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Rising Stars: Meet Jessica St. George

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica St. George.

Jessica, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I started being creative at a young age. My mom gave us crafting galore and I started sewing around 10 yr old. I went to college at the University of MN and received my bachelor of science in apparel design/production. 6 months after graduating I found a job in NYC with a relocation package and everything. I was very lucky to find that job- but I was also very qualified for it. I stayed in NYC for 5 years, by the end of my time there I had made my dreams come true and I was a head patternmaker at a women’s wear company. I loved my career, but living in NYC made me so miserable and lonely. I moved back to MN with a job that I ended up being let go from on my 3rd day over something someone heard me say and it got blown way out of proportion. I probably could have taken legal action against them but I didn’t want to work for a company that would do such a thing anyways. That’s when I had to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I got into photography when I was in NYC styling photoshoots. I would bring the clothing to the photography studio, I would do flat lay photos and photos on models. I was in charge of making sure the garment and the model looked perfect. So when I moved back to MN I was enjoying using my phone to take photos as a hobby. I started charging for photography using a DSLR in 2018 and now I have a thriving photography business.

The reason I love photography so much is because I can find a way to use all of my talents: sewing, gardening, styling, model posing, composition, and editing. I learned how to use the adobe creative suite in college, I actually purchased CS2 CD/ROM in 2008– for context, the adobe programs went from CS1-6, then CC (creative cloud) and they have just been doing updates through that now.
I am fortunate enough to have excellent people skills– I love meeting new people and connecting with new friends. The wedding industry is all about first impressions, and managing communication, all while making sure people are having fun.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I was let go from a few jobs out in NYC and was unemployed for a while. My unemployment took about 5 months to finally go through because I had just moved there so they couldn’t process it through NY state. I was writing checks from my credit card just to afford rent. I still have over $70,000 in student loan debt (yeah I know) and I’m being as aggressive as I can in paying those back. I could go on and on about how crippling student loans are– when I took out my student loan in 2009 to do a semester in NYC, I had to take out a $10,000 loan and that loan had an interest rate of 14% because my father has two other daughters in college at the same time. He actually maxed out his co-signing abilities!

I have been so poor at one point in my life that $50 was A LOT of money. Like I remember seeing my checking account balance at $20.48.

I also racked up $10,000 in credit card debt from my time in NYC (being unemployed and young) which I found a debt solution company and paid that back within 5 years with no interest rate. So I’ve had my successes along with the hardships.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a wedding and family photographer. Living in NYC made me tough and able to handle confrontations- a skill I did not have growing up. I cried a lot in NYC at first when people would yell at me (haha). But NYC gave me the confidence I have now. I have seen how top photographers in the industry shoot and the equipment they use and how to get special effects. Since I knew the editing software, my company only paid for the RAW images and then I would edit those for our catalog and website. I would say the thing that sets me apart is that I use my skills in all areas. I constantly hear, “What can’t you do?” and I absolutely LOVE hearing that. I want to always be learning and improving. I want to push the boundaries for what is expected of a photographer.

I do alterations for wedding dresses, I make clothing for newborn shoots, and I try very very hard to only use 2nd hand materials. Like things from the thrift store or marketplace. The amount of apparel/textiles in landfills is sickening.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
I like the “Posica” app- it helps with inspiration for photography poses.

Pricing:

  • My wedding photography starts at $2400
  • Average cost for a wedding photographer in 2021 is $4,000

Contact Info:

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