Are you a Disney fan looking for a way to share your love of the Mouse? Disney fans across the globe have learned ways that they can share their love of The Walt Disney Company with others, with many of them finding ways to earn money in the process.
Each month I highlight a “Disney Creator” – a Disney fan who has taken their love of Disney and turned it into something even more. This monthly blog series showcases diverse creators, visionaries, and business owners who are making magic through their social media accounts, on podcasts and YouTube, in their own stores, and even by planning other people’s vacations. What each of these individuals has in common is their love of The Walt Disney Company and their desire to share their creations with other Disney fans across the globe.
To read past months’ features, visit the pages below:
- Disney Vacation Planner and Instagrammer, Gabby (@disneyparisplease)
- Disney Content Creator, Jasmin (@thepinkjasmin)
- Disney Style & Travel Creator, Victoria (@hecallsmepineappleprincess)
- Disney Small Business Owner, Abbey (@polkadotpawsbyabbey)
- Disney Style Blogger, Beth (@vancurating)
- Disney Podcasters, Jacki & Sean (@monoreelradio)
- Disney Concierge Planner, Colleen (@wdwparkplanners)
- Disney Artist, Millie (@justaddears)
- Disney Podcasters, Brendan & Katherine (@detourtoneverland)
Be sure to subscribe to the weekly newsletter to never miss a new Disney blog!
Jess Collins – Intimate Destination and Disney Photographer
Disney Wedding Photographer; Jess Collins
I came across photographer Jess Collins while I was planning my Disney Wedding. I had heard about Jess from some fellow “Disney Brides” and took a look at her portfolio. At the time, my then-fiance and I were planning a wedding aboard the Disney Magic Cruise Line and I noticed that Jess had photographed a number of Disney cruises. I was truly blown away by Jess’ skills and spent way too much time perusing her portfolio and swooning over the Disney shots!
Jess is a self-taught photographer who specializes in intimate destinations and Disney weddings. Her work has been featured on Disney’s Fairytale Weddings, weddingbells, Destination I Do and INSIDER. Jess is also a preferred vendor on the DIS Brides and Prides Facebook Group. If you’re considering a destination wedding or a Disney wedding, be sure to head over to Jess’ website, where you not only can book her to document your special day, but also has many free resources to help you plan your wedding.
Please share a little about your business.
I am a photographer that specializes in intimate destinations and Disney weddings and portraits. I first began my journey with the destination market when a good friend of mine asked if I would come along to their wedding in Cuba in exchange for a free trip. I of course said yes, and the rest is history.
My journey to the Disney market was oddly enough, just as simple. I was referred to a couple from another wedding client I had documented for their Disney Cruise wedding. They had asked me to come along and just so happened I was available on those dates and that was how my love for Disney weddings grew. From there, I offered loads of free sessions at Walt Disney World to build a portfolio to market myself as a photographer who did Disney sessions and now I am shooting them full time.
The thing I love most about Disney weddings is just how happy and magical they are. Working with the day of staff is always so easy and flawless. It is nice to be able to show up and do my job only and not have to be the timekeeper, shuttle organizer or anything else other than the photographer. It allows me to feel relaxed and fully immerse myself into my work.Jess Collins
How did your photography journey begin and how has it evolved?
I am a self taught photographer. I did attempt to go to college for it but found it was more textbook than hands on and that is not how I learn best, so I was out doing free sessions to gain experience as much as I could. It was not until a few years in that I found my true style and calling. I quickly fell in love with weddings and couples photography.
When I first started, I was shooting just about every genre you could think of from newborns to boudoir and very early on realized that was not my thing. I have always had a passion for travel, so when the destination inquiries started coming in I was very moved towards those weddings and bookings. It grew quite quickly for me in the destination market and soon found myself specializing in those without too much effort. I will say it went from taking any booking I could get to now being in a place where I take bookings that are good for me, my business and brand. I am able to say no to jobs that do not bring me happiness or suit my branding.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?
The biggest challenge is not letting comparison kill my job and journey. There are so many photographers out there and it is very easy to get lost in the “am I good enough” or “I can’t get those venues/bookings/clients” mind set. So it is so important to build up the mental strength to stay in your own lane and know that you bring something to the table that they don’t and your clients love you for you.
What advice do you have for other photographers who would like to photograph Disney events?
Disney weddings are a different breed of weddings. They can move quickly and if you do not know Disney locations well it can be easy to feel completely overwhelmed and lost. To anyone looking to get into Disney weddings, regardless of the coast they are on, explore the locations and get to know them like the back of your hand. Knowing where to take clients if it’s raining, or where the sun sets at every time of the year is so helpful. Understanding how Disney Weddings operate and the systems they have in place is also very helpful.
Get to Know Disney Photographer, Jess Collins
When did you become a Disney fan? I have been a Disney fan my entire life. When I was 7 or 8 years old my entire room was a The Little Mermaid and I am pretty sure my entire wardrobe matched as well. I even had two goldfish, one black and one gold, named Ursula and Flounder. Still to this day I love the magic of Disney and the childlike freedom it brings.
What is your favorite park? My favourite park will forever and always be Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. To me, it’s home.
Who is your favorite character? Characters are hard, aren’t they all just so wonderful? I honestly do not think I have a favourite, but if I had to choose, I suppose I would pick Pocahontas for her sense of adventure, curiosity and determination.
What is something on your Disney bucket list? My Disney bucket list is to visit all 6 parks, I have two more to go. Which include Tokyo and Hong Kong.