When you’re at a conference you don’t chat much. You sit all day and listen. And learn. Plus, you’re completely drained by the end of the day.
But at the Canadian Photo Convention, here in Vancouver, I met the super kind and totally down to earth Jamie Poh. Some how we ended up sitting in the same vicinity for the entire conference – and that led us to catch up at lunch and chat.
It wasn’t long before we realized the good vibes we were getting from one another, which led us to hanging out outside of the conference. Our friendship had officially begun.
Jamie is easy to be around. She’s a documentary photographer – and she’s great at it. So, doing a session for another photographer like Jamie was a bit scary at first. In prepping for the day, I hadn’t felt certain about whether she’d be like other photographers — pixel peeping or judging my choices when it came to edits or poses. Or any of that jazz.
But like I said, Jamie is easy to be around! She totally let me do my thing.
She’d been in business with a photographer who left Vancouver, so Jamie recently broke out on her own. With a cool rebrand at the top of her list of to-dos, she was well on her way to making the leap from side-job to full time photographer (like I had done, not so long ago).
By the way, you MUST check out her logo 😉
Jamie came to our house a few weeks ago. Stealth like a ninja, as my son tells the story, Jamie photographed us during a day in the life session. It was a wild morning with a true glimpse into my life as a mom – unbrushed hair and all. I was, for a short time, in front of the camera – Jamie’s camera.
Still in my PJs. I longed for more coffee while my son brushed his teeth and Jamie did her thing – capturing the mundane in a truly magical way.
Essentially, Jamie’s shoot with me was a personal branding session, so I offered her all the same any client receives in a session. It was fun and quirky.
I asked Jamie a few questions – I’d highly recommend reading them below. They’ll give you a sense of who she really is.
Are you doing a re-brand or making the leap from side-hustle to full time? Let me know and we can talk personal branding through imagery.
Jamie, what had you wanting to do a photo session?
The hair dresser never gets their own hair cut, the chef rarely eats their own food. As a photographer, I rarely ever get my photo professionally taken! And so I really wanted to see what it would be like being on the other side of the camera. It’s a tough thing for a photographer to make this decision and one of my biggest fears was being/feeling awkward in front of camera. Hugely ironic since I take photos of people all the time and tell them not to be afraid.
As a photographer who is always behind the camera what did it feel like to be in front of it?
At first it was a bit weird. I had wanted a somewhat styled session where I’d be in a long black dress (something I rarely ever wear – I’m more of a jeans and t-shirt sort of person). But Michele was so calm and easy to work with (even though we had really only met a couple times at that point) and FRIENDLY. I was worried that I would look awkward not knowing what pose to put myself in but Michele guided me through, gave suggestions and talked me through a lot of it so it didn’t feel weird.
Tell us about your tattoos!
Yah! I have 4 tattoos (I don’t think we took a photo of the one one my ankle?) The first one I got is of a camera, of course. I got it near the beginning of my career as a photographer to remind myself why I started and to help push me through the tough times . Many people joke that it looks like an instagram logo…. but I drew this one myself!! The second tattoo is of a feather on my left arm. To be honest, when I first got this, I really just loved the design of it but as time has gone by I feel like the meaning of the tattoo has grown and now has multiple meanings. Feathers are a symbol of freedom (I think anyway), and I feel like this one shows my freedom as a creative, a woman and person. I’ve always had dreams of me flying – LOL. Maybe I’ll be a bird in my next life. It’s kinda funny coz I’m terrified of heights (like suspension bridges, but I hope to go sky diving one day). I feel like the feather represents my ability to conquer anything. The 3rd tattoo is of a coffee plant for an obvious reason. It fuels me! haha. Lastly (at least my mom hopes it’s the last one), the one on my ankle is a circle with one half shaded. My sister has the opposite side shaded and also on her ankle.
What inspires you to create?
(These are good questions) – There are many “whys” and some supersede others on different days. Outside of the need to earn money and put food in my belly, I feel that the root of my inspiration comes from my family. I come from a Chinese-Singaporeon family, but have been living in Canada for over half my life now. So I guess I’m Chinese-Canadian? Even though I moved here when I was 12, it was a bit of a struggle going to school and living my young adult life here trying to juggle 2 different cultures. I feel that even though many families may have lived here for a few generations already that they can relate to this. Our world is constantly getting a little bit crazier by the day and I want families to look back and find comfort in their memories. I know it’s a given to show love in my work being in the wedding industry, but showing love in all shapes, all genders, all ages and all cultures is something I want others to see. At the end of the day, I’m inspired by my clients who hold on to their roots but also embrace new ideas and cultures of their current homes. That’s what inspires me.
As a photographer and a client why do you feel having photos of yourself are important for your brand?
It’s one thing to show the final product of your craft, it’s another to put a face to the work. I’m a strong believer in that if our personalities don’t jive, we won’t get the most out of our working relationship together. Sometimes personalities don’t click. Sometimes our visions and values are different. It’s not anyone’s fault, but being able to see personality through images of the person I am hiring is important to me and at the end of the day will create a better working relationship for both parties.