Interview: Tracey Jazmin
I was seriously over the moon when Tracey Jazmin reached out to me after hearing about Twelve Months of Making. After examining her work and reading about her passion for both photography and doing what she loves in life, I knew she had to be interviewed. As someone who talks extensively about trusting her journey, she is the go-to gal for inspiration when it comes to pursuing your craft with excitement and reverence. She is more than a wedding photographer - she's a capturer of moments and memories.
First off, I’m so happy you’re here! By “here,” I mean Twelve Month’s little slice of the internet. Could you introduce yourself and what you do?
I couldn’t be happier myself! I’m Tracey Jazmin and I document life. My passion is human connection which I’ve combined with a love of photography that allows me to connect with others every single day.
I believe that everyone has a life that’s worth it. A life full of meaningful and memorable moments that are all worth being captured and documented in a way that when you look back on them, you’re transported back into that finite second of your life and you realize that the cost to replace such a memory is impossible to put a price tag on.
Knowing that 10 years down the road a client or even my client’s grandchildren will be able to look at these images I’ve created and feel complete nostalgia is what makes me pour my heart and soul into my work every single day.
You’ve written before about “trusting your journey,” was there a discernible “aha” moment for you that made you feel like you were on to something?
Gosh, you know, I remember writing that post like it was yesterday and it’s now become my mantra in a sense. For me, the “trusting your journey” post was a pivotal moment of realization in my business and life in general. I don’t remember now what was so striking that particular day however, I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason. It’s my religion I guess you could say, and I remember that point in my life a few months ago where I just stood back and looked at what I’ve created with my business, my life, just everything you know. It really hit home harder than ever before and I started to understand that every single moment, experience, happening, person you meet etc. has linked me to the next and created this life I’m so grateful to live.
There’s a quote that I’ve got on my vision board and it says, “Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the next 24 hours in front of you and how you can get closer to where you want to be.” Trusting my journey is a constant exercise I do daily and when I came to understanding that it’s all about these little moments, that’s when life really changed to be even better. I’m now less stressed about achieving these, what sometimes seem unattainable, goals for myself by breaking them into a ladder. Each little step brings me closer to the top and by trusting that I will make it there because I’ve seen and experienced the proof first hand more times than I can count is incredibly freeing and who doesn’t want more freedom?
What does a typical day look like for you as wedding and lifestyle photographer? Spare us no detail!
Well, you say spare no details so let’s be real shall we.
I refuse to wake up to an alarm when I’m not required to. I just don’t see the point. My body knows how much sleep I need if it needs a little more one day than another, I’ll let it do that, however, I generally wake up around the 9am mark and when I can, I try to let my day flow as freely as possible. I’m completely aware that this is against all of the business advice I’ve ever received about working at home and having a structured and scheduled day, but it’s just how I roll.
Usually, breakfast comes before anything. I really don’t know how some people can skip that meal because for me that’s just hands down im-poss-i-ble. My love for food is like noneother, haha!
I’m a total list person, so every night when I pack up “work” for the day, I write out my to do list for the next day and yes, I prefer the old school pen and paper version. Most of the time it consists of which wedding or lifestyle session needs to be worked on first, then social media and blog posts for the day, and my least favourite things are inevitably always at the end. Emails being one of them. I’ve found they take up an astounding amount of time and are a complete distraction when I’m in the zone so I answer them once a day, no matter how many notifications my snazzy iPhone sends me.
As I roll into the afternoon, I’ll break for lunch which is either followed by:
More editing and checking off the to do list because I’m feeling really inspired (often the case)
A workout. I’ve fallen in love with running lately. How I’ve done that when it’s now winter, especially living in Canada, blows my mind but it’s definitely become a thing.
A nap. You said spare no details, right?
Somewhere in the mix, I’ll find time to shower and all that that encompasses. I let myself enjoy some time spent being cozy working from home in my pajamas as well as making putting on a nice outfit for the day important. Flexibility is key in all aspects of life, even wardrobe choices!
Lastly, I’m a complete nighthawk and have found it’s when my best work and ideas seem to happen - go figure, right? Staying up until 2:30am isn’t uncommon if I’m fired up about a new way to make my client’s experience better or re-design my website. Getting to bed before 10pm is a daily struggle but they say it takes 21 days to create a new habit so who knows, nothing’s impossible.
What do you find exciting about the work you’re making now?
Moments! You’re probably thinking, huh? Cool. Moments, ya, wait what?
The work I’m creating now is some that I’ve never been more proud of. I’ve come so far as a photographer and person in general and it all stemmed from wanting to slow down and be more grateful a few years ago.
Every day we go through the motions of life and not very many of us realize that there are thousands of moments that happen. The more important part is that they're all worth it. Worth being captured. Worth being remembered. All of us, our lives, are all worthy of being photographed and remembered.
This is what has been fueling my passion lately.
I'm moving farther away from the posed photography into creating photographs that capture real life. It's more noticeable in my lifestyle work like this session here. It never fails that I tear up every time I go through this blog story and for me, that's when I know I've created something great because there's no way I could deny that my whole heart wasn't invested in each second of this session and that's beyond exciting.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a photographer/business owner?
Connecting with clients and that moment they view their images for the first time. It used to be nerve wrecking but now it’s one I look forward to every time. Their reactions, social media posts and emails they send me after are what make all of this the absolute best part.
Why? Because it means that I’ve proven to them, whether they knew it or not already, that their life is important and so deserving to be photographed. Not only that, but photographed in a way that they can remember it exactly how it was because not all moments are in life are “pretty”.
What are you afraid of? In photography, business, or just in life?
Failing. The big scary F word.
Failing in missing a moment. Failing in succeeding to book another wedding. Failing to shoot what really matters to me because I care too much about what others think.
My fear of failing is definitely not uncommon especially for an entrepreneur, but even more so as a creative because there is no right or wrong way to do something. It’s all about interpreting things in your own way and showing your unique perspective.
It’s a scary feeling to think that not everyone will enjoy the work that you create but in the end it’s a blessing. Getting to work with clients who rave about their experience and my work are my favourite and usually results in making a lot of really great friendships every year.
Walking through fear is always difficult but also always worth it ten fold.
Have you had any notable mentors or influential people in your life who have helped to shape your journey?
Most definitely. It’s really hard to pin it to one person or even a few but I would say my friend Gina has definitely been the most influential. She’s always asking me the hard questions that I already know the answer to, but don’t want to consciously admit to myself. If I had a dollar for every time she’s asked me, “What are you waiting for?” I’d be rich.
I wouldn’t say I’ve had any specific mentors but the photography workshops and conference I’ve been to in the past year have definitely shaped my journey as a photographer. I always find there’s an incredible amount of self-reflection that happens after each one and takes me in a completely new direction.
As a wedding photographer you must travel a lot! Is it easy to get burnt out and what do you do to combat the inevitable inspiration lulls?
Yes, I certainly do! This year alone I travelled more than I ever have but I’m extremely fortunate that travel is one of the things that keeps me feeling inspired.
Creative ruts and getting burnt out was something I’d never really experienced until this year as well. I thought it would be easy to get re-inspired but there was one point before wedding season that it simply felt impossible. None of my go to sources like travel, music and cooking were working.
I ended up getting out of my creative rut before wedding season approached after meeting someone. They didn’t have much of any clue about being a photographer but somehow I walked away so inspired after getting to know them and being around their energy.
From then on, I realized that working from home can definitely have it’s downsides especially if you’re a very social person like myself so I now make a point to go out and do new things to meet new people and catch up with my friends more often as it seems the simple act of human connection has now also become one of my methods of inspiration. Hearing other’s stories, struggles and successes helps me to get out of my own head and realize that we’re all human.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out or perhaps looking to take the leap into becoming a full time photographer?
Your full time day job is your friend. Find a mentor (I’d love to hear from you!). Be kind.
That day job that you wish you weren’t in is fueling your passion and funding your new business. It’s not a favorable situation, but remembering to stay positive in the beginning is absolutely key. I always kept a journal with me at my desk job so I could turn myself around if I was going into a negative tailspin.
Again, human connection is a fantastic thing. You’re most likely going to make a ton of mistakes in the first part of owning a business. I did but I never had a mentor until about two years into it. It doesn’t have to be someone who’s been successful in your field either. For me, it was Gina a close girlfriend who would kick my butt when I wasn’t feel optimistic or good about my work.
Kill them with kindness, literally. You NEVER know how you will meet your next client, potential business partner, etc. so it’s essential to just simply be kind. Now, I’m not saying go be a pushover or anything along those lines, just keep an open heart and mind. Educate people that you meet about what you’re passionate about, your dreams and how you’re working to get there and you’d be surprised at the amount of support and things that will come out of it. Believe me!
What do you hope to make in 2016?
Photographs of course but there’s something so much more important.
With the photographs that I make, I want my clients to know and feel that their lives are worth photographing and that there is value in each one of them beyond what they know or could even begin to realize.
It’s often not until a person sees their life through the eyes of someone else when they can then see that their life is incredible, they’re loved, and that having tangible versions of their life which is merely made up of moments that turn into memories is so dang worth it not only for them, but their children and all those to come after them.