December 8, 2023

It was Jessica Castellano’s senior year of high school when she discovered her talent as a photographer and since then, photography has become prevalent not only in her college classes, but also in her life as she strives to help people understand their true beauty.

Castellano, junior communication studies and photography double major, has been able to transfer her passion into a profession through her business, JessCaste Photography.

She maintains her business while attending college and participating on the women’s water polo team.

Although her studies and water polo are a priority, the soon-to-be graduate has found enough time to focus on doing photoshoots around Orange County and Riverside.

Most of her photoshoots are senior portraits for both high school and college students, but two years ago Castellano’s work was published in LA Bridal magazine. Her current goal is to pursue more experience working with weddings.

Besides working with friends and family, she has gained new clients by word-of-mouth.

“I’ve never met (them) before, but it’s fun getting to know each and every client and seeing how they react,” Castellano said.

She explains some people can be quite photogenic while others prefer to stay in their shells. Castellano said she strives to be her most authentic self so clients are able to feel at ease during the shoot.

“I always tell my clients to do ‘Beyonce’ — their best model pose — which never gives you a good model pose, but always gives you the best candid laugh,” Castellano said.

Laura Kocsis, graduate student in sports management, is a friend and teammate of Castellano.

“I really like how she always tries to shoot us in a natural way and highlight everyone’s own, unique beauty and she makes only minor touches with Photoshop,” Kocsis said.

Castellano’s photography is what she is passionate about and it is evident to everyone with whom she works.

“Jessica expresses her passion through creativity, dedication and a desire to continuously learn and hone her craft, trying new and various techniques to expand her abilities and portfolio,” said Kyle Stevens, client, friend and mentor of Castellano.

To Castellano, photography is much more than a job.

“You can tell she loves photography by looking at how much time she spends with it,” Kocsis said. “If she is not at practice, class or a photoshoot, she is most likely editing on her computer.”

Castellano said the experience has been an ongoing growing process.

“It’s more about establishing connections with people and having them see their inner beauty rather than me making a business and making money out of it.”

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