Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Bringing festivities into focus with Fern Elise

Published:Sunday | December 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
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Sparkling lights decking the city. Rosy poinsettias adorning the countryside. And the gift of giving in the coolest of climate. You know what time it is and Outlook is here for the merriment of it all. The features in our Road to Christmas series will have activities (and the personalities to go along with them) that are guaranteed to spread joy to your world. Bringing festivities into focus for this Yuletide season is veteran photographer, Fern Elise.

"Christmas to me means a time to celebrate my family. A time to reconnect, a time to celebrate what I'm grateful for, and a time to create and appreciate cheerful moments," says Elise, as she hopes to capture this in priceless portraits for you and your family.

The creative director for Jamaica's first digital media marketing agency, STUSH Marketing, grew the business from just her and her business partner, Tamia Francis, to hiring more than 20 persons, both full-time and part-time. Since establishing herself as a leading and well-respected event and commercial photographer, Elise realised recently that something was missing - she had placed her personal photography on the back burner. So, to make a public return to her roots of portraiture, she has decided to provide Christmas Portrait Studio, just in time for the holly jolly winter season.

But before we get to the happily ever after, let's go back to the beginning. Once upon a time, there was a young woman by the name of Elise, whose lifelong dream was to become a doctor. Despite the disbelief which followed her prior profession confession, she explained that growing up in a medical family, she aspired to follow in those footsteps. And she was on the fast track to success too, acquiring a bachelor of arts degree in public health. While supporting her father in his pursuit of helping others to receive major surgery, free of cost, she discovered her love for service. By chance, she happened to assist a friend of hers with photography, as per his request, to pass the time before attending medical school at The University of the West Indies, Mona. It was there that she found her calling, and she hasn't looked back since.

 

Excited about going back

 

From being the official photographer for both the Miss Jamaica Universe and Miss Jamaica World pageants, to building an exciting online brand of more than 200,000 followers spanning its social media platforms, the company has worked with local and international entities, namely, FLOW, Pepsi, Ting, Guinness, Caribbean Broilers Group, LASCO, and JNGI. Elise's photography has also made grand appearances in publications such as Maco, Kuya, Buzzz Magazine, and College Lifestyle. She even tours the island and takes pictures of strangers, carrying her portable printer in tote to give them the prints right then and there.

"It was difficult to manage a business and then find the time to go back to doing what I love. But I'm really excited about it because it has been a long time coming. We had an opening with our Black Friday sale and we got a really good response; we had a fully booked weekend. Seeing families come together and bask in this happy occasion is very gratifying for me," Elise told Outlook.

Weight loss, she said, also played a crucial part in preparing her for a comeback in personal photography, "As Jamaicans, we're used to doing multiple hustles. And I was doing that - but my body couldn't sustain it. I'd be exhausted from the work I was doing for Stush: We have LiveStush (social media), STUSH Marketing, as well as talent management. Then to add personal photography on that. I'd put aside my weekend to fulfil the personal, but by the time the week was over, I was too exhausted and had no energy. So I knew that in order to make this dream happen, I needed to be in tip-top shape. I went through a journey to get to where I am today, Now, I'm 110 pounds lighter, and I can keep up with my busy days."

A lover of Christmas, she considers these festive season portraits not only heartwarming, but timeless, and as a result, she creates a one-of-a-kind photo shoot experience. Transforming her studio into a modern, chic, cosy Christmas cabin - Christmas-themed music included, she has a wide array of props and accessories, like Christmas trees, Santa hat, ornaments, candy canes, poinsettias and more, to make your holiday photos a cherished keepsake of high-resolution digital images and prints to share with friends and family.

So what are you waiting for? Tap into your Christmas spirit and bring festivities into focus with Fern Elise today. You can find booking information for the Christmas Portrait Studio on her Instagram page: @fern.elise or on her website at www.fernelise.com.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com