First off, Jasmine Star is more beautiful in person than her "commercial" or print ads. Seriously--inside and out--she was amazing. I drove about 45 minutes to Akron for her seminar, but there were at least a few hundred in attendance--and they came from Buffalo, Lexington, KY, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis--all over. She spoke with each person as they arrived, and stayed until the last person was gone. She sought people out and asked them about why they came, and was interested and engaging. I was really impressed.
She only spoke 2-3 minutes about her personal background. UCLA Law School on a full scholarship. Business and marketing undergrad work. Her parents were immigrants and her father didn't learn to read until he was 24. Her mom's illness forced her to examine what she really wanted to do with her life--not what others wanted for her--and she took a leap of faith into a field where she knew nothing. NOTHING. She didn't even own a camera, and she told her husband she wanted to be a wedding photographer because she was so inspired by her own wedding. And rather than be a success at something she hated, she thought she would rather be a failure at something she loved.
She started photography in 2006 as a volunteer and a second shooter at weddings. She took in everything she could, and did so with rented equipment. She started a blog. This is one of her first entries...She put herself out there. She had the bravery to tell it ALL. No secrets--she wanted people to know her fears and strengths and quirks. She wanted to bring people along in her journey, and a blog was the vehicle for that. She joined facebook, and linked her website to facebook. Then she joined Twitter. She has climbed so quickly in the rankings as a photographer not because she was trained or went to college for it, but because she worked SMART and not just HARD. She has used social media as her main source of advertising, and it has been all for FREE. She aimed to not just ruffle feathers with this one--but to pluck the whole chicken--when she proclaimed that photographers were not all that different, working with the same equipment and the same set of standards that apply to everyone. She then proclaimed, in a room full of professional photographers, that the business end should be about 80% of your workload, and that the photography should only be the other 20%. Standing there was your living proof. I loved it.