Jasmine Kerbel, 23, transformed her passion for photography into a career. A photographer based in Baltimore, Kerbel works on weddings, fashion photography and other special events.
Kerbel graduated from Towson University in the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. She majored in art and design with a concentration in photo. In college, Kerbel took classes on photography and oil painting. However, she decided to become a professional photographer and leave the oil paintings to her spare time.
When did you know that you wanted to be a photographer?
I got into photography in late middle school and early high school. When I was around 15 or 16, I started to get more serious about it. I didn’t know if I was going to do it professionally at first; it was just something that I really enjoyed. I loved taking photos. On the second day of college, I wasn’t an art major and I decided to take on art and design with a concentration in photo as a double major. I ended up dropping my other major within the next few months and just studying photography. So I guess when I was 18 was when I made the decision that this was what I wanted to do with my life.
Is that a long-term career plan for you?
Yes, I’m doing it now full time. The dream is that one day I will be a fashion photographer full time, but I definitely don’t live in the right place to be a fashion photographer. Recently, I was hired to do a spread in a publication shot in downtown Baltimore for a magazine and the feature was on this person’s fashion. So I am hired to do some fashion work; it’s just not the overwhelming majority. For right now, I do a lot more individual sessions, weddings, graduations, all of that kind of stuff.
Has the risk of unpredictable income as a photographer ever made you hesitant about the profession?
When I was younger, that was definitely what a lot of the adults in my life said. They were always very weary and asking me, “Are you sure this is what you want to do?” especially when I changed my major. When I graduated from college just over a year ago during the pandemic, it was really scary. I was graduating college during this pandemic and going into a field where there is not a lot of need for it. Everyone is at home, and no one is looking to get their picture taken. Weddings aren’t happening, and there really isn’t as much going on because of the pandemic. I didn’t really know what to do with my life. There was never really a backup plan. All I thought was, I am going to have to find a way to make this work because this is what I want to do.
How do you find your clients?
Most of my clients find me through Instagram. Instagram has become more of a searching platform to find different vendors and different creatives. Some people find me through Facebook, TikTok and word of mouth.
Who do you look up to in the photography world?
My personal favorite is a nonbinary photographer named Ally Schmaling. I know their work through Instagram, and it is very eccentric and bold.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
My biggest piece of advice is try to photograph everything you can. I feel like people think of things as a business. So if they’ve taken a few pictures, they will think they can make it into a business. But if that’s really what you want to do as a profession, a business should be your end goal. Work on your portfolio and take as many different pictures as you can. Everyone is on a journey, and the photographers that you look up to were once in your shoes. Another thing is that your camera gear really isn’t as important as you think it is. People take great pictures on all cameras. It’s not the camera that takes the pictures.