Today we’d like to introduce you to Jess Onesto.
Jess, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My first camera was the hot pink Barbie Hollywood Star camera — a legit piece of gear, I know (I was 7-years-old). But that pink plastic box sparked a love for all things creative. I was always a creatively-minded kid — drawing, sewing, making things, but I thought most kids enjoyed that and when it came to choosing a career that I should pick something with proven longevity. I started college as a biology major thinking I’d teach eventually. I passed my classes but struggled a lot emotionally not feeling fulfilled by what I was learning and I decided to make a leap.
During my freshman year, I switched my major to fine art and honestly chose photography as my emphasis because it seemed less intimidating than painting or design. As soon as classes began, I fell in love. With understanding light, composition, concepting and seeing my creative ideas come to life in the darkroom. At the same time, I didn’t feel connected to the ultra-serious gallery scene in the fine art world. I felt like everyone I met who was a “fine art photographer” just took themselves way too seriously. From there, began a search to find a niche that allowed me to create gorgeous work but also be true to who I am as a person. As a junior, I had to have an internship for class credit and was paired with an incredibly talented wedding photographer. I knew immediately after assisting my first wedding that it was the niche I was meant to be in. I’ve been shooting weddings ever since!
I started Cheers Babe back in 2013 when I was finishing up my BFA here in Southern California. Even though my home base is Los Angeles, we’ve also expanded to the Bay Area and can be found in Palm Springs, Orange County, & Santa Barbara a ton too!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
LOL nah. I spent years wondering if I would ever be able to do this for a living. I constantly compared myself to photographers who claimed to “make it overnight”, announcing they were shooting weddings & magically having a full season booked their first time trying. This isn’t a common story, but I found myself wishing it was mine. Behind that wish was a whole lotta imposter syndrome & doubt, but optimism and positivity kept me pressing on.
Over the years, I invested in myself and my business and just kept on learning. I consider myself a lifelong learner because I don’t believe any of us has it ALL figured out! My best advice if you’re feeling discouraged by this industry is to simply learn everything you can! Invest in courses that teach on topics you are weak in, read business books, watch free webinars, listen to podcasts, attend panel discussions & just soak in the wisdom of those who have come before you. When I was feeling disappointed about my business, I used to sit in those feelings instead of getting off my butt & doing something about it. I look at my day-to-day life now & can see how the years I spent learning and investing in my business paid off. How important it was that I didn’t “make it overnight” because of all that I needed to learn first.
What were you like growing up?
I was a total daydreamer & social butterfly. I literally made a new friend every time I’d go down the slide at the playground. I wanted to participate in EVERYTHING – I did karate, piano, sewing, cheerleading, drawing, softball, basketball, surfing, band and more (I’m not even athletic, I just wanted to try it all… not much has changed there)!
I’m a total extrovert & always have been, so my job is literally an excuse to constantly be meeting new people and gaining new friends. Beyond the relationships I get to build with my couples, something I’ve always loved about being a photographer is its celebratory nature. I’m an enneagram 7 and one of my favorite quotes about my personality type is that “Sevens have champagne running through their veins”! That feels so accurate to me and one of the reasons I feel so lucky to be in the business of celebration!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Cheers Babe is a wedding photography studio that helps FUN couples capture their toast-worthy weddings.
My photos are bright & poppy and full of joy, capturing the most celebratory and emotional moments of the biggest day of my couples’ lives. Beyond snapping these cherished memories, I help my couples relax, laugh and feel confident in front of the camera — never awkward. I build sincere friendships with my clients to create the kind of trust and bond that makes for gorgeous photos.
- Website: https://cheersbabephoto.com/
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cheersbabephoto/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CheersBabePhoto/
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/cheersbabephoto/
Cheers Babe Photo