Photo Tips From: James Taylor (J Taylor Design)

Starting my “Photo Tips From” series off strong with my good friend and colleague James Taylor. James (JT) runs a small creative studio based out of Easton Pennsylvania, where he really is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to his career. Be sure to check out his website for some inspiring award-winning work.

Tip 1: Be content with the gear you have

Early on I invested in 2 really great lenses, but I didn’t learn to appreciate them until a few years later. The tricky part about being eager to learn and trying to absorb learned various techniques is that it makes you feel like you need more stuff. I definitely bought a bunch of dumb stuff I didn’t need (fortunately nothing crazy price wise, but I’m sure it all added up to a figure that would be disappointing to know), but I could have been focused on the really great essentials that I had instead.

I don’t take self-portraits very often, but will take some test shots every now and then when I get something new. I recently picked up a really unique backdrop from a band that I like that they had used on their tour. The design on it blurs out with a 3d kinda vibe. While it’s not something that I’d put in my portfolio really since its a photo of me, I do like how it turned out.

Tip 2: Find like-minded artists

At that 5 year mark is when I started photographing with Brian Wcislo and we formed Depict Collective. While the group isn’t something that is extremely active, the handful of events we have done over the years have been great education and sharing with our handful of people – and it only keeps getting better. It’s easy for everyone to just compliment each other and say how great everyone is, but having people who will help challenge you / push you forward can only make you better as an artist.

Photo Tips From James Taylor - Artist Portrait
I really love photographing people in their spaces as it gives you the chance to add additional bits of information about them in the portrait. This shot is a good example of that as the subject is a painter, crafter, gallery-curator, and art director. In this shot, I love how the surroundings aren’t perfect, but the subject is calm in his environment.

Tip 3: Find what you like to shoot

This is something that I struggled with for a what feels like a while when I was getting comfortable photographing. The portfolio of images I was building was scattered across so many categories of photography – mainly because I was trying a lot of different stuff (landscape, objects, portraits, events, night shots, funny, etc). The process of photographing so many various things was a good way to learn, practice, and find what I enjoyed working on – but I think I explored a little longer than I needed to. That is not to say that you shouldn’t continue to explore and try new things – rather start to find a focus, and cut out categories that you don’t enjoy early on.

Iron Hill Construction Management
Photography of Lehigh Valley Lexus project for Iron Hill Construction Management.

Hopefully these few photography tips from JT have left you enlightened and inspired to pick up your camera and create something beautiful! Stay tuned for the next featured artist in the “Photo Tips From” series.

 Header image – Photo by J Taylor Design for Masterplan Outdoor Living