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Downtown Columbus Engagement

Andrew and Heather are both Architects, a profession that is near and dear to my heart, as my father is an architect as well. They met at Kent State which has a killer architecture program and spent long nights working on projects together. They both have a diverse range of interests and are very wise beyond their years….to an impressive degree.

For their engagement shoot, we let the architecture of downtown Columbus be our inspiration. We found lots of cool angles, details and textures to work with. It was early July and down by the riverfront vendors were setting up for the 4th of July fireworks celebrations so the streets were alive with excitement. The sun was direct and bright in the sky which provided the opportunity for cool silhouettes and some more dramatic shots. I loved Heather’s high pony tail and bold blue dress- it was the perfect color for photos. These two have a refreshing mix of being laid back, silly and super sweet with each-other. I just loved hanging out with them for an afternoon.

Their wedding was the following month in August so it was fun hearing about how their wedding planning was coming along. I especially loved hearing them describe the cookie table they’d be having. I could talk about cookies everyday. You’d have to ask my husband, but I probably actually do talk about cookies everyday. I digress.

I can’t wait to share these with you all today! Urban portraits are some of my all-time favorite photos to take, because I love the uniqueness of all the locations and the feeling of exploring when we walk around finding them together. I hope you love these as much as I did taking them:)  Thank you Andrew and Heather! Keep an eye out for a blog about their wedding in the coming month. XO Jess


Heather and Kyle walking along a path at NHCC

Columbus Nationwide Hotel Wedding

Heather and Kyle were married earlier this summer at Berlin Presbyterian Church in Lewis Center, OH. This church might look unsuspecting from the outside, but the inside has the most magnificent stained glass focal point behind the main altar. They were surrounded by family and friends as they said their “i-do”s. A family member was even the officient.

After the beautiful ceremony, the party made its way over to the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center for photos and the reception. The bridesmaids wore long pale purple gowns that accented the delecate Madison House Designs bouquets perfectly.  The men wore purple striped ties and grey suits to finish the look. Heather is one of those people that is just naturally beautiful. She has gorgeous long flowing hair, expressive eyes, and a smile and laugh that can light up a room. Needless to say, she made for a stunning bride. I loved watching them during the speeches soak up all the love. Their first dance was so intimate. It was sincere and heartwarming as they softly sang just to each-other as they danced.

The evening really picked up and the dancing was awesome! Dessert was provided by Nothing Bunt Cakes, and I swear to you my eyes rolled into the back of my head when I tried the chocolate-chocolate chip bunt. I loved it so much I’m asking for one for my birthday later this month. Anyways, I hope you love these photos! It was an honor to spend the day with such amazing people.

Nationwide Hotel Wedding

vintage VW Beetle and Family

Park of Roses Maternity Session

Day #2 of Babypalooza is here!

What do you get when you mix a vintage Beetle and a stunning summer night? Magic!

Mike and Jess are Clintonvillions (not to be confused with the Clintonvillans) through-and-through, so we met one evening last month at the Whetstone Park of Roses for a maternity mini-session. They brought their VW Beetle with them which made for some of the coolest and original maternity photos ever. I got to ride in the back seat with their dog Rory. It is truly a cool little car, and I now see why people love their vintage VW’s.

They are expecting a little girl next month! That time will come and go like a flash of light. Until then, I wish them so much peace and quiet and restful nights. Lol!

Brianna and jake hugging after getting married

Bluestone Wedding

I have shot at the Bluestone a lot over the years for various events and helping out other photographers on their shoots. For lack of a better, less corny expression, when it came to shooting my own wedding here, I was always the bridesmaid and never the bride. I was super excited when Brianna and Jake told me this is where their wedding was going to take place. I couldn’t wait to put my own creative spin on how this venue could be captured. And above all else, Brianna and Jake are two of the sweetest, most down-to-earth people you could ever dream to work with, so I lucked out in every way!

The Bluestone is an old church-turned-event venue. It has character oozing out of every corner (in a good way). In the main event room, the light trickles through stained glass windows and warms the whole environment. The venue adorned the main space with a canopy of bistro lights. In my opinion, this ups the enchanting factor ten-fold.

After Brianna and Jake said their I-do’s, we all went out into the immediate neighborhood to take advantage of some shabby-chic urban backdrops. I still can’t get over how perfect these locations ended up being for unique downtown portraits. Back inside the venue, we utilized some of the buildings’ stunning details for a few more photos. Then it was time for the real party to begin- and Oh my God, what a party it was.

The year’s not over, but this wedding is in the lead for the best throw-down wedding dance party I’ve seen so far in 2017. And that’s not an easy title to win, either. The whole celebration ended on a crazy high note when the couple ran though a spectacular line of sparklers.

I just ordered their wedding album today and was actually giddy when I hit send to the printer. I’m just excited to share share share this wedding. It was genuine, fun and all sorts of beautiful. I hope you enjoy! XO Jess

Engaged couple hugging in Schiller Park

A German Village Engagement

It was a perfect spring day with a subtle breeze in the air, just enough to make a small piece of hair come to life. Amanda and Eric met me at the Grange Insurance Audubon for their engagement session, and then we drove to German Village and took some more photos paparazzi style! I was a little obsessed with shooting in this area of Columbus this past spring. All of the brick streets looked extra quaint with all of the flower boxes having freshly planted flowers around every corner.

I can’t get over Amanda’s stunning eyes- they’re captivating. And they both have such a genuine smile- they make a super cute couple and will make a very good-looking bride and groom come this November. Until then, enjoy these photos! It was such a stunner of a day! XO Jess

Featured on Home Confetti

PUBLISHED- Home Confetti

So excited to see Aaron’s surprise birthday party from last fall published on Home Confetti! This was a stunner event and the product of being married to an event planner. It all took place on the front lawn of their Columbus apartment. City Barbeque provided the elegantly casual fair which was perfect for an outdoor dinner. Instead of cake, they enjoyed an overflowing platter of Buckeye Doughnuts. Laughter filled the evening sky, as each person filled out a MADLIB about Aaron and he read them aloud. Enjoy!

Home Confetti




bride and groom kissing in front of brick wall

Cultural Arts Center Wedding

Meredith and John’s spring wedding was nothing short of a stunner. Overflowing floral in every corner, a sophisticated color palette, and incredible family and friends made the day flawless.

I love it when my brides get ready at the Hilton in downtown Columbus. It’s a perfect mix of modern and elegant. When I arrived, the room was buzzing with excitement, awesome music, and smiling faces. The pink and white bouquets were so striking against the soft flowing gray bridesmaids dresses. Meredith was simply glowing all day and side note- she literally has some of the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen in my life.

The stage was set at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center downtown for an intimate outdoor ceremony. It was so romantic. The brick patio had accents of green moss between the pavers, Vessel Florals added the most elegant pillar floral arrangements down the main isle, and all of it led to a soft gray fabric backdrop. Meredith’s brother officiated the ceremony which made for some touching and humorous moments. I always think it’s extra special when loved ones marry the bride and groom.

After the ceremony, we went across the street to the Scioto Mile for some portraits. It was super brisk outside that day, so Meredith and John were troopers to make it look so warm and loving on camera! After that, it was time to have some serious fun at the reception. Natasha Churches and her team at Perfectly Planned along with Vessel Florals truly outdid themselves with this one. These were some of the most beautiful tablescapes I’ve ever seen, and trust me, I’ve seen it all. Tall modern candelabras that were dripping with floral amazingness at the bases. The party was turned up to 11 thanks to Midwest Pro DJ. Everyone, including the babies, was on the dance floor. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this day. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did taking them! XO Jess

To Photo Conference or Not to Photo Conference?

One of the mainstay features of the photography profession’s landscape is photo conferences. They used to all be very similar- in a large hotel’s ballrooms, a trade show in the hall, and downtime in a typically awesome location. Now, there are infinite options for what and where a photographer can choose to learn more about their profession. What it boils down to, is what do you want to learn?

New to the industry

If you are new to the industry or just starting out in photography, a photo conference can be invaluable. It can act as a boot camp for all aspects of photography. I would highly suggest WPPI or Imaging USA for the all-encompassing experience. You’ll leave with a lot more knowledge of what industry standards and practices are, which is important if you’re going to open up a wedding photography company.

When I first wanted to start my business, I read a book about owning your own LLC. The writer right off the bat said in no uncertain terms, typically what you set out to have a business doing (such as photography), is what you end up doing the least. And boy that couldn’t be truer. I spend my days editing, writing, charging equipment, scheduling, answering emails, social media-ing, and planning wedding days with my clients. Photographing couples literally is the thing I do the least in my day-to-day operations. But, as it turns out, I actually love all of the stuff that comes with owning a business. Without those larger conferences to help me along in how to operate a company efficiently in all aspects of the game, I couldn’t imagine where I’d be right now.

I see a lot of new photographers signing up for styled shoots to improve the appearance of their portfolios. A styled shoot is basically a wedding without guests, and the bride and groom are typically models. These usually take place during nice overcast days in stunning locations. In other words, it’s pretty hard to take a bad photo when the cards are stacked for you. Why does this matter? Well, if you’re opening a wedding photography company, have an awesome dreamy portfolio filled with styled shoots, what happens when you get into a dark ugly reception hall when you’re hired by your first client. The bride and groom aren’t models, the flowers are all artificial, and the walls are all covered in dark wood paneling. You’re going to have an Oh-sh*t moment. One that could probably stop your company before it’s even started. I think going to styled shoots as a new photographer is having tunnel vision, and it’s not being honest with yourself or your clients. Going to one of the larger photography conferences very well might help give you a much-needed reality check- one that could prevent that Oh-sh*t moment down the road.

TIPS for the conference goers

  1. Don’t pretend to know it all. I attended a lot of classes where I already knew most of what they were teaching. But I had an open mind, stayed until the end, and almost always left with a little tidbit I either needed reminding of or learned something new. No, all classes aren’t created the same, so make sure to talk and network with other photographers while you’re there. See what classes they’re excited about. It’s an easy way to start a conversation and make a new friend.
  2. Bring a notebook and write, write, write. Remember, be thorough. When you’re writing, it all makes sense. A day or two later, not so much. Make sure to go back and expand on thoughts in between sessions. Use this notebook to take what you’ve learned and strategize on ways you can implement the new-found knowledge. This book can and most likely will become a launchpad for amazing ideas and inspiration.
  3. Talk, Talk, Talk. One of the biggest advantages of going to a large conference is gaining other people’s wisdom. I have learned so much from my peers just by hanging out and talking shop.
  4. Don’t be seduced by location- get your ass to class! If you’re traveling across the country, try to make the most of your experience, even when the days seem long and the pool looks amazing. You are a sponge- soak it all up!

Ok, I’ve had the big conference experience, now what?

Get nit picky- be your own worst critic! This wasn’t hard for me at all! I knew exactly where my weak points were when I wanted to take my business to the next level. It all starts with being honest with yourself. For me, I needed to work on lighting and business strategies. Because I knew these two very specific problems were something I needed to focus on, I sought out tailored programs just for them.

I consider myself very lucky because I happen to live in the same city as a master lighter, and frequent contributor to Strobist articles all over the web, Nick Fancher. He along with Chris Keels teamed up and offered an amazing two-day lighting course in 2010. I couldn’t sign up fast enough. Because it was the class’ maiden voyage, it was reasonably priced (especially considering it changed my whole practice). I loved it so much, I took it again the very next year. Even though some of the stuff I learned the second year was redundant, it was a great technical reminder, and I still learned plenty of new techniques. Having it local was another advantage regarding cost. If you can’t find a course, just reach out to a local photographer who can do what you want to learn and beg them to teach you… and this should go unsaid, but pay them. It will be worth it, I promise.

For the business part of photography, I had heard Jerry Ghionis speak at WPPI and instantly knew he was a one-in-a-million photographer and businessman who lived up to every aspect of the word success. I ended up taking a full day, all intensive class from him, and honestly, I try to hear him speak every opportunity I can get. The class changed a few fundamentally small ways I shoot….and just that alone was worth the cost of admittance. His business strategies will also leave you clinging on to every word that comes out of his mouth. Ok, I admit it- I’m a groupie. My friend and I even made Jerry t-shirts when we last saw him. *nerd alert*

meeting jerry ghionis

In 2015 I knew I was going to make the leap to quit my other full-time job and go full-time exclusively with photography. I was really worried about working from home. Mainly, the seclusion, lack of interaction (which I guess is also the definition of seclusion), and how that can toy with the mind emotionally. I have anxiety, and most of the times I feel that helps me have an edge over my competition. But would this anxiety turn into depression when I was all alone each day? Again, I was getting honest with myself. Naming what I thought I needed to work on the most, or in this case, what I was most worried about happening and tackling it head-on. My husband and I were wanting to start a family, so logistically that was the perfect year to pick a conference and travel if I was ever going to do it. I picked Field Trip, out in El Capitan Canyon, California, because I was impressed with the mix of classes that focused on the emotional and “real” aspects of business and business practices. This ended up being a reset button experience for me. It was cooler than any summer camp I attended as a kid, but everyone was pretty much talking photography, so it was perfect. The incredible views, the classes where people could break down and cry, completely exposing their shortcomings and fears, it was real and it was just what I needed. I came back and have been working as a full-time photographer for almost two years later this month (although this is my company’s 9th full year). I can honestly say there have been very few days that have felt uncomfortable, and I have a lot more interaction with the outside world than I ever expected.

PICK your future

Photo conferences are tools that will directly impact the path of your business. Be mindful in choosing them. You can take cool pictures anywhere, but what are you LEARNING? What are your shortcomings? What do you need to improve upon? Make a list of 5 things right now, and under each one, three steps you could take to work on them. Make conferences and classes a part of your plan. The rewards far outweigh the investment if you choose wisely.


Fab you bliss feature wedding

PUBLISHED- Fab You Bliss

Amanda and Aaron’s stunner wedding from late last year has been published on the amazing Fab You Bliss wedding blog! Also check out my blog post from it here. As an artist, Amanda left no stone unturned in her downtown Columbus Vue wedding. I’m so honored it has been highlighted by this great website so everyone can see how talented her and her vendors are! I think my favorite parts, besides everyone being super fun all day, were the succulent bouquets and the hand-made lettering details Amanda made. Oh, and their first dance which was nothing short of fantastical! XO Jess


Whimsical Urban Columbus Wedding