Jessie Farrell - Interview / Artist Showcase

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Jessie Farrell - Interview / Artist Showcase

Who is Jessie Farrell?

Born in Harrisburg, PA, Jessie fell in love with photography in middle school when she would shoot her friends in her basement. Shortly after finishing her Bachelor's Degree at Millersville University, she began photographing clients from Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Allentown. Jessie is now a one-stop-shop offering skin prep, makeup application, hair styling, wardrobe styling,  photography, retouching, and studio rental services out of her studio on Maclay Street in Harrisburg, PA.



What makes Jessie special in the world of photography isn’t just her extensive experience behind the camera, but her experience in front of one since 2010. Over the years, Jessie has been honored to have worked with some of the top professionals in the industry. Using the skills learned from the best, she's been able to apply these skills on her clients to create gorgeous imagery.

Jessie's work is distinguished by her precise, detail-oriented imagery and her ability to curate a unique vision for each client, and then see it to fruition. She believes style should be timeless, and hopes to convey that message in each photo she produces through the broad visual aspects of image-making.

We asked Jessie some questions about her craft and business. Here's what she had to say:

  • Who are you and what is your business about?
  • Jessie: I am a photographer based in PA. I work in NY, PHL and PA. I specialize in product photography (ecommerce), lookbook & campaign, model development/portfolio building, actors headshots, wedding photography and studio rentals!
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Jessie: The photo studio has been around for about a year and a half. I've been shooting weddings for 2 years. I've been in the modeling industry since I was 13, and I've been shooting since around the same age. I didn't really get into shooting until after college because college and modeling took up most of my time. Now, I would consider myself primarily a photographer who models.
  • What’s it like to run your own business?
  • Jessie: Amazing! Also, exhausting because I wear so many hats, haha. I have dramatically different reasons for why I run each business. I run my studio in a way that stimulates the artistic economy in Harrisburg. I do this by trying to keep my prices lower than my competitors. My goal for the studio is to help keep people creating and off the streets. I continue to model to stay relevant in the community and to never forget how it feels to be on the other side of the camera.  I shoot beauty/lookbook & campaign photography because it strengthens my creativity and I shoot weddings to remind me to let go of needing to have control by forcing me to stay in the moment. I love shooting weddings even though I sometimes cry at them (lol I'm such a softy).
  • Were there any key factors in your start up and what were they? 
  • Jessie: A pivotal moment in my photography career was actually when I was hired by Canon to work as a model with the explorers of light. Being able to shoot with dozens of the most influential photographers in the world, each a master of their creative specialty, taught me many aspects of photography that I wouldn't otherwise have learned. 
  • If you had one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started, what would that be?
  • Jessie: Stop applying for jobs, you don't even want one. Also, stop smoking so much weed and dating losers. It's slowing you down. 
  • What advice/tips do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?
  • Jessie: We're all upcoming entrepreneurs I don't think anyone should ever consider themselves to have "made" it. You have to continually reinvent yourself or you will become irrelevant. That being said, shout out to Virgil for his 3% rule. Virgil's talk at Harvard
  • What does it mean for you to be here and contributing to the community?
  • Jessie: This may sound mushy, but it means so much to be able to surround myself with the artistic community. Art for me is like breathing and it requires a tremendous amount of suffering so nobody in the right mind would be in this career unless they truly loved it. The glamour fades so quickly and unless you're a very hard worker you won't last.
  • What does it mean to you to be a creator? 
    • I've been creating since the age of 13. I would hand make dresses out of trash bags, flowers, newspapers, magazines, and then do my friends makeup, and then go in the basement and have "photoshoots". 
    • I love being a model, it's taught me so much but not being able to have a say on the creative direction for shoots is like not being able to breathe for me. Creating is the one thing that I do that when I'm in the moment, I forget about everything else but that moment. For me, being a creator means freedom.
  •  What are the difficulties of being a creator?
  • Jessie: Getting paid!
  • What do you think could change that?
  • Jessie: Everyone, needs to stop working for free. We are the only industry just about that does TFP shoots and provides services for free in exchange for "marketing exposure." 
  • Jessie: This isn't just a problem for you when you go to pay your bills, but it lowers the value of the ENTIRE industry, which means your forcing other artists to starve as well.  Money = energy.  Strippers and servers are broke because they feel guilty for making money the way they do so they find a way to get rid of that money-fast. Do you feel guilty about the way you're making money as an artist because you enjoy it? Stop. You are valuable. Your work is valuable. Your time is valuable. End of story.
  • What is your vision for the future?
  • Jessie: By 2025 I will be shooting on location in Mexico, Tusla, lookbooks and campaigns for brands nation-wide and they will trust me with my vision. I also want to have a thriving wedding company shooting 15 destination and non destination weddings a year. I will be modeling for a large company in NY, and London. My studio will be self sufficient and running smoothly with enough employees to handle every aspect.

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