San Diego Entrepreneur Of the Week – Jamie Dickerson
The SD Entertainer supports artists and entrepreneurs within the community. We had the opportunity to sit down with Jamie Dickerson, owner and president of one of the biggest photography studios in San Diego, to learn more about her experiences working in San Diego and running her own company.
What made you get started in the photography industry?
While studying Environmental Studies at the University of San Diego, I decided to break up the semester with a fun photo class, not knowing that this would lead to a future career. During this course, my Professor Duncan McCosker took me under his wing and said I have a knack for photography. I was unsure about what he was talking about, but he insisted that we invent an independent study course, where I would photograph USD’s events including theatre, sports, lectures, and student life instead of the professionals that USD was hiring at the time. After successfully completing the course, I began to mentor the students who were next to complete the course. It was a blast.
Afterwards, I was hired as an intern at Gaslamp Event Management (GEM), where I worked with owner Sin Bosier at almost every venue and nightclub downtown as their official photographer. At GEM, I made strong connections with business owners, which are many of my clients still today.
What made you want to start your own business?
Growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, you become used to the pressure they went through to provide for their employees as well as the freedom to travel and build upon your business each year. I wanted my time and energy put into a business to have dramatic, tangible results.
What type of equipment do you use?
I began with a PentaxK1000 film camera in college that my dad used back in the day during the Vietnam War, and then evolved to my digital setup, which includes two NIKON D800s, various lenses and my favorite wireless ProFoto B1 light setup.
What type of events do you usually photograph?
Weddings, engagements, events, in-studio portraiture, restaurants, dining, products, everything under the sun. I have worked for Riviera Magazine photographing their grand events for over four years, which include the After Pony Party at Rancho Valencia, Men of Style at OMNIA and tons more!
How do your clients use your photos?
It is always great to see my clients using my images for marketing purposes, framed pieces, canvases for their homes, wedding albums, etc. I love going into a client’s business or home and seeing large prints of my work. It means a great deal to me to see them put into use.
What is your favorite type event to photograph?
Weddings, not only are they the most important and sentimental time of someone’s life, but they are also a time where you feel the true value of your craft.
What are some difficulties you face being an event photographer?
It has been six years, so most of the kinks and reminders have been resolved and set in stone so I must say the weather.
Also, I have a great need to find good help. The biggest obstacle is finding someone you can trust with their skill set and their attitude with clients. Photography is a very intimate experience with clients and if you loose their trust the images turn to rubbish and the connection is broken for future work.
Who is your most memorable client and memorable shoot?
There are definitely two. On the sentimental side, I was able to aboard a Navy ship where I photographed a fourth generation baptismal on the top of the vessel. Once the baptismal was complete, they blessed the baby and the ship as well as wrote his name in the bell on the top of the ship. Such a rad experience.
The second would be when I went on tour with my high school bestie Besidone, Marketing Manager for P.Diddy’s TV channel REVOLTtv. We traveled on a huge bus from their studio in LA all the way to Austin, TX for SXSW. I had access to all of the shows and artists. It was the trip of a lifetime.
Where do you see the future of your company going?
The big plan is to expand. I would love to continue my studio here in La Jolla and to open one in New York to bounce between the two. This would hopefully be a five-year goal. If not NY, hopefully London.
Why is San Diego a good place to be an event photographer?
The number one reason would be our perfect climate. The weather throughout the year provides a great avenue for outdoors events and portraits.
Another would be the constant string of events! It is almost as though everyday is another celebration, but you have to stay on track, go to the ones that will benefit you the most, rather than wearing yourself thin in the party scene.
Check out Jamie’s studio at: J.Dixx Studios, 7480 La Jolla Blvd., La Jolla, Ca 92037.