A Girl Named Mikaela


You know, it’s crazy. There’s a thousand different ways to approach photography and start a business. There are those who claim they have the answer or can ridiculously deduce a person’s success into 15 steps. I’m not one of those people. I’m simply a person who picked up a camera and took whatever I had and made it work. And I’m making it work.

Last March I spoke in Canada and randomly had lunch with a girl named Mikaela. We got along swimmingly well and I adored every ounce of her. I just wrote swimmingly. I sound like I hail from Pilgrim-laden Plymouth Rock. Somebody stop me! Moving on…three months later Mikaela attended my June 2010 Workshop. We got to know each other even better (she desperately wanted to move on from her full time job, but felt stuck) and talked a bit about branding and working hard.

Because, really, that’s what it’s all about. It simply boils down to one thing: Do The Work. Sure, you can find every reason to think or imagine how lucky someone else is, but the truth of the matter is, simply, she’s working hard. Nobody successful is sitting on her booty. The most admired photographers/businessmen/entrepreneurs/doctors/scientists/lawyers are often the hardest working, so please know there is no such thing as luck. I once heard Luck is When Preparation Meets Opportunity. I couldn’t agree more.

After the Workshop, Mikaela went home and worked. Hard. Along the way, she met Shane…and they fell in love. Almost a year ago to the date, Mikaela worried she’d never make it. She was overwhelmed with every reason why she couldn’t…but she did. She worked hard and is now a successful full-time photographer in Canada.

I had the pleasure of shooting Mikaela and Shane’s engagement session in Laguna Beach yesterday and it was a full-cirlcle moment. At the end of the night, we toasted to love, happiness, and hard work. I’m incredibly proud of her and believe everyone is equally capable of her success.

Happy Friday!

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  1. Manik Rathee

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    That is really fantastic. I love hearing about people that just buckle down and work as hard as they can and make it into a successful business.

    I was lucky enough to watch your Creative Live workshop recently, Jasmine, and it motivated me to take my photography professionally. I have been shooting for 5 years (through college mostly – I’m only 22) and I just launched my new site and started booking engagement shoots and wedding shoots as well.

    I have a great respect for you and the hard work you did, and I hope to be just as successful in the future.


  2. Melissa Jean

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Um, and she’s freaking gorgeous!!!! I love inspirational stories where the "magic ingredient" to success is hard work. That’s one thing I will always have.

  3. Miz Booshay

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Dear Jasmine,
    Thank you for sharing this story. Once upon a time ‘word of mouth’ was the only tool taught…
    I’m delighted that you are telling the truth. It takes hard work and a buisness mind to succeed in the photography biz! Thanks!

  4. Lyndsey Fagerlund

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    So true that you just need to do the work. It is so funny how simple that is, yet so DIFFICULT! Every time I plan on working my butt off, I end up getting intimidated by everyone else, and frustrated that I’m not where I want to be, and put it off til later. Thanks for this post, I’m rededicating myself to getting to work!! πŸ™‚

  5. Steve Van De Steene

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    What a beautiful story and picture. It gives me hope that someday (just starting out) I will be able to follow my dream and quit my day job to do what I love in a very over-saturated field & market. There are a LOT of wannabes in the Detroit area.

    Thank you

  6. Ashlee

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    This inspires me (as I sit her at my full time job reading your blog trying to get my wedding planning business off the ground). If Mikaela can do it, I’m pretty sure I can too πŸ™‚

  7. Karina Crouch

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Yay!! It is so so fun to see our June Workshop friends achieve their goals! Congrats Mikaela on your engagement and all the hard work. And great image too Jasmine πŸ™‚

  8. Sarah

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Thank you Jasmine and Mikaela for being an inspiration! Working on working hard and getting out there! Wishing the best to you both!

  9. Tacey

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I’m sure there are lots of us gals who met you in Vancouver last year that are wishing WE were that random girl lucky enough to have lunch with you…but things happen for all the right reasons, and clearly, you two were meant to meet. Congratulations Mikeala, from one Canadian go-getter to another…Keep on rockin’ it.

  10. Deborah Zoe

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I just discovered her blog a few days ago, and fell in love. Thanks for sharing Jasmine, I couldn’t agree more!

  11. Abby Grace Photography

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I saw their engagement story on GWS yesterday and I LOVED it!! So glad to hear that you’re their photographer- I can’t wait to see more of their engagement shoot! Gorgeous couple, simply simply lovely! (<see what I did there? Throwin it back to Plymouth Rock.)

  12. Meaghan

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Loved reading this blog post. It is encouraging to know that other photographers have felt the same way I am feeling now. I work full time as a graphic designer, but I would love to be able to quit and pursue photography full time.
    Thank you for being so open with your knowledge. πŸ™‚

  13. Clarissa

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    this is me right now! working hard all day, every day. I love stories like this because it motivates me to continue pushing.

  14. Hollie

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Her fiance also planned an awesome proposal! Loved reading about it on her blog!

  15. einar

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I just love your posts Jasmine, I absolutely adore your affirmative writing and photography.
    I looked at Mikaela’s blog and just want to thank you for her, for all the words that just confirm to what I think and assuring me that I am on the right path to be photographer. Thank you Jasmine.

  16. Ellen

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Great story, and very familiar. I too feel stuck and don’t know where to step next. Everyone keeps telling me to follow my heart, but I get intimidated by all the other photographers that do better work than me. How do you get over comparing yourself to others?

  17. Dana Laymon

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Thank you both for the inspiration today! I definitely need the reminders. Now I just need more time! πŸ™‚ You both are so encouraging- helps to know it DOES happen!

  18. LEOLAK

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Wow…what an inspiring story (interesting..one I dream of for myself…including you shooting my pictures!). Congratulations to Mikaela..on her budding success and engagement! She’s stunning! Thanks for the introduction Jasmine! Gorgeous photo…can’t wait to see the rest!

  19. Julia

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    What? I say swimmingly all the time! Then again, I am from eastern Massachusetts. And my mother’s family did come over on the Mayflower… Darn! I hate when I suddenly realize I’m uncool!

  20. SarahV

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    This is so very true and can be applied to a lot of things in life. For example, I was a terrible student in high school and my first years of college. Why? Because I didn’t care. I am not "stupid" and I was capable of doing better, but I didn’t want to.

    Well, I took a couple of years off from college to do whatever and when I finally returned, I returned with a new respect for learning and I enjoyed the process a great deal. What were my grades my last 3 years of college? Straight A’s – and I graduated with highest honors and in the top of my class.

    People call me "super smart" and say they could never do that well, but they could. Almost anyone could if you put your mind to it and you work really really hard. School consumed every moment of life once I took it seriously, and it paid off.

    I agree with your statements that it takes hard work to be at the top of your game, but if you REALLY want it, you can make it happen. πŸ™‚

  21. Kerensa Underwood

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I have known Shane for many years and known "of" Mikaela for a few years and was happy when I found our they were dating! And to hear their engagement story…wow, I’m just glad I’m already married because who can top that??
    I love your work Jasmine and I can’t wait to see from this session!

  22. Ashley A-Photo

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    This is so touching. And sooo motivating. Jasmine, YOU are a force to change so many lives, and like Mikaela, so many of us are trying hard and just need those little pushes (by powerhouses like you!) to keep going even when we feel like sitting on the curb once in awhile. Thankyou.

  23. Kim

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    So true. This is how it works. Even if a sense of success is achieved with "luck" it will not have sustainability (good solid foundation of "hard work") to make it stand the test of time!

  24. Rachel Tatem

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    That’s awesome: yet another peer seeing and acknowledging your work! Agreed that hard work is the way but it is exactly that: hard work.

  25. Natalie Tuggle

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Hurray!! This is so encouraging!!

  26. Mary - Lemon Fresh Designs Photography

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Beautiful photo Jasmine. And I completely agree, hard work pays off!! Being in business is hard and extremely rewarding work. But congratulations to Mikaela and her fiance. I finally saw the photos from her awesome "Starbucks in the Woods" themed engagement session. Incredibly creative and adorable!

  27. Annette Turner

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I am always so lifted and inspired by your posts. I am so happy for this young lady who has placed her heart into her work. This gives me hope. I too have been working as hard as I can to get my business off of the ground. So difficult these days when so many of us have a multitude of plates to balance. I have motivation to do it for my husband who has been battling Lymphoma for the past several years.

  28. Sandra Fazzino

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    so proud reading mikaela’s story!!! i took the same leap of faith last april and it has been the most empowering life decision. your brand is beautiful! congratulations on your dreams coming true! and as always, thanks for sharing, jasmine!

  29. Anahy Ruelas

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Lol! After I read swimingly, I thought "hey, she just said swimmingly".
    Thank you for sharing this. I really needed it. It’s difficult here in this town ruled by successful male photographers who guarantee that the rest of us will fail at running our own photography business. The photographer that I most admired here in town, I recently found out is the meanest person to up and coming photographers. He is right, I don’t have all of his knowledge. I didn’t start photography when I was ten years old like he did, but I am my biggest asset right? As scary as that is, I’m going to try to work it out. Thanks =)

  30. Marissa Rodriguez

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Jasmine this is awesome! A post that definitely hits home! It’s so encouraging to hear stories like these because it gives me hope. My work will pay off one day too…just have to keep at it. Congrats to you and Mikaela! So happy for you both πŸ™‚

  31. Stephanie

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I love a good success story! Thank you for sharing–very inspiring!

  32. dawney

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I love, love LOVE this story. I pretty much always leave your blog feeling inspired. Thanks! Also- thanks for the reminder to work hard for what you want! I needed it today. =D

  33. Andrea

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Just when an overwhelming sense of doubt starts to set it, a great post comes along. What an amazing and inspiring story. And how true it is, success and hard work go hand in hand. Thanks again for the encouragement you provide to your readers.

  34. Ashley Cherie

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I’m going to make it work with what I’ve got πŸ˜‰

  35. melissa stover

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    i’m glad that there’s no magic trick, no secret formula to making this work. doing the work is not always easy, but it’s so rewarding! yeah mikaela!

  36. Natalie Arevalo

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I read about their engagement and fell in love with their story. Can’t wait to see their pictures!!

  37. sherri lynn

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    This is such an inspiring story! And how awesome is it that they are the couple with the amazing Starbucks proposal?!

  38. Amber

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Loved reading this post today, it is just what I needed to hear.
    Congratulations to Mikaela! Beautiful girl!

  39. Heather Corporan

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for this post Jasmine. I know I just need to get off my booty and DO IT already – in so many areas of my life! Thanks for the encouragement and reminder! Congratulations Mikaela! On love, and hard work!!!

  40. rich

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    thank you for the great inspirational post!

  41. jamie delaine

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    yeahhh mikaela. sweetest heart AROUND.

  42. ReginaMarie

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    It’s so good to hear about another person being able to make it, and have her life coming together… Gives hope that if I keep working maybe mine will too! Thanks for the inspiration Jasmine!!!

  43. Gaby Fuentes { NJ Wedding Photographer }

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Absolutely beautiful story… Much luck to Mikaela, the photographer and the bride.

  44. Jessica K. Sullivan

    June 24th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    love it! Ty for the inspiration. Just what I needed today!

  45. Lily Magallanes

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Post like these keep me going. πŸ™‚

  46. Lily Magallanes

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Post like these keep me going. πŸ™‚

  47. Denise Nicole

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Awwwww Mikaela!!!! She is such a sweetheart and I am blessed I was able to meet her at your workshop! I am so happy she found her soul mate. I mean this guy Shane is precious!!! I can’t wait to see the entire shoot!!!

  48. Stephanie Stewart

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    This post is just what I needed this very moment. Thank you.
    P.S. I cannot wait to see their engagement session! They are a lovely pair!

  49. nena

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    You have such a way with words and I know I can achieve my dreams because of you and people like Mikaela! =-)

  50. Todd Cowdrey

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Man I needed this today. I know exactly about the full time thing & being overwhelmed with trying to get a business rolling. Add a wife & two teenagers to the mix. Fortunately I have a very good full time photographer friend to help me along.

  51. Tabitha Blue

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Wow, just love this post! It inspires me! She is gorgeous and I’m so happy for her love, and even more so, for her effort and success.

  52. victoria

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    great post. thanks for the encourangement to DO THE WORK. in the end, it’s what will get it done. again, awesome.

  53. Audrey

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    This is so crazy – my hubby and I had a conversation last night about EXACTLY THIS. The ones who "make it", the ones who succeed simply DO THE WORK. So that’s what I’m doing….the work! haha!

  54. Bobbie Brown

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Ah! I have chills right now! Love love love this story and this picture!

  55. donna harris

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    awwww. YAY! I love everything about this post: an ode to friendship over a love of photography, the essence of success (hard work), and a beautiful girl. This particular blog post hits home to me as I feel like my friend, Kelly Manno, has shown me what you have shown Mikaela. ….Two fab photogs sharing their Greatness. Thank you.

  56. anda

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    you know i love this, jasmine. xo.

  57. MartaV

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    This is totally what I needed to hear today. I am working the best I can towards my goal.
    Congrats to Mikaela for achieving hers!! πŸ™‚

  58. Cynthia Rust

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Today, especially, I needed to hear these very words! Thanks Jasmine!

  59. Kim Spears

    June 24th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    I had the pleasure of meeting Mikaela at Image Quest watching you speak! We randomly sat next to eachother and then met again for your workhop πŸ™‚ She is an amazing person and there is no doubt in my mind that she will be so incredibly successful in anything she does. LOVE that you were apart of their love story xo Kim

  60. Marissa Nicole

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    great, great, great thoughts! there is no 5 step program to being successful. The thing about photography & businesses like it, is people think unless you have a session/wedding to shoot at the moment a photographer just sits at home on their duff & waits for the calls to come in. I pride myself on working, even it is shortly, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!
    It’s about getting out there & making connections, meeting people, practicing, taking on new challenges. Working & working hard.
    Here’s a fist in air & a "preach it sista" going out to you & women like Mikaela!!!!!!

  61. Rebe Skinner

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    My sister’s text came in urging me to read today’s blog. Liz had never done that, but she always encouraged me to sign up to your FB page, to make a porfolio. I finally enrolled in school, firt week: Intense, scary, doubting. I will do it and be passionate and grateful. Looking for my first camera and business name. There is no other mentor than you J*. Thank you.

  62. Łukasz KawaΕ‚kiewicz

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    beautiful photo

  63. Delaware Wedding Photographer - Jay Clark

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Great story! Great image!

  64. trudy

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Yeah Mikaela!! so excited for you! I saw you and Shane at WPPI on the trade floor but you were way to far away and facing the other way to even wave to you. Congrats on you engagement, can’t wait to see the rest of the images πŸ™‚

  65. Liz Lovi

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Aww, love this post about my fellow photog Mikaela! Jasmine, you are so right on when you say "It simply boils down to one thing: Do The Work"! I am so happy for Mikaela and Shane and I can’t wait to see the rest of their engagement shoot! What a special time in their lives πŸ™‚ xo

  66. kristine ko

    June 24th, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I saw her engagement pictures on Green Wedding Shoes! Love the thought her fiance put into the engagement.

  67. Patricia Lorenzo

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    And she has possibly the cutest proposal story ever! πŸ™‚

  68. Alaina Bos

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Totally inspiring post, and OH MY GAWD!! Is she beautiful or what??

  69. Candice Benjamin

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Preach. Hard work is really the only way to get anything done, and I’m glad we are all in the same school of thought. <3

  70. Kirsten Leah

    June 24th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Haha 15 steps. πŸ™‚ I was wondering whether you’d address that. I like how you did it…and I always love a good success story! Congrats, Mikaela!

  71. Lydia

    June 24th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    After reading that article yesterday, I just kept thinking, "it’s no secret, she’s always shared what she does!" It’s all about hard work, being willing to take risks and fail, giving your clients amazing customer service, and being yourself!

  72. gladys jem

    June 25th, 2011 at 12:18 am

    one word: TRUF
    four more words: Congratulations Mikaela and Shane πŸ™‚

  73. Chelsea

    June 25th, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Swimmingly is a great word. I would like to use it more often. Great story.

  74. Shannon Kate

    June 25th, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Mikaela is a fantastic photographer – I love her blog and she is just so sweet and brilliant. I’m so glad she’s found the love of her life (and that you did their engagement shoot!) xx

  75. Life with Kaishon

    June 25th, 2011 at 5:24 am

    I am so happy for her : )
    What a beautiful story.

  76. Holli True

    June 25th, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Aww! I had the pleasure of meeting Mikaela & Shane at WPPI earlier this year in YOUR Showit Meetup! πŸ™‚ They are both genuinely sweet and absolutely adorable! This picture is just perfect!

  77. {Natalie bray photo}

    June 25th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    So happy for Mikaela and fiancΓ©!!!! Beautiful photo!

  78. Antony

    June 25th, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  79. Suzy G

    June 25th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    She is gorgeous. So happy for her. Love the inspiration to never give up and work hard.

  80. Shaun David

    June 25th, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Such a nice photo, and congratulations to Mikaela. All it takes is hard work and a passion for what you want and things seem to fall into place.

  81. Petina Hope

    June 26th, 2011 at 2:20 am

    Jasmine- Thank you for sharing this success story. You are one of the most inspiring photographers out there!

  82. Jose Roces

    June 26th, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Beautiful work

  83. Kristin Nicole

    June 26th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Love Mikaela’s blog and this photo is gorgeous! So sweet!

  84. Peter Lodder

    June 26th, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    thanks for posting this. I also have so many doubts. I see so much good photographers. Is there room for one more? I know I have talent. But do I also have e.g. commercial capacities? I do no know. Besides that I am a man. I have to bring the money for my family. I often think that it is easier for a woman.
    It is such a change! So this story about Mikaela helps me! I hope that in a few years I can write you the same about me….

  85. Mara

    June 26th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Dear Jasmine, I want to thank you for investing time into improving the art of photography. You such a source of inspiration and a positive role model for so many amateur photographers, like myself. My greatest wish is to take beautiful images for my closest friends and family, that they may treasure. After every upload, I feel my heart drop with each imperfect image flashing across the screen. And every time I can hear your words, "Just do the work." And so I pick up my camera and keep shooting. I know that one day all the work will pay off. Thank you.

  86. Theresa McDonald

    June 27th, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Thank you Jasmine, thank you Mikaela…this is a story I soooo needed to read and absorb today. =)

  87. Tom

    June 27th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Greater depth of field, is a woman is most important:)

  88. Sabrina Rossi

    June 27th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Hello Jasmine.
    This is the first the time that I am so courageous to write you.
    I want to introduce me: I’m Sabrina, I’m Italian, I live in Rome.. I’m photographer but I don’t feel so confident to say that too loud (but I need to if I want to start to work) and I’m dreaming to follow your step (I think I am not the only).
    Reading this post gives me energy and hope.
    Thanks to one of your suggestion that I found in your on-line wedding course I started my blog.
    I would love to have the possibility to follow one of your workshop…I don’t know if it would be possible…but for now I like to dream about it!
    p.s.: sorry for my english!! πŸ™‚

  89. Giovanna

    June 27th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Congratulations on both fronts Mikaela! Your ring ROCKS!

  90. Chera

    June 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Beautiful post and good job Mikaela for being brave! p.s. I am reading The War of Art because of your recommendation and I am loving it!!

  91. Ana Telma

    June 27th, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    OMG, OMG, OMG!!! I wanna print this and stick it on my fridge!! No, I’m gonna glue it to my forehead!! Thank you so much for KIR for us (ME)! Kisses from Brazil!

  92. Maxine

    June 28th, 2011 at 5:27 am

    Thanks for sharing an inspiring story, as always Jasmine! Just what I needed at just the right time. πŸ™‚

  93. Roberto Farren

    June 28th, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Very true words and glad to hear it’s being heeded by some at least.

  94. Odalys Mendez

    June 28th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    This so inspiring. I’m a firm believer that God puts people in your life for a reason. Here is the proof πŸ™‚

  95. J Brittney

    July 12th, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Jasmine, I have been reading your blog for years and LOVE your work. But please please please refer to a city or at least a province when referring to Canada. We are a big country!! You always refer to states when talking about the USA but us Canadian readers would like to to know…WHERE in Canada. Thanks!!