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Jessica Blaine Smith


Jessica Blaine Smith

Image Arts '03 
Primary Photographer, JBSmith Photography


1. How did your degree influence your career choice?

I graduated from the Photography Studies program with the intention of being a photographer – there was never any thought of doing anything else.

2. What are some skills you developed through university that are applicable to your career?

While studying at Ryerson, we worked a lot on projects so would spent months photographing one specific project or topic. Being forced to slow down and be really thoughtful with your image making has carried over into my professional career. While shooting, I often ask myself, “Why am I taking this image? What do I want to say with it? What is the purpose of it?” I believe that having this education has allowed me to approach photographing the families, weddings and people that I photograph in a different and more meaningful way than other photographers around me. Also having hands-on experience through doing an internship with a working photographer gave me insight into the real world and gave me the skills and confidence to start my own business upon graduating.

3. What do you wish you could tell your university self?

You really can achieve anything that you set out to do. Anything worth having is going to require a lot of work and dedication but in the end, you will be rewarded with knowing that you really achieved something.

4. How did your experience at Ryerson University help you find your first position after graduation?

I didn’t find one – I created one.

5. In your experience, what are some attributes of individuals who are most successful in your field?

Being a good photographer is a small part of being a professional one who is running their own business. You need to have great people skills, knowledge about how to run a business, skills to market yourself and also the discipline to be your own boss.

6. If you could start all over again, would you change your career path in any way? Why?

There is nothing that I would change. Every step and misstep that I have taken has led me to where I am today. I have created a pretty great life for myself and I continue to carve out an even better one. The key is to learn from any mistakes that you make and to constantly evolve your business and yourself in order to thrive.