Interview by Danny Grubb
Jason Lee is a professional photographer who started taking pictures just before the birth of his first daughter. His work has gotten more creative, resulting in some truly breathtaking photographs of his kids. We hope his work inspires you to experiment a little. You can view more of his work at JWL Photography and Kristina and Kayla.
DG: So what came first? The photography or the children?
Jason Lee: The photography came first....in anticipation of the birth of my first daughter. Not very good photography I might add.
DG: So you were a beginner like the rest of us, that's encouraging. How did you go from taking bad photos to taking the photos you do today?
Jason Lee: I still take bad photos, LOL. In the beginning I just shot a lot. I've got quite the collection of bad photos sitting on my hard drive to prove it. I also started learning about lighting from people like Dave Black, Neil Turner, David Hobby, and other sources of inspiration and applied what I learned to my photos.
DG: A lot of the photos of your daughters have a great sense of motion. When were you able to really start getting creative in photographing your children?
Jason Lee: I'd say my creativity for the child photography sparked in the summer of 2006. I started experimenting with small hot shoe flashes at that time, and was able to create some of my favorite images, even to this day. It progressed from there, and the ideas for photos were inspired by my children, or from my own childhood memories.
DG: How do your children feel about getting their picture taken? Have they ever rebelled against the camera?
Jason Lee: For the most part they really enjoy it since the actual photography time is only for 3-4 shots. I set up all my lights/props and dial down everything in camera so at most I have them for a minute or two. They always love seeing the end result too.
DG: Well its good that they're on board with the project. Do you have any advice for parents just starting to take pictures of their children?
Jason Lee: Shoot often and on a consistent basis. The saying is true, practice makes perfect. If time permits, start a 365 day project with their child/children. Study photographers or photographs that they admire/enjoy. Try to figure out how it was shot, and how you can implement something similar to your own photos.
DG: Thank you so much for sharing your photography with us. I am certainly feeling inspired to try some new things when taking pictures of my kids. Would you mind walking us through an effect we can try at home this weekend?
Jason Lee: For a quick and simple project, just let your kids play and let them run wild. Capture some spontaneous action and get down to their level or below them, rather than shooting from above for a change in perspective. Most importantly, just have fun with them.
DG: Anything else you’d like to add?
Jason Lee: I'd only like to say "Don't try these [his photos] at home!" At least not until you've gotten semi proficient at Photoshop.