The Lens & Light Honor is awarded to twelve photographers each year who are true leaders in the world of wedding photography. We look for photographers who produce stunning, modern, artistic imagery at the frontier of the field and for photographers who have achieved a rare level of success and recognition among brides, fellow photographers, and others in the wedding industry. We are proud to recognize Jasmine Star with the Lens & Light Honor.
‘One of the 10 Best Wedding Photographers in the World in 2009”
~American Photo Magazine
Since 2006, Jasmine Star has taken the industry by storm. Named as one of the ten best wedding photographers in the world in 2009 by American Photo, Jasmine has become known for her intimate and creative photo stories, her dedication to getting to know her clients personally, and her engaging blog.
With more than 12,000 Twitter followers and more than 18,000 fans on Facebook, Jasmine has also developed a strong social media presence. As she puts it, “I developed a voice and online brand by leveraging social media and developing techniques to empower clients to become the voice of my brand.”
Dedicated to shooting in natural light, Jasmine works hard to make her brides feel “beautiful and fabulous” whether the setting is a picturesque garden or a patch of radiant orange gravel. For the dance floor, though, Jasmine uses a Canon Speedlite 550EX and has a custom-designed set up for a PocketWizard Plus II, and she’ll often set up an off-camera flash near the DJ or band.
Based in Orange County, California, Jasmine travels worldwide to cover weddings and to teach courses on wedding photography, marketing and branding.
How did you get into wedding photography?
The answer to this question is quite detailed and complex, but the shortest answer could be summed up in one word: Fate.
I was at UCLA Law School in 2005 when I received news my mother had a relapse with brain cancer. The news hit me harder than I can adequately describe and I took a medical leave to be by her side. I moved back home and while I was happy to be with my mom, I felt lost, frustrated, and depressed.
I was at the lowest point in my life and I was desperately praying for deliverance. Thankfully, it came: In the form of an engagement ring. My boyfriend, JD, proposed and we decided to plan a destination wedding in Hawaii. Seven months later – against all odds – my mother walked me down the aisle with my father on my wedding day.
And the best part? My wedding photographer, David Jay, captured it all magically. His photos moved me. Challenged me. Gave me hope and allowed me to believe in dreams again. I saw his life, passion, and art, and I wanted to do the same thing.
So I did. I had never touched a digital camera in my life, but I assisted a few wedding photographers the summer of 2006, and then shot my first solo wedding in October of 2006. From there, my business grew and I ended up shooting 38 weddings in 2007.
My path to into photography is mangled, but it’s beautiful because it’s mine. And I wouldn’t change a thing about my crazy journey.
How would you describe your style?
Lifestyle Photography for Fabulous People.
Can you share some of your favorite images and tell us what went into making them and why you like them?
Kristin and Brandon
I’m a lover of soft, natural light … and any time I can capitalize on its presence, I will. The morning sun worked its way through the trees and cast a beautiful glow around the bride and groom … all I had to do was stand back and click as they enjoyed themselves on their wedding day.
Emily and DJ
I love the simplicity of the image and it’s indicative of my shooting style. I prefer shooting wide open (this shot was at a f/1.2) and creating a clear focal point so the viewer can see life through my eyes and feel the moment as uniquely their own.
I love my brides. They’re all unmistakably fabulous. And beautiful. I shot the following bridal portraits with a 85mm at f/1.2 with allowed me to capture the ambient light and created the perfect setting. I find nothing more rewarding than watching a woman feel confident while being photographed … it’s one of life’s greatest rewards.
Kristin and her bridesmaids
I am smitten with untraditional group formal photos and when I’m given the opportunity to work with a fabulous group of girls, I jump at the chance to have some fun!
What cameras do you shoot with, what’s your favorite lens, and what’s your favorite accessory other than your cameras/lenses?
I shoot with the Canon 5DMII and my favorite lens is the 50mm, 1.2. I shoot with this dynamic duo more often than not, and it’s truly helped define my style.
How important is post processing in your final images?
I view post processing like salt on a really great meal. It’s merely the spice and flavor to a meal, but not the meal itself. I use minimal processing and prefer to shoot images in-camera as close as possible to the desired end product. I’m often asked about post processing, so if you’d like to read more about my preferences and techniques, you can read more about it on my blog: Jasmine Star
Who or what inspires you to create great imagery?
I know it sounds cliché, but I promise it’s the truth. My basis of inspiration is God. I photograph people because we are all reflections of something great and beautiful; something far beyond our understanding. I am inspired by people because they are merely small divisions of God.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?
The pressure. Sometimes I feel like a brussel sprout in a pressure cooker on a wedding day. There’s SO much going on in a concise duration of time and fleeting memories are hard to capture. But the good news is that I thrive on pressure … it challenges me and allows me to feel alive. That’s the best part of what I do.
If not a photographer, what would you want to be?
Realistically, I probably would have been a lawyer. Unrealistically, I’d love to be a writer. With a few books on the New York Times best sellers list!