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Meet Jessica Fike

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Fike.

Hi Jessica, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I grew up in Connellsville, PA, about an hour south of Pittsburgh, playing sports and being actively involved in school. I eventually landed at Bridgewater College in Virginia where I studied International Studies and participated in a Foreign Policy semester program at American University. Bridgewater is also where I met my now-husband, Brian. He grew up in Oakland, MD, just 20 minutes from where we live now and I was immediately drawn to the fact that he lived in the Deep Creek Lake area where my siblings and I had vacationed with our family every summer.

During my high school and college years, I was always taking pictures, printing them, and sometimes even including them in scrapbooks. But not once did I take a photography class. My mom was a wedding photographer during all my years at home and would take me along to jobs once I got older. She was using film, so I was mostly carrying equipment and blocking the bathroom door when she needed complete darkness to un-jam the film in her camera. When she invited me to use her new digital camera to actually take pictures at a wedding, things shifted for me. I had a new sense for photography and weddings!

After graduating from college, getting married, and moving 2.5 hours away from home, I wasn’t able to work alongside my mom, so I worked for two photographers who taught me how to use a camera. After one year of working with them, I started Jessica Fike Photography LLC in 2009. My business started in Pennsylvania where Brian and I had our first home and first baby. We then moved to Morgantown, WV when Brian got a new job and we finally landed in the Deep Creek Area of Garrett County, MD. We eventually realized this was our forever place and had two more babies. I’ve been photographing Deep Creek’s visiting families and destination weddings since 2013 and absolutely love it! I’ve also completely fallen in love with Deep Creek and the tourism that happens here, which lead to the creation of my passion project, For The Love of Deep Creek. Maybe I’ll be a professional Deep Creek Tour Guide someday. 🙂

Side jobs and community involvement have included leader of Garrett County Wedding Professionals, co-working space co-director, youth basketball coach, PTO co-president, and most recently, co-host of the Mountain Maryland Mamas podcast. I constantly have a new idea and am just starting to learn to say no, ha!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Professionally and entrepreneurially, moving my business in between three different states was one of the biggest challenges. Having to re-establish myself, gain a new clientele and figure out the local market each time was almost like starting over with every move. Realizing that I was not cut out for being a stay-at-home, at least one that was also trying to run a business simultaneously was maybe the biggest challenge of them all. Childcare is not easy to come by here in Garrett County, so we had to get creative on many occasions (and still are to this day). And then there was COVID and having three school-aged kids at home doing virtual school while trying to run a business. That was incredibly eye-opening, exhausting, and frustrating, and I hope it never has to happen again.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a Deep Creek family and wedding photographer. Our area sees over one million visitors each year and 90% of my clients are the out-of-towners that come to Deep Creek for family vacations and destination weddings.

Smiling at the camera isn’t always required, interactions are encouraged and I’m definitely going to yell HOLLER at least a couple of times during each session. I like my photos to be light-filled and natural in color, but also like to incorporate some mood to keep things interesting and I love a good black and white portrait.

When it comes to photographing people, it’s so much about the personal experience for me. Being a friendly, engaging person that makes my clients feel at ease and their hesitations towards taking photos completely disappear.

When it comes to weddings, the personal experience is taken to the next level because it’s about soooo much more than taking pretty pictures! It’s about managing people, following a timeline, and working efficiently so that the photos get accomplished and my couples get to join their cocktail hours too.

Professionally, I am most proud of the reliable service I’m able to provide to my clients who are visitors. I give them what I hope is an easy, enjoyable experience (especially those with the feisty young kiddos) but also serve as their Deep Creek Tour Guide, giving them local info that will help them enjoy their time at Deep Creek just a little bit more. And maybe it’ll encourage them to keep coming back. For my engaged couples planning destination weddings, I’m their “boots on the ground” and help them paint a beautiful Deep Creek wedding picture.

What was your favorite childhood memory?
Childhood memories that stand out the most include summer trips to Deep Creek Lake with my mom’s family. Also, all the time I spent with my teammates and close friends in high school. I really enjoyed high school. 

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