Jasmine Star lit a fire in Washington, DC. She lit a fire under twenty photographers, and I am blessed to have been one of them!
But first, let’s back up… I started this business in September of 2011. I picked up a camera with little more than a hobbyist’s experience and turned a very dark time in my life into a beautiful one. My business seemed to grow faster than I ever imagined, and I craved learning more. Many friends directed me to Creative Live, where I first “met” Jasmine. Any time I could catch her live, I was watching. I was learning. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I’d be in a room with her, again learning, and sharing that experience with many other extremely talented photographers.
I recently relocated my business from Charleston, WV to Baltimore, MD. We don’t get a lot of workshop action in the gorgeous mountains of West Virginia, but Baltimore has brought so much opportunity. I woke up on April 23rd early and the first post in my Facebook newsfeed was from JStar. A workshop was coming to DC. Without hesitation, I followed the link and filled out my registration. I don’t think I could have been any more excited than at that moment. I was going to meet the person I admired most in our industry. How amazing?! Flash forward two months, that excitement couldn’t even compare.
I was lucky enough to attend this workshop with someone else from WV! Mrs. Sarah Dunlap of Sarah Dunlap Photography was also attending and we had never had the chance to meet in person. Being in close markets, we knew one another by reputation, but it was the perfect chance to REALLY get to know one another. We immediately connected, planned our stays at the same hotel, and began sharing our journey. So, the night of the mixer, we met in the lobby and rode in a cab anxiously together.
All but short of holding hands nervously, we walked into Poste in DC. We were a little early, so I wasn’t sure how many would be there. Alas, we turned the corner and there she stood… THE Jasmine Star. I cannot lie that my immediate reaction was to clasp my hands to my face, scream “OH MY GOD,” and fight back tears. Her reaction? A warm and welcoming embrace. The first of many beautiful gestures we would see over the next 24 hours. The mixer was fantastic. Great drinks, truffle fries, and lots of intimate conversation. I could already tell it was going to be a mind-blowing experience, and we hadn’t even started yet.
How do I not write a novel on the day of the workshop? I simply tell you that I walked away learning not only about this business, but myself, and who I want to be in this field. I walked into a room of strangers and let them see the real me, and I think I left knowing exactly who that was. As Jasmine put it, “they might love it, or hate it, but make them feel something!”
Here’s a little more about the workshop experience: We started the day with breakfast and lots of information from J. I took it all in and more. I was a sponge! We all had a chance to chime in with Q&A at any time, and she encouraged us to ask anything and everything we wanted. There was no success secret she wasn’t willing to share, proving further her genuine intent to help everyone in attendance. Lunch was literally a circle pow-wow. We had an open forum over yummy Panera Bread goodies. Delicious AND informative! The afternoon proceeded with a small styled shoot. Here are some of my favorite images, some comments, and props to the amazing vendors who made it happen!
Jasmine is an enthusiastic teacher and her smile is contagious! JD stepped in to help her demonstrate using action in a pose. They are too cute.
Ana and Brian were a dream couple to work with. They are a real couple, really engaged. They were absolute troopers as a gang of paparazzi chased them around DC, turning the heads of everyone we passed. I’m certain people thought they were famous. And for the day, they were! We were in awe of them.
This gorgeous bouquet was arranged by Highway to Hill.
Hair by Up dos for I dos.
Make up by Kristine Marie Make-up Artistry
Locations were all found near our workshop spot, The Loft.
My girl Sarah, from Sarah Dunlap Photography, taking the lead with her branding words!
Dress provided by Ellie’s Bridal Boutique.
The dress is Mikaella Bridal, and was unlike any other textured fabric I’d ever seen on a gown!
Major props to Jasmine, JD, and especially Stephanie Scott for pulling all of this together. It was a great shoot!
Ana is going to make a stunning bride!
More behind the scenes photos of Jasmine and JD rocking it out. Oh, and a little smile from one to the other. There’s always time for a little love. <3
After our shoot, we decompressed by looking through the day’s footage. We learned even more, and before we knew it, it was 5:00. I don’t think there was a person in the room that was ready to go home. Thankfully, Jasmine and JD had planned a special dinner for attendees, so many of us made our way to Matchbox. We all got to mingle more at dinner over deliciousness including crab bisque and homemade doughnuts. I think we were all trying to eat as slowly as possible to draw out what was left of our day together. Many hugs and thank you’s later, I walked outside into the darkness. The day was over, but I knew tomorrow was brand new and FULL of potential. Even better, I knew exactly what I needed to do.
Since the workshop, I have been working hard to re-brand. I came home and immediately revised my wedding collections, reviewed contracts, and began work on a new website. Today, I re-launched www.ashtonkelleyphotography.com. I could not be happier with the way things have turned out! I’m proud to show it off and I think it compliments me 100%. I credit that confidence to Jasmine and the workshop experience. I needed that push, and I certainly got it.. and so much more. Thank you, Jasmine! I can’t wait until our paths cross again!