lifewjess@gmail.com

What is “Golden Hour” Anyways?

Golden Hour is a professional photographer's favorite magic trick. It's a bit of a misnomer because it's actually a two hour chunk of time either right after the sun rises or right before the sun sets.     As someone who loves drama and bright splashes of light in her work, Golden Hour delivers almost every time.     But it also provides the opportunity for a really soft, natural light that flatters everyone. No harsh shadows under the chin or eyes, nice soft well... golden light! (for lack of a better word!)     There is something about Golden Hour that makes everything sparkle and shine! This image of this picnic table at any other time of day would not be nearly as inviting.     See? This isn't Golden Hour. This is Boring Hour. It's fine, it's just not singing to me.     But here, in Golden hour, it gets me feeling all poetic and nostalgic about summer, don't you

Reflections | Classes with Jess at 171

I now have two full sessions and a handful of workshops under my belt, so I can maybe stop calling myself a 171 rookie. Obviously, I'm going to be learning and growing and getting better as a teacher every time I step in front of a new group of students. But I definitely feel like I'm getting the hang of it. And I LOVE IT.     Teaching photography has been a wonderful experience and a welcome addition to my business. My favorite part for sure has been watching the smile that accompanies the moment something realizes they "get it."     Shooting in manual mode with a DSLR camera is a really interesting experience because once you learn what the main buttons and functions mean, it's like you suddenly have the keys to unlock a whole new realm of creative possibility!     There is nothing more frustrating than purchasing a camera upgrade and realizing you can't really fix most of the problems you were

Travel Adventures | A Cautionary [Trail] Tale

Last summer, my sisters and I went on a camping and hiking adventure in Acadia National Park, Maine.   We hiked and canoed and looked at lighthouses and went tide-pooling and swam in lakes and roasted fresh clams over a campfire!  It was fabulous. Except this one thing...     So I may have mentioned a time or two that I'm the least experienced hiker of my siblings. I mean, two are accomplished 46ers, one is on her way to being a 46er, and the other is working through the Appalachian Trail. Heck, if I don't watch out, my siblings will probably end up turning my kids into more experienced hikers than I am!     But really, what I lack in experience and strength I make up for in enthusiasm and optimism!  Spoiler alert - this is where I ended up on the day in question:     Still smiling ;-) So it doesn't phase me at all when my sister tells me this trail she's considering taking us

Wedding Photographer… To Be or Not To Be?

Ever since I became a professional photographer I have avoided weddings. Just plain avoided them. A few would-be wedding clients have inquired and I've just always simply said "nope! I don't do weddings."     I rationalized this aversion for all sorts of "good" reasons. I didn't like the idea of working with fussy brides or their picky moms. I didn't like the idea of being on my feet for 10 hours. But most of all, I HATED the idea of endless hours post-processing 3,000 pictures that (in my mind) would all look about the same. I mean, that white dress is gorgeous but if I have to see it in one more picture I'm going to gouge my eyes out. Honestly this might seem harsh but I don't even usually like looking THROUGH an entire image set of wedding photos. I can't imagine having to be the one to sort out and edit them all!     {side note - editing is one of my least favorite parts of my job. I hate being in front of the computer for

Kids in the Kitchen | Bacon & Chive Potato Salad

I've got another kid-friendly recipe for you and this time it's one my kids actually ate! Imagine that ;-) Also it's great for summer BBQs, as my friends can attest to.     Yes, they're jumping for joy because I brought my potato salad that night. I know. It's life-changing!     Anyways it's life-changing because it's loaded with bacon but I don't know how virtuous you can feel after eating it... it's still pretty heavy and true to the general ingredients of it's normal potato salad cousins.     Bacon & Chive Potato Salad 6-8 medium potatoes, washed and cut into chunks 10 eggs sour cream yellow mustard one bunch of chives or green onions, diced one package of bacon, cooked and crumbled 1-1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 2 tablespoons herbed seasoning salt (or regular salt)   So the day before your next BBQ you cut up the potatoes and boil them along with the eggs. When