Life with Jess Photography: Blog en-us (C) Life with Jess Photography (Life with Jess Photography) Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:37:00 GMT Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:37:00 GMT Life with Jess Photography: Blog 120 79 Beautiful Bellies | Maternity Photography | Preparing for Baby Jacklyn It's crazy to me to think that I've only known Jenny and Jonathan for just over six months. All I did was spontaneously contact her about this fun yoga photo shoot and now I'm working as Grace Studio's photographer! I just love how life works like that sometimes!


But I have benefited from knowing Jenny on a much deeper level than our awesome working relationship... 


Jenny's passion for dance, fitness, children, and the American community here in Kaiserslautern is such an inspiration. She is encouraging as I struggle through German classes, patient to remind me that yoga is a journey (not a target), and has a smile on her face while organizing a group of 50 or so pre-ballet students (age 3-6) while the rest of the adults in the room are having heart palpitations! She is really passionate about providing a ballet environment that isn't based on body type... which warms my heart to the core.


Her life stories fascinate me. As a dancer growing up in East Germany before the fall of the wall, she would never have been able to realize a dream of owning a dance studio.


I am in awe of the love, creativity, and time she has poured into the Grace Studio family. And in part that's why I'm so excited for her and Jonathan to welcome baby Jacklyn Grace into said family soon!


Besides a very proud big brother and sister, little baby J is going to have a long line of really excited people waiting to shower her with love. 


And a pretty excited Grace Studio "Auntie" with a huge camera in her face all the time! ;-) 


Without further ado, Jacklyn Grace and her beautiful Momma... 



Thoughts and excitement are with you Jenny and Jonathan, as Jacklyn's birthday approaches.


As usual, it was a pleasure working with you and your family! And I can't wait to meet your new little one! 



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Beautiful Bellies Germany Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Lovin' Those Little Ones Maternity Fri, 23 Jan 2015 21:36:36 GMT
Feel the Love | Kaiserslautern Couples Photography | Pedro & Julia It's seems to me that every time I blog about a photoshoot I'm saying "this is my favorite shoot to date!" 


I guess that's a good sign... it means that I'm shooting what I love and fulfilling the photographic vision that makes my heart sing. 


But this shoot. This shoot is really special. Not only is it of some dear friends. But it comes from a dream I had to shoot a couple in their home, truly capturing who they are. 


Pedro and Julia are newly married. They love to cook together. They are really fun to be around. They are starting out on a new adventure in the States... Their marriage is the fusion of a Latin American and a German upbringing. They met and got married in Germany and this will be the first time Julia has lived in the US.


What I really wanted to capture with this shoot was the precious feeling of a newlywed's first home. 


Everything is new and fresh and full of hope. It's not perfect, but it's wonderful... the early years. 


I want to do more shoots like this.


More people in their own home. Comfortable and sweet and intimate. 


Thanks Pedro & Julia for letting me invade your home and rearrange your furniture and force you to jump on your bed a million times! I adore the results...



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Couples Feel the Love Germany Kaiserslautern Photographer Mon, 19 Jan 2015 19:21:30 GMT
Family Fun | The Prestons | Surprise Christmas Photo Shoot! One thing I love about my job is the extra chances I get to connect with people. I love people. Love hearing their stories. Love watching them interact. And obviously, as a photographer, I love seeing them laugh together in front of my camera. 


And more than anything, I love getting to be a part of fun surprises! 


This shoot is the second time someone's contacted me to give a shoot to someone else! Gary and Suzanne bought the shoot for their son and daughter-in-law as a Christmas present! So we got together the day after Christmas to sneak in a fabulous shoot before the snow came! 



So a huge thanks to Gary and Suzanne for inviting me to be a part of the Christmas magic for you guys! And thanks to Nate and Kate for being so spontaneous and such good sports in the cold! 


And I feel like I also have to thank Jack for giving me so much great eye contact (those baby blues!) and so many flirty smiles. It was such a fun shoot! 



A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to the Prestons! 



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Family Fun Family Photography Germany Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Thu, 01 Jan 2015 20:03:07 GMT
Grace Studio Photography | Nutcracker 2014


The Nutcracker Photos are all done and ready for viewing and purchasing! 

I hope you enjoy going through them as much as I enjoyed working on them. It was such a blast to work with so many talented and creative souls! A huge congrats to all the dancers at Grace Studio for such a lovely performance! 


All of the photos that I've taken for this performance are available in this album.


Please contact me at if you have any questions! 


Happy New Year to all!  


]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Dance Photographer Grace Studio Kaiserslautern Photographer Nutcracker 2014 Tue, 30 Dec 2014 21:14:37 GMT
Grace Studio Photography | Nutcracker Individual Portraits, Part 1


The photos from the portrait sessions on November 29th are now available for sale on my website. 



You can view all the images by following this link to the Nutcracker album.



Please let me know if you have any questions about the ordering process! 

I did do two short video tutorials in this post.

Best wishes to all the hard working dancers as the performance approaches!



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Dance Photography Grace Studio Kaiserslautern Photographer Wed, 10 Dec 2014 22:56:57 GMT
Giveaway | Enter to Win Free Nutcracker Tickets


I've got a very exciting giveaway going on right now: free tickets to Grace Studio's Nutcracker!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



The show is Thursday, December 18th at 6:30pm at the Haus des BΓΌrgers in Ramstein-Miesenbach.


I am so very fortunate and excited about my role as the studio photographer, and I want to see you all there! It's definitely not something you want to miss out on... so much talent and Christmas magic!


And hey, if you can go for free it's even more magical, right? 



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Dance Photographer Grace Studio Kaiserslautern Photographer Ktown Nutcracker Tue, 02 Dec 2014 20:05:49 GMT
Today Only: 50% off Fine Art Prints from JGP


I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving!


And Happy Black Friday to you, because I'm doing a 50% sale on fine art prints today!  


Just follow this link to my albums and enter the code BlackFriday50%Sale to get a jump start on your Christmas shopping with some unique gifts for your loved ones! 


The sale ends tonight at 11:59pm CET.



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Black Friday Fine Art Prints Food Photography Kaiserslautern Photographer Sale Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:36:53 GMT
Grace Studio Photography | Nutcracker Group Portraits Available for Purchase


The first batch of Nutcracker images are available to purchase from my website! 


You just follow the link to this album, "Nutcracker 2014"


I also made two short videos to introduce myself and walk you through the ordering process. 


Jessica's video explaining how to order.

Jessica's video explaining the accordion mini album. 


Let me know if you have any questions about ordering! 




]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Germany Grace Studio Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Nutcracker 2014 Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:49:52 GMT
Children's Photographer | Baby Gracie's Cake Smash


It's such an honor to look back at the past year of photographing these baby blues... 



...hard to believe Baby Gracie is an almost-walking, almost one-year-old Gracie!



We had a little fun celebrating with some sprinkles and a special cake just for her. She wasn't quite sure what to think at first. 



But she figured it out ;o) 



A huge happy birthday to Little Miss Grace!


I can't wait to see what the next year holds for those precious blue eyes!  




]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Babies Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Lovin' Those Little Ones Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:33:42 GMT
Family Photography | The Aldridge Kids


Here's the blog debut of the adorable Aldridge crew!


I had a blast with these three, as they showed me their favorite parts of their village's walking paths. 



We enjoyed the setting sun on what feels like the last beautiful day before the fall gloom really sets in. 



And then we went to the top of the hill overlooking their village to play with all my cool toys and have Dad blow a ton of bubbles! 



Thanks Kelly and Stephen for the fun time spent with your adorable family! They are some seriously sweet little ones!



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Family Fun Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Ktown Lovin' Those Little Ones Tue, 04 Nov 2014 21:37:58 GMT
Jesse's Girl Travels | Colmar, France Sneak Peek

"Which of my photographs is my favorite? 

The one I'm going to take tomorrow." 

-Imogen Cunningham



Here are a few of my favorite photos from my recent trip to Colmar, France. I can't wait to share the rest with you and tell you all about my favorite places!



When I look at these beautiful images, I am reminded just how blessed we are to be living in Europe.


I still get that "somebody pinch me" feeling! 


It might be the photographer in me, or I might just be a normal human, but I totally can't pick a favorite photo! I'm always looking at life through my lens, and the anticipation of "what's next" flows through my life as well as my photography!


I hope these pictures brightened up the start of your weekend!



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) France Kaiserslautern Photographer Travel Adventures Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:29:23 GMT
Jesse's Girl Travels | Monkey Mountain


When Kirsten and I went on our "last hurrah girls-only Colmar adventure" (more on that soon) I surprised her with a trip to Monkey Mountain.



That's right, Monkey Mountain! 

I had heard about and researched Monkey Mountain before, but hadn't been because it's a bit of a hike (roughly two hours from the KMC area) but since we were "in the neighborhood" anyways, it was basically on the way!



I can't believe I kept it a secret, I'm usually terrible at that.

 But it helped that I was driving and I entered the address into my GPS. She had no clue!



So I knew that a whole park full of monkeys would be pretty sweet.

But I didn't know HOW SWEET! I mean, come on! So much cuteness!



They give you a handful of popcorn and just let you go say hi... you aren't supposed to touch them other than letting them take the popcorn from your hand. It was kind of hard to resist the urge.

But I didn't want to get beaten up by a macaque.



Here's the website link if you want to plan a trip. They also have a short video so you get a feel for the park. And there's lots more information about the conservation message of the park.

It's only 9 euros for adults, 5 for kids. (I can't wait to see the looks of bliss on Double Trouble's face when we take them!)

Be careful to check the opening times for when you plan to go. Or call ahead. Since the tour is so short, I highly recommend combining Monkey Mountain with Colmar or with a trip to the Black Forest. 



It takes a little over an hour to walk through the park (more if you're taking pictures every five seconds) and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

When you're done, I highly recommend sitting in the beautiful outdoor dining area for a cup of coffee and a baguette sandwich or chocolate tart! (so very French!)

So if you need more monkey business in your life, look no further than Monkey Mountain!

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If you found this post helpful or enjoyed the pictures, please pin it!


]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Kaiserslautern Photographer Travel Adventures Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:02:18 GMT
Kaiserslautern Family Photography | The Millers | Family Fun Behold, the wonderful Miller family! I really enjoyed our time together! You can tell that they have a lot of fun together as a family... and they showed me some really awesome spots in their village. 


Brady's little giggles melted my heart! It was almost too much cuteness to handle. 


Thanks so much you guys. It was a pleasure shooting you!


]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Family Fun Kaiserslautern Photographer Ktown Lovin' Those Little Ones Sat, 18 Oct 2014 12:38:33 GMT
In Home Newborn Shoot | Baby Graham


I got to spend a super snuggly morning with the newest addition to the Paradee family this past week. Little Graham was just so tiny and smooshy and smelled so good... all the things you expect from a handsome little man at 6 days old! 


Shooting a darling baby in his or her home is another favorite for me. Those precious moments of the first few weeks fly by so fast. And Mom and Dad are usually so tired that they can barely see straight, let alone remember the details of those tiny little fingers. So I love coming into the home and really documenting that for the family. This type of session really warms my heart. 


Thank you Ally and Levi for the chance to come into a very private family time. Your son is just wonderful - congratulations! 


]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Germany In Home Newborn Shoot Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Ktown Lovin' Those Little Ones Tue, 07 Oct 2014 21:00:45 GMT
Happiness Through My Eyes | October Blog Circle | Fresh Produce Just this past weekend, I was sitting in a restaurant in France with Kirsten. (Which sounds so so glamorous to say - that I live close enough to France to consider a weekend trip a possibility, but I digress)


I had a camera full of photos from the weekend, not to mention a ton from previous weeks. But I still wasn't sure what to blog about for this month's circle. 


And she laughed and said, "Well you sure seemed happy when you were photographing the produce at the market today!" 



Leave it to your bestie to totally point out the obvious and save the day! 


Life's been busy lately (when is it NOT?) and I had carved out this time to go to France with K as our last big girls' only hurrah before she moves away this winter. And in between family life, online class, work, play, and stupid boring things other necessary things like laundry, I am also getting ready for my Mom to visit for two weeks! 


Thank God for Kirsten's reminder that sometimes what makes us the most happy, especially during busy seasons, are the simple things. Fresh produce makes me super happy because I love bright colors. And I love food. 


So without further ado, my brightly colored photos of produce from a French market... 



So that's my dose of happy this month.


Please follow the circle of happiness around the world, starting with Anna Francken in The Netherlands! 




]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Blog Circle Colmar Food Photography France Happiness Through My Eyes Jesse's Girl Travels Kaiserslautern Photographer Travel Adventures Yummy in my Tummy Wed, 01 Oct 2014 00:05:00 GMT
Photo Experiment | Faux Film Challenge


These images are what we photographers like to call SOOC or "straight out of camera"... meaning I literally took them ten minutes ago and I did no Photoshop magic besides slapping my watermark on them real fast.


I did it because I wanted to do a little personal challenge.


I got the idea from the ever insightful and super funny Jared Polin over at FroKnowsFoto. He suggests digging back into time a little and pretending that you are actually shooting film as a way to improve your photography. His actual challenge was to tape an index card to your camera view screen and shoot for 36 shots without peeking.


(Rumor has it that one of the banes of the digital age is that photographers can get lazy and depend on the view screen and post processing to correct any technical problems with a photo. But back in the day of film you had to try your hardest to get it right the first time.)


I decided to push it further by actually turning off my playback function. This means that there is no longer an image review each time I take a photo. This prevents what we photographers call "chimping" or constantly looking at your photos as you take them. By taking away my ability to automatically look, I stay more in the moment and actually focus on my photography in an undistracted way. It also saves battery life! 


It's a bit more challenging but also interesting to try to get the correct exposure and framing the first time. 



Out of 17 shots these are the only 5 that worked. So I'm going to keep the play back function turned off for awhile to see how it improves my photography! 


I also found out that my girls are pretty dependent on chimping as well! How funny, that they'd be so used to getting the see the picture of themselves right away that when I take away that option they would actually be confused! "Mom what do you mean we can't see the picture right now?" 



This one is my favorite. It doesn't hurt that we have some beautiful evening sun going on right now! 


So what do you guys think? Not too shabby for a first try but definitely lots of room to grow, as always!


Three cheers for trying to pretend I have a film camera!  



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Film Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Photo Experiment SOOC Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:54:25 GMT
Wordless Wednesday | Childhood Memories

]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Germany Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Lovin' Those Little Ones Wordless Wednesday Wed, 17 Sep 2014 17:00:00 GMT
The Moment I Realized Editing is Not Cheating... it's a Part of my Art


"Photography, as we all know, isn't real at all. It's an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world."

- Arnold Newman



I remember when I was just starting out on my photography journey, how I would drool over other photographer's photos. One day, I asked my new photographer friend (who taught me to use my camera) how this particular photographer had achieved this particular look.


See, I was disheartened that my new (to me) DSLR camera and kit lens couldn't seem to recreate those creamy-dreamy images I longed for. What was I doing wrong? 


I was shocked and slightly disappointed when Jen examined the image and said, "Oh, it's some filter or something she used in her post-processing." I was frustrated to know that what I thought was in-camera-art was actually carefully done editing. And I didn't know the first thing about editing at the time. Really, the idea of one more thing to learn scared me. 


I was also anti-editing cause I hate the way the media warps our perception of beauty through over-the-top Photoshop use in photos of women. What woman hasn't felt the sting of not being able to measure up to the "magazine perfection" all around us? So I was also afraid that if I edited pimples off of my client's skin that I would be feeding into that warped perception. 


Fast forward two years later and I am now using Photoshop at a proficient level. I use Photoshop to re-touch all of my client photos and most of my personal photos. I'm learning to be comfortable with the fact that I'm using post-processing to create a certain mood or feeling in my images. And also to minimize distractions. 


It's taken me a little while to feel like that's not "cheating", but actually a part of my art! 


I recently heard Kellie Bieser of Shutter & Glass Photography describe editing perfectly. She said that post-processing is where we, as the artist, get to make our original vision come to life. It's where we get to paint and play and create and break the rules if we want to. 


I just love that!


The photo at the beginning of this post obviously has a significant amount of editing. But adding that radial blur just worked so well with the fun, crazy moment of a little girl singing songs and twirling ribbons! And THAT photo was actually the version her mom wanted to purchase, rather than the clean edit! Of course it's not "real"... but it's not supposed to be! 


Here are some more examples... 



Surprise! It's a cloudy day in Germany! (okay, no real surprise there) BUT I have seen sunlight pour gloriously through this window in my village's church. And I wanted Ashley and Wayne to have that! Some might call it cheating, but I call it magical... thanks to Jessica Drossin's Force of Nature Light Effects.  




Distracting fan and cord in the background? Not anymore! Yes, I could have moved it before shooting... but it was a really hot day in the studio and these amazing gals really needed the breeze!




These are both examples of when I use Photoshop to bring out the vibrant colors that I saw. Sometimes that just doesn't record well in the camera! Editing to the rescue. The bright buildings in Rothenburg become truly bright. The contrast between the Ferris Wheel and the stormy sky really pop. 





Here's another example of artistic color changes. The lighting in this room wasn't actually so pink. But making it so added to the romantic feel of the shot. Which better reflects how I was feeling when I looked at these Christmas roses from My Love. 




So maybe these coins are ACTUALLY sitting on my super dirty not-really-white patio table. But that's not part of the story of this shot. So those distracting elements? Poof, gone. 


Life's all about balance. Anything can be overdone. But I am comfortable using Photoshop to bring my images to life. Not only can I fix most anything (busy mom forgets to re-paint her nails? No problem!) but I can make magic on the dreariest of days. I can crop and clone and change things around. I notice the sparkly, shiny, bright parts of life. I want those things to really stand out in my images. 


A part of what you pay for when you hire a professional photographer is the time and talent it takes to create art. I've always been able to snap a picture. But now I can bring a creative dream to life!


What do you think about some of those images? Check out Jessica Drossin for an extreme example of artistic editing. Do you agree with the Arnold Newman quote that photographers create an illusion of reality? Let me know in the comments!



]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Editing Kaiserslautern Photographer Ktown Photography Lessons Thinking Out Loud Sat, 13 Sep 2014 21:27:01 GMT
Family Fun | The Stocks If there's anything more heart-warming than spending the morning looking at these baby-blues... it's the fact that I've had the pleasure of watching these kids grow up through my lens for the past 18 months. Any time spent with the Stock family is a fun time! 


We had a lovely morning together as I had the pleasure of freezing this unique time in the kids' lives. Owen and Grace are just the sweetest kids and I absolutely adore watching them interact. O just loves his baby sis. And she's mighty fond of him, too. 


Gold stars to Mitch and Rachael for their precious growing family; you should be proud! You guys are a pleasure to be around and a joy to photograph! 


Check out this adorable blog preview for the Stocks and contact me for family photos this fall! I have limited availability so be sure to book in advance! 


]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Family Fun Germany Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Ktown Lovin' Those Little Ones Thu, 11 Sep 2014 16:30:18 GMT
Magical First Steps | Lovin' Those Little Ones


Jenny likes to say that Grace Studio is a magical place. I'm starting to believe her. Not only is it a place where people gather to learn and grow, but it is also obvious that it's a place where very special relationships are built. It feels like one big happy family! 


And at the anniversary party, the Grace Studio family got to celebrate with this family... 




While her big sisters were busy dancing, Little Miss Sophie was busy using Grandma's willing hand to practice for this big moment:





Way to go Sophie and congrats to the Przyzycki family! It was so sweet to see all the happy smiles and hear the cheers for her big moment! 



For more photos from Grace Studio's anniversary party follow this link. And remember you can purchase any of the images directly from the gallery! 

]]> (Life with Jess Photography) Event Photographer Grace Studio Kaiserslautern Photographer Kids Lovin' Those Little Ones Sun, 07 Sep 2014 19:37:27 GMT