Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.

Advice for new wedding photographers – 5 things pros want to tell you

Please keep in mind, this advice for new wedding photographers is meant to build better photographers and encourage the ones who truly want to do this correctly. There is no animosity towards new or prospective wedding photographers from me. But it’s no secret that I believe the wedding industry needs a good shot of chlorine. Let’s begin.

1-There are already too many wedding photographers-

Don’t let that discourage you, if this isn’t a “going after the gravy train” attempt. You’re serving couples on the biggest day of their lives, with friends and family they often rarely see. No pressure, but don’t F this up for them. At that point, I doubt there would be much forgiveness for lower prices. If you want in the wedding photography industry, do it for the right reasons. It’s not easy money like many think. You have to love working with couples to give them a great experience, and tell their story, while passionate about it. Don’t be just another one.

Terian Farms wedding ceremony

2-Have solid systems-

From a solid contract with clear terms, such as photo delivery time, what is included, etc. to backup equipment, it all matters. I’ve heard about many $500 wedding photographers who ran out of batteries, failed to deliver photos, clients having to hound them to get photos, etc. It’s a buyer beware service. Often, couples don’t want to hear that they didn’t hire an amazing photographer for a cheap price, they hired an amateur without a proven track record. Also, online gallery interface and means of file delivery should be nicely presented and user friendly. Not ambiguous to the couple.

On the day of, a solid proven system of working also helps the experience. As well as being responsible for delivering a signature and consistent product. Being organized and systematic is a reminder to the couple of why they hired you. Have experience and systems before taking on your own weddings. Learn from pros, pay dues. Not a popular piece of advice, but too bad. Being unqualified, no matter how cheap, is never cool.

documentary wedding

3- Think like a smart business person, not emotionally –

You’re better off gaining experience being mentored by pros and working on your own style, and coming in as a freelance with an advantage. Building equipment, experience with not only technical photography aspects, lighting, and procedures with weddings, is time consuming and expensive. Be realistic about your skill set, if you’re ready, and don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. Don’t apologize for charging to sustain your business.

“Oh, Kaitlyn charges $800 and gives all photos, etc.” So what? Lowering your prices to compete with that fictitious character is an emotional decision, not a sound business decision. When you factor in your time with the clients, photographing the event, post production, blogging and presentation, print products, etc. as well as expense, the math has to make sense. Taxes, insurance,  paying for and learning software, and overall value we provide clients are part of what they’re paying for. You pay someone for what they know, not just what they do.

documentary wedding photographer

4- Why hire you? –

I remember years ago sitting with a middle aged businesswoman interviewing me for her wedding photography. She said, why should I hire you? I was in the early days of being known for my photojournalist style of wedding photography, which was why she called me for a meeting. Deep inside, I was peeing myself when she asked me that, and she probably knew it, lol.

I simply said, I am assuming the reason you called me here is because you like the style of photojournalist, non-intrusive coverage, and you knew what you wanted. Otherwise you wouldn’t have contacted me. It worked, I think she just wanted to be sure I would be confident and organized. Clients who are informed hire wedding photographers for the following reasons.

-They like you.

-They like the style and experience you provide.

-They see the value in what you offer and your products. Notice I didn’t say cheap or price. Value.

If price is the main reason you’re being hired, there’s a good chance you’re targeting the wrong clients and your own experience will become frustrating. Have a vision and a plan, or be just another one.

bridesmaid Nashville

5- Not everyone is your client

Perhaps the best advice for new wedding photographers that I didn’t scare off already, realizing that not all business is good business. Being desperate and taking any client, dropping prices enough to get them doesn’t win you the right business. If you refer to the above segment,  you know that the most qualified clients hire for your signature style and approach,  they gel with you, and like your systems and products.

I’ve had couples that have been lovely and were pleased as punch when I put together a small intimate package for them. Especially on an off month, and that was all they needed. It’s the ones who want the farm for peanuts and are demanding that are often problem clients. Experience teaches you things like this in business. Those who learn and adjust their systems, are likely to succeed. Those who blame others and don’t learn from things, are just going to fall out of love with what they do and burn out. Love of craft is good, passion for business and clients is the one thing that holds that together.


Abandoned Tennessee II Touched By Time

I’m very excited to announce the release of my third book, Abandoned Tennessee II Touched By Time. The publisher is Fonthill Media and part of the America Through Time series featuring abandoned building photos of various parts of the US.

abandoned tennessee

I’m always going to be extremely proud of my first releases, Abandoned Tennessee and Abandoned Kentucky. But as the series grows and my skills as an author grow, that only brings more to the table for the series. In this volume, there is a great variety, including an abandoned old schoolhouse with quite  history, two houses in the backwoods that required a UTV ride, an antebellum mansion with antique appliance, so much more. Official release date is February 25, 2019.

abandoned tennessee

Abandoned Tennessee II Touched By Time will be at local book stores, Barnes and Noble, BAM, and other book retailers. It will also be on Amazon, available for preorder even before release date! Grab your copy, and enjoy sharing my adventure. I’m so excited and proud to announce this new release, I can’t wait to hear what you think as you expand your Jay Farrell library!! 😀


What employers look for in headshots

In this day and age, it’s a competitive job market, especially in rapidly growing cities like Nashville. I remember growing up as a teen looking for a part-time after school job, and asking a gas station manager for a job filling peoples’ tanks and checking their oil, etc. He said they weren’t hiring, but he gave me some tips that stuck with me. At the time, I never considered what employers look for in headshots, but more rather how to get hired. Today, headshots are part of that process.

I remember him telling me that he looks for punctuality, neat appearance, work ethic, and eagerness without desperation. Applying for jobs with a professional headshot shows effort. What employers look for in headshots are faces that would proudly represent their company, and a lot of it is the effort of doing so. If a candidate shows up with a bathroom selfie or iPhone snap, how seriously do they take the opportunity? My headshot services in Nashville start at just $100.00, so there’s not much reason not to.

headshot Nashville

Most corporate jobs want in studio headshots, and sometimes in office. Outdoor headshots are nice, but are mostly done for creative fields and realtors, your mileage may vary. A lot of it depends on the job and career field, as to style of headshot the employer is looking for.  This young lady is searching for a new career, and was excited to put her best foot forward. I am sure potential employers will appreciate her enthusiasm.

headshots Nashville

In the event that an outdoor headshot fits your needs, and your particular career field, I can do that as well. That can also provide a comfort level with your clientele and give you the earthy feel you need. It’s a new year, don’t rely on selfies and outdated headshots. It’s a quick and easy process.

lifestyle headshot

How to cope with wedding stress

How to Cope With Wedding Stress

At Jay Farrell Photography, our goal is to ensure you get the best wedding photos on your special day. The team over at Hers works hard to make women feel confident in themselves every day. The below post is contributed and written by Hers to offer tips and tricks on how to cope with wedding stress.

It’s not shocking that planning a huge life event, like a wedding, can become extremely stressful. The engagement period can be a very fun time, but quickly turn into fielding a million questions about all of the wedding details to come. It’s important to not let the stress of your wedding consume your life because the whole point of this ceremony is to celebrate your love. Below are some of our best tips and tricks on coping with stress when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed throughout the wedding planning journey.

Tennessee wedding


You don’t want to lose sleep over the small details of your wedding. It’s likely that these details will not make or break your day. Compile a prioritized checklist for the important wedding details, like finding a caterer, photographer, and music option. When you prioritize the list of what you need to get done, you’ll feel less stressed and more accomplished. Consider planning out your tasks week-by-week in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed or setting unrealistic expectations, which in turn could cause you to feel even more stressed.

Make time for self care

Exhaustion, breakouts, and irritability are all tell tale signs that you’re pushing your stress level to the maximum. Make time to take care of yourself and to relax each and every day. Spend a night binge watching your favorite show or go to that yoga class that you’re already paying for. Some days you’ll have less free time than others, but you can still fit in some self care practices in. Even something as simple as maintaining your nightly skin care routine by washing your face and putting an acne cream on, it’s still a form of self care.

Tennessee wedding

Don’t forget to still date your partner

Your engagement period is not the time to let the romance die down. Continue to have date nights with your partner and keep the spark alive. Just because you’re on a tighter budget now doesn’t mean that you can’t still have fun and romantic dates. Have a date night in with take out and your favorite movie, or maybe walk around town and get a coffee. This will help you deal with the stress of planning a wedding and also remind you of the bigger picture.

Delegate. Delegate. Oh, and delegate.

Convincing yourself that you’re able to handle all of the big wedding planning details or that you even need to is only going to overwhelm you. Your partner, wedding party, family and friends are all there for you to help. Kindly ask them to help with running errands or planning specific details to take off some of the pressure to get everything done. Dividing and conquering is definitely the way to go.

Laura and Stacy’s marriage proposal | LGBT engagement | Downtown Nashville

I received an email from Laura, announcing her upcoming trip to Nashville with her unknowing future fiancee, Stacy. She wanted to hire a photographer to document the milestone moment for them, thankfully I was the photographer for the job. 🙂 A couples’ trip to Nashville for New Years, 2019 also turned into Laura and Stacy’s marriage proposal! The stars aligned, and the weather cooperated,

LGBT marriage proposal

LGBT marriage proposal

LGBT marriage proposal

LGBT marriage proposal

It was safe to assume by now Stacy said yes, LOL!! Laura and Stacy have known each other for a long time, through mutual circles, but every great relationship has that defining moment when it all came together. Laura worked as a bartender, her and Stacy locked eyes, took it a step at a time, which brings them to this point.

LGBT marriage proposal

LGBT marriage proposal

The couple lives in South Carolina, and came to Nashville for the Keith Urban New Years Eve 2019 concert downtown, Oh, and of course to return home engaged. I could see and feel the love radiating, the element of joy and surprise was all in place. Laura told Stacy it was coming, once a couple different home improvement projects were completed. Then they could budget for the ring and the wedding. Surprises are amazing, and being spontaneous is always favorable in a relationship.

same sex engagement

same sex engagement

same sex engagement

This is pure human emotion and real live documentation, all unposed and natural. As intended. I asked Laura how she found me. She said she Googled for LGBT / gay friendly photographers in Nashville. I came right up, just how I like it! Love wins, bigotry sucks. I give this couple all the support in the world, and am very excited for them. I’m honored to document this milestone moment for them. I look forward to staying in touch with them and hearing their future news. I hope you’ve enjoyed Laura and Stacy’s marriage proposal.

same sex engagement

same sex engagement

same sex engagement

same sex engagement