The Escape

July 18, 2017

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A bittersweet day today, turning in the red Ford Escape. I remember feeling sad when I got rid of the infamous Jeep and I know a vehicle is really just an inanimate object and we give them life, but I am grateful for what they represent––which is really far more than just a means of transit (at least for me).

The Jeep represents the freedom of getting my license, high school friends, first love, commuting to my first job, driving to volleyball practice, and moving out for the first time to go to Penn State. Oh yeah, and practically becoming friends with the Triple A guys, because that thing was always breaking down. Thank you to friends who saved me from the bitter cold of State College when the Jeep was not being a good friend.

The Escape represents the start of my "real" adult life: I remember the day I drove the Escape from Greensburg to Silver Spring and I heard the song “Dirt” by Florida Georgia Line for the first time. What a moment that was, realizing how much I would miss my home and driving on the country roads, but so hopeful for a bright future. The Escape is a reminder of that big decision to stay in DC, the efforts of starting my photography business, moving around the DMV three times since, adopting my cat Puffin who meowed the whole way home, speeding tickets, an escape from the city, family visits in Pennsylvania, and so on. All the times I just had to pull over to take a photograph of a scene. Perhaps most importantly, the Escape encouraged me to bond with myself, as I spent so many hours listening to my favorite music, podcasts, or just simply my thoughts, while cruising from point A to point B. I did a lot of brainstorming and came up with some of my grander business ideas while driving the Escape. By indulging in this reflection during the Uber ride back to my home office in D.C., I am full of sad-happiness realizing my progress and again excited for this new chapter––this time car free!


May 9, 2017


Even after all the hype, Iceland exceeded my expectations. It’s a naturally magnificent land to walk upon, and thankfully well protected. If you know me at all you know that I hate the cold, but all the wind and rain and shivering were worth it.

These were my notes before going to Iceland. I didn’t think I did enough research, but you realize once you’re there that it’s true––there really is only one main road, and no matter which direction you go it’s beautiful and every 5 miles or so the terrain could potentially change and blow your mind once more.


1. Reykjavík

2. Jökulsárlón

3. Snaefellsnes

4. Thingvellir (National Park, volcanoes)

5. Flúðir - Secret Lagoon - does cost 2.800ISK, less touristy

6. Gullfoss Falls 

7. Seljavallalaug Zwembad (outdoor pool)

8. Gljúfrafoss (waterfall)

9. Hvítserkur - basalt stack - looks like a dragon drinking

10. Fjaðrárgljúfur - sweet ass mossy canyon - Fjaðrá flows through it

11. Vesturdalur Valley - Diamond Circle - great hiking

12. Hljodakletta - columnar rock formations

13. Pjorsardalur, “no tourists”: filled with waterfalls. One inside Gjaini canyon. Haifoss waterfall (Iceland’s 2nd highness), Granni waterfall, waterfall Hjalp (help), Pjofafoss (thief waterfall) …other side of mountain Burfell. Roads 32 and 26. 2-3 hour drive from Reykjavik

^ We did most of these places but not all. My absolute favorite place was Fjaðrárgljúfur (sweet ass mossy canyon was incredibly correct, and then some).


Icelandair - For Iceland and Europe

1.  2 x 50lbs bags

2. Total of the 3 dimensions (L+W+H) should not exceed 62in.

3. 1 x 22lbs bag


1. Learning to “tolt” the Icelandic horses through an amazing trail that winded around the lava fields

2. Glacier hiking

3. Caving through a tunnel carved by lava flow

4. the Blue Lagoon and Flúðir (less commercial lagoon)

5. THE FOOD, particularly got hooked on the fisherman’s stew just about everywhere. And my goodness the fresh caught fish of any kind is the best I’ve ever had. Try everything!! (I’ll come up with a list and post soon)

6. The time Google maps was taking us to a restaurant that led us to the top of a steep cliff in the dark night, that was fun.

7. Last but possibly favorite––driving on the endless road with no one else around except my superb copilot and my camera =)

SPECIAL NOTE: Make sure you go to the correct airport on your way there…. check it five times! You don’t want to miss this.

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April 21, 2017

I used to have an unusual talent of sweating through 3 layers of clothing at a time. I was amazing at it!

Maybe I was just a sweaty hormonal teen, but I know some of it could be attributed to how nervous I felt around new people. And I guess you could say over the years my social anxieties have driven me to really challenge myself––because who wants to drown in their own sweat. I have now reached a point where I can very confidently say hello to strangers and strike up conversation without my heart beating out of my chest. I actually really enjoy it now. I still hate talking in front of groups, although I'm getting better at that one too. But my point is, there has to be a reason I feel this need to connect with the world or I would just stay at home and do more work and watch Netflix with my pet lion.

BBYO International Convention 2017 takes it to Dallas, TX this year with full coverage of friends reuniting, special events, breakout sessions, guest stars, Shabbat, prayer sessions, learning opportunities, sports, and a grand finally concert including Fifth Harmony and Nelly.

Before heading to meet some friends on a Friday, I was thinking about how dinner and drink outings can be expensive and anti-climactic. Not that I don’t love my friends. But what could be different and how could I make this time away from work more worthwhile? Not only do I enjoy connecting with others, I also love being the liaison for other people connecting to on another. And not so secretively as of late I have been working on developing ANOTHER talent, where I use my eyes to levitate cellular devices out of a person’s hands when they are using the phone in ways that cheapen the social interaction as a whole. Sometimes I’ve wanted to do this to myself! The good news is, I’ve already had friends thank me upon reminding them that their phone usage is antisocial. COME ON. Have you ever seen a couple out to eat and they are both Face-In-Phone? How about a parent who should be watching over their child but is instead scrolling, scrolling, scrolling? My absolute least favorite is when someone is texting and driving. Maybe this is not anti-social, but still incredibly unhealthy. Its ironic that these social networks can drive us to actually be very unsocial, or could even kill us on the spot. So I've been thinking, do I really want a device to have this much control over my life? Why do I look at my iPhone more than I look outside? I figured I would take this matter into my own hands, by taking the phone out of my hands.

So Friday night was the first of hopefully many "No-Phone-Friday's-After-Five." (Planning on round two tonight). I’m almost embarrassed to admit, it was absolutely invigorating. I left my phone at home, set plans to meet friends for dinner/happy hour, and disconnected for the rest of the night. It was crazy at how weird it felt just walking out of my door knowing I was without it. It felt like I had left with sneakers on my feet, but no socks. Something uncomfortable, with potential to get more painful as time went on.

Poor me, I had to make sure I knew the way to my destination before leaving my apartment. I knew I could not call an Uber home later. I could not check my text messages or get ahold of anyone “not at my spot”. O-M-G. This got me thinking about so many different things that our phones are stealing from us. Like having a sense of direction: IN TOWN AND IN LIFE. I could go on and on.

My overall point comes from one of my new favorite quotes I recently discovered: "Wherever you are, be all there,” by Jim Elliot. This quote really stuck with me. I ironically saw it while I was on Facebook and proceeded to immediately exit out of the Facebook App and resume real life.

I think now more than ever, this should be a theme for us cell phone abusers to live by. We get so caught up in our apps, in scrolling, in texting, in calling, in emailing, in Googling, in snapping and texting some more that our actual human experience is decaying. I know I need to practice what I preach but seriously, even just for an evening, disconnect. Just do it. The world will keep spinning, and you may be surprised at how much you learn from the experience, and ironically how "disconnecting" can make you feel much more connected with the world.

If you hold me accountable, I’ll hold you accountable. I’d love to hear your stories about your No-Phone-Fridays. =) Good luck! #NoPhoneFridays

“Wherever you are, be all there.”

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What am I doing to prepare for photographing your event?

April 3, 2017

Whether your event involves 15 people or 1500 people, there are a number of noteworthy steps I take in preparation for photographing every event. Your images and your good name are incredibly important to me and I strive to bring the utmost professionalism in my photography as well as in my demeanor, from the time I answer your first phone call to the delivery of images...then again when you need more photography. And hopefully we grab coffee in between and become friends.

Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron on March 14 named the top winners of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors on March 8-14, 2017.
Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron on March 14 named the top winners of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors on March 8-14, 2017.

The paperwork I prepare for your event coverage takes into account the time necessary before and after the actual timeframe you need coverage. Here's what the preparation time includes:

Charged Batteries

My camera and flash batteries must all have full charge, along with extras. In addition, I, Jessica Yurinko, must be as charged as possible so I am on my toes and bringing a you the best me possible.

Professional Attire

I have a cat. I do all I can to get out the door without fur on me. I am expected to blend in and not distract from the event, but I still to what I can to make the “all dark” colors a little more fun.

Camera Gear

Do I have everything I need and is the gear working properly? 2 camera bodies plus multiple lenses for the variety necessary to document every event properly. I always have several empty memory cards plus backup cards so that I have a redundant copy of your images recording for precautionary measures. Unfortunately technology is not 100% perfect, but writing all images to two cards simultaneously will up our odds of any data lost greatly.


I have professional and business liability insurance for your peace of mind as well as my own. Willing to present upon request.


My phone will be fully charged so you can get in touch with me. It will be on vibrate so that it’s not disruptive to your event. And I know how much some of my clients appreciate “live” photos where I use my camera’s built in WiFi to send images of their event in real time, for Twitter and the like. (A more in depth blog post on this later).


I must know how I’m getting to your event and how long it’s going to take. Is it easier to drive and park or take an Uber? Check Google Maps traffic predictions for the time of your event the day before the event. I’ll always leave about and extra 45 minutes earlier than I think it will actually take me incase it’s “one of those days.” Also knowing which room to find you in is helpful, too!


Before your event, I will chat with you, about a sequence of events and the key players and moments to be sure to capture. Are there any moments I should NOT be taking photographs? Also you should know I will not walk out at 10pm if there is clearly something important still happening at 10:05pm.

Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron on March 14 named the top winners of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors on March 8-14, 2017.
Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron on March 14 named the top winners of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors on March 8-14, 2017.
Society for Science & the Public and Regeneron on March 14 named the top winners of the 2017 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors on March 8-14, 2017.
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10 good reasons to carry Pepper Spray with you everywhere

March 30, 2017

Conceptual photography for a pepper spray product in Columbia Heights Washington, DC on March 24, 2017.

Many of my friends (approximately 3 of them) have made comments to me about the pepper spray I have been carrying around. Here's why:

1.   You never know when you’re going to want to spice up your &Pizza

2.  You can buy it in all different color canisters and impress your friends

3.   You never know when your girlfriend / boyfriend is going to make you mad

4.  You will no longer have to burden yourself with going to the gym to get stronger

5.   The hotter spray you buy, the hotter you will feel

6.   You can use it to enhance your fourth of July sparkler experience

7.   You don’t have to be responsible enough to buy a dog to protect you instead

8.  Your mom no longer has an excuse to send you, “Are you alive?” texts

9.   You can walk anywhere at night, even the dark alleys with the rats

10.  You do NOT have to worry about that $5 in your wallet getting stolen

** Disclosure:  This product works against all humans except Chuck Norris.

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How to mount a print on foam board [ ONE MINUTE video ]

March 27, 2017


If you’re anything like me, you like to do-it-yourself, but sometimes you’re not sure how.

Thankfully there are websites like YouTube, where the learning is endless, and you do not have to read anything. Lately though, I have been resorting to step-by-step posts, because normally I can read the instructions faster than someone can tell in me in their homemade video. I give these guys a lot of credit and thanks for sharing their knowledge, but time is money, time is valuable, and I do not like wasting time. I do not need to see Bob in his basement going on and on about something unrelated to what I'm trying to accomplish. Certainly you can sit there and scrub through 15 minutes of B.S. but you may miss a step and it’s generally kind of annoying to have to wait toget to what's really important. 

Time-lapse allows us to easily condense something that actually takes ten minutes – into ONE MINUTE. But I’m not even cutting out any of the important parts. You can visually see all of the products I’m using in a fun little dance at the beginning of the YouTube video and then, 60 seconds later, you have effortlessly digested how to mount a poster or print onto foam board. And if you have to re-watch it, at least it’s not going to take up a ton of time! You can use those extra ten minutes to give your mom a call...

Also you may find the ingredients in the description on YouTube.


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How to be a good food photographer

March 23, 2017

“She’s not acting like a princess,” explained the frustrated mom who is the receptionist at my veterinarian’s office. “I hope she’ll love me again when she turns three.”

As much as children are a dream of mine, I am going to embrace the time I have to take pictures of sloppy cheeseburgers in an hour of free time. It's a real dream come true to buy an $8 tax deductible double cheeseburger and make it sing in the streets of Columbia Heights and better yet, its "work."

Although I can’t say I whole-heartedly desire to be a food photographer, mostly because of the challenge I face: getting through the photoshoot without eating the subject (luckily I do not do this with people). However I have always enjoyed the challenge of building an image from the ground up. An inanimate object or food do not have a personality on their own. However we can give them some compelling characteristics using an interesting composition with suggestive lighting and an appropriate background. Seemingly my graphic design studies have stuck with me, and one of my all time favorite design principles is scale: the comparison of size of one object in relation to another.

Z-BURGER advertising shoot with double cheeseburger and toppings in Columbia Heights, DC on March 22, 2017.

The conception of my idea for this advertising piece came from an ad I always laugh at when I'm leaving IKEA. When you are heading to the checkout area, there is a gigantic sign (about 20 foot wide) with an image of a cinnamon roll covering the whole thing. There's a special note in the bottom left corner that readss: *Not actual size.

Maybe they have to write that, but I'd like to think the designer has a nice sense of humor. Regardless, that got me thinking about the impact the actual size size of an object has on our everyday lives. From a large man towering over everyone in a crowd…to a metro bus zooming by while you're riding your bike down 11th street…to a double cheeseburger at Z-Burger that is almost as big as your head--our perspective and our opinions are quickly formed because of the instant impact of the figure’s size. Or even more interesting, the object’s perceived size.

This is where I began playing a game with my imagination: if the burger were seemingly just as big as the Z-Burger restaurant itself, wouldn’t people be more intrigued? Unfortunately I can't exactly print a 20 foot ad in a magazine like the impressive IKEA sign, but I still want to have that wowing, BIG IMPACT...and I can use scale to execute this just how I imagined. Without ordering a 500 lb burger!

So how does one become a good food photographer? The answer for me: Do not eat the subject. steps. I’m actually working on figuring this out and I would appreciate any insights you have on the food photography world. Or if you just want to share your favorite food or what you think I should photograph food wise. Feedback appreciated.


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Where to take professional headshots

March 22, 2017

Do you ever do weird things while you’re working late at night and you think: Oh yeah, this is the right direction…I’ll finish it in the morning. And then you wake up to it and you look at it in the face again, and you actually say out loud, “What the fuck was I thinking.” Pardon my French. But I do this ALL the time. Including last night when I was working on my website, like I have been for a lot of my “free” time this week. Go check it out, let me know what you think. Here’s what I experimented with for my new profile photo––in the meantime of creating a new one, because my old one feels like cheating. I was several years younger and better looking in that photo. Anyways….

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^ ^ ^ That’s supposed to represent me incase it wasn’t clear enough. A gorgeous Icelandic horse with his mane blowing in the wind + a goober horse laughing. Trust me horses can laugh. If you read my bio, you would know I’m trying to get the point across that I’m a majestic creature with some quirk. (Oh you went to the blog first? Brave, I like you. Hello.) This morning I reminded myself that some of my potential corporate clients may immediately click away to find the next photographer with a black suit photo upon seeing my goofball horse photo (I do normally wear a DARK suit to photoshoots by the way (with purple shoes)). But if you’re reading my blog, I suggest you want to dig deeper than the photos.

Get to the point already. What this really got me thinking about is that sleepy time before bed, when your body is still functioning but your mind just sort’ve lets go. Some of my best and worst ideas have come out of this time of night. Usually around midnight. This time it was closer to 2am. I’m actually writing this post at 2am but I’m going to post it in the morning to have more traffic and continue writing this as if I wrote it in the (later) morning.

Look…I’m not a horse…I’m a person. With much whiter teeth than that horse btw. I am a photographer by DC label standards. I am an adventurous mind with a camera if I were to label myself (to say the least). And I’m trying to have an honest moment with you. I create some really laughable work sometimes. I’m confident enough in my craft to admit this. I guess the point I’m trying to make is, if you can appreciate that I have a weird side, and that I’m all for trying new things, and because we’ve seen a million photos with a white or gray background, maybe…just maybe, we should work together.

And here I present you a much more lovely photo. Meet Tina. This fiery lady is magical and deserves way more than a white background for her professional headshot.

Headshot portrait session with Tina Tristani in Washington, DC on March 21, 2017.


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