Jessie Baker attended a wedding where I was taking catering pictures on behalf of the Raleigh caterer, Catering by Design. Jessie looked so lovely, her black dress with a sheer layer, creating a striking contrast to the sheer white billowing curtains on the outdoor covered patio, turquoise jewelry that matched turquoise beads on her sandals, that I asked permission to take a photo. Didn’t know she was a photographer herself! Curiosity reigns, and here’s more about Jessie Baker, the photographer who wasn’t the wedding photographer the day I met her.
Interview with photographer Jessie Baker
Tell us why and when you became a photographer.
I have always had a passion for photography for as long as I can remember. I think the ability to freeze moments in time or share the way I see the world through a camera is fascinating. That’s what motivated me to become a professional photographer.
What kinds of photographs do your customers ask for?
I do a variety of work from primarily weddings to creative photojournalism work for magazines and newspapers. My clients usually are requesting an artistic style or documentary style in my work.
Do you have a specialty? What would you say is unique about you?
My specialty would be shooting weddings in a documentary style. I stay away from traditional wedding shoots where you only have posed portraits, I really like to focus on getting good candid photos and documenting the entire day in a creative way.
You’re located in Wilmington, how far have you traveled to take photographs?
I have taken photo assignments in South Africa, Fiji and Australia.
Wow! That’s around the world.
How do you think people choose photographers? Why do your customers choose you?
For weddings a large reason people choose me is they have a connection with me, I don’t typically shoot weddings for people I don’t know or quickly form a good relationship with.
I’m also pretty upfront about what I do and what they should expect out of me, I don’t try to say things they want to hear, I just tell them the truth.
I’ve learned from observing other photographers in the past who made the mistake of just telling the client what they think they want to hear. They end up unhappy with the work, and that’s just not good business. For me it’s just about being genuine. If I’m not for them that’s ok I want them to find the right fit.
People also choose me when they are looking for documentary style for their weddings. I think knowing what style of a photographer you want is a primary deciding factor in how clients choose photographers.
Are you from North Carolina? (How long have you been in NC?)
I am from North Carolina in the Charlotte area and I have lived in Wilmington primarily for the past seven years.
What’s been your experience with social media and your business? Time. Effort. Ease of making new connections. Growing your business.
Facebook is a great free tool that is huge in booking clients and getting my pictures out there. I think once you get it set up it’s pretty easy to maintain and manage.
What is your favorite thing to photograph on your own time?
Different cultures when I’m traveling is definitely my favorite.
What tips would you give to people considering having their friends take pictures at their wedding? Reasons not to do it. Two things to keep in mind if they do do it.
- Don’t use a friend photographer if they aren’t actually a working photographer or haven’t previously shot any weddings.
- Don’t use a friend photographer if you are just doing it to get out of paying anything, yet still have high expectations of having amazing photos for your wedding.
- If you do use a friend photographer, be realistic about what you are getting and also appreciate the tremendous stress that puts on your friend. Also, sit down with them and go over what you are hoping to have so they have a good idea of what to shoot for going into it.