We are so EXCITED today to welcome the amazingly talented Jamie Zobrist of Jamilia Jean Photography to the Blog! Learn more about Jamie in our Photographer Spotlight and visit her at her website Jamilia Jean Photography. Thank you so much Jamie for sharing your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin? As a hairdresser, you learn to look at people with a different eye. What would I do to their hair if I could get my hands on them? What color or cut would bring out their features better? My younger sister, Jessica, and I both do hair, and she added make-up artistry to her list of skills years ago. Together, we would experiment our ideas on people and take pictures of our “creations”. The word got out, and I found myself taking lots of pictures. I started out with a Canon Rebel, and the more time I invested, the more “accessories” I had to have! New lenses, new camera, etc–you know how it is. 🙂 I realized I loved photos, and poured everything I had into it. I love it more every time I do a shoot.
How would you describe your photography style? The majority of my shoots are natural light–although I do try to do studio lighting when I can. I try to capture moments- Candid shots or “the outtakes” always end up being my favorite.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught? The only official classes I’ve ever taken for photography are the 2 years I did in high school–which I loved! I have done workshops, and a few random classes, but I’m mostly self-taught. I’ve read a lot of books, read and watched tutorials, and have had some great help from other photographers who I admire to teach me what I need to know with editing and shooting. Trial and error has been my biggest teacher though.
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens? Canon 5D Mark II. My favorite lens, hands down, is my 50mm 1.4. I often shoot entire sessions with just that one lens. I’m a prime lens lover. I feel like you can’t get a sharper, clearer image, with anything else. One thing I try to tell people is to turn off the auto-focus every once in a while. I personally never use it. It makes for sharper, more creative images too!
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light? Figuratively or literally? JK! Especially with portraits, I think reading a book about lighting is key. I remember focusing a lot on that in my high school photo classes–which lighting set up is more masculine or feminine, and how to achieve that. Now, with digital DSLR’s, white balance comes into play, so knowing what temperature to set your white balance at is important also. It just takes a little playing around to find what you like with light and shadows and how to bring out features or to minimize them. I find myself always being drawn to more romantic, hazy light. A lot of my shoots occur during that “magic hour”(Late afternoon-ish) where everything seems to be lit up just right. I love back lighting–don’t be afraid to arrange your subject with you aiming into the sun. You might have to move around a little to get it where you want, but if there is enough light on your model’s face, try it out!
Last year your “JOY” image went viral – could you tell us more about that image? That was just crazy! It went out of control so fast, I couldn’t keep track of it. We had just spent an hour out in the cold and it was the very end of the shoot when the mother of the kids pulled out those J-O-Y letters. Normally I’m not a huge fan of props (don’t get me wrong, they can be great–so I’ve learned) and so we sat them down and immediately the twin boys lost it. The little girl got in trouble for goofing off and she started in too! It might have seemed like it should have signaled that it was time to wrap it up, but I have a nasty habit of taking pictures at just the wrong (perfect) time! Ha! I was laughing so hard at the irony of the whole thing that only 2 of about 10 shots weren’t blurry (Auto-focus might have come in handy then, huh?)
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business? On a business level, something that I’ve learned with photography–goes for being a hairdresser too, is you’ve really got to market yourself. It’s much easier with Facebook and instagram now, but if you can find that one client-the one that knows everyone, or encounters a lot of people, to do a session with, the word will get out! Word of mouth is a powerful and useful tool. Maybe drop the price of a session or offer it for free–anything to get the word out.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be? Like I said before, lighting. Its crucial. It’ll make or break your photos, because basically that’s all photography is! Learn the basics, and then get creative.
What do you love most about being a photographer? For me, there is so much about photography that I love. Being creative, meeting families, watching kids grow-up each year, trying different things I’ve learned and I’ll go as far to admit that its an outlet for me to get out of the house and away from everything to do something that makes me relaxed and happy.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 5 years? I can barely plan till next month. 🙂 But really, I hope I’m leaps and bounds better than I am now. I still have so much to learn. You never know where it will take you–I definitely couldn’t have imagined being interviewed for a blog about photography 5 years ago, or having a picture go viral, so I hope that in 5 more there will be more that I couldn’t have imagined!
About Jamie Zobrist: I’m a super busy wife and mom of 4 girls–the youngest 2 are twins! I’m a hairdresser as well as a photographer, but in recent years have found myself doing more photography, which I could have never imagined. I grew up in Las Vegas, but currently live in Chino Hills, in Southern California, and plan on staying! I consider myself pretty creative and love to craft, and read, but usually have to squeeze time in for those– I always manage it somehow! 🙂