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Meet Jes Workman of Jes Workman Photography in Rancho Palos Verdes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jes Workman.

Jes, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My parents gave me a camera when I was six and I just sort of haven’t put it down since. I’ve always loved taking photos of my friends and making little movies and with them. The whole process of creating a story and finding ways to tell it has always been something that I’ve loved – from acting to filmmaking and now primarily wedding and portrait photography. I went to school for Film & Television and started shooting weddings on the side for extra cash. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it as much as I have but it’s sort of the best of both worlds. I get to meet real people, get to know them, be with them on an incredibly emotional day and give them visual memories that they’ll have forever. Every wedding is a new story. To get to call that my job is just nuts.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Fortunately, I met some really incredible people in the wedding industry very early on and for some reason they let me hang around and learn the ropes. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t met these people as I was just starting (biggest shout out to my mentor/brother/dad Rich Lander with Chard Photo). I’m not a big “networker” but I did sit down right after graduation and sent literally hundreds of emails to every type of wedding photographer in Southern California practically begging to follow them around.

The few that actually responded were golden. I’ve also worked with some awful people – both in the film industry and the wedding world – and have learned from those experiences how not to treat people and how not to run a business. I’m just as thankful for those sorts of interactions as I am for the great ones.

Please tell us about Jes Workman Photography.
I primarily do wedding photography & wedding films. It’s just me – I don’t have associates or interns or editors – and I think that’s an element that I find unique and that I’d like to keep up for as long as I can. So I’m either doing photography or I’m making the film, never both. I’ve tried and my brain just can’t focus on both mediums – they’re so different. My boyfriend, Jason, is also a photographer and usually second shoots with me on wedding days. He has been around the wedding industry for a lot longer than I have so he’s been a great source of knowledge.

I approach every wedding as a new story – there isn’t an editing template or a preconceived notion of how the day will go. I let everything unfold and take a more documentary-style approach to the day. I want my clients to feel like I’m an old friend with a camera instead of someone barking cheesy poses at them for hours. I think there’s a balance between candid and structured and I like to set up the day to let that happen as effortlessly as possible – for the couple, at least.

That sort of approach is what I hope I’m remembered for. Nothing makes me happier than hugging guests goodbye because they think I’m just a friend of the couples or having parents email me the week after saying how great it was to have us. The experience is just as memorable as the photos themselves. Also, I’ve found this approach lends for more natural photos. I’m more invested in who these people are and I’m going to be watching them to make sure I grab the shot of them crying during the speeches.

Having couples & their families beg us to stay at the end of the night to relax & have a drink with them or hang out weeks after the wedding makes me feel like I’m doing something more than just a job. I’m forming actual relationships with these people & giving them better art because of it.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I could go back and do anything differently, would I? No. I think everything sets you up for where you need to be and it all happens in due time. I’m prone to rushing things and wanting to jump ten steps ahead so learning patience with this whole life thing has been a reoccurring theme. Every experience has something to teach you if you look hard enough.

Pricing:

  • Wedding photography begins at $3500
  • Wedding films begin at $3000
  • Portrait photography begins at $600

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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