Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jessica Perez, and I’m from Central Florida. I’m currently doing crazy things like raising two miniature humans, marriage, and I’m in my 2nd year of nursing school. Before photography, I was doing boring stuff like accounting – no offense to anyone doing it, though it wasn’t for me; apparently I like the struggle.
As for what makes my heart skip a beat; a good ass cup of crafted coffee, a cultured space, and anything typography. I currently shoot with a D750, and my two ‘must-have’ lenses are the 45mm tilt & my 35mm ART.
In 2012, I began Jessica Perez Photography; and in 2015, officially jumped into the world of wedding photography. Before then, I did maternity & newborn lifestyle photography.
How did you learn photography?
I’m a self-taught photographer. With the help of Youtube and coffee, I did a lot of trial and error when it came to photography & my business. Originally, starting in this business I had a ton of insecurities. My first run at a business attempt was an utter fail; I failed at networking, I was too shy to get involved or ask for help, and I felt intimidated by the ‘competition’. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I was overwhelmed and lost. After I quit, it took me 11 months to pick up my camera again. I’m not sure what made me do it, but once I began photographing again it was like a fire reignited.
Now, I continue to learn everyday. With the help of workshops, tutorials, mentors, social media, & networking. I don’t see ‘competition’ anymore, I see inspiration; only what I strive to attain, not what I’ve failed to become.
When year were your "then" pictures taken?
What did you do to better your photography skills?
Practice, practice, practice.
Though more importantly, I wasn’t truly happy with my images until I found my style. I was constantly struggling with the editing process, finding the ‘right’ models, or believing that I didn’t have the ‘right’ gear.
Until one day I asked a friend who had just had a baby if I could photograph them for my portfolio. That day it had been raining, gloomy, and was severely over-cast… and then I walked into the darkest house I had ever seen. I was like “fuuuuuugde”. All I could think was- I’m doomed, these photos are going to be hideous.
I scouted her home, and after several minutes picked a room in the house with some intimate lighting. It was all over after that day; I fell deeply in love with lights and shadows! But more importantly, it was in that moment that I knew this kind of photography made my heart stop. The intimate, romantic, moody kind! Only then, did I feel like my work got better. After that, I focused more on improving my technique.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a new photographer to help them excel in their craft?
Don’t be afraid to network, reach out for help, or gather constructive criticism. It’s the only way to learn. There are endless resources to help you with your success (including awesome sites like LOOKSLIKEFILM), all you have to do is reach out.