Nicole is the owner and sole photographer of Nicole Jansma Photography, a boutique photography service with a focus on intimate weddings.
Tell us about you and your story.What is your background and how did you find your way to the wedding industry?
My story is a bit unconventional and would take way too long to fully explain here so I'll try to keep it as short and sweet as possible! My background is in the Psychology world - I studied Behavior Analysis in both undergrad and graduate school and I practiced as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for about 8 years. A lot of my work was, to put it bluntly, depressing and dangerous. So I reached a point where I was craving a creative outlet as a form of self care, to allow myself a chance to mentally unwind throughout the week. Photography was something I had had an interest in for a long time, so I purchased a camera and dove in to learning everything I could about it. Over time, I got more and more excited and passionate about it and realized how uniquely it blends my brain's love for both science and art. I began to put together some work samples and started promoting my work to potential clients (and side note: as a textbook introvert and someone who HATES the thought of people judging my work, I still don't know how I worked up the nerve to do this, but I'm so glad I did!). Things really started snowballing for me from there. I learned quickly that I preferred photographing people vs. landscapes/products/etc. so I was able to start narrowing down my focus. And I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity very early on to photograph a small backyard reception which is where I learned how much I loved event photography. With those discoveries in hand, my venture into the wedding industry began! It's been such an amazing journey and I am so grateful to all the mentors along the way. It is truly a unique job I have to be able to step in to someone's life during such an important moment and be tasked with the great responsibility of preserving those memories for the rest of time.
Share a little bit about Nicole Jansma Photography's history.When did Nicole Jansma Photography launch? What are you known for?
Nicole Jansma Photography launched in 2016. My primary offerings are wedding/elopement photography as well as engagement/anniversary photography. While I do take on a number of "full coverage" or "large" weddings, my main focus is on planned elopements and small, intimate weddings. My goal and driving force is finding beauty in the quiet, effortlessly elegant, authentically simple moments. Here are a few of my core points of view: -Authenticity: I believe that my job is to tell your story. Not create my own story and impose it on your day. Before I snap an image, I ask myself: "Is this a genuine representation of this person/place/thing?" -Timeless over Trendy: Trends come and go. I believe that just because we can do something, doesn't mean we should. My goal is to make sure your images stand the test of time. -Motion and Emotion: I want you to FEEL something when you see your photos. Motion and emotion are two important ingredients in achieving that. Motion inevitably leads to unstaged emotion, so anytime I can add movement to an image I will.
What sets you and Nicole Jansma Photography apart?What's your secret sauce? What makes you different from everyone else?
From my background in Behavior Analysis, I bring a really unique observational approach to wedding photography. In fact, I often joke that I'm a professional people watcher. In order to capture those really authentic candid moments, you have to be able to anticipate them. And in order to anticipate them you have to be deeply observant and have a good understanding of human behavior. That observation is also what enables me to give you portraits that don't look stale and static - I'm able to see how you interact so I can harness those uniquely "you" things, catch unprompted moments and create images that feel genuine. Images that feel like YOU. I also bring a unique balance to wedding day and work hard to create a balanced timeline so that you get a gallery that is very well-representative of the story of your day. I think there's an overemphasis these days on the tangible details of a wedding. And while I do love and appreciate those elements, I believe that people/emotion/connection are FAR more important. Which means I don't waste a ton of time on wedding day capturing the things. I spend just enough time to quickly capture the details so that you can remember and appreciate the work you put into each element of your day, but when all is said and done, those images do not make up a big percentage of your final gallery.
Tell us about your ideal couple.Tell us about the type of couple that really clicks with you and your company.
NJP couples love classic elegance but aren't afraid to be slightly unconventional. They know that style and simplicity can co-exist. They are a little bit old-school, and a little bit adventurous. And they find beauty in the small things in life.
What is the best advice you have for couples currently planning their weddings?You've seen so many couples go through the planning process. Share your best pearl of wisdom for those just starting out with their planning.
Try to ignore others' expectations or what the internet and tradition say you're "supposed" to do/have and make decisions that really and truly reflect YOU as a couple.
What's the ONE thing that couples shouldn't forget to ask potential wedding vendors?Spill! What's the single most important question that couples should ask before booking a vendor for their wedding?
I don't necessarily have one magic question that you should ask each of your vendors...It's obviously important to make sure you fully understand what your contract includes, what you are responsible for, and when any relevant deadlines are. I also think it's beneficial to give your vendors an opportunity to flex their creative muscles by asking them what ideas they may have that would give your wedding a unique element. But truly the most important thing when it comes to your vendors is to make sure you like them as people. You're going to be interacting with them a lot throughout the process, so make sure that your personalities all mesh. It should feel like a very natural friendship! For photography in particular, I do actually have a specific question that I recommend you ask before booking: "How do you back up my images?". No one asks this and it's CRAZY important. I wrote a whole blog post on this so if you need help knowing what to look for in this answer, be sure to check it out :)
Thanks for stopping by Lakeshore in Love, Nicole!