Talking "Find Your North" with Jess Hunter

It is ever so beautiful to be strange. To do things differently than others. To see things in a rare light. To me, that is such gold to carry. - Christopher Poindexter.

This quote blasts through your brain the first moment you land on Find Your North's site. It is enough to browse through the thought provoking text and compelling imagery to wish to know the people behind the workshop. We were lucky to connect with Jess Hunter who together with Levi Tijerina plan to gather creatives from the wedding photography community and challenge them to shed the unnecessary and to rediscover the core & the 'why' of their business. All of that and more happening in Alaska, out of all places. Winter is coming, indeed!

Talking "Find Your North" with Jess Hunter

Jess opened her heart to us, same as she promises to do during the Find Your North workshop which takes place in August, 14th-18th.

There's so much to be excited about Find your North, as Jess describes it - it will be "a refreshing experience, time to take a step back, ignore the industry noise and listen to your own heart to discover what is really driving you." Besides the magnificent views and gem locations Alaska promises, it turned out that it is also a place of personal significance to Jess:
"I moved to Alaska 3 days after I graduated high school. I was young, naive, and ready for anything. I had no idea of what to expect, but jumped in headfirst. Living there, I learned so many things about myself. I found a freedom there and developed an appreciation for the rugged, unforgiving landscapes that the great north holds. It's truly a special place that I believe everyone should see at least once. To me, there is really nothing like it in the lower 48. "

Although she and Levi come from different backgrounds they have a common appreciation and meaning to their work, sharing a lot of similar inspiration and valuing a strong narrative. The place and the context of the workshop stems from their aim to produce work that matters, as Jess best puts it:  

"The philosophy is pretty straightforward, and where we gleaned the inspiration from for the title. Ultimately, we want people to come and be able to break through industry norms, and discover what it is they love and the way they see the world, and how to execute this vision through wedding photography and subsequently throughout the entirety of their businesses. We really want to ignite change, inspire people to find their own vision, and help them make the steps to creating a lasting business." 


With the rise of workshops dedicated to wedding photographers of all styles, cultures and genres, we wanted to hear from Jess why "Find Your North" is different and how it plans to break the mold of the typical workshop: 

"We believe that a lot of workshops are more about community and taking photos of styled shoots vs. getting to the heart of things and fostering growth. We totally value community, and it's one of the reasons we're excited to be sharing a house now. However, we believe that learning and growth are the biggest reasons people are coming, so we will be focused on those things with community being a nice advantage to everything :) When shooting, we also want to discuss things and give feedback to attendees during the shoot, vs making it like a shootout where everyone is simply trying to get a goof photo to post to instagram. We want to discuss composition, lighting, direction, etc. during the shoot so it will be less "shootout" style and more educational."


Though there will be participants from various parts of the U.S., one great part of the experience will be its intimate and bonding aspect due to a large shared house. Jess hopes it will foster more dialogue and openness and honesty among participants. The purpose is to go all in and have no limits to questions that can arise. Meanwhile the workshop sessions will cover various technical and educational topics:

"The first day, we are going to be focusing on finding your why, tools to dig deep into this, as well as how our why coordinates with our ideal clients. We will also be talking about our own stories, where are inspiration comes from and how we incorporate it our businesses. This will carry over to ideal clients, defining them, reaching them, booking them, etc. 

The second day will be more about the logistics and technical aspects of running and maintaining a business -- the nitty gritty things that are often overlooked."


One of our goals at Squaremuse is empowering individuals, but also supporting the community as a whole, and that's why we are so excited to be part of Find Your North. What is clear to us is that Find Your North is as much about introspection as it is about harnessing a community of creatives who are happier and more aligned with their life goals, both personally and professionally.

Pack your bags, grab your compass, Alaska is calling on you to open your heart!