We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Jacobs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I grew up in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento, and my dad is a patent attorney, so he was always telling me about his client’s inventions and taking photos of them for his work. From the time I was a little kid, he gave me my own camera and I loved taking photos. I also loved the idea of entrepreneurship and the creative ideas people had that led to their new businesses. That made me comfortable with the idea of creating my own business when the time came and I was drawn to taking photos that showcased people and their companies. I love hearing what makes people tick, their stories, their inspiration. And now I’m all about exposing my own kids to fun and interesting experiences and passions, since you just never know how it could manifest in their adulthood one day!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve always believed that working hard and being passionate about what you do is important. When I first started, I worked 7 days a week, all the time, just to get out in the community and take whatever job came along and build my name. Over time, I found my way and realized you have to have work/life balance or you will burnout, especially when you have a family. I’ve always loved that having my own business meant I could be more available for my kids during the work day, even if I had to work at night and weekends or holidays or my birthday (just about every year!), when others are not. But I love what I do and feel lucky that I’ve been busy my whole career.
I love being part of the San Diego community and appreciate the connection I have with my clients. I still have many of the work relationships and friendships from when I started 25 years ago, because I have always really appreciated my clients and that they are instilling their trust in me to deliver the product they need and hopefully that exceeds their expectations too. So many people dread having their photos taken, but my style is to create an atmosphere for either portrait sessions or when I’m snapping at events, where everyone feels at ease and is having fun, so I can bring out their personalities and confidence in the images and get them excited about what we are doing together. When people tell me how much they love the results, then I am happy too, knowing I have done my job well.
I also really enjoy showcasing the amazing events that bring companies together and the fundraisers that this town supports. San Diegans raise a lot of money to support philanthropy and make a difference in the world. I love being part of this experience!
Lastly, my husband always said, invest in your business – get what you need, buy the right thing, buy quality and he has been right. You have to set yourself up for success with the right tools, equipment, environment, so that you can successful and have a business that runs well.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to? I love seeing the world and taking photos wherever I go, but the more I travel, I have come to really appreciate my home town. San Diego has so many fabulous places to go and we are so lucky to live in such gorgeous weather all year round! I love going to the beaches of Del Mar, La Jolla and Coronado and always feel like I’m on vacation when I am there and soaking in the fresh air and beauty – so that is top of my list for fun! In La Jolla, I love Bobois Gelato, it’s absolutely fantastic, and in Del Mar, we love getting pizza at Del Mar pizza and sitting on the grass overlooking the ocean for dinner and you can’t beat the Hotel Del for a meal by the water. My other favorite ice cream place is Stella Jean’s in North Park. The flavors are amazing! But if I had more time, I’d take a boat out on water behind the Sheraton on Harbor Island (we’ve done this twice and it’s so much fun), walk around the Gaslamp Quarter and Balboa Park (love taking photos by the koi pond and Japanese friendship garden), go to Sea World and Legoland (staples with my kids over the years), a nice dinner at Island Prime overlooking the water on Harbor Island or lunch at Gyu-Kaku, a cook your own Japanese steak place that my kids adore. I also love walking around the Zoo and Safari Park and seeing the animals and lovely landscaping. Being up close to these magnificent animals always feels special and I go at least once a month.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to? My friend, Sandy Small, who is a long time San Diego photographer, has been my friend and mentor since I met her 20 plus years ago. And my production artist, Yolanda Coquereau (@yosretouch), who has been key to helping me create the top quality photographs I am proud of, and develop my business to where it is today. Our teamwork has been essential to my success and I’m very grateful for that. And most importantly, my husband, who encouraged when we first met to start my own business and has supported and encouraged me for over 25 years on this journey and my kids, who put up with their mom taking a million pictures of them all the time! I love capturing big and little moments in our lives.
Linkedin: Melissa Jacobs, Owner and Chief Creative Officer (haha)