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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Smile and Say Charity!

I'm excited about this week's post because I get to highlight one of our own vendors -  Fine Arts Exposure, which is owned and operated by New Orleans based photographer Jessica Johanningmeier. When looking for a photographer, I was immediately drawn to Jessica’s mission of capturing un-posed, “real emotion," as well as her belief of approaching every wedding by looking for and showing its uniqueness. 

Dazzling picture by
Another lovely picture by Fine Arts Exposure
Sure, the bride usually dons a white dress- (not always though), "Shout!" plays, and cake is served, but every one adds their own touches - ones that can and should be captured by the photographer. As Jessica puts it, “there is different lighting depending on time of day and time of year, different locations, personalities, and preferences.” In the end, Jessica’s philosophy really meshed well with our vision of having a day filled with special elements that capture our personality as a couple.  Even more importantly, it just so happened that her belief in the importance of philanthropy also ran parallel to ours.

It turns out that not only is Jessica a talented photographer, but she is also the owner of N.O.W. (New Orleans Weddings) Magazine, a role she uses to help others. Since buying the magazine in 2008, she has made it a priority for the N.O.W. bridal shows to give back to others in some way.  

 Their first bridal show benefited ARNO (Animal Rescue New Orleans) and the 2010 bridal shows hosted by N.O.W. benefited the LA-SPCA, and the American Heart Association. N.O.W.’s next show, which will be held in August 2011, will again benefit the LA-SPCA. The magazine has also donated to March of Dimes, Kidd's Kids and the American Legion, and has plans to do so again in the near future.

For our wedding, Jessica decided to use some of our payment to make a donation from Fine Art Exposure to SmileTrain, which is an organization that is solely devoted to providing free cleft palate surgery for hundreds of thousands of poor children in third-world countries all across the globe. 

SmileTrain's mission is to provide a child born with a cleft with the same opportunities in life as a child born without. Unlike some charities that do many different things, Smile Train's mission is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and cleft palate.  

In developing nations clefts are a major problem. Millions of children suffer with un-repaired clefts. As a result of their disability, most cannot eat or speak properly. They are stigmatized as well and aren't allowed to attend school or hold a job. Clefts usually go untreated because the surgery is too expensive for poor children who have them. But there is good news - every single child with a cleft can be helped with a surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes. Also, in addition to performing the surgery, SmileTrain treats the “whole child” with comprehensive, total rehabilitative care that includes speech therapy, general dentistry and orthodontics.

As a result of Jessica’s $500 donation to SmileTrain two children will get the chance at a new life. It is only fitting that as a photographer, Jessica has found a unique way to others a reason to smile.  To find out how you can make a donation to SmileTrain, visit their website.


  1. This is awesome! I love it! I thought you were using Shoot for Change though?

  2. Thanks! I used Shoot for Change for my engagement photos here in DC. Since the wedding is in NOLA, I decided to look for someone local. I might use Shoot For Change for a bridal photo shoot here too.