Crash Taylor Interviews Jeff Newsom

This week Crash Taylor welcomes Jeff Newsom. Jeff is definitely an awesome photographer. As you know, these interviews are all about photographers who push the boundaries of our profession to create images that are emotional, edgy, original and most of all capture a unique moment in time. Jeff will inspire you to get out there and work it with your camera and creative mind to produce images that make you and your clients feel good. Thanks Jeff, your style is definitely a A Voltron of Awesomeness.

Hi Jeff,

Tell us a little bit about Jeff Newsom?

I like awesome people, awesome places, and awesome things

Where is home?

I live in San Luis Obispo, California

If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet where would you build your dream home?

Well, not to sound boring, but San Luis Obispo.  I’m in love with this place!

What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?

Running on 3 hours of sleep.

Did you go to school to study photography?

Yes, it took me a whole 6 hours before I dropped out.

How long have you been a photographer?

Not long, maybe 5 years

How long have you been a wedding photographer?

About the same

What or who got you started in wedding photography?

I wasn’t a big fan of wedding photos at the time and thought I could contribute something new and different.

How would you describe your style?

A Voltron of Awesomeness

How many weddings do you average per year?

I shoot about 50 weddings each year.

Do you have a few wedding images you can share with us?

What type of cameras do you shoot with?

I shoot dual 1Ds MK III’s and carry a 1D MK III as a reserve.

What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera?

My knife belt buckle.

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?

I’d have to say the 24mm 1.4.  All of my favorite photos come from that lens.

What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?

I have 2x 580ex II’s, 2x 580ex’s, and an led light panel.

Can you describe how and when you use flash, video light, reflectors and natural light during a wedding?

I only use flashes to capture dark receptions and I only use my led light occasionally with portraits.  Everything else I shoot with available light.

What is your favourite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer?

My dual 30”s, they look glorious together.

How important is Photoshop in your final images?

Very unimportant.  In fact, I barely touch it.

What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.?

I process everything in lightroom, so, I can’t say I have a favorite PS tool.

Are you a MAC or PC lover?

I love my macs.

Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?

I think I have everything I need right now, which is very weird for me to say.

I finally feel I have mastered my Crash-Art workflow, can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic workflow after a wedding?

It’s all really simple.  I download my cards, flag my photos in lightroom, process, and export.  Quick, easy, and awesome.

I use Queensberry albums, what wedding albums do you supply your clients with and do you design them yourself or outsource the design?

I don’t offer any albums.

How do you feel about cropping an image?

I crop all the time, feels good.

I choose photographers for these interviews because their work really inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing, hence the interview. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such amazing imagery?

My clients inspire me.  I love awesome people and I believe I have the most awesome clients on earth!

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

My first wedding, because I had no clue what I was doing.  I was so nervous and awkward!

Do you have an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you on wedding assignments?

I always bring an assistant, but I try not to rely on a 2nd shooter.

How many images do you average per wedding and how many do you usually present to your clients?

I shoot between 2500 and 3000 on average.  I typically deliver around 600 finished images.

Where would be your dream destination wedding?


How do you make the bride and groom, bridal party etc… feel relaxed in front of your Canon 1Ds?

I wear my excitement on my sleeve and I think my clients pick up on that.  We basically just have a good time hanging out, and next thing you know, we have a ton of photos.

Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding and if so, how did you handle it?

I don’t have any crazy war stories, unfortunately; just standard stuff like broken gear, dropped lenses, bottle of wine on wedding dress.  I bring extra gear and a bunch of shout wipes.

What are your favourite two images you have shot recently? Can you describe their creation in regards to location, lighting, composition etc, also your thoughts when creating the images and what they mean to you?

I recently had the opportunity to shoot some of my good friends, Nate & Jaclyn Kaiser from http://www.theimageisfound.com and Justin & Amelia Lyon from http://www.amelialyon.com.  The first image is of Nate and Jaclyn, we shot it late at night in a dark, dark field.  I set the shutter to 30 seconds and ran around like a fool with a light in hand until I was out of breath.  I don’t recommend running in tall grass when its pitch black, I almost broke my face like 5 times.  The second is of Justin and Amelia the next day.  We shot it on the side of the road, while the weather was being our friend.  These images capture two different sides of what I find beautiful, something artistic and something simple.

What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?

Waking up early.

What do you think of the wedding photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?

I think it is an incredible industry.  People are getting so good so fast!  The over all quality of work gets better every single year.  There seems to be a rise of an extremely anti competitive attitude and willingness to help colleagues improve and grow.  I hope in five years to get my mind blown more often, and I really hope to keep up!

A wedding photographer who inspires you?

Every wedding photographer who is making Art for themselves, for the sake of Art and who isn’t motivated by money.

It’s almost that time of year for a Taylor family portrait. Is there any photographer out there that you would be stoked to say - she took my portrait?

Angelica Glass (http://www.angelicaglass.com) , because she just took our family portraits and they blew my mind.

A website and/or blog you visit often?


The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?

Nate Kaiser, because I’m talking to him right now.

The last workshop or seminar you attended and why?

I have never attended a workshop or a seminar.

Do you have any workshops or seminars planned for the future?

No plans

What photographic organizations do you belong to?

Wppi, Dwf, Mammoth Men

One way you market Jeff Newsom Photography?

Shoot and show good pics.

Do you advertise? If so where?

I do one double page spread each year in Your Wedding Day magazine. I’m linked on various wedding websites.

How important is an awesome website for your business?

Extremely important.  99% of my clients live far away from me, so I have to rely on my website to be a window into my world.

If not a photographer, I would have been a marine biologist studying the great white shark. What would you have been?

I wanted to be a physicist.

I realize that each great photographer has a particular penchant or love for photographing a particular subject whether it be nature, portraits, sea or landscapes, shadow and light, etc. as a result I would love to have you talk about and share whatever images you feel appropriate of your own private obsession in the magical world of photography.

I love people.  Portraits are where my heart is.

Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?

I’m shooting exactly what I love to shoot and couldn’t be more content.

When I was 2nd shooting I was picking everybody’s brain, I still am actually. That’s why I love these interviews so much. Every interview I learn something that makes me a better photographer. What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue wedding photography?

Do your own thing.  Don’t follow industry trends.  Be awesome all the time.

We know that each of us has someone or something, which inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?

My wife Kim and my son Everett inspire me daily to be better at everything I do.

Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?

Don’t think so, I’m pretty happy how everything has turned out so far!

Name one photographer you would like to take a portrait of?

Any photographer who would like for me to take their portrait

Name a supermodel you would like to take a portrait of?

I’m not really interested in shooting supermodels

If you could be invisible for one day with your camera...

I would stay at home and play video games

I’ve learned the most from…

The internets

What talent would you most like to have?


Something you’re still learning?

To cook

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Kim & Everett

What is your greatest fear?

Waking up early

Something that is overrated?


Something you’re saving up for?


What item do you wish you had designed?


If you could have lunch with anyone who is famous who would it be?

Mahatma Gandhi or Will Farrell

Where you'll find me on a Friday night at 9 p.m.?

At home with my family

Your favourite film (movie) of all time?

‘Army of Darkness’ is kind of epic
‘Hot Fuzz’ made my day
the upcoming ‘Arrested Development’ movie will complete my life

Who would play you in a film (movie) of your life?

Jackie Chan

First thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Buy lunch

Which five words would your friends use to describe you?

happy, geek, intergalactic, attorney at lol, roflcopter

What ambition have you not yet achieved?

Discovered the ‘theory of everything’

What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?

The same thing I’m doing now.

And the last question, if you had one wish…

I would wish for one more question.

Oh one more, if someone said ‘how can I be the next Jeff Newsom?’ What would you say?

Be true to yourself or just change your name.

Your readers can find out more about me:

Website:   http://www.jeffnewsom.com

Blog:    http://blog.jeffnewsom.com

Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/jeffnewsom