Weekly Artist Feature

This week’s artist feature is our guest judge Jesica from Forever Whimsy Photography. I find Jesica truly inspirational, her work is filled with honesty, real life and I feel she brings magic to something one may find ordinary! She truly has an eye and I love that about her images! I was able to ask Jesica a few question for us, so we can get a glimpse of where she comes from in the photography world! Thank you Jesica for all your help with judging this week ❤


Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, my name is Jesica with one ‘s’ and I am going on 29 years old next month. I am living my happily ever after with my love, Jody and we have an amazing daughter, Ava, who will be 4 in July. I am a part-time psychiatric RN in a community hospital. I live in a small town of less than 700 people. My favorite color is mint. I have a genetic mutation called brachydactyly type A2 (shortened index fingers) and I think it’s pretty neat that Jody has a different type, brachydactyly type D, and Ava also has brachydactyly but a different type than both of us!

In addition to Forever Whimsy Photography, I also started The Thrifty Tog Blog with my friend, Adri of Whimsy Heart Photography. I created The Thrifty Tog Blog because I wanted a place where photographers could share tutorials and tips, as well as sessions using thrifty props. I am pleased with its progress in the few short months it’s been around. We also added in a few other photographers as “Official Thrifty Tog Contributors,” who will be blogging regularly for us – Jetaime La Vie Photography, Snaps + Sprouts Photography, Wild Prairie Photography, Erin Barkel Photography and Shannon Mulligan Photography. I am so glad for the friendship between us that wouldn’t have been possible without Laura Winslow Photography’s Santographer Society (check it out if you do not know about it! It’s a Secret Santa for photographers and so fun!)

How did you get started with photography?

It’s hard to say. I have always been fascinated by capturing memories.. whether it was disposable cameras back in my teenage years, or with a camera phone when they first came out, or with my first ever digital camera that I purchased at 21 years old. I always dreamed of a DSLR. It wasn’t until after Ava was born that I was able to purchase. Around the same time I had started following photographers on Facebook – Rachel Vanoven, My Four Hens Photography, Oh So Posh Photography, Sarah-Beth Photography are a few that really stood out to me. It wasn’t until December 2013 that I really took photography seriously and taught myself manual by way of online tutorials and blog articles, after joining M4HP52 group on Facebook – the photographers there were so encouraging, they were all saying.. “Put it in manual and never look back.” So that’s exactly what I did. This year is actually my first year in business.

What motivates and inspires you?

Love. Connection. The magic of a moment captured forever.

Among your work which images is your favorite and why?

Hmm. I’ve taken so many! It probably has to be this one.

eyes copy

It was my first image to be published, it is in Beyond the Wanderlust January 2015. To be among so many other talented photographers really is something! What is kind of funny, is that my vision was to have both of their eyes open, but when my niece, Mariah blinked and I caught this image.. WOW. Her friend Emily is the girl with her eye open. I can usually just say, “hey, I really want to just go take pictures, do you want to?” and Mariah will, she really has helped me in my photography journey by offering for countless sessions over the past four years. So, it was meaningful to me that she has something to show for all she has done for me.

What advice do you have for someone just starting up?

Find someone willing to help you learn. I can’t say that I did. It took me a LONG time to learn manual, mostly because I was terrified that I would never understand it. I have been teaching friends how to use their DSLRs and since January, I have been mentoring Ashley from Bits of Memory Photography. In not even three months, she is on track to understand her camera more than I did in three years. It helps to have someone encouraging you, supporting you. I love to teach others and it is like second nature to me. You can find someone who is willing to help you. You just have to put yourself out there.

Nikon or Canon?? What lens is always attached to it?

Both, actually 🙂 My first camera, Nikon D5100 and my 50mm 1.4 (that I bought USED!) is what I learned photography with and what I am comfortable with. I just purchased a used Canon 5d Classic and a 40mm 2.8. It is a huge learning curve for me, but I love it so far. I really wanted full frame but did not have the funds to purchase a new model, I ended up getting both the camera and lens for less than $550 total!

Photoshop or Lightroom? Or both??

I use Photoshop Elements 13 and Adobe Camera Raw. I only started shooting in Raw in December, after a photographer friend suggested it, I can say that I do like it. I would like to try Lightroom, I have heard a lot of really good things about it.

I just want to say thank you to Eve for asking me to guest judge this week here on Captivating Radiance – it truly is an honor! I wish you luck in this new endeavor!

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