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Saint Mary’s student creates film, photography business, pursues passions

| Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It all began with a spring break trip and a travel video edited with iMovie.

Saint Mary’s junior Alyssa Jones utilized her passion for photography and videography to create a business in 2015 upon which she plans to build her future.

Jones began her business, L Film & Photography, after an old friend’s mother reached out to her about being the photographer at a wedding, she said. In the three years since then, Jones has taken senior, couple and maternity photos along with creating short films for companies and weddings.

“I did my first wedding in either August or September of 2015, and that’s when I started getting very serious about it,” Jones said. “I made a name for my company, and I was like, ‘OK, this is going to be a thing. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.’ Later in the year, I started getting more wedding clients, and now I have 10 weddings booked for this next year. It’s really exciting. It’s like it’s my job, but it’s so much fun. I end up working 14-hour days, but I just have the most fun. It just makes me happy. Weddings are such a good environment. It’s doing what I love.”

Her passion led to an opportunity to photograph 574 Dream Team, the opening act for a recent Waka Flocka Flame concert. This experience inspired Jones to pursue more concert work, including the upcoming Chainsmokers concert during Idea Week. Though it hasn’t been confirmed that Jones will be shooting the concert, she said has high hopes for the opportunity.

“I’ve been in contact with the concert promoter,” Jones said. “He put me on the media request list. He said it’s likely, but it’s not official that I’m going to be shooting for them. I don’t want to be like, ‘Yeah, I’m shooting for The Chainsmokers,’ when I truly don’t know if I am. I’m putting in all this work in order to do it because I feel like it would be an amazing opportunity.”

Jones said this work will aid in the establishment of her company to lead to bigger opportunities in the future.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy,” she said. “You know, I work, I pay for school mostly by myself. My two other jobs I kind of have to have. My business thrives more in the summer than it does right now because my main business is weddings, and no one is really getting married right now. … It’s my main source of income. It makes me really happy, and at the end of the day, it’s really worth it because it’s what I want to do. I’m hoping [by] starting so early I will kind of have established myself a little more once I graduate and be able to take it to Chicago or wherever I’d like to take it.”

Jones said she wishes to take her passions across the globe and create documentaries that will showcase the people she meets.

“I really want to travel and make documentaries about different cultures around the world,” she said. “That’s something I’ve always been super passionate about. It’s something I’ve considered even before I really got into being serious about video. … I’ve always wanted to make documentaries or be a part of documentaries in some way. Traveling with it is something I’d love to do.”

For now, Jones said her favorite project was creating a video that showcased the work of Western Michigan University fashion students last Sunday.

“I was happy to showcase work done by other students because as a student I know how it feels,” Jones said. “You’re working to get to where you want to be, but you’re not quite there, and you’re not sure if your work is good enough, stuff like that. I was happy to showcase how hard they worked all year on their clothing lines. … It was super fun to showcase work from other students while doing something that I love.”

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