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Art & Life with Jessica Wood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Wood.

Jessica, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I am Jes, a storyteller, photographer, and co-owner of MaeWood Photography. Aside from our business, I am a mom, wife to my best friend, crispy bacon lover, and a dreamer. I have an eye for detail and a strong passion for human connection, love stories, and puppies!

Photography hasn’t always been my career, but it has certainly always been a passion of mine. When I was young, I always dreamed I would be a teacher, and I started playing school with my stuffed animals from the time I could walk and talk. I had the overhead projector (yes, they used to have those!), a desk, chalkboard; if it was in a classroom, I had it. I graduated from Towson University with a master’s degree in Special Education as a teacher and leader in the field of Autism. Being a teacher was how I identified myself to the world. I was proud of how I was able to have such an impact on the lives of my students and their families. I had such a unique teaching experience. In the field of transition, I didn’t have a revolving classroom door because the community was my classroom and I had the same students from the age of 14 to 21. They were, and still are, my family. When we moved across the country just over a year ago, I knew I could never replace the experience I had, so I decided to leave the field of education and take my passion for photography full time. I realized I wasn’t just meant to be an educator but a generational storyteller.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am dedicated to photographing beautiful & timeless moments for joyful brides and grooms, and their journey to becoming a family. I am a keeper of memories and a service to couples and families so they can live presently in today without ever having to worry about forgetting or missing those special moments. I don’t just take photographs of our clients, but I create high-quality artwork for their grandchildren and future generations to come.

Why? Because our world never stops spinning. Our grandma’s age, our children grow and leave the nest, our love evolves, and we are doing this life an injustice by not capturing the moments and the change as we go along. That is what makes this journey meaningful; remembering where we were at a certain time in our lives, identifying how we have grown and improved upon ourselves and our love stories, and living in the moment while never forgetting the parts of our past, we hope to keep with us forever.

When people leave from a session with me, I want them to feel rejuvenated, alive, inspired, relaxed, and beautiful. I want them to look at their images and see the joy and unconditional love. I want them to look at their walls and see memories. I want their great-grandchildren to look at their photo albums and see a little piece of where they came from.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Real talk: I still struggle with this. I think all artist do. We take our hearts, souls, and passions and try to put a price tag on it, while most of us are still building the confidence to feel worth what we charge. After a lot of soul-searching, I have realized I am not just a photographer, and I need to charge accordingly so that I can actually pay my bills. I have calculated how much money I need to make a month, no more- no less, and I break it down by how many weddings or sessions I can take on, but that isn’t the end of it. I then make sure I provide an experience and a service that is worth the price I am charging. I am not just charging for photography, but also communication, management, personalized experiences, education, scheduling, sun chasing, support, storytelling, print creating, time stopping, and memory making.

Be creative and think of ways you can justify your prices with more than just your words!

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Arizona Weddings Magazine – December Print Issue

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jessica Wood with MaeWood Photography, AZ

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