Wanted: Intern!

This year, I will be hiring my first intern! I am beyond excited for this for several reasons!

1. It will be nice to be able to delegate some projects during the very busy season of the summer.

2. I am so excited about the opportunity to share with someone else everything I have learned!

3. I love being able to help others learn, grow and expand their portfolio – and this is perfect for that!


So if that catches your eye, here is what I am looking for:

1. First and foremost, I am looking for potential, not perfection. If you are nervous or unsure, that is ok! Apply anyway! This is a learning and growing experience, you don’t need to know everything yet!

2. Interested in learning more about photography, business and film.

3. Willing to sometimes work weekends and late nights.

4. Experience with photography. (You don’t have to have 25 weddings under your belt, but I also want more than just instagram photos).

5. Owns a DSLR and knows how to shoot in manual mode.

6. Available April – September. Most weekends and 2x a week during the week (this is where you will do office stuff!) – There is more description about this below so keep reading!

7. Willingness to drink lots of coffee and listen to music on road trips to shoot weddings.

8. Experience with Lightroom and Photoshop preferred, but not required.

9. Good with verbal and written communication (phone calls, emails, client interaction.)

10. Fun and positive attitude!

That sounds like a lot of stuff. What I am going to learn and do? What does day to day look like?

That is a lot! This internship is definitely designed for someone who wants to learn about wedding photography! This will give you a great understanding and allow you to see a lot about owning a wedding photography business. I will be an open book to you. You are able to ask me any questions that you want. I will share with you everything that I have learned and give you a ton of hands on opportunities. There really won’t be a day to day specifically. I will not need you everyday, just up to twice a week and weekends. If you want to come over more, or be more involved, you are certainly welcome to! During the week, you will be helping and learning about the business/office side. Editing, emails, client meetings, product orders, schedules and all of that good stuff! The weekends (and some weeknights for engagement sessions) will be for shooting weddings! As my intern, I would love it if you could be my second shooter for every wedding. That would be my ideal. However, I will evaluate everyone who applies. If you aren’t quite to that level yet, you can be a third shooter for the first part of the summer and then hopefully move into being the second shooter! You are also welcome to come along to any engagement sessions as well!

This sounds awesome, but I don’t live in Lynchburg. Can I still apply? 

Yes! If you live more than a few hours away, that might not work out for us, but if you live in Virginia, we could make it work. We could talk about only doing one day a week in the office, or maybe meeting up for weddings instead of carpooling together. I am definitely open to talking about possibilities!

TO APPLY: Email me (jessica@jessica-mae.com) with your name and a link to your portfolio. I will send you a short application to fill out and then if I think we could be a good fit, I will set up an interview time! 


2013 Goals

I have never been very good with New Year’s Resolutions. That should be obvious seeing as how it is THREE weeks into January and I am just now blogging about goals!

To be honest, this is the FIRST time I have ever put goals on my blog! I have had goals and do lists and resolutions, but I have never SHARED them before! I have always been afraid of putting them out there for everyone to see, and not being able to meet them! But recently I have been learning a lot about transparency and about how I don’t need to be perfect and have it all together!

So… here it goes. Here is a blend of photog/business goals for the year and some personal ones too!



1. Shoot a wedding overseas (I did shoot a wedding in Puerto Rico last year, but that is still technically the US, I am thinking outside of America! Europe would be amazing!)

2. Become comfortable with film. If you read my last blog post about my journey into learning film, this will make a lot of sense!

3. Plan (and save for) a special day for all of my 2013 brides.

4. Decide if I want to make my wedding packages entirely A la Carte.

5. Rebrand and hire a professional for this.

6. Work with and train an intern.

7. Inspire and coach at least one other person about wedding photography.

8. Attend WPPI (ok, technically this is for 2014, but I can start saving for it in 2013!) (And please don’t judge me for never having gone yet!)

9. Attend at least one workshop (Ok, I am going to Katelyn’s in a few weeks, so I can cross that off!)





1. Work out at least 3x a week. I used to be so good at this. I used to run 4 miles a day, I definitely have gotten out of that though! I want to get back there!

2. Eat less sweets. I LOVE chocolate and dessert! Yum! But I want to eat healthier and not indulge my VERY big sweet tooth as often! :)

3. Read more nonfiction books. I LOVE fiction, I can fly through one of those, but it takes me FOREVER to read a “boring” book. (And yes, I did read ALL three of the hunger games books in 2 days.)

4. Blog more personal posts. I have noticed that I only tend to blog when I have a session or a wedding to post. I would love to share more personal posts. Confession, I am not that great of a writer. What? You couldn’t tell that? Why, thank you! But no, its true. It takes me HOURS (no exaggeration there!) to write just ONE blog post! ANYONE who has read a blog post that I have ever written knows that I struggle with transitions! Again, I feel like this goes back to fiction. If it was a completely made up story, I could do that no problem, but real life stuff… I am not so good with that!

5. Somehow convince my husband that we need a dog (this is only somewhat serious). If you know Chris, you would either A. laugh really hard at this or B. no that that will never happen. My husband is definitely not a pet person, but I am convinced that he just needs the opportunity! I frequently show him images of Bokeh, hoping to change his mind, but we will see.

6. Learn how to be a crafty-person. I am TERRIBLE at crafts. Yes I said it. TERRIBLE. Whenever I tell someone that, their response is: “Oh but you are good at pictures, that means you are great with crafts!” False. I have never been good at them! I want to be so badly, but it is not in my skill set! I was always the kid who’s craft feel apart before they got home. Really. I didn’t do ONE D-I-Y thing for my wedding! I ATTEMPTED a few and they fell apart before the wedding (including a sash for my dress with HOT GLUE?! What? Whoever thought that that would work?). Ok, I saw that title again, and I am going to cross that out…. ATTEMPT AT LEAST THREE CRAFTS. That is the real goal.

7. Learn how to juice. And do it (I am thinking at least for breakfast… or maybe quick lunches on the go)

8. Learn how to make REAL Puerto Rican beans and rice. I clearly married a hispanic man (my last name is Cortes and I am blonde…) and his Mom makes some of the best Puerto Rican food ever! Once, she showed me how to make beans and rice. Yeah, didn’t go so well, so I want to master that! (And for the record, Chris is awesome, he never does the “This isn’t how my mom makes it” bit. Just wanted to clear that up :)


I am a firm believer in not over committing yourself. This may not seem like a lot of goals, but I don’t feel like it is realistic for me to do 365 (one for each day of the year) or something crazy like that, because then I would never be able to reach them all. (If you are doing something like that – good for you! I am just saying that that wouldn’t work for ME)

Now that those are all out there, I have to really commit! And you can always ask me how I am doing on them! :)


A new journey

This post is a little personal and out of my comfort zone, but that is good right? :) For a while now I have realized that film is a medium I really want to get into! Alot  of my favorite wedding photographers shoot in film, and I absolutely LOVE the look! I have been explaining to alot of people recently, that film is cool again! I have told a few people that I want to shoot more film, and they look at me like I have three heads. Really, it is a beautiful medium, and there is just something so artistic and creative about shooting with film. I requires much more precision and thoughtfulness. You can’t just shoot and snap, and then go back and correct your mistakes in Lightroom or Photoshop. You have to be careful. Also, depending on what you are shooting with, you may only have 16 or 24 exposures to work with. You also have to pay for every exposure that you take! But all of that makes film fun! It is different and unique!

After that long introduction, I want to show you a few film scans I shot recently. Now that I just talked up how great film is, and you have to shoot carefully and all of that, I think Ih ave dug myself in a hole. This is my first real attempt! So please no judging! This is where the personal and out of my comfort zone part that I mentioned earlier comes in. I still have a LONG WAY to go! There is still so much to learn and I have still a lot to do before I get where I want to be with this! But I was excited to share this new journey with you all! I want to keep shooting film, learning and improving and hopefully incorporating it into weddings and engagements (when I get to that level!). My sister came to visit me a couple of weeks ago, so I used her as my guinea pig! Thanks, Jalissa, for being willing to help me out! :) Enjoy the start of my new journey/project/learning experience below!

Engaged: Isaac + Becca

A lot of people think that in order to have good engagement pictures you need to wait until there are leaves on the trees and the grass is green. This session is proof that you can have an engagement session in the middle of January and still have amazing images! There is just something about winter light that makes winter images so pretty!

I first met Becca in middle school! I haven’t seen her in a few years, so I was really excited when she talked to me about pictures! Her and Isaac are perfect together! They are both really down to earth and so fun to be around! I loved this session! Even though the day was cold, everything else couldn’t have been more perfect!

Thank you both for giving me the chance to work with you! I had a blast! Enjoy my favorites below!