Jessica Arden Photography – Frederick, MD

February 15, 2010

Meet Jessi Blakely of Jessica Arden Photography.  Jessi shoots Canon with her right eye and focuses mostly on weddings and kids.  She shoots JPEG and uses manual mode.  Her favorite actions include Kubota’s daily multi vitamin and Jodie Otte’s black and white, which she says “is fabulous”.

photo credit : Amy Blakely (Jessi’s sister)



Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?

I have always loved photography and have known i wanted to pursue it as a career since my high school  days at durham school of the arts

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What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?

experience in the field is the most valuable form of education

What makes you as a business person different from everyone else?

uh, i am not good at the business part of photography:(

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Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?

Emily Abril of and Maya Darasaw of

One item you can’t live without?

prime lenses

Your favorite bokeh image and why?

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The bokeh is so yummy i could eat it with a spoon…and I makes the subjects eyes pop!

Why did you want to be included on The Bokeh Pot?

I love to follow this blog and I know crystal from the photo department at ASU!

Favorite book?
the outsiders

Favorite movie?
all about my mother

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Favorite songs to work to?

anything gaga

Where do you find inspiration?

fashion magazines, old hollywood glamour, other artists and photographers

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Do you use a second shooter?

not usually, but i would always love to have one…i enjoy being a second shooter for other photographers

How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?

shoot me an email or facebook me!

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If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?

jasmine star… love her:) and of course tracy turpen or crystal genes…two talented app grads!

Are you a member of any organizations?

ppa, FABNet (frederick area bridal network)

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What did you have to do to actually take the leap?  Did you have any hoops to jump through?

I still think that i have a lot to learn, and am still very open to learning from my peers

Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?

you must be committed and self motivated which is harder than one might think

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What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?

Client referral cards

Are you for or against advertising (paid or free)?  If for, who have you had the most success with?

I am all about it, but I definitely try to take advantage of free social networking sites as much as i can. I also believe that client referrals are the best form of marketing.

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How do you go about networking with other wedding vendors?

Fabnet is great for that…and just putting yourslef out there…talking to vendors, meeting new people

What does an overview of your typical workflow look like?

i use ligthroom for batch processing and photoshop for final tweaking

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How do you stay organized?

brightly colored folders and sharpies!

What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?

Good food and good conversation

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Kristen Leigh Photography – Gaithersburg, MD

June 3, 2009

Meet Kristen Leigh, a MD, DC, VA wedding photographer who uses her left eye, shoots JPEG in manual mode and when asked if she uses actions, responded, “”She used an Itty Bitty Totally Rad Kubuta aaaaction set, for the first time today” sing with me!”  She shoots “Wide open, emotional and just plain pretty :D”.


Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
Oh I remember it like yesterday – and it was definitely an exact moment!  I was interested in working in the wedding industry and had even second shot a wedding when I was 14, but for some reason that “theres-no-way-I-can-really-do-this-fear” crept in and I looked at other career options.  It was junior year of highschool, and my dad was driving me home and was like “Kristen, just do it.  Just do photography – you love it, you’re good at it and it’s the perfect job for you.”  So in 2007, when I graduated highschool, I didn’t bop off to college, but instead dove into my little business 😀


What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
To ask for help!  There are people out there who are reaaaaally good at things that I am reaaaally not.  And almost everyone has some little tip or advice that I can learn from.  I haven’t had any formal training in photography or business, but I could list person after person who has taken me under their wing and taught me how to actually do this.
And to laaaaugh a lot 😀

What makes you different from everyone else?
I mean, there’s the typical “I’m different because I am me!” answer – which is true, I guess.  But thats like saying “Everyone is special (which means no is)!” haha Duh I am the only “me” there is!  So lets be more specific:  What makes me different from everyone else?  Well, I started my business when I was 17, I am the oldest of 7 kids, I was home-schooled for most of my life, Jim Halpert makes me weak, my mom had breast cancer when I was 14, I love to burst into song and have mini-dancing parties (who cares if you are in Safeway when “Single Ladies” comes on, you gotta daaance!), I played competitive soccer and basketball in highschool, my hair is kind of thin and I am a really bad journaler.

There.  I’m crazy, loud, sappy, laugh-y, people-person-y and my clients “get” that.  I might not be able to list the ABC’s of marketing yourself, but I can certainly have some fun times at my shoots that make some sweeeeet pictures!


Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
Hands down Lydia Jane.  She’s better then me and also my best friend 😀


One item you can’t live without?
Photography-wise? My good ol’ 50 1.2.  Life-wise?  My GPS.

Your best bokeh image and why?

brookeandnathan-11350mm f/1.2, 1/100 at 1.2, ISO 800

This captures everything I love about “me” as a photographer: a real moment (I love her best friend grabbing her hand on the left), I love their humongo smiles, i love the rose petals swirling around, I love the crisp light – even though it was a dark building, I love the soft, buttery christmas tree lights in the background.  And I dearly love this couple – the groom told me that “Mountain streams lament for her beauty.” Whoa. Hello. That’s adorable.

Favorite book?
I don’t mean this to sound stuck-up, but the Bible really is my favorite book.  I’m not very good at reading, but the Bible – well, I love it.  God is my life and His words are the sweetest things to me!

Favorite movie?
Disney’s Cinderella, no question.  It was my favorite movie growing up and I can recite almost the whole thing.  And even at 3 years old the romance and dreamy-ness of the story captured me.  “So this is loooove. MmmHHmmmMMm.”


Where do you find inspiration?
I think the mystery of love (whoa now, I should right a song or a novel with that title! I didn’t even mean to be deep! haha I’m a natural I guess ;D).  Sorry, anyways, the mystery of love.  I’m a typical, young girl who looks at people in love with wide-eyed wonder and can only imagine what it will be like when it’s my turn.  The smitten little smiles, the sweet gestures, the tears of genuine and simple joy.  The dedication, adoration and faithfulness – well, its all seems to good to be true!  I’m intrigued and every single couple leaves me in awe.  And inspired 😀

What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
My brides!  Is that a stupid answer?  Because seriously my brides are the core and foundation of my business!  They have hired me, recommended me, encouraged me and made me love my job.  Forget workflow, equipment, branding – if I had no brides
it’d be pointless – and really a terrible business haha


Do you use a second shooter?
Psh, yeah man!

How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
Send me a package filled with money, pretzels, vintage postcards from the fair and a country music CD.  I promise you’d get the gig ;D No, but really, just ask!  I love to second shoot with people and am always looking for new friends.  Beware, I’m a talker. So, yeah, just beware.


If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
My future husband 😀  I love all those husbands who aren’t into photography, but learn so they can spend the weekend with their wives – or vice versa.  I hope my future man will do the same with me.

Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
I’m on OSP, [b]school, WeddingChicks and WeddingWire – and this year I won Brides Choice on WeddingWire!  I thought it was a prank haha

What did you have to do to actually take the leap?  Did you have any hoops to jump through?
I had to just do it.  I had to be willing to skip college, to take the confused/disapproving remarks, to lay my fears before God and to get my butt up and go for it!  Ruuun like the wind, baby!  I was also blessed with parents who are more supportive then beams on a bridge, and they basically took the money they had saved for my college and got me my Mac and photoshop.  It was so sweet and generous of them, and motivates me to want to save well so I can bless my kids someday.


Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
I played lots of sports in highschool and one of my favorite phrases was “You’ll  miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” (kind of funny – I missed almost 100% of the shots I did take, but thats not really motivating) and the same thought process applies.  It’s just better to try and fail then to know for the rest of your life you never even gave it a shot. (Get it? hahah like a photography shot? haha).  I think people over-think things and make it more complicated then it needs to be.  Yes, its hard work.  Yes, its a big risk.  Yes, its a serious matter.  But, oh goodness, its amazing fun!

What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
My YouTube singing videos hahah kidding kidding
Gosh, I don’t know.  The slideshows at the wedding have been awesome, as well as blogging.  A huge thing really has been finding out someone at church is engaged, or seeing someone on facebook with a status change and just being like “Hey, congratulations! Let me know if you’re looking for a photographer!”  Really creative.  Innovative, actually. I’m sure no one’s ever thought of that! haha


What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Oh goodie.  Let’s see, I would think the perfect photographer network date would be one where I didn’t have to drive (because I always get lost) and when me and my driving-buddy arrived all the photographers there would have great personalities.  And we’d eat amazing food (none of this “oooh, I ate three olives and a ravioli. I’m stuffed!” I like people who really eat!).  Then we’d laugh and laugh and laugh – we’d laugh so hard that someone would fall off their chair, and then everyone one would twitter it, and then we’d photograph it, theeeen help the chair-faller-over-er up.  When I got home, I would get lots of recommendations from these fine photographers. And have lost 10 pounds.  That’s my idea of a perfect networking date!

Anything else you would like to share?
Yes.  The only redeemable thing about snow is sledding.  Just had to get that out there.


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David Ziser: Digital Wake Up Call

April 28, 2009


Visit: for more details!!!

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AsukaBook Free Seminar

April 14, 2009

AsukaBook sponsors the following photographers’ events throughout the year.  Below is the latest schedule of their events where you are able to learn more about AsukaBook products and possible win a free book of your own design!

For more information visit

April 21, 2009 and April 22, 2009  Boston, MA  Area Seminar

April 23, 2009 Brooklyn, NY Seminar

April 24, 2009 Manhattan, NY Seminar

April 25, 2009 Philadelphia, PA Seminar

April 27, 2009 Baltimore, MD Seminar

April 28, 2009 Charlotte, NC Seminar

April 29, 2009 Atlanta, GA Seminar

May 1, 2009 Orlando, FL Seminar

Doug Gordon: High Fashion, High Glamour Weddings With a Little Flow – April Dates

March 24, 2009

Asukabook Presents Doug Gordon


High Fashion, High Glamour Weddings With a Little Flow

April Class Promotion from Doug Gordon Workshops on Vimeo.

If you love speakers who are motivational and very funny, come to this class. Because people learn best when they are laughing. Because they need a motivational message. Because they need to have fun while they learn.

Learn how to take immediate action and create momentum towards becoming the photographer you want to be. We will be posing, lighting and shooting every scenario possible. Learn how to make the ordinary extraordinary.

I will shoot and explain a ton of poses before your eyes. See how to work with limited time to create fashionable, glamourous photos at every wedding. Optimize your workflow and make the most of your time. You will be able to shoot and be very involved.

April 27, 2009, 10 – 4
Hilton Baltimore
401 West Pratt Steet
Baltimore, MD 21201

April 28, 2009, 10 – 4
Hilton Charlotte Executive Park
5624 Westpark Dr
Charlotte, NC 28217

April 29, 2009, 10 – 4
Hilton Suites Atlanta Perimeter
6120 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd
Atlanta, GA 30328

Each Class is Only $59. and has Limited Availability

> > > Last Chance to Book – Classes are filling up! < < <

Register for classes here:

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