Inspiration in This Big Sea

An entire sea of water can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside you.

There are times when you start feeling discouraged or like you’ll never achieve your dreams.  I tend to feel this way often, not even gonna lie.  It’s hard to constantly be uppity about your work and to be confident that you’re doing the best you can when there are so many people out there putting you down or when there are so many talented people in this world.  It’s not easy, I’ll tell you that.

I entered the Shoot & Share annual contest (more information HERE) for the first time this year and to feel discouraged about MY work is an understatement.  Going through so many photos (they had over 250,000 photos submitted this year!) and seeing so much talent and what these people can create just baffles me.  Like, how can I, a tiny fish out in this big sea, live up to what ALL of these other majestic creatures are coming up with?

But also?  It’s inspiriting as all get out.  Seriously, as I went through and voted for other photographer’s photos and favorited so many of them, it gradually hit me what exactly I was favoring and the style of each and every single photo.  I realized what it is that I do like, and what I don’t.  I felt myself craving for more wedding ring shots, drawing more towards photos with negative space, and dramatic black & white lifestyle and wedding photos.  I figured out what tones and emotion that I’m drawn to and how similar my likes are with what I deliver.


2015 was an extremely slow year in my business, but I was also pregnant for almost the entire year, so that’s why, haha.  I wasn’t in the mood or inspired to be as productive or in the creative process like I usually am.  I was either down with morning sickness or tired and large.  Nothing inspiring about that, folks, lol.   Even if this contest discouraged me in the beginning, it’s EXACTLY what I need to kick my butt back into gear for 2016.

I’m making it a goal to regularly blog at least twice a week, and hopefully more, for this year.  I’m pushing myself to book more weddings and just MORE shoots in general to push this creative drive that has suddenly come to light.  I’ve never been more thankful for a contest, that I’m not even sure if I placed high or moderately well in, to get me back on my feet in my business and show me what I truly love doing and that I NEED to be back out there showing the world what I’ve got.

Ain’t nobody gonna bring me down 🙂

handwritten Jenn 2016

Hello…It’s Jenn

Hey, how’s things?  It’s been a while, I know.  Life has happened…literally.

As you may remember, I announced my pregnancy with my son around this time last year.  I done as much work as I could, for as long as I could, being as pregnant as I was.  Done a few weddings in the spring and late May.  I welcomed two nieces within 9 days of each other in June (sister and sister-in-law).  I was due October 3rd, 2015 and I unfortunately had to wait an additional week before our precious son decided to make his arrival on October 10th, 2015 at 9:46 AM at my 41 week pregnancy mark.

Odin Alexander Ramirez (Yes, Odin.  Awesome, RIGHT?!) weighed 8lbs 12oz and was 21.5 inches long, is just as amazing, and is a clone of his big sister 🙂


Other than giving birth to my son, I’ve been busy enjoying my life with my kids.  I’m booking weddings (at least three) for this year, already.  And getting ready for Spring and Summer because I. AM. READY.  Ready?  TO WORK, Y’ALL!  I didn’t do much last year due to my pregnancy because walking more than 10 steps made me feel like I should’ve just invested in a wheelchair for the last three months, lol.

So, I know that I’m SUPER behind on blogging.  There are so many sessions and a few weddings that I didn’t even blog because I just flat out got lazy.  So, I’m making it my goal to get those blogged, even if they are 9-10 months too late, haha.  And while I’m at it, I plan to start blogging more during the week, even if it’s not a shoot or wedding.  So, I’m open to topics and questions you may have that I can address in what may possibly turn out to be a Q&A weekly blog post 😉

On another note, the website has been slightly updated with new photos & pricing.  I’m also running a couple of promotions right now.  One is that all weddings booked by March 31st, 2016 will receive 20% off and the other is all portrait collections are $75 off until March 31st, 2016.  Book now and spread the word!


I’ve also added a new header that incorporates the new logo for JMP.  Starting fresh for a new year because I’m ready to get back out there and photograph some beautiful faces and meet new people!

Hopefully the next post won’t be 6-7 months from now, haha.


handwritten Jenn 2016

Jenn’s Sessions for Joy

I’ve been a part of the photography community since 2010. March will make it FIVE years. Can you believe that? I haven’t been a professional for those five years, but tell me who is when they first start out?  In these five years, I have went from a total newbie to, what I feel is, a professional photographer.  I have also relocated and that alone has set me back.

Ya see, whenever we had moved to SC from KY, my business was just starting to take off.  I had been shooting for two years, but never made it really official until February of 2012…I got my retail license.  And for a lot of photographers, that doesn’t seem like it REALLY makes you official, but at the time, it was a big step for me.  And then in April of that very same year, we ended up moving to SC.  Not the choice I wanted to make, but my business will go where I go.  So there I was, in a new state, with no clients, and no way of getting my name out there.  We had moved so unexpectedly, I had no time to prepare and start getting my name out in our area before we moved.  It’s taken a while, but I think I’m finally starting to get back to where I was about to be in KY.  Business started picking up in late summer/fall of last year and feel like 2015 will be even better.

JennMarie Photography - South Carolina Portrait & Lifestyle Photography - Bridals

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JMP’s Favorite Photographs of 2014

I always have a favorite or two, three….okay, maybe ten (or all) photos from each session/wedding that I do.  It’s inevitable.  But this year, I think takes the cake.  I shot so much this year that I love and absolutely can’t wait for what 2015 has in store for me!

I’m just going through everything that I’ve shot in 2014 and putting them up, no particular order folks 😉

 JennMarie Photography - South Carolina Portrait & Lifestyle Photography - Faves of 2014Nathan & Krista were my first shoot of 2014!  And it started off the year with glorious-ness and amazing photos with two amazing people!  I’ve loved this photo from the moment it was created and it’s DEFINITELY one of my faves of the year 🙂 Continue reading

Tips on Tuesday: Making The Switch – Auto vs. Aperture/Shutter/Program/Manual

I’m sure there are some of you starting to read this and going, “That’s not me.  I don’t shoot in Auto”.  You may not, but there are some people who do.  Those people are new to the photography world and they have to learn to eventually steer away from Auto Mode and learn new things.  Auto, in camera, means that the camera chooses everything when you start shooting.  The aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity…everything.  So, all you literally have to do is pick up the camera and start shooting.  Simple, right?

Technically, it is.  At least it is at first.

Then you start to fool around with your camera a little bit more……do some experimentin’.  And you start to notice these letters on the dial of your camera.  ‘A’, ‘S’, ‘P’, & “M”.  Typically cameras will give in-camera hints when you switch over to these modes on the dial, in a quick summary as to what they do and they are best for.  I’ll just give a quick lesson on them all and my experience.

‘A’, is Aperture Priority – The camera automatically chooses the shutter speed based on the aperture that is set by YOU for the proper exposure for your shot.  What is aperture, you ask?  Aperture is (simply) that number called an f/stop or if you see it on your lens or camera screen as f/1.8, f/5.6, f/4, etc.  Now technically, when it comes to numbers, the smaller the number, the larger the aperture.  See, when you’re shooting with such a large aperture, such as f/1.8, there is an opening in the lens that allows the amount of light to come through the lens.  So, with f/1.8, for example, you’re letting in a tremendous amount of light for your photos, which giving you proper exposure (when shutter speed & ISO are set correctly).  Examples are below.


The photo above was shot at f/13, – 1/4’s (shutter speed) – ISO 100 – with a 35mm f/1.8 lens

Notice that the background is more in focus with the smaller (less opened) aperture setting?  The smaller the number, the more in focused your subject and the surrounding area will be.


Same subject.  Different settings

f/1.8 – 1/125’s (shutter speed) – ISO 100 – same 35mm f/1.8 lens

Now with this photo, notice that the background area is more blurred, creamy and less in focus.  And now the main subject is in focus and is all that you see?

(Both photos were shot using the Aperture Priority setting)

The aperture setting was what I used the most after switching from Auto because I loved having control over the amount of light and that great creaminess in my photos.  Best used for general portraits.

‘S’ is Shutter Priority.  This is when the camera chooses the aperture setting while you control the shutter speed.  I would suggest Shutter Priority to someone who likes to shoot sports, moving children, or anything with motion.  When using Shutter Priority you’re not worried about the amount of light coming in the lens, but mostly if you can catch the subject in motion without getting a blur.  Also, with the faster the shutter speed, the darker the image.  When you’re using a faster shutter speed, you’re not letting in as much light (which is where the f/stop takes over!), and when using a slower shutter speed, more light is being let in, which CAN result in a blurry photo if you’re not careful.  I never really used ‘S’ very often because I liked taking advantage of natural light (and still do) as much as possible, so the aperture mattered the most to me then.

‘P’ is Program Priority.  Which is essentially the same as Auto…like the only difference between Auto & Program is that you can change ISO, White Balance, and just fine tune a few things.  But the camera takes over the aperture and shutter speed in Program.  I don’t recommend using ‘P’ unless you just want to experiment with ISO sensitivity in photos.  But I’ll get onto ISO later 😛

And if you’re feeling REAAAAALLY adventurous, you can switch over the Manual, which I wouldn’t recommend switching from Auto.  I  mean, if you want to make the move, I say go for it!  But it’s just easier to make the adjustments from Aperture or Shutter Priority and then to Manual.  And as you can imagine, in Manual…..everything is well….manual.  You can control every single thing yourself.  The aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance, Focus Area, etc.

So…I challenge you.  If you are still shooting on Auto, go through your camera and test out a few things with the other modes.  Write out what looks good and what doesn’t….what settings did you use for those test shots.  Take other shots with the successful settings and continue on experimenting with what you love.

This may have been a little longer than I expected, but I hope that this will give someone the courage to improve their skills as a photographer 🙂

Have a great week,