My Wedding Photography Progression: From Myrtle Beach Oceanside Elopements to West Coast Weddings.

Updated: Nov 16

When my husband and I first started dating we moved from the Boston area down to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. My mother lived there, and at the time we were all about sunshine and laid back southern ways. We have since married, had kids, and our priorities shifted. We realized that we needed to be somewhere with better schools for the kids, all four seasons (let's be honest, for my childhood nostalgia) and more job opportunities for my husband. All of this eventually led us to an 8 month road trip to find the 'perfect place' which landed us in the Pacific Northwest.


Even though our stay in South Carolina was short, (just shy of 5 years) that's where my photography bloomed from a hobby into a business. After a couple of years of shooting families, I received a call from Lauri Doss from Coastal Elegance Weddings & Events. She offers all inclusive wedding and elopement packages where you can get married right on sand in Myrtle Beach. I worked as an independent contractor for her, and she paid me to photograph all kinds of weddings. This proved to be a great learning experience for me!

Typically I would only shoot before sunset, during the all coveted "golden hour," but these weddings were taking place at all different times, and I quickly learned to shoot in harsh light.





I fell in love with working with couples. Weddings are fast paced and FUN! Honestly, time flies on wedding days and that's how I know I love what I'm doing. From there I started second shooting in weddings with other photographers, learning how the typical wedding day progresses, what to expect, and how to shoot in all kinds of lighting situations indoor and out. Here's a collection of images from my very first second shooting gig, never forget where you came from!




With these images as part of my portfolio, and experience 2nd shooting with other wedding photographers, I was ready to start taking on my own weddings. My first solo wedding was for friends who worked with my husband at the Murrells Inlet Garden City Fire Department.


I hired a 2nd shooter to join me, and despite stepping in a fire ant hill and getting my foot attacked by those treacherous creatures, the wedding itself went quite smoothly. Take a look:



I was hooked, and on a roll. Then the real challenge hit when we moved all the way across the country. I wanted to keep investing in my business, but I no longer knew what the best venues were. I had no vendor relationships, and not even any friends or family to point me in the right direction. I was starting from scratch.


I was surprised to find that in the Portland OR area, (known much more than Myrtle Beach for its arts and culture) had a very limited number of wedding photographers who were willing to welcome newcomers. In Myrtle Beach, we often meet monthly, swapping head shots, offering advice, and networking. Whenever I tried to find something like this in Portland, I was met with crickets.


That is until I met Amanda Jones and Julian McFadden. These two are passionate about events & weddings. Amanda curated some of the most beautiful style shoots for me to meet and network with vendors on, and Julian had me as a 2nd shooter so I could become familiar with local venues. Without these two, I wouldn't have been able to get where I'm at in the PNW, and I am forever grateful. Together, the three of us were able to host a "Photographers Networking Workshop", finally giving Portland what it needed: an opportunity for photographers to come together to learn the ins and outs of shooting weddings.



From there, I've meet some of the most amazing people locally in this industry, and have developed a strong sense of weddings in the PNW. I have my favorite shooting spots again, and a long list of vendors I love working with.


It has been an incredible journey! Here are some of my favorite PNW shots:



I envision my family and I being here for quite awhile. We love the people, we love the nature, and I love what is happening with my business.


I hope you enjoyed this short history lesson of my career! As I sit here writing this, I'm realizing that my story is actually just starting...


Talk soon,







PS. If you are another wedding photographer and are interested in second shooting, please shoot me an e-mail! info@jessicajphotography.com. I'm always looking for great talent to shoot with.

Copyright Jessica Jean Photography 2018

info@jessicajphotography.com

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