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Fabulous Females :: Jamie Delaine

 

Denver Wedding Photographer

 

Jamie Delaine is a very successful wedding photographer based in Langley, British Columbia. I have followed Jamie’s work and blog for several years now. Jamie is only 21, but she began this journey when she was 16.  Talk about an inspirational lady!  Jamie’s photography blog recently changed to the name – Desire of My Heart. I highly recommend following her frequent postings about life, photography, faith, and so much more!

Denver wedding photography with Jamie Delaine

 

Jamie has been featured in: Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine, Professional Photographers of America magazine, Green Wedding Shoes, Style Me Pretty, Elizabeth Anne Designs… & many more. She was recently honored on Weddingbells list of top 25 most inspiring photographers of 2012. Way to go Jamie!

To stay in the know about who is up and coming in “Fabulous Females” series, be sure to connect with the Laura Gravelle Photography Facebook page.

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1. You are a very successful business owner for your age. How old were you when you first started your photography business and how did that come about?

Thank you so much! I was seventeen when I first officially started shooting weddings.

{This excerpt was taken from Jamie’s blog post called “Getting Started.”

In 2006, I started using my dad’s DSLR camera, a Canon Rebel XT. I had never used a camera before [that I really remember?] and we took it on a family vacation to the east coast and I had some fun. I used it in automatic mode the entire time and came home thinking, I wonder if I can find out what all these buttons do? I went to Google and I read everything I could find about camera basics. I read my manual cover to cover. I bought a book I found on Amazon about wedding photography. I practiced taking pictures of lamps and chairs and stuffed animals and my dog. In the winter of 2006, I found a photography forum called the Open Source Photo forum — I was googling for wedding photographers [I liked looking at their portfolios!] and OSP popped up. I signed up and started reading.

It was amazing. Page after page of this forum was filled with full-time photographers making a living shooting weddings and/or portraits. There were threads about marketing, engagement sessions, wedding timelines, initial consultations, album predesign, album companies, camera gear and lenses, off-camera lighting, websites, blogs, literally every single part of the business side of photography. I read every forum. Kid you not. After a few months I was convinced I could do this. At the same time, I practiced on a few friends — my youth leader had a cute little toddler and I took some photos of him one afternoon. I took one of my best friends out on her farm to photograph. I bought a Bludomain website for $200, put up a bio and a few galleries and I was open for business. I booked my first paid portrait session in June 2007, the same month I launched my website.

At the same time I launched my website I started a blog. I knew from reading OSP that it was important to make yourself different, to show why a client would need to hire you to take their family portraits for $300 over another photographer for $100. Similarly, I started a facebook page — started linking to my blog and website, uploading every shoot, tagging photos, inviting my friends, inviting my brother’s friends, inviting my mom’s friends. Come one, come all. News spread fast. I started emailing other photographers in my area, asking them if they needed assistants, asking them if I could take them out for coffee or out for lunch. I was still involved heavily in OSP forum and I started making online friends all over North America. These photographers gave me some great advice and inspired me through their work and many are still my close friends today! I ended up second shooting two weddings in August 2007 and that started my wedding portfolio.

I put those two weddings up on my website and added a section to my website that said “wedding prices” and listed them for $1000. I got an email, a bride wanted to book me. I shared up front that I had not shot a wedding by myself, but had second shot two of them and was “very confident I could do a wonderful job.” She booked me and it was an incredible experience: love love love dean + tamara to this day. That was in May 2008 and that summer, the year I graduated high school, I photographed 10 more weddings — making it a total of 11 my first year. Every 3-4 weddings i would book, i’d raise my prices a couple hundred dollars. At the end of 2008, I think I doubled them: my goal was never to be a $1500 photographer — I knew where I was headed and I knew what quality work was worth.

But it didn’t come easy. Every vendor I worked with, was about to work with and wanted to work with got a personal email. They all received images after the wedding on a disc with a handwritten note and a folder with my business cards. I would look up their facebook pages and post, I would comment on their blogs and post, I would email them after the weddings with a link to the blog post where I linked to their site.

Behind the scenes, when I wasn’t shooting or editing, I was marketing. I was thinking about how to make my website better, how to increase the consistency and quality of my blog posts, I was improving packaging and scheming up client gift systems. I was making a list of vendors I’d love to meet with, I was emailing offering vendors complimentary sessions for whatever they needed. I read every business book I could get my hands on, including going through david jay’s [founder of OSP forum and showit sites] list of recommended reading — about 50 books total. I soon realized O couldn’t be the kind of marketer I wanted to be if I was doing my own editing and album design: so I outsourced both of them and suddenly had 12-15 more hours in my week to work on the things that mattered.

In the 2009 season, I managed to book 15 weddings by repeating all of the above paragraphs. I added in steps like creating sample albums for wedding venues, organizing styled shoots to create portfolios for dress designers, florists, etc., submitting to online blogs and magazines for increased exposure. In 2010, I booked 28 weddings and in 2011, I scaled it down to 21 weddings. There have been no secrets and no new strategies, there has been hard work and a lot of learning and above all, God’s incredible blessing on my business. I love a quote I heard once… that we are to pray like it depends on God but work like it depends on us. I have certainly done that. I am such a firm believer in God being the one who gives us the ability to create wealth [deut 8] and to this day, every wedding I book is a gift. This may seem crazy to a non-Christian, but literally every exciting email I receive, my heart thanks the Lord. Always.

jamie delaine || photographer from Hello Tomorrow on Vimeo.

2. What do you love most about your job?

The flexible schedule. I’m pretty stinkin’ independent and find it hard to imagine a life where someone tells me where to be at what time. ;)

3. What advice would you give to other photographers who are just starting out in their business venture?

Hmm, I know this is lame but I think my “Getting Started” blog post says it better than I could in one sentence.
Denver wedding photography wedding flowers with Jamie Delaine
4. What is a fun fact about you that not everybody would know?
Fun facts about me … I’m a terrible singer but I sing alone in the car, all the time. Along those same lines, I’m a terrible dancer, but I dance alone in the car all the time. I like driving in the car alone.
5. Who are your role models? – either in the photography world or just in general.
Hmm, role models. I would have to say I always have admired women like Pastor Chelsea Smith (husband to Pastor Judah Smith of the City Church) or Pastor Laura Lentz (husband to Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong NYC) — I love seeing strong, confident women supporting their husbands in ministry, while raising kids [three!] and speaking, etc. Who says you can’t do it all? I love that.
Denver wedding photography at a vineyard with Jamie Delaine
6. How has following Jesus influenced the way you run your business?
Oh boy! well I think following Jesus should affect the way we do everything. Our lives are meant to be lived as worship, so that includes drinking, eating, sleeping, running, working, talking, listening, resting. I think the biggest thing has been the idea that whenever we serve someone, we are serving Jesus. So when we show love and compassion, that’s worship. I want every interaction I have to be worship.
7. What is your favorite place in the world you’ve traveled to?

These are such fun questions … but this is so difficult! I am absolutely in love with Montreal. I spent three weeks in Quebec this fall and cannot get enough. Another favourite city of mine is Edinburgh — I would love to go back someday. Montreal and Edinburgh. There you go.

 

Denver wedding photography bridal portrait with Jamie Delaine
8. For all of the gear junkies out there – What is your favorite camera body and lens to use?
My favorite equipment combo is the Canon 5D Mark 2 and my 35mm f/1.4.
CONNECT WITH JAMIE.
Jamie’s Website
Jamie’s Blog
Jamie on Twitter 
Jamie on Facebook
Jamie on Pinterest
Katy Moran - February 21, 2012 - 6:27 pm

Amazing. Thanks for this.

WhitneyandDustin Cowan - February 21, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Incredible! Thanks for sharing

Grace Lofaro - February 21, 2012 - 11:57 pm

Thank you, very inspiring!

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