Jameykay, and her husband Arlie, are destination wedding photographers based out of Asheville, North Carolina. Aside from being weird, fun and energetic, Jameykay and Arlie are passionate and in love with each other and photography. Their playful attitude allows their clients to relax and be more open to sharing intimate moments with them. There is a true sense of connection when looking at Jameykay and Arlie's images.
How did you learn photography?
I began photography by doing it as my high school senior project in 2005. I learned the basics on a Canon Rebel SLR, circa 1990, that my aunt let me borrow. I had to self teach myself and attended a dinky 3 week community college night class until I finished the project.
Post high school, I continued self teaching and experimenting with the Canon Rebel XT, that I begged my parents for as my graduation gift. I learned about how to change the ISO speed because I wanted to shoot bands in low-lit rooms. I discovered I loved shooting mostly wide open and I learned what lenses were the best to achieve the look I wanted. In 2008, I took the leap to major in photography in college and entered the Technical Photography program at Appalachian State University. I graduated from the tech photo program in 2010 and proceeded to work towards having my own photography business.
I loved creating images that were expressive art, so I wasn't necessarily keen on the idea of using my photography degree on being a wedding photographer, but I still gave the gigs I had my all. A handful of those first clients didn't book me because my prices were embarrassingly low, but they did see my conceptual work, as well as my fashion work, and wanted me to photograph their weddings. Because of those clients, I began learning wedding photography. That is something that, in retrospect, I am very grateful for today!
What year were your then pictures taken in?
My then images were taken between 2009 and 2012.
What did you do to better your photography skills?
I pushed myself at times I didn't want to do anything at all. I did my best to remain humble in an industry where you had to be really into yourself to get ahead. I never stopped learning. If I felt I didn't do the best job at a wedding, I tried to figure out why and did a better job the next time. Sometimes that "why?" was because I just wasn't into the type of couples I was shooting. Following the money trail turned into a way to stifle my creativity.
At times, I would go for weeks without picking up my camera outside of paid assignments, which was the worst thing I could have done. Once I realized that mistake, I began contacting people who I saw and wanted to photograph. I set up these shoots for whenever I had too much down time. Eventually, I found myself excited about poses, the locations, the timing, the thrill of a wedding day or engagement session. That lead to getting more and more clients who we love and who love us. We now have couples who want to work with us because they genuinely love our work. They love our candid moments, the non-posey looking portraits, my simple, yet dark and dramatic editing, and our unique take on wedding and couple photography. I am proud to be this kind of photographer now, and if you told me five years ago I would feel this way today, I probably wouldn't have believed you.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a new photographer to help them excel in their craft?
Work your ass off and don't settle! Shoot as much as you possibly can, outside of paying gigs that you're not crazy about. Only put work out there that you are truly proud of, and if you're not getting paid to shoot who you want, shoot those couples for free or trade. Don't be afraid to go after who you want. I spent too much time dreading work, and not enough time finding what made me excited. I can't say I am all the way there, but I'm not afraid to take those risks anymore. What's the worst that could happen? Someone says no? So what? Move on and fall in love with who you are working for and learn to say no to clients who don't fit you.
Photography is art and art is a huge risk in itself. Finding true love in art is usually a series of beautiful risks.
What gear do you currently use?
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50L f/1.2
Canon 35L f/1.4
Canon 45 Tilt Shift
Canon 135L f/2
Sigma 85mm f/1.4
2 Canon flashes that we never use.
15" Macbook Pro
All VSCO Presets - favorite is between 400H+1 and Portra 160+1 from Pack 6
ONA Leather Capri Bag
I use various objects for lens gunking, from huge color filters from film enlargers to leaves from a tree I'm standing next to.
See more amazing images from Jameykay below.