Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Jasmine Star Seminar

This seminar was held in Akron Ohio as part of the Akron Photo Series.


Presenters: Jasmine Star

Date: March 29, 2011

Location: Akron, Ohio

Price: $45 with a discount (regular price $60)

Included: 3 hour presentation from Jasmine Star

Bonuses: 10% of proceeds went to Akron Childrens Hospital

What I Expected: To see what all of the fuss was about without waiting in a line at WPPI.

Expectation Met: Meh. I didn't become the latest Stargazer but she did have a few tips I plan on incorporating into my business.

Summary: I know I have got a lot of questions as to WHY I went to this from people on Twitter last night. It was funny that my followers knew me enough to know that ever since my last few workshops/seminars I've really cooled my heels and stopped drinking a lot of the kool-aid that has been passed around. However I wanted to give her a fair shot to see what all of the fuss was about. I met Jasmine a few years ago at WPPI and I thought she was quite lovely, humble and relatable. With her being so close to home (20 minutes!) I figured that I owed it to myself to give her a fair shot and I firmly believe that even if the experience is bad, you can take away something from it and learn from it.

When we walked into the room Jasmine was greeting everyone as they came through registration. She totally skipped me which was either an oversight (which is what I truly want to believe) or on purpose. I really hope it wasn't the latter but I also know that I have made my bed of being a bit of a rebel for speaking my mind within the photographer community so I'm okay with it if it was a cut direct.

There was a good crowd there last night for her - I'm glad to see there was a good turnout because I've heard some of the speakers brought in for the Akron Photo Series were not having large turnouts. I am really bad at guessing numbers but I'd guess around 200 people? Most of us arrived early to get seats and to chat with everyone. There is a group of us that meet up every month so we are all pretty friendly. I also think every single person (save for one) that has shot for me was there last night which is kind of fun.

Jasmine spoke for about 3 hours straight and gave mostly branding information on how to make your online presence stronger and more reflective of you. There was a small break but other than that it was 3 hours of solid speaking guided by a slideshow presentation projected onto a screen. She told her story and what worked for her and how she got from starting out with a dream to be a photographer after her wedding in 2006 to today where she is well known and booking $10K weddings. She gave a lot of solid information about how to personalize your brand and things you could do to make your branding reflect you more to ultimately attract clients that are your ideal clients. I took notes and I definitely feel that there is a few things that I can take back with me and implement into my business and use to further enhance my business and branding. I was disappointed that there was not a Q&A session at the end due to lack of time (it ended almost on the nose of 9:30).

I'm going to keep it real for you guys. There were three glaring problems last night that really took away from her presentation.

One, she talks way too fast. If you think that online she seems fast, in real life it is about 2 times as fast. When you are trying to not only take in what she is saying but take notes it becomes almost impossible to keep up. I brought my computer b/c I am a fast typer so I could keep up with her for the most part taking notes but I saw many people giving up about 30 minutes in and putting their paper and pens away. At one point she told us that she doesn't talk fast, we just listen slow. I know it was a joke but it was almost offensive.

The second problem was that while she had an outline for the presentation, it was still a bit jumbled and more often than not I would be completely lost as to what points went under what sections and so forth. There was a lot of "I'll expand on that later" without expanding on it and jumping around on topics. The anal outliner in me died a bit over this.

Finally there were quite a few glaring discrepancies in her presentation and it was a bit troubling to hear. i.e. she said in the beginning of the seminar that she booked her first wedding for $1K. Later when expanding on the subject she mentions that the bride came to her with a budget of $1K but Jasmine wouldn't include the disc of images for that price so the bride ended up paying $1500 to include the disc. So, her first wedding was NOT $1k. Little things like that I picked up on and they were bothering me.

Jasmine, I am doubtful that you know of our little place on the web but if you do, please listen.

I took two years in public speaking and a little of me was dying last night during the seminar. I'm not saying that everyone should be highly trained to public speak but I do feel strongly that if you are going to charge people to come and hear you speak on a large scale like this, you should invest in yourself and make sure you are presenting the best YOU to everyone that you can much like you have done with your website/blog. You had a lot of good information and with a bit of training, I think that you could reach people better and go much further. I say this to you because I really honestly liked you when I met you before.

Recommend? It was worth the $45 definitely.

Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista (runs Clothes for Pros, clothing suggestions for photographers), travel guru, deal hound and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.


  1. I CANNOT imagine her talking faster IRL than she does online. That is way too fast!

    I get the feeling that everything she said is basically what she gives in every talk/post. Nothing new.

    And her diss of you at the start? I'm hoping it was accidental!

    Not a fan of hers TBH but an interesting read! :-)

  2. Great review Corey! I am so glad you mentioned the public speaking dealio that I am seeing with a lot of photographers who want to do workshops & speaking engagements! My past corporate life was a trainer and then I managed a group of trainers and it is a total SKILL to get in front of an audience - just because you KNOW doesn't mean you can speak it and teach it. I am seeing this a lot lately and so glad you brought it up because I do think with a little bit of training and skill building, these folks would be much better but more important, the people paying for it would walk away knowing they got what they paid! : ) Thanks for your honesty!

  3. Thank you for this honest blog. Jasmine Star is a phenomenal salesperson. She knows exactly what she's doing business-wise and is doing a great job at that, obviously. However, I'm just not that big of a fan of her as a photographer.

  4. Interesting that you mentioned the need for a bit more public speaking him or hate him [b]ecker had a post on his blog about how he's working with Tony Robins kid to improve his presentation skills.....gotta give him credit for taking it that seriously.

  5. Wonderful review! Thanks for writing this. It's been a few years since I've heard her speak, and you're right about the speaking too fast.

  6. Maybe that is what bugged me.. I saw her CreativeLive Wedding show a few months back.. I could not finish watching and thats odd for me. I can normally put up with alot to get the few nuggets of info. But there was an overlaying attitude that I picked up on that bugged me too. Again, perhaps it's just me but it was enough to make turn off the show and just write off the 90 bucks I paid for the series.

  7. I think this is a great review and very much how I felt after seeing her speak. I saw Jasmine at WPPI last year for free (which was definitely worth it) and yes, she does speak very fast and as a NYer I had no problem understanding the fast talking, but note taking was fairly impossible.

    What disappointed me the most was her lack of explanation as to how she really learned to shoot and what she loves about photography. This obviously has no bearing on her ability to market herself, or how she teaches others to, but I was disappointed. I didn't appreciate the references to religion, seriously, using your religion to market yourself, that's a personal ick, although whatever works for you...

    I think I'm probably a bit surprised at how little photography actually seemed to play into her talk.. Ah well. Thanks for the review!

  8. She's a fast talker for sure and I can relate! I can also relate to speaking with people from all over the country (I'm in Canada) and depending on which province I'm visiting people either understand me and think I talk normally, or they think my accent is strange and can't keep up with me at all. You can't change your voice and manners to please everyone because everyone is different...and I think Albertans actually DO listen slow ;) hahaha I'm kidding!

    P.S. She's not using her religion to market herself: she markets herself and her faith is a big part of her life...makes sense. When photographers talk about their kids a lot no one complains (unless they hate kids).
    - Lori