My Photography Journey

It sounds like a simple question: “How long have you been a photographer?” But I’m never sure how to answer that. It’s been a long journey to get where I am today and I never set out thinking that my job would be “Destin photographer” or “business owner.” From documenting vacations and college, to pursuing a social media and blogging business, photography has always been part of my life. If you want to learn more about how Jamie Kamber Photography came to be, grab a cup of coffee, get cozy and keep reading!

Photography as a Hobby

As a kid I loved using disposable cameras on family vacations and making scrapbooks. Yes, the large physical books filled with paper and photos that I now store in a large box at my parents’ house because I can’t part with them haha. Then in college I got a point and shoot camera that I used to document nights out with girlfriends, trips to the farmers market, and take other “artsy” shots of Seattle, which is where I was born and raised.

Shortly after graduating from the University of Washington (with degrees in communication and psychology), I started a blog called Treats and Trends. This was in 2012 when blogs were a relatively new thing and it meant you had a website with new posts several times per week that you then pushed out on social media. It wasn’t about taking selfies and being an influencer. I just loved creating content and sharing my passions (primarily fashion, baking and travel).

Although my dream job out of college was to work for a magazine (whether it was writing or designing page layouts), my first job was at a locally owned boutique as a sales associate. It was owned by two women (one my age) and I learned a lot about running your own business. I also helped them create a website, take pictures of the clothes, and share on social media. Looking back, this was the start of my self-taught marketing career.

Viva Las Vegas

During this time I met my now-husband who is a pilot in the Air Force. When he got a new assignment in Las Vegas, I picked up everything and moved away from the only place I had ever called home. My first job in Las Vegas was at a public relations agency. Most of my accounts were restaurants along the Strip, so I wrote press releases, managed their social media, and coordinated/oversaw photo shoots. Little did I know that restaurant photography would become such a passion of mine.

At this time I was also working hard on my blog and wanting to take Pinterest-worthy photos. My husband bought me a Canon Rebel and a class at a local photography store for my birthday one year. I spent my weekends baking and photographing recipes or dragging my husband to various murals and spots in Vegas that would make a good background for fashion photos. He was an “Instagram husband” before that was even a coined term. I worked with local and national brands and had some really cool opportunities, such as representing Nevada in Old Navy’s “50 States of Fashion” campaign, creating and sharing an Easter party setup for a segment on the news, and having one of my recipes featured on Lauren Conrad’s blog. We also had a great community of local foodie content creators and were invited to try lots of hot spots in Vegas.

Hello, Destin!

When we found out we were moving to Destin, Florida for my husband’s next assignment in 2017 I searched Instagram to learn more about the place we would be calling home. Rob and I love trying new restaurants, so I was excited to see what was in the area. I remember seeing a lot of the Instagram pages and thinking, “This restaurant has an amazing view and the food sounds delicious, but these photos are not doing it justice. I could take better photos than this.” That got my thinking: what if I started a business to help these restaurants improve their social media? That is when Taste Social Media was born. I spent my first few years in Destin working with restaurant clients to take photos and manage their social media platforms. I’ll always be grateful to Mimmo’s and The Pancakery for being my first clients!

I also got approached by a new magazine in the area called Haute Finds because they loved the content I was currently creating on my Instagram (mainly a lot of local restaurants, businesses I loved around town, etc.). I became the local editor, which included securing advertisers, distributing magazines, promoting it on social media, working with the graphic designer to create each issue, and taking photos for the featured businesses. I loved planning the shoots and seeing my pictures in print!

When the dreaded year of 2020 hit and restaurants temporarily closed, I started taking photos of friends and their families by the beach just for fun. I realized how much I enjoyed these types of sessions and started to attract visiting families as well (some of which are still repeat clients today!). This was the summer we also found out we were expecting our first baby! Juggling my social media business, blog, and the magazine became too much and I decided slowing down and focusing on just photography would be best for me and our family.

So Jamie Kamber Photography was officially started in 2020 even though photography has always been a part of my life. I now spend my summers photographing families by the beach and watching beautiful sunsets most evenings. I also work with local businesses and entrepreneurs to take branding photos and create content for their social media. I love where this photography journey has led me: to a place where I can prioritize my family, have a flexible schedule, and meet amazing people all while pursuing this creative passion.

If you read this far – thank you! One of the best parts about being a Destin photographer is the community and connections I’ve made. I’ve had strangers become some of my best friends because of this job. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Destin, working together, photography, or anything else! You can find me on Instagram at @jamiekamber or @jamiekamberphotography.

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