About four years ago I discovered you through a classmate at San Jose State. He came across your website and immediately thought I needed to know you! “Q! This photographer reminds me so much of you! Her bubbly and warm personality, motivation, and even her hair looks like yours! You gotta check her out!” With finals and my hectic schedule it took me a couple days to “google” you, everyday reminded by my friend to look you up.
Once I came across your website I was speechless. In my mind you were way out of my league! I gawked in awe at your beautiful images and thought you and your photography were on a whole other level. I was just about to graduate with my degree in photography and felt like it would take decades to play in your game. I was incredibly intimated and right away began day dreaming about your life and how I can make it my own lifestyle one day. At this point being a full time international wedding photographer was simply a wish and many prayers away.
After following your blog and other social media I began to notice that you were posting and sharing EXACTLY what was on my mind at the time. Dealing with contracts, client emails, and even creating that work/life balance always aligned with my daily struggles as a photographer. Call me crazy but it was similar to being at church on Sunday when I felt the sermon was literally written just for me. Your helpful hints, tips, and motivation kept me inspired. Even your YouTube videos mesmerized me and I couldn’t stop learning. As time passed I kept working and shooting and taking baby steps towards my dream. Through many achievements and mental break downs I never stopped dreaming and hustling.
As soon as I saw your workshop announcement on Facebook I had to arrange to meet you! First of all, I was beyond ecstatic that I even had enough money in my photo account to invest in my business. Spending the day with you would bring my day dream so much closer to quitting my day job! I just knew it! With anticipation of being in your presence I imaged tears of joy and mirror shattering screams like back in the day witnessing Back Street Boys on stage.
To my surprise when I first saw you walk across the bar to the patio you brought a relaxed smile to my face and I couldn’t believe I was casually meeting you for drinks! After a long day of hanging out with other aspiring photographers from around the world it was surreal to discuss our dreams and goals with so many talented and like minded individuals.
I couldn’t sleep the night before the workshop. So much anticipation of what the day had to offer, questions on my mind to be answered, and still in awe that this is my life. Yes, this little life that I created for myself. I felt like was spending the day with a celebrity, but really it was business development! Friends back home get stuck in conference room work training… while I was playing outside with my camera and soaking up priceless working knowledge about my career! This whirlwind of gratitude, luck, and enlightenment spun around my mind and I just couldn’t relax!
The workshop was everything I anticipated and more than I could have ever imagined at the same time! Greeted with a hug in the morning from you, JD, and even your mom I immediately felt welcome and knew this is exactly where I was supposed to be. I was baffled that this was just a normal Tuesday for you and I couldn’t wait for everything to begin, yet wanted to savor every second as much as possible.
There is absolutely no price tag to attach to this experience. Your approach on teaching was exactly how I love to learn. You spoke to us like your peers, nothing was off limits and you could tell that your photography business was your heart and soul. Listening and learning from someone with that much passion about helping and growing others was unbelievable. Each lesson gave us the tools and inspiration to brand ourselves and create our own tweaks for our businesses.
Having the opportunity to photograph the flawless bride and groom in the harsh day light prepared me for the worst lighting situation possible and I now have the CONFIDENCE to shoot any time of day!
Thank you for using terms and language that I could actually understand, too! Technical photo terms and settings have always been a challenge for me and it felt good to be on the same page with you all day. I have a whole new approach to documenting brides and details and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Overall this experience has been overwhelming, but worth every single penny!
As I’ve been sharing these series of events with my family and friends the one thing that resonates the most is that you’re a real person. Yes, I left the workshop with intangible working knowledge and priceless motivation. But to realize that you really are just a wife, puppy mommy, hard working business woman and a hopeless romantic with dreams and goals just like me, everything about my future feels touchable! This illusion of you being this photography celebrity and someone with a career way out of my league now became another opportunity to turn my dreams into my own reality.
Bringing together such a lively and friendly bunch of photographers was a complete bonus to the workshop experience that I didn’t even imagine. I learned so many tips and tricks from other talented photographers and left with instant friends and motivators around the world!
I hope that one day I can pay it forward like you, Jasmine!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Inspiration/Instructor: Jasmine Star
Hair and Make Up – Beauty By Melina
Floral – Sweet Marie Desings
Dress – Bonny Bridal
Veil/Hair Fashion – Brides and Hairpins
Model – Ashley Paige (and hubby)
Photography – Quianna Marie