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Classes with Jess | Nighttime Photography, Holiday Edition

Ready to get your twinkle on?  Join me on Thursday, December 14th at 171 Cedar Arts Center for a holiday twist on my Nighttime Photography Workshop!     Bring your DSLR camera and your tripod (both are 100% essential for this class) and learn the art of long exposure. We'll be turning street lights and Christmas lights into starbursts that make your tail wag!      The class is from 5-8pm. We'll start at 171 getting comfortable with the concepts we need for this effect, and then we'll bundle up rain or shine and head out for a walk in the Gaffer District.     Please note: I'm going to roll with the weather for this workshop, so you need to dress appropriately and prepare to be flexible...      ... cause we're going outside, rain or SNOW ;-) But seriously, I'm almost crossing my fingers for snow. The only reason this workshop will be canceled is if it's a really bad,

Creativity… Better Done than Done Perfect

I had a student say she had a former photography teacher tell the class that "Every photo should be a work of art." and she asked me if I think that's true. And I said that's complete garbage.  I mean, what a creativity-crushing statement to give a new photographer! I sincerely hope this teacher was joking, or just trying to push for everyone's best, but if they were serious, shame on them. "Better done than done perfect" has always been a favorite life motto for me. It suits me because I gulp life down in pretty big chunks so I don't really have time to devote absolute perfection in any one area. So I really enjoyed reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. {affiliate link} She is a huge cheerleader for creative souls to just get their dang work out there and then get back to creating more! If you feel like you have even one creative bone in your body (which really, all of us do!) then I highly recommend this book. As a teacher, and

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

Classes with Jess | Mastering Manual Mode at 171 Cedar Arts Center

There are a lot of people wandering around this wonderful world with a camera they just don't quite know how to use. It can be super frustrating and intimidating to open the box of your fancy new gear and realize that you haven't the slightest idea where to start with all those buttons and settings. It's scary, I know.  And I'm here to help! Bring your camera to 171 Cedar Arts Center on Friday nights and we will go over all the creative settings you need to know to get the images you've been pining for.     Some people go years and years without learning how to take their camera out of auto and into manual mode. But not you! Cause you're going to sign up for this class and learn how to shoot creatively.  In this class we're going to take baby steps out of those automatic settings and into the slightly scary amazing realm of manual, where you will discover the power to finally get the shots you want. You know your camera is capable of more and I

Classes with Jess | Momtography at 171 Cedar Arts Center

So if you checked out the complete class list that I'm teaching over at 171 Cedar Arts Center this session then you saw I'm teaching a fun Wednesday morning class for moms of young children. Momtography: The Art of Photographing Your Kids is going to be all about helping moms who have a passion for documenting these fleeting moments of childhood but feel like they're always bumping up against the frustrations of fast moving tiny humans. I've got tons of pro tips ready for you!   *** I hope it goes without saying that "Momtography" is an obviously gender-specific term that I just think is funny. Moms tend to be the ones at home with their young kiddos and they tend to be the family photographers. But for heaven's sake if you're a Dad who's rockin' either of those roles in your family please PLEASE join me for this class! ***     Besides being a pro because I'm literally a professional photographer (who has taken thousands of pictures of

Announcing: Photography Classes with Jess!

You guys! You guys! YOU GUYS! (<--- I'm jumping up and down like a crazy woman) I'm teaching classes at 171 Cedar Arts Center this session! So if you've ever looked at my work or read my blog or been one of my clients and thought "Man, I wish I could hang out with this girl and learn how to take pictures better" then YOU. ARE. IN. LUCK. because I've got three awesome classes open (plus one workshop) where we can get together and talk photography! If you're impatient to see all the options before I finish the blog posts ;-) I totally understand and you can check them out here. My Monday night class is going to be for teens (ages 12-17) and it's called Mobile Photography: Beyond the Selfie.      The idea for this class was born from my intense hatred of selfies ;-) Not because I don't love seeing everyone's beautiful faces. (I love faces, see?) It's just that I know there are so many potential artists out there who feel the burn in their

On Favorite Photographs and Future Possibilities

I've had this quote from Imogen Cunningham in my head lately. Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow. And especially this week, since I'm getting ready for a trip to Montreal with my siblings. My creative mind is full of daydreams of which lenses to bring, what types of street photography I want to take, what cool buildings I'll see... not to mention the fun of one last family trip before my sister leaves for the Appalachian Trail (!!!) I can feel the creative energy (that sometimes gets cooped up in the Winter!) just itching for some artistic challenges and new sights. This trip is going to be just the thing. I used to think that I was just indecisive... the fact that I can't say I have a favorite photograph. But if I'm hearing Imogen right, I'm just always on the artistic hunt for my next favorite! ;-) I wish you a wonderful day full of possibilities!      Anyone ever been to Montreal? I'd love to hear from you

George Eastman and Photography | Easy Day Trip

When you think of the dawn of photography in America, you probably think of Kodak. #kodakmoment  The Eastman Kodak Company and it's founder George really paved the way for making photography accessible to all. Did you know that he invented the first average-joe-accessible camera in 1888? Atta boy George!     I love going to the George Eastman house and learning about the man and the company that has really shaped the trajectory of my life. I mean, besides the fact that it's kind of my job, photography is also my art! When I was a kid I used to say that I wanted to "be an artist" when I grew up. And I always had this image in my head of some oddly French stereotype of a beret-wearing portrait-painter dude (odd because for a 3rd grader who'd never been to France that's what I would think of, but also because as a female I would have a tough time rocking the handlebar mustache!) Turns out painting wasn't really my thing. So I guess I figured