The best photography purchase I ever made

As a photographer, it could be argued that the best purchase I ever made was a camera. It’s true, without a camera I wouldn’t be able to take photographs... but, when I think about it, the best piece of equipment I ever bought... was actually a light.

Photographers are lovers of light, light chasers, makers, and even fakers. Photography is all about the quality of light and as that is the case, investing in a good light was the best decision I ever made.

Now, I’m not going to tell you exactly which light I bought, because I don’t want you to get caught up on brand names. The best thing you can do is research and find out which light works best(in price range) for the kind of photography you are doing. However, it was this particular light and maybe even more importantly- the modifier I put on it, that provided the quality of light I was looking for in my work. It did take a few good years for me to really understand lighting and what to look for - in order to feel completely comfortable making an informed decision about my lighting choices. Hopefully, reading this will shave off some of that time for you.

Let me take you back to the first time I purchased a light kit, I was a freshman in college. Up until then, I had utilized natural light or ambient light to shoot(outside of my high school classroom studio). When I got to college, it was a requirement to purchase a light kit, so I made the mistake of going to my local photo store where they talked me into purchasing a beginner light kit that would ultimately prove a waste of money.

The kit worked...sort of, and I actually got a lot of use out of it(mostly out of necessity...), but the set up was ultimately unreliable, inconsistent, and, well... cheap. They were strobes that worked more like really dim hot lights that fired every third time... if I was lucky. Let’s put it this way- once, while shooting in the street, a rude man even drove by and made fun of my sad lighting kit.

All is well, because when I finally did the research and made an informed purchase on an excellent light and modifier perfect for my photography, I was all the more excited. Looking back, I would have gladly traded that entire lighting kit for one good light/modifier combo.

Having a reliable light source is important, however, understanding that light source is even more inportant- and no, having quality light does not have to be expensive. Sunlight through a window is free and will provide you some of the best quality light known to mankind. That said, there are endless lighting options available for purchase, from fancy flashes all the way to simple holiday string lights.

A light in the dark . c. Jasmine Davis 2018

A light in the dark. c. Jasmine Davis 2018

Modifiers are also available, including color gels and softboxes, that allow you to control both the direction and quality/tonal value of light your source is providing. The ability to play with light and shadows -and modify their shape- can drastically improve mood and technique in your photographic images.

The most important questions you can ask yourself when purchasing a light and/or modifier are about intention. Are you trying to mix ambient and strobe light? Light a scene completely? Add color and mood with lighting gels? Correcting color? Are you drawing attention to a specific area of an image or evenly lighting the entire scene? Are you looking hard or soft light? These are just some of the questions to ponder before purchase that might save you a lot of grief(and possibly money) in the end.





Photographers You Should Check Out Right Now. Like, RN.

New segment where I'll be giving you some of my favorite photographers to check out.

So, 5 photographer you should check out rn. Like, RN.

Let's kick off with some of my favourites:

1. Sally Mann - Very powerful black and white portrait images. Most images are of her children, considered a lot of times to be controversial, Sally Mann has created an untouchable world of beauty and chaos. In a lot of her work her children are depicted nude, thus the controversy, however I believe she approached it in a way that is not only tasteful but beautiful. I find that the nudity is not depcted in a sexual way, more simply it just is. Take it for what it is and really look at what she is trying to capture.

2.  Mary Ellen Mark - Documentary style photographer. Beautiful, gritty images met with excellence both in exposure as well as composition. Sadly, no longer with us, I believe that her work will live on forever, in my life and heart. Iconic, to say the least, Mary Ellen Mark shot for Life magazine among many other projects. 

3.  Elinor Carruci - Carruci is also a documentary style photographer. Her series often contain images of her home life. So wonderfully executed, almost dream like but the emotion is real and you find yourself at home with someone else's reality. 

4. Richard Avedon - Fashion Iconic. Portrait Artist - All around amazing. Images gritty, telling, and beautiful. Really pushes the limits of what portraits can be in a simple way. I believe he had an understanding of capturing a real intense moment. Just phenomenal. 

5.  Lori Nix - This artist is a little different. A little more fun. Nix is known for her miniature sets, built with such dedication and detail, and lit in just the right way. The images she captures of her magic sets are just incredibly breathtaking. 


Take a look, I'll have some new artist coming at you in the next week or so. Hope you have a great day. Enjoy.  :)


How to Choose the Right Photographer for Your Price Range

Ever wonder how to go about choosing the right photographer, finding one in your price range, or why it can be worth it to spend a little extra $$$?  Good. These are the most important questions to ask yourself before selecting a photographer. Here, we will look at  how to find a photographer that fits your budget, as well as couple reasons why it might be a good idea to pay a little extra for that dream photographer.

First off, you're not going to find a better photographer for portraits or commercial branding in Los Angeles than me. If you want someone that will listen to what you want, take care of your needs, have a quality product that's unique to you and timeless, I'm your gal. If not, let's find the right one for you. 

  Image Source: Cloro Gargano  copyright 2016

 Image Source: Cloro Gargano copyright 2016

The most important thing to look at when choosing a photographer is their portfolio. Does this photographers style match the photos you've drempt up in your head, or even better, can that photographer go beyond your dreams? Are you looking to have beautiful stylized fine art portraits? Or, do you prefer standardized cheapy-a-la-creepy photos from some corporation; one that cares only about your money and sub-par quality products?! Great! Let's get started!

If you are not on a budget, it is easy to pick that dream photographer. If you have the money, time, and resources, really anything is possible.  I believe that a lot of time when it comes to photography, the average client is not making a gazillion dollars. So, what do you do? Meet in the middle. I've spent a little time in my life working for said companies like Lifetouch, the Picture People, etc. The first thing either of these companies do is strip any quality photographer of the knowledge and style they have acquired, and make them follow a cheesy company standard.

Why? Because it works. It's safe. It's relatively inexpensive, and everybody's happy. Right? Wrong. How many times have you or your kids looked back at that awful school photo and laughed your arse off because they were so bad? To me, spending money on a half-assed product is a waste of time, money, and resources. It's available no doubt, I'm just saying, if you are gonna throw down a couple hundred on a shoot, why not throw and extra $50 in there and get some quality work going.

The key concept to understand when to find a photographer in your price range is this. Y'all humans are gonna get what you pay for. That right, I said it. The less expensive the photographer, the more likely the quality of work and experience will suffer. Of course there are other factors going into this such as target market, CODB, and other things that you can learn about here.

So, when should you think about spending a little more on photography? ALWAYS. Aren't these memories supposed to be cherished forever.?  When using a professional photographer, find the one you want and save up to get the one you deem worthy. Why waste money on a, "pardon my French", half-assed product, when you could have something special and unique to you? Keeping something forever? Make it a priority to get something special. 

Until next time, 


P.s. Go check out the super talented Cloro Gargano. Milan based, general bad-ass, art chick, illustrator. Check out and get her book here and follow her illustrations on Instagram @super_weird_and_me 


Why is Photography so Expensive?


This is a question I get, a lot. I am gonna break it down for you right now-straight up, no chaser. Photography is a luxury expense, not EXPENSIVE, a luxury expense.

A luxury expense is something such as a service that is provided, not necessarily needed, that brings nothing more than happiness, love, rainbows, or some other b.s. "to the table". Much like a car, diamond ring, or that handbag-LADIES- don't lie, I see y'all shoppin' for them goodies. These things all make you feel r-r-reaaaaal good but you don't NEED it. It's something you WANT- and that ain't a bad thing. Let's get started.

There are a lot of things that go into the pricing of photography. A huge bit of this is that good ol' CODB(that's cost of doing business for you, kids). What does it cost ACTUALLY cost to run a photography business? If you are photographer and you don't know this, you better find out because not knowing is the quickest way down the rabbit hole to debt.

Running a photography business is NOT cheap. Do you know the amount of money in gear the average photographer shows up with? I dare you to take a look up the average cost of photo equipment and think twice about what that photographer spends on that kit. Oh, and don't forget the cost of that extra back up equipment, in the event -knock on wood- that something were to ever happen to said camera/battery/memory card/generator/whateva.

If that's not enough, there's taking care of, replacing, tuning, and caring for that kit. That beloved tool kit. The beautiful tools used to get those amazing photographs. The tools by which the artist, by photographic medium, will use to capture those special moments in time. Those once in a lifetime shots, that this dream client KNOWS only you, specifically you, as the photographer will get.  Those once in a lifetime, 1/1000th of a second, images-photographs-pieces of heaven, where time stops-and is frozen forever-blah, blah, blah. That got a little too passionate, let's move on while we still have some dignity. lol. Dignity.

What about your studio? That's not free. Don't forget about the lights, background, special fx, props, or backgrounds. Oh, and whom do you think is gonna replace that $10,000 necklace you got when the crazy aunt drunkenly spills her bev-errr-age-agini all over you. Sorry, I don't know your life, but I certainly don't have a spare 10K to "just replace it". Better hope your really expensive equipment is insured- 'cause bride-zilla ain't gonna fork it over, either. I work hard for my shet, and you best believe Im'a take care of it.

Now, the tricky part. This is where we break down what the client sees the photographer do vs. what actually goes into your photos. What the client sees: Photographer shows up, does a little set up, takes a few photos, done. EZ money right? Wrong. What you don't see the photographer do: set aside time for a consultation, always practice because photography is a skill and a craft that needs to be nurtured, research to get the client the best possible products, the photoshoot, editing and processing images, and the. printing and sometimes arguing with the lab because they didn't process the photos correctly. That's just the "job" part.

Let's not forget about all the experience your photographer has. All the time spent learning and practicing in the field so both the client and photographer know the shots wanted will be executed. Let's not forget quality of work. More than likely that $50 an hour photographer is not going to get the shots you want, is wildly inexperienced, and is most likely fresh outta high school. Which brings me to another point, education. More than likely that $600/hr photographer is highly educated, can back up their work with knowledge, and will be able to guarantee you a product that is consistent and worth the money.

Lastly, for that experienced, knowledgeable, educated, creative and consistent photographer - this is a job, not a hobby(even if we really fuxking love what we do). I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't go into your work and demand that you clock out or set aside your hourly fee because you need the exposure or the favor. No. I'm sorry, but in order for me to survive I require food, shelter, and preferably a car so I can get to your Photoshoot on time, preferably not dying of starvation or hypothermia from living on the street. This all ties back into that CODB. The client sees the photographer making $600/hr but when broken down, the average photographer is only making $15-$20/hr. Is it really THAT expensive, or does it just seem that way?

So,  next time you are a in the market for a photographer, hopefully this will help to explain why you are about to "overpay that idiot" photographer, or more importantly help you to find the right "overpaid" photographer suited to your needs. If you are a photographer-hopefully this helps you build the confidence needed to explain to your client why your prices are what they are.


Until next time,



How Do I Prepare for a Photoshoot?

Ever wonder what the best tips are to prep for your photoshoot? Great. You came to the right place.  

There are so many things you can do to help yourself get ready for your Photoshoot. I have composed a list of 5 top tips for preparing yourself for a Photoshoot. These aren't in any paticular order.


1) Get a Good Nights Sleep

Beauty sleep is not a myth, people. Getting a good nights sleep reduces swelling under the eyes, helps to make your beautiful skin glow, and makes sure that you have enough energy to give your best for a shoot. Not only will you feel great but you will look and be at your best for shoot day. Be sure to drink plenty of water as well because it helps to flush the toxins out of your body and adds to that natural glow.

2) Clothing

If working with a stylist, make sure the clothes you wear to set are loose and flowy. This way, whatever the stylist puts you in, you are sure not to have those lines in your skin from tight jeans. 

If you are not working with a stylist, talk to your photographer about what some good options might be. They might have a tip unique to their style of shooting. Mostly, you want to dress your best. If doing group photos, it's always nicer if every one in the group is wearing a color scheme that ties every one together.  Again, this is a case-by-case situation. When in doubt, reach out.

3)  Get a Make-Up artist

If you are not a professional Make-Up Artist, get one. This, of course is an added luxury, but one totally worth the extra $$$. A make-up artist knows how to make you look good on camera and can change you from drab to fab. A good make-up artist will not only make you feel comfortable and relaxed before the shoot, but will help you feel and look your best. This helps boost your confidence during a shoot providing you with better results. If that's not enough to convince you, think of the $$$ you'll save on post production edits because of a stress breakout. 

4)  Take a Shower(and don't forget to shave)

Honestly, you'd think this one would be super obvious, right??? I mean c'mon people, basic hygiene here. We all have different lifestyles and if that is the look you are going for, cool, but I'm probably not your photographer. At least take a whore bath so the crew doesn't have to smell yesterday's alcohol on your breath. That aside, shaving. Whether you are a guy or a gal, you're having your photo. Take a shower, shave what's necessary(ladies), shave/trim your beards(gentlemen)... Actually while you're at it get a fresh cut. Why spend all this money on a shoot to look half your potential?

5) Try to Vibe w/ Your Photographer  

Having good rapport with your photographer  can make all the difference in the photograph. While sometimes this effect works, generally this will not be the case. You want a photographer that you can vibe with. If you guys get along and trust eachother, that working relationship can yield some epic photos. Get with a photographer whose style you dig and personality you can get with. It's like finding a good therapist, sometimes it takes a few to find the one you like. This relationship can change the whole tone and mood of the work provided.

How to avoid making rookie move on wasting your money? Do your research and most importantly, set up a consultation with your photographer. This way both of you are on the same page when it comes to shoot day.  


The most important thing you can do is get comfortable and have fun, don't be scared! It's not like we are aiming to shoot you. 😉

Until next time,

Jasmine Davis

Why Photography?

Hello Readers,

My name is Jasmine Davis and I am a photographer from Los Angeles, California. At a young age I was very interested in the arts, coming from a family of avid art appreciators. I spent a lot of time practicing music and painting, but I never considered photography as a medium until about age twelve. I learned that the high school I was about to attend had a class for film photography and I was immediately interested. I remember bringing it up to my late mother who, more than excited, handed over her old olympus 35mm film camera. It would be the first “real-no-bullshit” manual film camera, that I would ever own. The idea of learning how to use a camera and what exactly happened when you take the photos absolutely inthralled me. Even more than that was developing the photos. Learning that you could manipulate and craft beyond what you were able to do in camera also interested me. Added to that, merely being in the darkroom for me was… is… so magical and mysterious.

I went on from there to study Photography at the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, CA. This was a really new journey for me because it really, REALLY, opened my eyes up to the world of Digital photography. I had dabbled some, but was still more for film afraid of losing that darkroom process, which was was a big part of why I LOVED photography. Then I learned about all the pros to shooting digital and found that editing in photoshop was literally a digital darkroom – and one that the artist could have even more control over manipulating a image because the tools were different and time was saved. Theoretically the concept of developing never changed, there were just a lot more buttons.

Now, I live in Los Angeles where I work as a Photographer doing commissioned and fine art work. I’m starting this blog so I can share photos, tips, things to check out, and behind the scenes stuff. Hopefully we can get a good dialog going so that everyone, including me, can learn something and become stronger as photographers.

So, now it’s your turn. Why do you guys like photography? What inspires you to shoot? Do you like the technical or creative side? Let me know below! 

See you guys soon,

Jasmine Davis