any money like anybody looking at the situation be like, oh, yeah, ok, good good luck, sweetie. And who would have thought that at the end of two thousand six, I booked three weddings? And in two thousand seven we ended up booking thirty eight weddings and that's all without spending anything on formal marketing, that's all about flipping the current switch that's in the industry, so I don't I know, I know my dad always says know who you is always and I know no, I know who he is. People aren't interested in me because I'm the bomb people aren't interested in me because I want all these ward's oh, please, I know people just talk trash about my work guess what, I don't care. You're not hiring me like you want talk trash about me if you're not hired me I don't care like if my clients are talking trash about me then I'm gonna take I'm gonna digest it if my family's talking trash about movement adjusted my best friends my post inner circle if any of y'all are talking trash about me I'm gonna take it any strangers behind the screen in their cubicle talking trash about what I'm doing sweetie I'm busy doing me you know I know who you is fresh eyes word okay, no, but at the end of the day I want yield no and b confidence in the fact that you might be up against mount everest and if you want it jd always says sometimes working with you is like climbing mount everest in tennis shoes and I'm like, I know listen listen, that is how life is you ever think that getting into a lot of photography was going to be like peaches and cream? If you did you're in the wrong business, you know, like it's gonna be hard work so I want to talk about what I did, what you could do it any of y'all are in the same situation and got no talent and got no knowledge and got no connections and got no money I never touched a camera, you know you're fine on and I know that rubs people the wrong way listen, I'm gonna be a polarity I'm gonna be way out here if you have a camera if you have somewhat photography knowledge and if you have a little bit of money you're already three huge steps ahead of me so anywhere you are in that spectrum we're going to move it from there which leads us to what this course is about today and what we're talking about today is building your wedding photography business again I said it before but just in case the cameras weren't rolling this course is about you I can only give you what you give me I'm a firm believer I know this like I know this drives my dad crazy because I always say there's energy dad there's energy and he's like what are you you live in venice speech of crystals around your house like no like there's energy like people like you guys were like, you know what we what we experienced at breakfast was cool, it was like we're all sitting around just hanging out in his dorm room you know it's like that's the energy right? So what you give me is the only thing that I can give back to I could talk about my story, but I'm a firm believer that my story ain't nothing I believe that your story is better now we just have to frame it, so what you give me is what we're going to get back, and I'm I talked to you all, but I really do mean this for people on the web if you guys are listening, talk back to me and we will try to give back everything that you guys are giving us. So this is what we're gonna be starting off this presentation with we're gonna talk about my personal wedding experience white I'm interesting. No, of course not. How can we best assess what is happening at this point? Because first and foremost, I was a law student. But then what did I become a bride? So sometimes I asked rhetorical questions if you guys want to answer, it makes me feel so good. I'm sarah say amazing feel like we're on the same page. I was a bride, so basically I became case study for what my business would then become. I didn't know it at the time, but that's what it turned out to be. So when I was starting to look at my wedding photographer, I didn't know who my wedding photographer was at the time, so this is, um, two thousand five ish, and I'm going on the web and one thing about my personality. Soon enough you guys will find out I'm straight determined you tell me I can't do something watch me fly you know you know it's like the more you say I can't the more you say I shouldn't the more I will do so haters keep on hating clouds keep clowning but we're going to just move forward right? Okay so my personal experience with my winning photographer was before working with him specifically was I would get on the web and I was looking at different photographers websites which was my demographic we no longer live in the kind of like storefront oh there's our local neighbourhood photographer that's further more my family is ghetto we never had family pictures so it's not like we're gonna use our family photographer family photographers what are that? You know what? What? You know it's like, you know it's just like when we went out to like italian food are mexican restaurant a polaroid was the christmas card you know, like whatever like that's not we rolled and so when it came time I just went to the web and I did what any average person might do might do in my situation I loved photography so I typed in google wedding photo journalist because I knew that it didn't want like stuffy portrait's I wanted like real life photos so I went to google yeah okay went to google typed in wedding photo journalist and I click to website after a website after website now, after all these websites I noticed kind of like the same thing nobody was really sticking out there are a you kind of stand out and so I would tag their sights and then I kind of move on it's kind of collecting on page sixty seven of google I came across yeah, I told you I was determined I was obsessed well remember I was like a full time bride I was I was doing freelance writing at the time I was living off my law school scholarships that were still in my bank account and I was doing odd and jobs writing teo kind of just st up to brussels what else to do? But I was working from home so I was like a full time bride which is what which is what I feel a lot of our clients are because they are full time pride that they're at work but what are they doing at work cruising logs on for rom's, right? They just got to get the minimum out work done until they get to their wedding I'm not even lying, so so this is what the case came on page thirty seven I came to david j dot com and I clicked on his web site and I was just like well what the heck is happening here now? Most of people don't know what I mean you see his current website now and he's no longer a wedding photographer he's an entrepreneur running a very successful business um but before that the website that I came across is what I want to dissect now because what I want to think about it it sort of building the curriculum what was it about his website that stuck out why him what became what was like the tipping point that made him so different kind of ah boiled it down to three things I think allowed me to really see who he was and that was that he used a video intro when I went to his website he said hi I'm david j feel free I I don't really remember but it was more or less like I love what I do I'm really glad that I'm able to do it was really short twenty thirty second and then you moved into his website now another thing that kind of stuck out some use in addition to his photos what he did that was different than what a lot of other photographers were doing at the time was that he used not just still imagery could still image is beautiful but he kind of changed the by incorporating slide shows created emotional connection through slide shows because what the slide shows did that the still image res imagery is yes, imagery is what this slide shows did they still images? Could not was a I was no longer a viewer became a participant because the slide shows were a start to finish view on wedding day. So I started with her getting ready, and I ended with them in their exit car. Like their exit card. Does that make sense? Yeah. There's the rand exit. Ok, yeah. That's like that's. Like that that's, uh, phrase number eight of, like, stupid things I say. Okay, so they left in their grand exit car, whatever. And this remote, this slide show four to five minutes in length to a song. And all of a sudden I'm getting all teary eyed about the stranger I had never seen. I was like, this is the story of her day. And as in bride, I was no, not lo longer looking at it as this is a bride getting married. It was this could potentially be me. He could potentially make my wedding feel like this. And that was a main thing. And I know that now, it's a lot more prevalent. But if you're not doing it and you're building your website, I do think that that's gonna be a good thing to kind of consider on lastly and I do believe very importantly um he had a unique bio section this unique bio section really helped him stand apart because it was no longer this oh I've been shooting on a thirty five millimeter cameras since I was eight years old and I help my grandfather develop film in the basement the chemicals are still burning my hands like you know it was a lot of these bios that I was I was reading were all the same they all mentioned these organisations that they belong to that I had never heard ofthe and awards that they won from organizations that meant nothing to me so they all hand behind this mask of professionalism and I'm like, I want to know you so when I went to his website it was just like it was this I'll never forget it looked like a little like a picture book and you click on one side and it just took the page and there's one where he said like, I'd like taking risks and it was a picture of him skydiving and then there was one just like my dad always taught me and then he'd listed like a piece of sage advice from his father and there's a picture of him dad holding his dad holding him as a baby all these things that had nothing to do with who he was professionally but who he was as a person those things I became so invested in who this guy wass I was just like, oh my god, this is my wedding photographer and in an instant, without him having to lift a finger or do anything, he was selling himself to me without me feeling like I was being sold to that is the foundation of my experience, and little did I know would be worked as the foundation of my future business, so we're gonna move in teo getting started, which is how I got started after this sexual kind of open it up for questions. I'm going to try to stay really close to a timeline. Um, but I definitely want to answer questions to get a vibe, and if I'm going over the story too fast, leaving too many gaps in there, please hold back and it's my story. I know all the details, right? So you hook a sister up in film and so getting started now I had just mentioned I had never worked with a digital camera before I shot a little bit on film in college, my college didn't have a formal photography, um, discipline, but whatever it is, however, classes were offered is what I did and had the opportunity to develop my own film, and it was this great opportunity and I loved it, but I'm a first generation hispanic first generation called his student how could I tell my parents like I want to be an artist an artist you don't need to go to punish for art and I was like ok, yeah, I know so I decided to study business that's what I got into my parents would've supported me either way I have amazing parents but for me it just made sense to go hey if I'm paying us much to go to school then I need to get like a job and I didn't think that it could survive so I got my first digital camera christmas of two thousand five jd bought me a cannon twenty it's what kind of refer to an industry as a pro sumer camera so it's not necessarily like a novice amateur camera but it's not full fledged professional camera so I rocked the twenty for about the first two years of my business this camera roughly will get into pricing and how I started roughly cost around twelve hundred dollars I opened it up on I got it on christmas but I didn't have the nerve to open until new year's of two thousand six because I'm all about new beginnings and I know I know you have a clown away uh whatever whatever anyway so it doesn't laugh at me I won't tell you my personal stories um yeah I'm just kidding I don't care laugh I don't care okay would love yeah you're laughing with me? Not at me right um so I opened my cannon twenty day and people always ask why did you start cannon? Do you like nikon or whatever the case may be my wedding photographer shot with cannon and jd shot him an email unbeknownst to me and said jasmine wants to get into photography what came or do you recommend djs or david j shot with cantonese like jasmine cannon that's how he started I absolutely love cannon I'm not sponsored by them but if anybody from ken's watching huh? Okay, so no s so now I shoot with the canyon five z mark too but for those people who are starting and I often get questions about oh, you know I have a rebel extra you can do it. Listen it's not the gear that you have as much as it is whose working the gear yes year makes a difference but don't ever feel like that's like an impediment because when I went to weddings when I first heard shooting weddings there would be guessed there with like the mark the mark two or like a five d and there I was with like my twenty d and and a very and I had like a fifty one point four and then there was like the seventy, two hundred I s like telephoto and I was just like, oh my gosh and then I thought to myself, I can do more with my twenty d and my one point for then you could do on p boat okay? So no time seems like it's how you approach your here don't let anybody ever say what you can and cannot do because then you let them dictate what you can and cannot do so that's how I got started now the next thing that we're gonna move into was how life looked did they send a little russian? How how well I've worked in two thousand six ok, so a lot of times people didn't know like what I was doing or how I was doing it I didn't just jump into photography because at this time I needed to get a job, I got married and then I made the declaration I wasn't going back to law school and while I would love just tow work at home and be a socialite without the money, we needed that pay rent so I worked part time, so I work part time what part time looked like for me was mondays, wednesdays and fridays and he worked for part time for a radio program in los angeles and I was thankful to be there they had a lot of flexibility and I was really supportive I didn't have to hide behind what I was doing too much there's always that level of like oh I shouldn't be surfing the web right now but I am so that's what I did mondays wednesdays and fridays so that when I was really focusing on photography was on tuesdays thursdays and saturdays if given the opportunity so do I know that balance between striking working and trying to build a business absolutely do I did I do a happy dance when I transition completely away from working part time absolutely and we could all answer those questions as you have them so I was working part time I was trying to not only work part time I was trying to build a business I was trying to learn photo shop I was trying to learn in design of thailand l straight out of turn the album signed trying learn bridge was trying to learn my camera I had a lot going on at this time but it was just my life um jd worked at a start up company so I don't know everyone I read a cup like things online just so funny people make up stuff about my story and I'm like where did they give your wherever you get this stuff you know they're just like oh it's so nice to have a husband who can finance your job working I was like sweetie please eyes just like created taco bell like four nights a week okay hey worked at a start up company so he wasn't really raking in the door we were ok but it was literally paycheck to paycheck we were not doing fine dining, we drove very simple cars like it was it was literally point a to point b every two weeks that was how we were living that's how you're surviving the decisions that we made were decisions that were strategic according to what we had within our budget so I was working part time jenny works for a startup company, but the status of our financial situation is very even keel we do not have an excess amount of money anywhere we're not like starving and we're not taking huge financial risks at this time um also life was very simple it was busy but he was very simple I didn't want to make life complex because I had just gone through so much with my mom I'm j d also has a sister with special needs and she was born that way. Unbeknownst to anybody, we had gone through a lot together in a very short amount of time and finally I got married I felt for the first time in a about uh four years that life finally was okay and I think that when you're twenty five and four or five years of your life and the first five years of your life, I don't really remember so if I were to extract those first five years a fourth of my life was battling a lot I thought comes at a really dark place and I felt like I wasn't just like a happy person so finally we moved together we had this very simple apartment and we were happy our apartment we lived kind of in the outskirts so for people who are from california we described where we live according to county so if you say aleo I live in l a but l a is you know from one side to one side is an hour drive in orange county from one side two on one side is like an hour drive either way we're in l a county at the time we lived in very very simple apartment we absolutely loved it it was like a nineteen thirties art deco apartment we found it literally literally two days before we go to hawaii when I came back we came back I was like oh my god I think we have to move into my mom's when we come back from the wedding and he's like your mother's I put you in a hotel way go to your mama's house so we're driving around and we just saw this random for rent sign and we drove up we saw this beautiful like duplex and we were on the top story nineteen years it was so cute had hardwood floors this beautiful fireplace crystal knobs we were like score yeah it was pretty but oh yeah the interior designer loves it um now that neighborhood adjacent to the house literally adjacent on both sides and in front and around by like seven miles not so cool it was totally ripe for a lack of other words um at night if I were to come home j d be waiting outside by my car and then he would walk me up I wouldn't walk the dog in her neighborhood um we had neighbours that lived downstairs and they were deaf there were a couple but they would argue vehemently and they couldn't hear each other and so I know you guys I lived there, okay? I know it sounds like what I know I tried like why are you guys we hear you? You don't hear each other on, so you know, it was this very kind of different area, but we were happy I didn't I'm not high class, I'm a straight up ghetto girl who is happy where ever I have learned to live with little and I have learned to live with much and I will be okay in both those situations. That's what life looks like so that's just setting you know where we are at this point again we're setting the story to where're annoying life is simple, we're in life was happy now we're going to get into questions if that's okay sorry, I'm just kind of jumping around. I want to make sure that up until this point all kind of field a couple questions, I think the questions are just gonna build. The more we get into the story. For now, we're just setting. Are we cool? Okay, so what? I want teo for questions both here and online questions that pertain to what I've spoken about around that time. Because clearly, people wanna know how I get into destination weddings. Well, we could talk about that, but first let's set the stage so that people so that word it's not repetitive because working on such a short time frame are we good? Any questions right now? What should we just fly through? I mean, if we get started, it's, you know questions? Okay. Okay, two questions, but see? Right. Sorry. I told you. No, no e o s o I am. You guys want to talk about, like, uh oh, cd organized type a like. So I sent them a basic outline, which is what? I post it online and that each section I had, like fifteen bullet points in, like, keep me on track. I know I'm so annoying. How is it to live with me I have no idea, okay? So one thing I want to talk about when it comes to practicing the basics is that people always ask, how did you learn to shoot manually? How did you learn this? How did you learn that I didn't go to school? I didn't know which way was up, so I did what anybody else would do if they really, really, really wanted something to practice. There is no magic pill, there is no magic, anything like what we were doing or how we were doing it that's like the biggest thing that I want teo put out to people again and again and again, um, I still have my old block out online for people to see that the first time the images that I was producing, they weren't that great, all those types of things I put out there so I wanted teo enforce that the active like a wrote action drives me again and again and again well on ly make you better regardless of how much it sucks while you're doing it. I firmly believe that people who the professionals that were paid for professional athletes are athleticism do the same thing again and again in the gate get tiger woods gets up and he plays golf every single day, I believe, and I know that kobe bryant gets on the free point of the three point line every single day there is a reason why he has like an eighty seven percent free throw average yes I know that I love the lakers don't hate I don't hate actually for my birthday I went to lakers game I was like so excited when comey when kevin came out on the court I was like indeed he's like just off I was just so excited so yeah I mean they they are that good because they practice so let's kind of just disseminate like people like I'm just I'm just not getting better how much are you practicing you know you tell me how good you want to get out tom but I'll tell you how much you need to practice every day every hour every minute you possibly hand even when it sucks so practicing the basics we're gonna move right in teo how I started no basically how it started I got my camera on january for opened my camera on january first two thousand six and I did what any excited person would d'oh I opened it up in a just earn shooting because by this point in time I had been following my wedding photographers blogger and people that he linked out to a sort of folding their blog's and I'm like I got it I am just like just bordering photographer who's going to be so amazing I'm always crazy ideas my head and then I got my camera and just shot around our apartment and um when I downloaded the pictures my first thought and I'll never forget was oh my god I saw like what happened? You know, like what happened told me dreams like I was like ansel adams I am not so and I always loved fashion photography and so clearly like any legal it was like a huge inspiration when I first started and so it's kind of like a disillusioned when you're first starting do not compare yourself to the iconic great photographers because you'll always be let down s o I saw this I was like, okay, this clearly isn't working and I need to make a change so when you are at that point where you realize ok my photos sock I need to change them you need them to understand what are the changes that I need to make for me it was basically just understanding what my camera did like I mentioned before I shot on film so I was very familiar with like esso according to the film that I had purchased to get the type of result that I wanted and so I kind of implicitly understood isil on a digital camera but shutter speed and all of these other things I was not advanced whatsoever when it came to film photography so controlling all of those elements within a digital camera became like a new beast for me and I didn't know how to dive right in so after about a week of me trying to be like, I'm going to prove to myself I have I have it I have it going out on the street and shooting and realizing cabbie still stock and then the next day like no, no, I was having an off day the past two days this is it third time's a charm yeah, no, not so much it just didn't work that way, so what I did was I just got opened my manual I went to the canon twenty de manual and he started on page one day I read the meaning and I'm not a manual lerner and this is what I hear again and again people like oh, I'm a visual learner I really need a photography mentor I really need a good well workshop. Yes, I am the same way, but a lot of times you're not given that luxury, so whatever you have, you have to make it work, so but by the time you actually get that opportunity to have this argument or to go to a workshop so work with friends is that you clearly know some basics I didn't know the basics I'll be straight up f stop what like, you know, like I know I did what was going on, so open my manual start on page one go through every single thing and when I didn't know what something was or I didn't understand what how they're applying it within the manual the captain referring to shutter speed in hell bush under speed changes things it didn't go end up enough in the manual so I went to cool yeah and it didn't do me wrong with my wedding photographers I didn't think doesn't do me wrong with shutter speed so I went to school and I started creating my own personalized curriculum no this is me talking in retrospect I could say oh I did his curriculum right at the time I didn't know what I was doing I was just trying to take what I had and make them work if you're at the point where you don't have too much money and you don't have accessibility to a lot of other photographers what do you have and then you have to make it work if the only thing you do have no here's the thing god why was not creative life around when I was starting my business you know now I sound like those old photographers back when I started wear carving pictures on stone listen what created live provides is this amazing opportunity for people to come in and learn for free online this is why I am such a ardent supporter to what is going on here I believe that they are shaking up the industry I believe that they are doing it not wrong, but not right now because in the industry, we currently have this social like structure in normal, this is how you do it. This is how you teach one person comes in a little bubble, this is how it is all the sun and they came in. They didn't know the pre existing culture within the wedding and the portrait photographer world, and so they just started doing their own thing office and everybody's looking at them, they're making huge strides have a bunch of numbers, people are active, people love it because grassroots thing and people are like on fire boom, they're not doing it right, but they're doing it their own way. If that's where you are be the creative live in your the world, you know, create your own, create your own greedy low. So one thing I will say though, this process was painfully slow, it was so, um agonising. So when I see people online and on the web and I was like, oh, you know, probably practicing, I'm not going where bubble I'm like, I know that feeling, but guess what? You know, it takes nine months to have a baby like you have to go through the nine months to have the baby you're trying to start a business it's like birthing a child it's gonna be a lot of hard work and when it finally comes out it's gonna cry like this is life you know, this is what we do so just deal with it like move forward keeping your going to stop because it's hard to stop because you're moving too slow then you were never meant to be a photographer and this story I'm sorry I was such a straight shooter I well rub you the wrong way but that's fine if it makes you better and yeah okay, so basically I I became so frustrated with the process that I decided on a whim to apply to pasadena art center, which is amazing photography program and I was like, this is what I'm gonna do so I called pass again and I rip quested an application didn't talk to jd because I was just I was so our shutter speed you have no idea and so I called passing I request a course catalog like I'm going here it was like thirty thousand dollars a year at the time it's an amazing course like don't get me wrong it's like a three year program two or three year party okay, I'm going it's gonna be amazing rock my world ivan become the photographer I want to come get the course catalog and what are they covering? Film one oh one you know the basics things that I had already learned up into that point I'm like, wait, I have to wait a full semester I've to pay thirty thousand dollars and then I'm just gonna have to go through a film course when that's not even necessarily what I'm doing so here I was clearly trying to take the cheap road I was trying to do it easy and let me cut you some time don't do it easy, the easier it is, the less worth it becomes. So do the hard work and basically I ended up teaching myself online, so whenever I, whenever I came across something again with you should be because god, I love it, I would give myself a weekly project so this weekly project would be back lighting one of the very first one that he did was backlighting because I absolutely loved back letting that was so difficult for me and so I started of studying what I had to do where I needed to be with lenses that I had and then I gave myself a weekly project first weekly project was backlighting the first thing that I shot was a wooden chair backlit in my dining room by the table because I would think that this could possibly replicate what it would be on a reception at a reception site for those types of reception sites that I was dealing with at the time if you're dealing a lot with ballroom settings will set it up in a way that might be a ballroom setting which would be closer to maybe like an office or your bedroom smaller windows less light a darker setting. My dining room at the time was shooting very simple basic, you know ghetto fab weddings that had a lot of open air because they were usually like in there like ufc or like lions club you know the church, the church and empty npr room whatever multipurpose room yeah that's where our receptions were so I thought this setting is closer to that. Another thing they did was the orange dangling backlit industry. We had this orange tree in our backyard oh, my god. I shot that orange street like nobody else's cadaver show norden street it was the only thing that stood still for me there's only thing a natural light that I can get without me feeling the pressure for somebody for something to shoot it. So I did what did I do? I did backlighting in an indoor setting that could posing replicate reception I did shooting backlit in orange because that was natural light at sunset and had a very tough time trying to understand where I could stand, how it manipulate if I stood here that my shutter speed would be this student here that my shutter speed you do this with my orange tree. How boring I know another thing that I did was I got my running shoes and we have this ah, fireplace, but the running shoes in front of the fireplace, the fire gives a very different light than, like, tongue stan or natural. So how did that really low settings? What was my shutter speed? What was my aperture? And what was my s o than understanding those types of things far before I ever got into a situation or scenario where people were in front of me. So all of these assignments sound absolutely incredible and exciting. I know you guys were just just dying right now with the time is right. Like I can't wait to go shoot on orange street. I know it's. Not fun, but I didn't have any other option. Nobody. I wasn't in a class to get weekly assignments, but I was so hungry that I was like, okay, but here's another thing. This is a personality. I was home schooled, and I made my own lunch every morning. Okay, I know you give me it all. I had a little topper wear a brown tupperware container. I would make myself singing which in a fruit packing up in the morning and open it at twelve o'clock and watch little house in the curry I am not even like a little house in a hurry everyday me like pb and j I wanted I had to give myself something to do to make me feel normal in childhood and adulthood nothing changes okay? Another thing that helped me a lot online was this thing called o s p forum I actually give you out the exact um web address right now in making it a little bit but one thing is I always joke that I went to the university of o s p because this is actually a forum started by my no nobody none other than my wedding photographer david j because clearly I was obsessed with everything he did and he started this form and I was like, I'm gonna be part of this forum so I joined this forum anonymously like I didn't put up in avatar picture for a long time. I was just reading about what other people were doing and the best part of this was I could read all these questions that people had that I had the same questions but didn't have the nerve to ask they were asking all these questions I would sit there and read and read and read tuesdays and thursdays I was sitting in bed and my pjs reading I was getting answers, I would see all these people interacting and having a good time talking back and because like these forum threads would go on so long the outlook so what happened here? And then to post down somebody asked the same question and then I got answered, so it was as if I was in a classroom setting and somebody was talking about a photo and everybody fill in the gaps and in the professor of the photo would come back on and teach me a little bit about what I did teaching myself one line that was free, it just took a lot of time if you have a lot of time and you're not shooting very much, you guys start teaching yourself that's really? What is going to come down too? So we're in move now on to applaud post that I wrote in february of two thousand six I read this in the last course, but I want to read it again because I think it will definitely define a little bit about more about who I was in february two thousand six why am I such a chicken? I swear I should just lay an egg to complete this metamorphosis I mean the chicken and I both share entities like feet, breasts and reading pointing orifice is so if I sprouted feathers tonight, I wouldn't be surprised I need need to be willing to go out on a limb and ask people if I could take their pictures. I mean, I know couples who are engaged, so why can't I bring myself to ask them if I could snap their engagement photos for crying out loud? I wouldn't charge them so what's stopping me my fear of rejection, of incompetence, of embarrassment, I need to do this. I just need teo that block posters were in five years ago by a person who just didn't know which way was up, and I read it again and again as a way to go, he grounded and a way to look back and say, you might not like where you are right now. Dang, you have come a long way and to be happy where you are. If everybody can just think and take a moment wherever you are, you might be at home. You might have got a baby sitter for your kid, so you could hear them running around downstairs, probably harassing baby sitter. You're probably watching from your iphone or ipad online at work. I totally get that to you might not like where you are, but if you could look back from where you started, it just puts things in perspective, and you could just revel in how far you've come. You clearly have a very long way to go, but you're okay right now so we're okay. I think that that kind of sets the tone for now where I want to move in too. Um if you kind of feel like you are by yourself then you need to get involved with the online photo community definitely how we do that um how I do that was through always pee um that was the form that I spoke about this completely free and the web address is open source photo dot net backslash forum another form that has kind of come to recent fruition and I think it's amazing sight they think that they're taking conversations and videos and contact and con putting photos and context is the b school it's a paid membership but I actually represent right christy candace I know I know fellow be schoolers on other photographers in post videos and the school I just posted a video on b school because I love what's going on there if I like what's going on in the community, I'm going to participate in the community. Um the web address is the b school dot com you have to pay a monthly fee but you get a twenty five year watching pretty glad to get a twenty five percent discount by putting jay star to five as the promo code so that's where we are right now and that's what I want people to definitely hold on to I'm going to leave this screen up on going take I think we've seven minutes for questions and I think right now we're we're kind of on time dang dang okay you're good you're good actually what you guys were there? Do you guys have questions here? Yeah okay, sure. And what the reality was I was just thinking like specific goals I mean you say like I need to make it work but did you say in that year like one book, forty forty wedding so are like, you mean what year we talked about looking in the first year two thousand six yeah first we like to be a wedding photographer and you started really doing it and focusing on that. Did you have a clear goal or were you just like day to day? I just have to get better at the salmon well where we are now on this slide it's just day to day because I didn't know what I was doing I wanted to become a photographer but I didn't know how to make it happen. Yes, I wanted to become a wedding photographer and that was the end goal but for maybe I want to be a wedding photographer it was like day if I want to go undercover I should probably learn how to use the camera like that? I should take some photos, right? I don't really know what f stop is that's where this light is no here's the thing as we progress, I'm gonna move everybody forward collectively but I always want to point back to different points like where am I now? Like my goals? Do I have goals now? Absolute lee and it's so cool over the new year I have this somebody gave me this really cool journal and I just wrote down a few goals. Ah lot of goals that he wanted to accomplish for two thousand eleven and I covered my page and then I had j d right, his uncles and oh my god, we're so so, so different but he's right? One of the goals was to do another creative life course and they asked me to do this creative life course about five, six weeks ago. So it was so rad is in the hotel room and scratched off the list like paying it. I feel so so, so good, so write things down so you could see how far you've come. All right, so you mentioned a little earlier that, uh when you initially got married, you and j d were in zyklon bare bones but paycheck to paycheck, but you decided to fly out your photographer to a destination wedding and I've had a few bribes that our backyard budget but I want to convince him to go all out and you know, get the full package what made you justify the idea of bringing david j out as opposed to hiring a photographer that's more local that would produce you know good work I'm going to be one hundred hands, man what made you decide to take me out to dinner like that? What the good thing is now he's taking me out to dinner so good I don't know what you're getting into I'm gonna be a hundred percent transparent this is how it went down I went to hawaii I meant I had three three to five appointments with local photographers because david j fell off the radar I went to david david pricing page and his prices started at ten thousand dollars for local weddings not including travel fees not including hotel not including cars and I was like, oh my god, this guy straight trip and there's just no way that I could ever paid ten thousand dollars that was completely off the radar for me I flew to hawaii met with my very first photographer out there and then I realized oh my god, this is just not gonna work I'm completely to smith with david jay's work for anybody else to compare I walked into an internet cafe logged onto my a o l account okay, I know I'm like way tech savvy I got lucky well send this guy an email where I pour my heart out truly truly pathetic I was just like listen this is wearing him I listed the story I said I will be coming and entered servant I will name my first child david whatever it takes I will work at your studio I will schlep bags to defer the cost of how much it will be because we're looking at an average of thirteen thousand dollars to get him to my wedding and um that was that next day log in you've got mail and I see david jay and I was like I am not lying I opened e mail and he it's as two lines when you get back to the mainland let's talk now for a girl who is not smart and graduates at the top of her class for a girl who ain't got no money but khun die a pair of jeans with her store for a girl who had you know these really small wedding dreams if you girl on sixty seven pages of google if you're going to tell me let's chat you've done I have my claws in you you give me one in one million chance your mind it's mind tell me no now tell me no look like oh yeah that's right eso eso I remember like oh my god this sounds fantabulous I didn't say fantabulous that were that were just came out. Uh, it sounds great. I don't mean the other wedding photographers, because I firmly believe that this is gonna happen. E mail him and I said, tell me what it's gonna take to make it happen I do not have thirteen thousand dollars and he says if you allow me to name mean to pick the date for your wedding, then then I'll give you a much better deal and, uh, we ended up paying five thousand dollars for his wedding services that's just for him to shoot plus travel and we got married on wednesday, september twenty eighth so that's, how it woz and I became a psycho fan. Little did he realize well, what little little did he realize that this is what it would become? Its very hard to have clients paid the additional like these. You want your kind to go for, like, the biggest package, but it's it's nothing that you could do besides you putting more of yourself out in a very personal contacts to draw those people in because you could be blue in the face. I'm worth it worth it. So worth it, hawaii me, yeah, but you and I, everybody else who's willing to slash their prices hundred percent now if you could like narrow dental three things that was just you know what got you hooked on his work like you mentioned the lifestyles, you know, pretty intriguing but it was wasn't above the rest like that it's just three things it's one he was personal I became invested with what he was doing on a personal basis you know, it's like I would go to his block and I was reading all we got a new car he showed his studio he said that he was traveling to his cousin's wedding he posted pictures of him at christmas with his mom like he went and had a speaking event why don't I remember this bob post creepy, you know hey went to nordstrom and he had a son bernie had to have a son and went to the land comb counter and they put makeup on him yeah, and he took pictures of them putting makeup on him and he's like, oh my god, anybody land comb compact what? I remember this stuff I don't know but it left an indelible impression because it made him different so it doesn't because here's the thing we're trying to sell an educated service to an uneducated audience right? We implicitly know the value of our work what we do, how hard we build our craft but literally to an uneducated audience good is good like you the good photographer at five years in is good the good photographer at somebody who's two years and who's you know a lot of great actions that's what it's boiled down teo so the on ly biggest thing to be different is to be you one hundred percent one question if I know I was gonna come up with our white board five minutes okay one two point five minutes okay mark d asked where do you get your inspiration for your photographs and I know you talked about fashion but would you say you go more fashion or other other photographers or belongs well don't you think they go hand in hand? We did go hand in hand because if it's up it's fashion then it's fashion photography right? So that's very much instrument I'm going to get into that in depth so we're talking exactly how it goes down why what all that good stuff so does that mean I get it? No, it just means that can't stand to be longer so the question is from gsw photo and you talked about forums earlier um but how do you network with other photographers in the community when they consider you competition? I'm gonna get it I'll get into that I think tomorrow okay, but the short answer the short answer is, um I'm only a competition if I make you feel like I'm your competition leg it's very important for us to go out of our way tio set to set the standard like if we were all here and we all worked here in seattle and um you might rub me look a certain way and you might rub me a certain way and it comes down to us being like you know what? Shut up in the ego contest email them and invite them to lunch they might not go out with you they might think that your competition but there might be three people who are just like you kind of smell her out we'll talk about that using those types of alliances to better your business and not impeded okay susan ceo the question is from juju and how much did it take for you to start your business like how much did you have to invest in your first cameron marketing we're getting here that I'm getting there getting there I love it now this is really really yes if you have any savings at all when you started getting there too so I think actually it doesn't next light stop beating me yeah no see these questions it's just gonna I actually firmly believe that day two is going to be like rip and roll the questions because I'm gonna have it all out there now you guys can connect the dots and where the gaps are the questions will apply