Using Your Passions to Build a Successful Brand with Jess Summers

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I'm just going to come right on out and introduce myself...

✦ I'm Jess Summers.

✦ I love Dinosaurs, rainbows, and crazy colorful eyeshadows.

✦ I stop to pick up heads-up pennies because I still think magic exists.

✦ I believe in good people and doing amazing and fun things with your life, and I simply refuse to "grow up".

✦ I run a company called Say Yes To Jess and oh yeah…

✦ I'm am a photographer.

When I say “I’m a photographer” people usually up to the following: “Oh, you photograph weddings?… You take headshots?... You do like family portraits?…”And my favorite “Oh cool… but what is your real job?”

All of those things I have done before and still do in some respects but It’s not what I’m known for. Actually, finding my way to what I’m know for today was kind of hard and a journey in itself.

I did indeed start out doing wedding photography but quickly… and I do mean quickly realized that it was not my jam. It actually made me just as unhappy as sitting in a cubicle at a 9-5 did.  

I knew that it was making me unhappy but I kept going. I tried to find every way possible to fit myself into the mold from creating my own bridal community of badass babes who were super unconventional to asking every single bride if I could put dinosaurs behind them and make them run away from it. I even at one point turned an engagement session into a zombie horror movie.

Obviously not what the wedding industry is really banging on the door to get. (Okay, some are but… I digress.)

I finally realized after several long and agonizing 10+ hour days at weddings that I couldn’t do that anymore. I had to find something that made me happy. Something that made me get out of bed and be super freaking stoked to do.

So, I came up with something I call a Dream Session. When starting something out that is new to us, we usually look for other people to get an idea of what to do and how to do it right. The whole don’t fix whats not broken thing. With what I wanted to do, there really was no one to really even look at for examples. It was something I had to create all by myself.

To say that was easy is an understatement. Yes, I could reference what other photographers were doing with their normal work and see how they ran things and I did to start out that way but I really wanted to be true and unique to myself. That meant really digging deep on what it is I thought my photography company should look like, feel like, how I wanted to interact with my customers, how I wanted them to feel and what messages I really wanted to leave in the world.

Those questions took me literally what feels like forever to come up with good solid answers. I changed who I thought my client was about 6 or 7 times. My logo even more times, and had no idea what I thought I should “look like” online, but I kept searching and practicing different things to see what felt true to me.

I always knew whatever I landed on it had to be fun and exciting as those are my two biggest motivators. I also wanted to make sure I was giving back as much as I could and that I made time for really silly activities like a “Trashion Show” or paint fights. I needed creativity and imagination to be the soul of what I did because I feel like without those things, we are really nothing.

Eventually, it all just kind of fell into place.

My brand is now known for creating one of a kind dreamy images built from the imaginations of children. I basically print out what they are playing or dreaming out on paper so you can see the magic for yourself. I have super fun events that people have loved just because they are creative and weird, really making sure we all stop to have fun. I give back to the world by giving free Dream Sessions away to my local hospital and the Ronald Mcdonald House. Everything I ever wanted in a brand is all here.

Happiness, fun, creativity, adventure, silliness... It just took a little soul searching, research and a ton of execution.

If you'd like to connect with Jess, you can find her here:

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