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Creating YouTube Success

Lesson 1 of 1

Creating YouTube Success with Jessica Kobeissi

 

Creating YouTube Success

Lesson 1 of 1

Creating YouTube Success with Jessica Kobeissi

 

Lesson Info

Creating YouTube Success with Jessica Kobeissi

Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. Yeah, yeah. Hello everyone and welcome to Creative Live. Welcome back to Creativelive. Welcome if it's your very first time here. My name is ken Klosterman and I am your host, your on Creative Live tv as well as our podcast which is we are photographers where we take you behind the scenes with our favorite photographers, filmmakers and industry game changers all over the world. Of course right now, coming from my home to your home to our guest home. So before we get started with our special guest today, Jessica Kobe. See I would love to know where it is that you are tuning in from all over the world. Whether you're watching on facebook youtube, whether you are on creativelive dot com slash T V. And in that chat room you can click the chat icon and jump in there. We've got kate on our social media team who's in there as well and we'll be looking for your comments and questions throughout the show as well. So for starters, yeah, let's get those coming in. Hey Tracy. H...

ey Andrea victoria, we've got Tracy and Rochester, keep those coming in. So without further ado very excited to bring for the very first time onto creativelive Jessica Kobe. See Jessica is a fashion photographer, she is a portrait photographer, she has an incredible Youtube channel and has become the number one female photographer on Youtube with over 100 and 40 million views. And if you haven't seen any of her shows, some of the most popular ones have been the four photographers that shoot the same model taking pictures of strangers. Also want to talk today about her one of her more later series, which is all about her reactions to America's Next Top Model, which correct me up and are super fun and why aren't we having more fun in the world right now, which is great. Uh, Jessica graduated with a B. F. A in graphic design and then came into her photography career, she travels, she photographs models, she teaches. Um and of course again, creates incredible content for Youtube. So please help me give a big round of applause to Jessica Kobe. See, Jessica, thank you for being here. Thank you so much for having me. You did such an incredible job with my intra. I was like, wow, thank you. You know, I like to do my homework, I like to do my own work and uh, you know, it's just, it's, it's so awesome to have you on the show again, first time here, incredible live. Um, so before we get going, I want to read out some more of these shout outs from where people are tuning in from, we've got dre in holland Alex toronto, we've got Newfoundland, we have Oslo Norway Puerto, rico, Hungary, Denmark, Southern Oregon, Ontario texas, Chicago. So, thank you everybody for tuning in and showing up. We are excited once again to have this conversation again. We love to just go behind the scenes with photographers, find out their stories. I believe that you can learn something from everyone's story. Um and so, um so Jessica, let's just dive in and start with um let's start with what you're most excited about that you are creating right now. We are still in pandemic times. It is april 2021 as we are filming this. Um Also, congratulations, you got your first shot this morning? Yeah, that's right, that's right me as well. Super excited. So, um what, what have you, what is the most exciting thing that you're able to work on right now? I love doing the reaction videos right now. I think those are the most fun to record. I can show a lot of my personality and those I can I can just I it's just a lot of fun to be able to react to something. And it's kind of like watching something with people, like knowing that people can watch me and feel like they're not alone and there, you know, a lot of people are 11 person was like, you got me through my pregnancy with your reaction videos, please make more. I'm like, I got to I'll make I'll make one just for you. So it's just been really great to see everyone's reaction reactions to the reaction action video. Because I tell us love I love reaction videos. Their thing is a really thing. Tell us a little bit. Tell us about The America's Next Top Model, what the series is and how how you start to do it. Yeah, and what you do. So I used to watch America's Next Top Model when I was younger and I never really thought twice about it. You know that this is before I got into photography. And then when I started doing my Youtube channel and got into photography and all that stuff, um, I used to react to just the photos from the episode. So it wasn't like the actual like photo shoot. It was just like showing the final photo and then I would be like, oh well the ladies are leading on this one's good and, and just kind of critiquing the actual photo. And then I, I was watching like brad Mondo and I think he's hilarious. I love his stuff and he does a lot of reactions to the makeovers. So I was like, it would be cool if I actually reacted to the video of the behind the scenes and how it's conducted. So I started doing those and then only recently I was doing them for like a year. And then only recently, like I'm talking about october november one of them kind of blew up, like I had been doing them for like a year and they were like doing okay. And then one of them just blew up and then like, it started to become like this popular thing on my channel. So I started making more so then now here we are. Yeah, I think it's, I think it's interesting to think, yeah, the reaction videos in this time of everybody, like you said, being at home and you know, it's kind of like the unwrapping things on facebook or you know, on Youtube or just that it's so interesting what people have come to um, to enjoy being a part of, a part of that is like feeling a connection, you know, with you. I've got Alison on here, who is saying um who's saying I follow just on Youtube and I love her videos and her sense of humor, you know, and so that, you know, being able to come through. Uh so it's also, it's interesting, like, it's always this question, like, how do think things go viral? Like how does, how does that actually happen? So like, let's go back to, let's go back to some of your, because you've been doing this now at seven years eight or something like that um since you first started your Youtube channel, Eight years, Eight years. Congratulations. Um a lot of, a lot of hard work and dedication and consistency and all of it. Um but let's go back to what your first series, that kind of, that that went vial, is that the virals at the multiple photographers shooting the same model? Yeah. And with that video, I never thought that it would like the thing with Youtube is you go into a project thinking, oh, this is gonna go viral. I've heard this from so many people, especially other Youtubers, like this video is gonna go viral. If you do this kind of photo shoot, it'll go viral and it just, nothing happens. You know, it just does like 10-K views, whatever, which is actually good to me. I'm like, that's not bad, but whatever you expect, like, just don't have any expectations if you're making a Youtube video, that's what I learned because there's videos that I spend hours and hours planning models, make up all this stuff, and then you get everything together and you spend hours editing it and, and you're like, this is gonna, I know this is the one, and then you put it up in the flaps and you're just like, what this is. I can't believe this right now. So what I learned is the videos that you least expect are the ones that just blow up. And also one thing I noticed is that videos at first won't do very good. And then weeks or even months later, like I had this video a year later, it started picking up and then now it has like a million views and I'm like, this is from like years ago, it's been on my channel forever. I forgot, I literally forgot about the video and I'm like, oh, it has a million views. I don't even know how that happened. So it's just, you can't predict anything on Youtube. You truly can't. You just gotta keep creating content, you know, good quality content and that's what, that's what I really do. I I I learned the hard way and stop expecting stuff to go viral. Well, there's a brilliant lesson in and of itself. I mean because that right, if you can't plan for it necessarily. So if you can't so if you can't plan for the viable part, then what has been your your your secret to success and not secret, But you know, what is it that gives you that duration? Um I just like to create content that that I like, you know, that represents me as a photographer. I like to have collaborations with other photographers. Like I love meeting new people and like I try to do a variety of my channel. You'll see, you'll see reaction videos, you'll see tutorials, you'll see challenges, you'll see editing. So there's a little mix of it for every different type of person. I know I've noticed on some channels that they kind of stay with one theme and I think that's amazing. Um for me, I love to do a variety because doing the same thing to me can I can get bored doing that. So I like to just do a variety. Um, but it's just it's all about thinking of new ideas and and just yeah, just thinking of new ideas, thinking of new ideas, but like you said, within your sort of consistent areas and so people come to expect that people come, you know, back for the same thing. But I think that's a really brilliant note, that it's like, you've got something for the people who want to come and learn photography. You've got something people want to learn, touching something for, you know, the people who want the reaction videos and the toy cameras, which is just so much fun. Where in the world, Yeah. Where in the world did you find the barbie camera Ebay on Ebay? You guys like brand new? It was like in the box till I was like, okay, did you do an unboxing video? No, I did it. You know, I it's there's so much that I want to do. I just don't have like I record, I record a lot of what I do and I edit almost all of my videos. Like the only videos I don't edit are the four photographers. So all of the videos that you see blood, sweat and tears and I'm not even I do more video editing now then I do photography. I was joking with my friend. I was like, I should just be a video editor at this point. How did you did you teach yourself? How did you learn? Yes, I'm I'm I'm self taught 100%. I when I was learning video editing, I was using Windows movie maker and then I'm like, you know what? It's time to take the leap of faith. Let's go. Let's jump into final cut pro. And I learned all about the program. I'm no pro by any means, but I know how to manage it pretty well. So what I've been doing recently, because I've been watching reality shows, like I was watching Jersey Shore, You guys can laugh. And I was watching Jersey show her and like flavor of love with some of my favorite shows. You know, reality tv. So I would watch those shows to watch how they edit them, like where they play some music, how they're cutting it. So because I'll probably be editing a video like that on my channel. So I like to use the same techniques that they do in reality tv in my video. So it's really interesting because I'm just a photographer, but but you kind of have to learn video editing as a Youtuber, you know, unless you want to pay somebody to edit your videos. That is brilliant though. If you know what style that you want, then, you know, and you study it like that. That is the concept of, you know, being self taught and, you know, and again, like, understanding here's what I want, who's doing it? Well, you know, what are the aspects of it, like, you know, deconstructing it, breaking it down? Absolutely, yeah. What of, let's go back in time a little bit. Um, let's get back, let's do it. Let me show you that time. That's that's right, hot tub time machine. Uh So you were born and raised in Detroit? Um Were you interested in photography as a kid? Were you? Um I know you then went into graphic design. Like what tell us about your childhood? What did Jessica do siblings parents where they creative all those things. So my family immigrants while my my parents immigrated from the Middle East and I grew up in Detroit. I would say I was I was artistic, I would draw comics and then what I would do is I would go and take the, take the comic and then put it on like I I was, I don't know where I was at school and then they had a copy machine so I would take my comic make copies of it and I got in trouble once I got in trouble one time because I wasted all the paper and someone found out I was making copies of my comics. Like my hand drawn comics, I would like give them out like show, give one to your friend. Yeah so your family those comic. I probably still have a few of my comics. I had like a comic. I mean like I got like a notebook, I would like draw comics. I just love to draw. I wasn't I was not good at all that drawing. Mind you like I'm talking like weird not even stick figures, blob figures really and I would make up my own stories I love to write, I was a huge writer and then I kind of got a friend introduced me to Neo pets when I was like 11 or and I joined the website and they on neo pets, it was all about design like you had to make your own guild and like, it's like a club, like a little club and you would make graphics for your club and you would try to get members. So I'm like, I want members, I want a club. So I made, I did that and that kind of started me off with designing and coding. And then I eventually made my own website. I was like coding websites, CSS like javascript, html. Like I don't even, I don't even know how I did half of that stuff. Now, I could never, I actually know a little bit of coding book, that's what kind of started me off. I would say that I was the artistic, one of my family and I was, here's the thing, like I was, I was made fun of a lot because I was always on the computer. I think a lot of people can relate to this. Like I was kind of socially awkward. I was very quiet in school. I was kind of nerdy. I mean I still um really nothing's changed except I'm not quiet anymore because I have to do the photos. You someone's gotta talk during the photo. She was so, I think that's the only thing that's changed unless quiet. Well we, I think it's it's so fun to learn people's journeys in the past. But yeah, like you can see uh making comics going into, you know, getting online and like coming up with stories and the writing and you know, like all the things that lead to what everything that you're creating now. Yeah. How much preparation do you do for any given video is most of the work like in the prep part, are you spontaneous? Is it then in the edit? Like what's the sort of the process? Because, you know, a lot of people like, I want to start a Youtube channel at it. Like it's a lot a lot of work. So what's like take us through your process, the challenge videos, they take so much planning and a lot of preparation. I write down everything, like sometimes I'll go so far as to have a shot list of things that I want, like commentary on certain things and then a B roll, I started doing b roll shot lists that I will need. Like, I try to imagine how I'm going to edit it in my brain and then I write down all the shots again. Having a shot list is super helpful and I usually have an outline of of what have I wanted to go through. So like introductions, introducing the model and then showing the camera or whatever, like introducing gear and kind of just going through that, having an outline. I always have an outline and then Like you have to confirm with like 15 different people, like Okay, this day and time, good for you. And you have to like literally be texting people every two seconds to see if anything changes. And you got to check the, checking the weather. Uh huh. You gotta check the weather every two seconds to make sure it's not gonna thunderstorm and you're gonna be washed away by a river during your photo shoot or video. So you have to take care of the weather and um just it's a lot of just checking up on people, Hey don't forget about me, you have to update people. And then the day of the shoot I'm producing, I am directing everybody. Um like I have my friend videotape, so I'm telling her what shots I want to get, get a wide shot of this, please. We want the outfit shot. We want this. So, a lot of the times, it's hard for me to concentrate on photography when I'm literally being like 50 Things, You Know? Absolutely. Um it's it's and that that's again, that's the knowing everything that goes into it when you are the pre producer, the producer, the director, you know? And then the project is all me and then the subject to um do you, once you get into like the photography part, do you like once the cameras that on you, do you like switch, are you in a different, like mental zone? Are you able to like let the other stuff go? Do you become really present? Are you just like all over the place still? It's very chaotic. You know, It's it's funny because if you look at a lot of the comments from the four photographers series, you'll notice a lot of people don't like my photos and those videos and to their credit. I mean, those aren't I wouldn't say those are my best photos. Like I was actually looking Through the first episode of four of 3 photographers and looking at the photos and I had so many nights of photos and the one that one that I chose, and I'm like, why did I choose the one that I picked? You know? And just at the time, I just I think I was so focused on the video and making sure I had a really good video that I couldn't turn, like, activate my photographer Mode. And so I'm I'm like, I'm like 50 in the photographer um in the photographer Zone and and the other 50 is like, how is my video doing? Is the sound going to be okay? Is did I get all the shots that I need? So I mean, but that's how YouTube is and I, I constantly working girl as a photographer. I know not all my shots are gonna be great. So I just, there's something I have to accept. Well who's, who's, who has every shot being great. Like nobody, but it's a different thing. But that, I mean, what are you saying is the hard thing is when you put yourself out there, you know, and is the getting the commentary back and you know, it seems like for any, you know, aspiring Youtuber out there, like how do you shut that off? Do you, do you read the comments? Do you just not, you know, as a, as a content creator, you're creating for an audience and I think it's important to listen to the feedback of your audience, but I know a lot of the people who watch me I know only have good intentions. Like they they don't say things out of malice. I feel so sometimes content creators can feel like that, like, oh, this person is coming after me, or like, I don't need your advice on my photo and all of that, because I've had people um give me critique on my photos and stuff like that, and going, being an art school, going through four years of art school and I've had critics like every day I think had people roast my photos, I've had a teacher tell me like, what is this? Um even though it was graphic design, but in a in a sense, it still is a constructive critique. And even if it's not constructive, I'm putting my work out there, you know, I am a public figure in that sense. So that's just that just goes with the platform and it's just something that you have to accept. It's nice to hear constructive feedback because sometimes they tell me stuff that I didn't even notice and I'm like, you know what, I could work on that. So, it's just, again, it's just being a Youtuber, you you kind of get used to things like that. Of course, there's the comments that kind of, like, hurt your soul and you go, you know, you're like, damn! Like I had a that was that was okay. I see, I see that one, but you know, there's a lot of really good people out there that really care and that's that's what I'm choosing to focus on and I appreciate those people a lot. And that's how you do it for. Absolutely, Absolutely. Let's go back to your beginning into the photography journey itself. So you studied graphic design, you start working in a marketing agency, you're working as a designer and what happened. So I was at this marketing agency designing and I don't know I was doing photog, I had started photography on the side. I was I worked so much. I don't even know how I did it. Honestly, I would sleep at like four in the morning every single day. I never, I was a workaholic truly and I still am till this day. But that was that was a pretty crazy time in my life because I was paying I had so many different bills and payments to make. Like I had I had these banks, billions of dollars are coming after me. Like a little Jessica had like $5 in my bank account. Like Chase, what do you need for me? Like I don't have like, I don't have $800 a month, like I can't afford. And then, you know, like I had graduated or I was graduating from college. And again, it was really overwhelming to have all of these loan payments. And I just, I I didn't know, I really didn't know what to do. And then at that time I had, I was laid off from my job. I was still doing photography and I think I I talked about this before my I did like Hatch shots at my at my work for for all the employees because my boss knew that I did, I was like taking photos. So I had thought to to leave that job for a while, but I never had the courage to actually leave. I was like, no, I have loans, This is irresponsible if I leave, I can just kind of wait it out. And I just stayed at that job because for financial stability, because I was doing photography, but it wasn't really that's stable to me. I kept saying photography is not stable, a stable job for me right now. I was getting a couple of engagements, couple senior pictures here and there. I was too scared to leave. Pretty much. So one day and I swear, like, it's such a I don't know, this is probably the biggest coincidence of my life, but I had just like, during my lunch break, I had called up my friend and I was telling him like, I think I'm going to just leave this job. Like, I don't know, I'm not happy here, I don't know what I'm gonna do, blah, blah, blah, blah. And she's like, I totally get it. And then literally I come back for my lunch break, I'm sitting down and then my boss comes and he's like, I need to talk to you for a second. I was like, okay. And he pulls me into the conference room and he's like, you know, your your position no longer exists. And the we're reframing our business structure, business. It's a fancy way of saying like, you gotta go. I mean, I didn't I didn't take it personally. I love I loved all my coworkers. I love my I still this day, like I love my boss, he was amazing. He's and he told me he's like, I know you love photography and you're so good at that and you're so talented, I think you should pursue that. Like, don't give that up. And I was so depressed. I'm like, you really kicking me out, even though like 10 minutes later, 10 minutes ago, I was like, I should probably leave. But I'm like, he really did it okay. So, I was kind of like, I was just in shock. So after that I was I was like, okay, so I guess I really, I wasn't really left a choice. I feel like the universe was kind of tell him, like pushing me like Jessica, this is where you're meant to go. And so I was like, I guess this is it. I guess photography is what I'm gonna do. And I put all of my effort, time energy into photography. And at first it was rocky, but it truly, truly paid off in the end. And then I started doing Youtube. I had more time for Youtube. So that's, that's the whole story. I mean, I think it's it's being so many people, including myself can identify of your in a place where you don't want to be, especially if you're super creative and even if you're working in a creative field, but you're still like, you're not happy you like the people you work with, you know, but you're just like in this box and yet the fear of doing something different um is overwhelming because it is and it's not necessarily for everybody, but the, the, the uterus saying like, ok, we know you like you manifested that like you were asking for it, but like when somebody else hands it to you, but like what? You know the best gift in disguise for sure, How did you start working with? It was it was fashion always you think like working with models, fashion, Like how did you get into actually, were you photographing friends who were people who were not models? How did you get into photographing of working with official models? I guess that's the question. Yeah, So when I started, I was doing a senior pictures, family pictures engagements, weddings, all of that. Like we all do, we're like, no right to do, what are the things every photographer, but the good thing about that is you, you learn about what you want to go into and what you don't want to go into because photographers have so many different genres. There's some people who do macro shots of like, uh, of nature land, they do landscape photography, there's um, like they take pictures of space. I mean, there's so many different types of photography. You can do, the only way you'll really know what you're passionate about is to actually do all those things and kind of experience it for me. I was doing senior pictures, weddings, engagements and earlier when, when I was on neo pets. Um, and I started my, that website, I would, there was for any of the 90s babies here Or the 80s babies, you'll remember live journals. So there will be live journals. There was like a fashion community. Um, there was like a photo decadent and then mixology. I don't know if anyone's gonna know these, if you do brownie points go to you because I feel like I'm, no one's gonna know about Live Journal. Um, but I was online journal and there will be people who upload fashion scan. So like there, I remember they would be like Amanda Bynes just did a photo shoot and they would scan the photos actually America Olson, They'd like scanned the photos and then we would use those pictures and then photo manipulate them. Like cut them up collage. It was like a photo collage and then use them for our websites. So at a very early age, I was familiar with the big, like, the bigger models. Um God, I would probably try to say their names, but I don't want to mess any of their of their names up, but they're like the some of the biggest models I would constantly see like fashion models. Oh there's a model um voting over some one of them. She was like, my favorite models, Gemma Ward, love her, love her, love her, gorgeous, would like love to use her pictures and some of in my work um like Britney Spears, like scan, like when she would do a photo shoot, they would post scans of it. And then again, we would use those photos in our in our websites. And so I was kind of aware of those photo shoots early on. And so I just love the lighting. I thought those pictures were so cool, so fast forward to doing senior pictures, weddings, all the stuff I always knew. I loved those fashion photos. So I'm like, I kind of want to do something like that. So It was 2,016 then I finally had the courage to reach out to an agency. I was extremely nervous. My voice was shaken. You would think I'm trying to get married to somebody, but it wasn't even like that. I'm just talking, I'm just, I don't know why I was so dramatic. I was like, super, super socially awkward, just sweating. Like can I um can I speak to uh the person in charge of new faces? And I was just nervous of being rejected. But after contacting my first agency, they sent me models from Chicago and I was able to work with them and then I made the big jump. I don't even know, I don't even know how I did any of this by the way. Like you think, I don't know how I did any of those. I flew to new york by myself with with my stylist and then I flew to Los Angeles by myself. Actually I met up with my friends. So not but still technically I was on the airplane by myself. I went there by myself and I reached out to agencies there, reached out to make up artists and then that was my first time there and the makeup artist who I'm still friends with today. Haley, She's like, you should move here. Your work is amazing. I'm like thank you, thank you. Okay, so I just kept going back and that's where we are today. It's funny how you look back and you're like, I'm not really sure. like I remember being nervous about making that phone call, but I did it anyway. How did I allow myself to get up on the plane and go do this? But I did it anyway. Uh Are there are there, what are what are the hardest things about about the working with? Let me rephrase that. What's the difference between? Well, yeah, what's the difference between like working with an agency or or um like what challenges do you come up against or for? Maybe it's even tips for people who are looking to to try to work with agencies more. So there are freelance models and then there are agency models. So there are distinct differences I've worked with both, to be honest with you. The difference, the biggest difference is that the agency model is signed to that agency. They have a manager, they have somebody who deals with their scheduling, they have someone who sets up their jobs, gives them castings, they're making money on a more professional level. Not to say freelance models can't do this, but imagine freelance models don't really have a manager. Some of them do like they have an independent manager. Um But agencies are really a bit like agencies can be a bit more strict on rules and guidelines of you know what kind of shoots you can do with their models um when they want pictures back, what kind of models you can shoot with. Like they're not gonna just send you a package with all their girls. So working with an agency you're going to have those kind of road bumps. But honestly I I love the fact that agencies look out for their models and I think that having that sort of like firewall between you and the model just ensures their safety. So I don't even mind going through an agent and then just working with the model of the day of the photo shoot, I actually somewhat prefer that freelance models you work with them directly. So I've done this so many times as well. Again, the difference is they're just not represented by anybody, they deal with everything on their own, they will tell you what their schedule is and I'll actually have agency models, like I'll DM them and they'll be like, hey can you set this up with my agent? So that's very common, you know, then I will have to set it up with their agent, which again is very standard uh because they will have their schedule. So the models again just get those jobs through the agency. So personally for me, I again I do love working with agency models, but I just there's so many beautiful models, Amazing people who are not signed with agencies that I mean just as good, I use so many of those girls in my videos and friends with a lot of models. So it's I don't I just think that if you're going to work with an agency know that there will be protocol and that it's not gonna be like oh I want to work with this model and they're gonna be like okay here you go, right that's now, that's good real world advice because if people haven't started to do that or trying to do that, you know, knowing your way around um is you know super valuable. So when you're thinking about like how do you how much are you doing test shoots? Um and what does that look like? And what do you do them for? And how do you put one together? Talk to us about the value of doing that. I love test shoots because I can be super creative with the models. I don't, they they don't tell me like, oh, we want these kind of shots. So I kind of, it's kind of left up to me when you are working with an agency, they do prefer more natural looking photos. Those are the photos that will make it in the girls books. I do get a little creative with the outfits though. You'll notice that a lot of my, like I style a lot of my stuff, but I do I do work with a stylist who is a really good friend of mine, she's whenever I work with her, I'm like, these photos are amazing. So a lot of us don't have stylists, so let's be real here. We don't have makeup artist, like I don't have a makeup artist for a lot of my photo shoots here. I've done some photo shoots here, no makeup artists, but those pictures end up in the girls books. Like a lot of the times the agency would prefer no makeup to like really heavy makeup. So um wait, what was what was the question? What was the question? What's that? Just about the value of putting together test shoots and like when you like, is that something you do on a regular basis? And what do the, like what does that, what does that look like? Yeah, but can I just turn my life? But this is this is really, really absolutely you guys the meat in the meantime while you're doing that, I'm going to give some continued shoutouts. Uh two we have K. Such, who was saying that Live Journal was great, Noel totally remembered Live Journal. Um And so you got some five journalists out there? I thought it was the only one. I was like, no, I'm talking about like an ancient history here, like lost civilization. Not at all. Not at all. Uh So how much of the time are you um are you are you still like doing like going out and doing shoots for yourself, or is it mainly doing them for creating the Youtube videos? Um What is sort of the balance between the photo shoots today and creating the Youtube stuff? Or is that one and the same thing? Yeah. So early on, when I was working with models, it would be strictly for their portfolios and in my portfolio as well. So it's more like kind of uh like a lot of practice, a lot of experience. And I could, I could say like, oh, I worked with, uh, you know, next Model management. I worked with the Lions, but whoever, whoever I worked with that just gave me more credibility. So I would kind of build up my experience, um, in my book, you doing those initial task shoots. And then I think it was probably the last year that the last two years that I really started kind of mixing those worlds and then making a lot of Youtube content strictly like working with models strictly for with for Youtube content while still providing images for their books. Like, a lot of the girls actually I worked with on my Youtube videos would be my good friends. So I'd be like, hey, do you want to like maybe be in this video? And I met them on a tissue that I did with them. So like building like having that relationship with them and you know, I love supporting my friends. So I'll bring the models on and I'll, you know, I'll get, I'll give them pictures, we'll add their credits and stuff like that. So kind of like mixing in those too. Of course. I do test shoots strictly for testing. So no video. I don't really do a lot of behind the scenes videos anymore. I, I don't have, I don't have, it's like a team. I don't have like a a videographer a lot of the time. It's, it's hard to have somebody like dedicated for that. Um that's that's something I haven't gotten to yet, but I just, I love doing test shoots. Um, and and and I use those pictures to like using my editing videos. Or again, I'll invite those models to be in challenges. Like um my friend, when my friend Sophia, she was in the four photographers I had worked with her previously before. And so I do I do a little bit of everything I do. I also do paid agency tests. Um but I like to include my stylist and those. So I do a little, I do a little bit everything. I just love test shoots because I can be super creative. Yeah, exactly, exactly. When you're and that's where oftentimes it seems as though people then hire you based on, you know, where you've been creative in your test shoots less. So, you know, than the work that you may have been published with. Oh, I see, right. Talk about what was you? I mean, you've you've your photography has appeared in NBC BBC CNN, Cosmo. And to name a number. What what was the first tell us about getting published for the first time? Or what was can you do you remember? Can you take us back to that? Yeah, I I did my first editorial and it was it was pretty it was like a whole day thing, of course, millions. And editorial. Of course it was, it was just a lot of work. There was a lot of people, there's always a lot of people involved. Um I had another photographer who was assisting me um bouncing back light for me on a reflector and things like that. Um it was the entire day. It was really fun. I love the fact that the models, like, I didn't have to take care of styling because that's like such a big part of photography. You know, model, you gotta have the outfit, you know, an outfit and styling can really transform your image if you have a great stylist, like I said before, like, the model can be wearing no makeup, but if you have a great stylist photo still comes out fire because styling looks good. So, the fact that I didn't have to worry about that, I was like, thank God, that's just one last thing I have to worry about. I can focus on the photography. Um, I wish more of my shoes were like that, you know, I wouldn't mind. And so what was it like to then just see that, like, in in publication, I collect every everything that my work is in. Like, you know, a lot of, like, some of my photos have went viral to and A lot of the time I don't get credit for that, it will have, like, 500,000 retweets or likes or whatever, and this has happened before, you know, at that point, you just gotta, like, that's obviously such a proud moment for me that my photo gets that much love, you know, it is, it's great. I love people appreciating my work and liking my photos. Um So it's just, it's kind of just surreal, I would say. Like, I never truly believe it. I had people like when for when three photographers, I first called the three photographers when that first went viral, I was like trending on Pinterest and my friend sent me like a screenshot and she's like, you're you're currently trending on Pinterest right now and I just could not believe it. I'm like, little me, like, who am I? I don't, So it's just it's a little bit, it's still very shocking to me and I'm trying, I it's hard for me to accept compliments and to accept the accomplishments that I've, that I've accomplished accomplishments, I've accomplished the things I've accomplished. So I'm it's just very nice and I'm very grateful that people appreciate my work. Well, it's hard. You know, sometimes we don't, we're always like future focused that like taking the moment to pat ourselves on the back and you know, and recognize, you know, what the hard work that you have done, um, is, you know, is, is super important to sort of, to keep going, uh, way to think about it. Yeah. Pat yourself on the back, uh, where you got your injection with your vaccine? Uh, what, what? So obviously, I mean, jump jumping from, you know, starting your own photography business. That's, you know, always a huge, huge risk. Are there? What else in life has been sort of one of the biggest risks that you've taken, but that perhaps has turned around into a big reward. Mm I would say traveling, traveling and planning videos in other countries because you never know what's gonna happen. You never know if that club is gonna come through or like you're literally going across the world to do this video. So you're, you're planning everything in the comfort of your home, whatever, wherever you live. And then you just gotta trust and believe that you're gonna, you're gonna spend thousands of dollars on a flight and a hotel and, and Uber and whatever and just hope and pray that everything works out while you're in that other countries. So that's, those are probably the biggest risks that I've taken. And, and again, just coming up with brand new ideas because I've had videos where we shoot it and then I never even like they well for me at least that I never even post because I'm like, I don't even like this anymore. So it's just like you could have wasted time or you could have really created something beautiful, you always said I just take that risk. I just, I always try to do something different every single time where once we can sort of get out and start traveling again, what are you what are you looking forward to? Oh my God, so much. First of all I'm gonna miss, I'm gonna miss my cat so much when I leave already, like she's sleeping next to 50 50 you want to say hi, you know she's, she's closing her exactly like she can't hear me but you can't, but I plan on traveling everywhere. I'm waiting. Like my friends in Japan have been waiting on me, like we have this group chat and we update each other all the time. Hopefully when it's safe for everybody travel will be allowed. So I'm just kind of waiting on that. I have a few countries that I want to visit. I want to visit. I definitely want to just visit my friends first form and foremost. Um But I think just being healthy and safe is like my number one thing right now. So Absolutely and that's you know, at least it feels like we can see sort of a light at the end of the tunnel and I hope so, you know. But um it's been you know, it's been what what what a challenge. Uh I know it's been hard for a lot of people and a lot of photographers especially like my friend was saying like she's not getting any work right now. Like I totally understand for a lot of people and a lot of photographers are not Youtubers, they don't have that type of income coming in, They don't have that type of stability. You know, they depend on things job to job. So I totally understand and I really do empathize with photographers struggling right now. I I really hope that things change for the better soon and you know what we can start doing weddings again engagements and start start booking more client work. Absolutely, absolutely. And you know and and people have learned how to you know do things online and do things differently and that's been what this year has been. You know, has been all about what is your favorite part of photography? Is it the interacting with people? Is it the process itself? Is it the retouching? Like what is what brings you joy? I just love meeting people. I love doing the photographer meetups. We've I've done them in L. A. And then I've done them, I've done one in Japan. They've just always been amazing. People are so nice. I love seeing people meet like photographers meet other photographers. People have come up to me in our like I don't eat and socialize with other photographers but this gives me an opportunity to make friends. Like I didn't even know this person was in my community and people genuinely have become like great friends with other photographers just from coming to the meet up. So I think that's just the most incredible thing is reminding people these people are not your competition. We can all succeed together. It's not just one person who can succeed and everyone like everyone else like is not allowed. I think we can all their space in this industry for all of us in the photography community and to kind of you somebody as like your enemy or your competition just because they are doing the same thing as you I don't think is is like the right way to look at it. So I just like to create like a welcoming environment for a lot of photographers that otherwise may, they may not have had an opportunity to be part of awesome. I mean that is that is it's taking me back to when we were able to do big meet up. So we were able to black being outside. But you know, but it's and people are finding, you know, you're finding ways again, again to thankfully we do have the internet as ways to um you know, to connect with people. But it is especially photographers, we spent a lot of time in front of our computers, you know, and doing things you know, by ourselves so that you know, going with the attitude that it is, there is an abundance um that we are, you know, collaboration. We've got a comment coming in. Noel says, I always say collaboration not competition. Like absolutely. And that's that's, you know, that's why I created life exists. That's you know what, what um, you know, communities, people who, you know, could come around and join, you know, and follow people like you and youtube. It's like, it's all, you know, to be in it together. Uh, you know, a lot of not me because I've always felt like I wasn't good enough in my general life. I know it's gonna sound like, but truly there there was like a large period of my life where I was like, I'm probably not good enough to do one X, Y Z and through photography, you see that type of attitude from some people. But to me, I think it's important that I never get caught up in that no matter how many subscribers I have no many, how many like Sir views I get. I'm still the same person from day one and it's, it's just important to always remind yourself like this, that type of thing doesn't need to change you. You know, you can help you. Like people come up to me all the time and they're like, you really inspired. Like one person said that they started photography because of me. I was like, wow, that is absolutely incredible. You know, that's truly incredible. And again, it's just for me, I've never felt good enough. So somebody telling me that I'm like, it's again very, it just goes back to everything kind of being surreal and like me finally accepting, like, okay, maybe I am good enough and what I'm doing me, I'm not perfect, but I'm getting there. You know, I'm good enough to do this and there's no, there's no standard or requirement for how good you have to be or you know, how you have to look or how what kind of camera you have to have. So I just like to be around people with that same energy. Um, and a lot of, a lot of my close friends are photographers, I love talking to them about stuff. I think just meeting new people and not worrying about followers and subscribers, because now, you know, there's this, the social media age is it's crazy because a lot of people get judged, A lot of amazing photographers get overshadowed because they don't have a lot of followers. You know, it's, and that then can be this cyclical. You know, I'm not good enough good enough. And I think, you know, it's thank you for being vulnerable and, you know, and letting people know that you feel the same way. Um you know, I think it's um so, you know, I don't feel good enough all the time, you know, and it's you uh yeah, you're awesome. What are you talking about every day? You're you're killing there right now. What do you mean? Oh, that's our brains, that's what we do. Um and so it's like, it's that's, you know, giving ourselves this separation or giving ourselves a break, especially, you know, again, it's like the whole thing, we we you judge yourself, you look at other people, you see what they're doing and yet, like, you know, people are still, you know, you still have a have a hard time to, you know, or you still are on a learning journey to um and that's kind of, you know, that's that's kind of the point of this podcast and talking to people like you and sharing that with other people is again, like, we're we're all on a journey and it's okay to feel what we feel, you know, and coming back around to you, I think, you know, I love the community aspect as well of what you talked about. Yeah, Yeah. Because I feel like people now are comparing themselves to, like, social media and again, the followers and the lakes and they again, they start feeling like they're not good enough. Why am I continuing to do photography if I'm not getting more followers are not getting more subscribers? And I just Again, there's just so many amazing photographers who have, like, 200 followers with the most amazing work, because it's not about that for everybody. Like, for you, it's a business. Like, this is your this is your business and so, and you've, you know, you've created that. Um, and, and so that's one thing, but it's not, you know, and again it's it's a different um it's not about the numbers, you know, but it's it's like, what are you, what are you creating for? There's a question that always like comes around that is like, would you create images if no one was ever going to see them? Would you? Uh I like that, would you? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah, there's so many photos that no one I've done that. I've never even posted. That's a really thoughtful like you have to really think about that one. It's true because some people have said no, I wouldn't create them if people weren't going to see them because part of it for them as people seeing them me on the other hand, and other people will say like part for me like the photographing itself is part of the joy, like the traveling and interacting with people. And like, the camera is like, part of the reason to be doing the thing. And that's the experience so often. It's not even about the resulting image, you know, kind of which is part of what I hear you saying in terms of like, it's just what you do and spend your time doing. Um so there's, you know, it's it's an interesting question. I love asking that question. It is it's more about the experience that photography brings you because there's a lot of now that you mentioned, there's a lot of people that I would have never met had I not been taking pictures and there's a lot of experiences that we wouldn't have not happened had I not been doing photography or filming a video about photography. So that's that is very interesting. Yeah, I'll give you that one. You can keep you keep asking people that one. Yeah. Do it, do it on your show. Um I got that one from Jared Platt. I'll give him because I didn't come up with it. I'll give Jared the credit on that one. Yeah. Give credit jess. Thank you so much for joining us today. I want to give more shout outs coming through. Um We got Michelle and Denise saying I would still create um No. Well, yes, I would absolutely take photos If no one saw them there, they bring me joy. Um So thank you again to everybody who's been tuning in from all over. Um where can everybody find? You follow you if they're not one of the 1.9 million people who are subscribing to you? Does that feel weird still? Like every does. Yeah, I guess I just need to just I just need to, yeah, I don't know why. I'm like this. I just gotta be like, yeah, I have this money. So I just don't I don't like talking about I guess I'm weird. I don't know when people ask me how many subscribers, like my friends will try to embarrass me and be like, ask her how many subscribers she has. I'm like, can you not please like, don't do this please. So I'd be like, no, I I literally be like, no, like, she's just she's trolling you. Like, don't don't even have a Youtube. Um But now you can follow me on my Youtube channel, you can follow me on my Youtube channel, Jessica Kobe C and yeah, I hope you guys. I just wanna thank everybody. I can't see the chat, but I want to thank you guys for listening and chatting with us. I appreciate you guys. And thanks for having me. Your you did an amazing job. You're a great interview. Oh, thank you so much. I it's uh again, it's the same. Like, I've never actually never asked myself this, Would I do this? Have these conversations if nobody was ever going to hear them? Absolutely, because we will talk after that so that we can because right guys, that brings me joy, you know. Um, so I really appreciate again, everybody out there for tuning in today. Um for being part of the creative live community. Again, this is another live episode of our podcast. We are photographers that you can watch over 100 episodes I think just came out with 117 118. Uh, and you can get those whether the video form or listen to all the audio episodes, those are on creativelive dot com slash podcast Oregon anywhere that you get your podcasts, Apple podcast, Spotify. All the places we love to hear from. You would love to know who you want to see on the podcast. And um, you can check out everything coming up on live tv by scrolling down and looking at the schedule. Um, so thank you again. Be sure to go check out Jessica Kobe, see on Youtube and instagram and we will see you all next time. Thank you again, jess. That was awesome.

Class Description

WE ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS PODCAST:

Our weekly audio podcast We Are Photographers brings you true stories from behind the lens and behind the lives of your favorite photographers, filmmakers, and creative industry game-changers. From their struggles to their wins, host Kenna Klosterman discovers the real human stories about why they do what they do.

Listen to this and other audio episodes on our audio Podcast page.

ABOUT THIS EPISODE:

Fear of the unknown can be so overwhelming that it keeps us in a place where we don’t want to be. In this episode, Jessica talks about overcoming her fears and finding the courage to pursue her dream of being a full-time photographer. She also talks about her work as a Youtuber, how she deals with criticism, why she loves test shoots and the difference between agency and freelance models. While facing many challenges and risks on her journey, Jessica is still a firm believer in collaboration over competition and is working hard to create a welcoming environment for other photographers. 

ABOUT JESSICA:

Jessica Kobeissi is an Arab-American portrait and fashion photographer from Detroit, Michigan. With over 140+ million views, she is the #1 female photographer on YouTube and has created several popular viral photography series such as “4 Photographers Shoot The Same Model” and “Taking Pictures of Strangers”. Her photography has appeared in NBC News, BBC, CNN, Cosmopolitan, The Sun, Buzzfeed, DailyMail, and The Mirror.

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