WPPI Highlights I

Raise your hand if you don't like Jasmine Star.
I think for the first time in photography history, we all just agreed.
Nikon vs. Canon - disagreement. Lightroom vs. other programs - disagreement.
Prime vs. zoom. RAW vs. Jpeg. Actual pictures vs. slideshows. Leather albums vs. modern books. Wearing all black when shooting vs. Whatever colors you want.
All of it - dissension, confusion, disagreement!

Liking Jasmine vs. Not liking Jasmine?
Everyone likes Jasmine.
For young photographers, I think we have fallen in love with her almost miraculous sprint to the top. It's inspiring! "If she can do it, I can too!"
For "experienced" photographers, I think they have fallen in love with her almost miraculous skill. She is a stinking good wedding photographer, no question.
For brides, I think they have fallen in love with her quality work & service, as well as her romantic writings and contagious energy.
For the human part of us all of, we have fallen in love with her funny illustrations, her not-so-flattering pictures of herself she humbly loves to laugh at, her honesty and, well, her photography skeelz.
I can't speak on behalf of her husband, but I bet he fell for that big smile, that awesome personality, that head-turning beauty and that sincere character his wife possesses.

I so don't want to be "that" blog-stalker-annoying-fan. The one everyone rolls their eyes at when she walks away.
But I so am when it comes to Jasmine, not gonna lie.

I stumbled across her blog back in February 2006 - I think she had just done a little post about how afraid she was to ask people to let her shoot them. She was just beginning her amazing journey, and I liked reading along.
You all know the story and have been just as inspired by her as I have, so let's fast forward to February 2009 :D
Jasmine-the-mini-celebrity in photography was opening up a chance for 20 photographers to shoot with her. Bright and early in Las Vegas! All you had to do was a leave a comment on her blog and you would be entered into the grand raffle.
I was like Charlie Bucket hoping for my golden ticket. "Pleeeeeease.Please.Pleeasssse. let my name be picked. Pleassssssse." I even made a funny joke - I think your odds are always better if you include Dwight ;D

Thursday morning, I slid out of bed onto the floor and laid on my stomach while I checked my e-mails.
"Hi Kristen, I just popped over to check out your work after seeing that you were one of the lucky ones to grab a spot at Jasmine Star's Vegas Shoot - CONGRATS on that!"

What? Whatwhatwhatwhatwhaaaat. I scrambled to Jasmine's blog and there was my name.
I was so blessed and so excited - of about 370 people who wanted to be there, I was going to be. I totally didn't deserve it and I held my hand over my heart looking at the screen. "I am so blessed."
You may say "Ok, Kristen - yes, Jasmine's great, but you are kind of over-exaggerating a one hour shoot with 20 other people, aren't you?"
Probably! But I was thrilled nonetheless. Thrilled I tell you :D

All of us photographers gathered in the MGM lobby. We were groggy and blinky-eyed, hoping the mascara was helping hide that, but it totally wasn't. Jasmine and her prince charming husband, JD, showed up right on time. I instantly loved her.
She greeted us all individually with a big smile.
She told us the game-plan for the shoot.
She told us she was so nervous that she wanted to give us a refund, then remembered it was a free shoot.
She told us we had to tell her if she was sucking.

The entire shoot was filled with laughter, ooo's and aww's, friendly conversation and some hooot shots. Jasmine was so easy to learn from and made sure we were all understanding. She was able to treat us like adult proffessionals - not like dummy's or "inferiors," there was definitley a whole lot of that going on with other photographers I had met. I either felt like they were talking down to the people they were teaching, or just guuuushing about how AWEsome they were. Jasmine wasn't like that. I lost track of how many times she asked if this was "going terrible." She's quite humble and really has not gotten a big head. That was nice :D

She is absolutely a proffessional who knows what she wants and how to get it. She works hard to make clients feel comfortable and to truly look beautiful. I learned a LOT from this little workshop. I was encouraged when she did things that I have already been doing, and was soaking up all the other things I hadn't thought of before. Seriously, you did SO good. So so so so good.

But the most important thing I learned from her wasn't about poses or exposures or locations. It was about care. Genuine, interested care. Jasmine has this way of making you feel like the most important person in the world when she is talking to you. She is totally, 100% focused on you and doesn't seem rushed or bothered or distracted. I so want people to feel that way when they leave talking with me. I want people to feel like I am excited to talk with them, like I am interested in everything they are saying. That doesn't just happen though - being focused on other people takes character.
Dear blog-readers, Jasmine has character. She is a woman who loves God with her whole heart. She is a woman who respects, honors and loves her husband - that's character. She is a woman who works hard to do things with excellence - that's character. She laughs at herself - that's character. She is genuine and truly interested in helping other people - again, that's character.
While yes, I do want to be as good a photographer as this woman, I more want to be as good a woman. Jasmine, thank you for everything. I can't say it enough!

Aaaaand I guess I should post some pictures I shot! Jaclyn and her hubbsband Mark flew from Kansas to model for us! They are goooorgeous and had never had pictures together! Life fail! But, I guess having your first shoot with J* makes up for it haha

See, it's not really fair though, cause Jaclyn isn't just stunning, she's an amazing photographer AND writer! Next year I'll probably be standing in line, crossing my finger and praying I'll get to shoot with her! Make sure you check out her blog and leave some love!