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Crash Taylor Interviews Jacklyn Greenberg

This interview is with the super talented photographer Jacklyn Greenberg! Her vision and creativity she has for the still image is just awesome! Her style is definitely distinctive and her clients love it. When I saw Jacklyn's work I knew it was time for another interview! You can see her passion in each image, I just love her imagery, it's clean, emotional, edgy etc... She has been featured in major publications including Martha Stewart Weddings amongst many others and has won lots of photographic awards. I'm honoured to have her on the site and I hope you all enjoy the interview.

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a nature-loving, free-spirited kind of girl.  Love to travel, love sushi, sunshine, music, elephants and bunnies.

Where is home?

I’m based in New Haven, CT.

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

I haven’t figured that out yet, or I’d already be there. I think I’d need a few different places to live!

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

I’m wicked chill right now.

Did you go to school to study photography?

Yes, no, and I’m still studying.  School definitely didn’t teach me what I know now.  But, when I was there, I studied environmental science, chemistry, physics, fine art and photography in New York, Australia and Italy.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve been a photographer for 15 years.  Shooting weddings for the last 5.

How would you describe your style?

This is always tough for me to answer… Organic, real, emotional, and vibrant. I shoot from the hip and from the heart, I’m very emotionally driven and try to never take the same shot twice.

How many weddings do you average per year?

I keep it simple with 15-18 per year.

Can you share with us some recent images?

What type of cameras do you shoot with?

Canon 5DmkII’s – I’m all digital now, but I’m eager to break out my old home-made pinholes.

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

My Spyder Holster – it’s the most comfortable way to carry my camera when I’m working.  Think Tank’s Pixel Pocket – the best card case to keep CF cards organized and hanging from a belt loop.

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

Definitely the 35mm f/1.4 I couldn’t live without this lens, well, I suppose I could, but life just wouldn’t be the same.   It just fits the way I see.   Do I really have to choose 1?  I love the 50mm f/1.2 as well.

What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?

I like to keep it simple, so I always bring the sunshine!  Well… and a reflector, a few Sima LED lights, a video light, a few wireless flashes, it’s kind of depending on the shoot…  I usually bring the whole bag and never use it. Sometimes you need a little light when you don’t have your gear so it’s worth it to be creative, I’ve used light sources and reflectors found in my location at the time… like a shelf from the fridge covered in aluminum foil, mirrors, silver serving trays, flashlights, and car headlights!

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

I’m a sucker for natural light and available light, I try to use it more then anything, but I use reflectors sometimes during portraits, and video light whenever I want a dramatic spotlight or for backlighting.  I use Sima LED lights more frequently as a quick light source and they’re great for details.  Wireless flashes at night during the reception for backlighting with an on-camera bounce, or I switch it up and use one off camera side-light.  It’s just whatever feels right at the time.

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

The Motibodo keyboard makes my workflow actually flow quickly and smoothly and I absolutely love retouching images with my Wacom tablet!

How important is Photoshop in your final images?

Most everything is straight out of Lightroom.  I’ll use PS for a few minor touchups, some burning, dodging and sharpening.  My commercial and editorial work is fully retouched in Photoshop.

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

Doug Boutwell’s Totally Rad Actions are absolutely amazing - Magic Glasses, Yin/Yang and ProRetouch are genius.

Are you a MAC or PC lover?

I’m a MAC all the way, baby!!  I gave up PC’s a long time ago.

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

I’ve got my eyes set on a 135mm f/2.0 and a beauty dish with Kacey flash brackets, the Lastolite light modifiers look pretty awesome too.

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

Download – backup - edit in Photo Mechanic – process in LR – export images for Digilabs proofing galleries – backup exports

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

I love the fine art/gallery feel of CoutureBooks - they’re my favorite! We definitely design in house to ensure custom designs suited for each individual wedding.

How do you feel about cropping an image?

I try to do as much in camera as possible, but the image ultimately gets what the image needs.

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

I’m inspired by the environment and the positive, fun, beautiful energy that my couples give me when they let loose!

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

There’s a few for that one, and they all mean the most to me.  Andrew and Jeremy’s Winvian wedding was beyond emotional and ended up as our first publication and the first gay wedding in Martha Stewart Wedding Magazine, which was quite a milestone.  My fashion shoot for Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, not only landed me the cover of the New England edition and an eleven page fashion spread, but opened the doors to much more fashion and editorial work.  And a recent shoot of Steven Tyler and his entire family was definitely a ton of fun!  I would love to work with more musicians and celebrities!

If you could shoot a wedding with another photographer who would it be and why?

I would shoot with Fer Juaristi.  I adore his personality and his work is brilliant!

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

Hell yes!  My lover and partner-in-crime, Chris!  He has always been by my side as my second shooter and is so very talented.   My best friend, Heather helped assist for the first few years, now we have Jeremy, Tony and Sam who also make up our associate shooting team.

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

I usually shoot 2-3,000 images, depending on the wedding and I present 6-800 images to my clients.

Where would be your dream destination wedding?

I’d love to shoot in Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, anywhere I can be in awe of my surroundings.

How do you make the bride and groom, bridal party etc… feel relaxed in front of your Canon 5D Mark II?

I am always myself with everyone and I encourage everyone to be themselves too.  Most of my clients have an engagement shoot to build their trust with me, lose their inhibitions and learn how to be in front of the camera.  They usually love to share those images with their friends and family who, in turn, also build a level of trust of with us before the wedding.  I’ve found that laughter is definitely the key that unlocks their hearts.

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

We were photographing our two brides alone after their ceremony while one bride’s brother stayed with a car to take them to the venue for their reception.   As we were getting into our truck to follow them to the venue, the brother was helping the girls into the car.  At the same time I saw him close the car door, he let out a fierce scream and quickly clasped his hands.  We had a feeling that he had caught his finger in the car, but we didn’t realize how bad it was until he opened up his hands and they were completely filled with blood.   He had severed the fingertip of his little finger.  We immediately reacted the only way we knew how… I called 911, went to look for his finger and sit him down and assess the situation while Chris grabbed the emergency kit we keep in our truck.   I found the fingertip, picked it up with gauze, cleaned it and put it on an emergency ice pack, while Chris cleaned the brother’s hand, and wrapped it with gauze to stop the bleeding.  Once everything was under control, the brides were calm, and the bleeding stopped, the ambulance crew showed up.  The look on their faces was priceless when they saw us… two brides, a brother in a tux, and a photography team with a giant off-road camper… fingertip on ice, bleeding stopped, hand cleaned and bandaged, just sitting there waiting for a ride to the hospital.  Chris then drove the car with the girls to the reception and I followed in the truck.  We arrived just in time for the introductions and the reception went on without a hitch, minus a brother, but they were able to save his finger due to our quick reaction…!!!

What is your favourite recent image you have shot recently? Can you describe it’s creation in regards to location, lighting, composition, camera settings etc, also your thoughts when creating the image and what it means to you?

I snapped this shot of the twins in front of the ice cream truck and it means he world to me.  I didn’t think I wanted to photograph kids, but these girls changed that for me.  Emmie + Allie have become such loves of my life since I started photographing them when they were two and a half years old!  They come visit me every summer for my birthday and I always set up a kiddie pool for them to play in while their mother, Renee, and I catch up.  We decided this afternoon to get the girls a treat from the neighborhood ice cream truck.  The girls looked so cute with their matching swimsuits, so I backed up to snag a quick shot of the two of them.  Just as I snapped the shutter, Allie’s smile turned into a huge frown and then she started wailing.  We had no clue why she was crying, we tried to get her to use her “big-girl” words, we offered different kinds of ice cream, we even asked her sister, Emmie, to help us figure it out since, as twins, they have their own method of communication.  Nothing worked.  It was hours later that she finally shared what made her cry… the ice cream man in the truck was much closer then we were when Renee and I backed up to take this photo, and it scared her!  I felt bad, but it was SO worth the shot!

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

Sometimes it takes awhile for people to open up emotionally. It’s difficult if they don’t share their emotions with me knowing I can give them something so special and beautiful if they just let me in.

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

It’s super saturated now and will be more down the road. I think the ones with a distinct style will always stand out and be desired.

A wedding photographer who inspires you?

Can’t pick just one… Jonas Peterson, Jeff Newsom, Angelica Glass and so many others.

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

A beautiful fashion portrait would be fun with Mario Testino or Ellen von Unwerth.

A website and/or blog you visit often?

Fearless Photographers.  The images from the monthly competitions rock!

The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?

Ben Chrisman.  His compositions and the moments he captures are always breathtaking and surreal.

The last workshop or seminar you attended and why?

I’ve never been to a workshop.  The only seminars have been Mystic Seminars. It’s the best of the best internationally in an intimate location (which also happens to be only an hour from my home in CT!)  Walter Van Dusen has created an absolutely incredible outlet for learning and inspiration with Mystic Seminars.  I’m beyond honored and thrilled to be speaking there in January with such a killer line-up including Joe Buissink, Ben and Erin Chrisman, Jerry Ghionis, and Wed Rockers amongst so many other amazing photographers.

What photographic organizations do you belong to?

DWF, PPA, NAPP and Fearless Photographers

One way you market JAGstudios?

word of mouth referrals from amazing clients, friends, vendors and venues

Do you advertise? If so, where?

No real paid advertising for us.  Magazine publications, websites and blogs like Fearless Photographers, Style Me Pretty, PDN, Martha Stewart Weddings, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Destination Weddings, VT Vows and The Knot have all helped draw attention to my work.

How important is an awesome website for your business?

Super important!  It’s like having a storefront that can be visited by everyone in the world!

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

Actually, I’d be right there with you!  I really thought I’d be working as an environmental scientist.

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 photographing super sexy photos of beautiful women!  Risqué shoots have been my absolute favorite, but I’ve been shooting more fashion portraits and absolutely loving the one-on-one interaction with my models and clients.

Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?

Such a tough question.  I love everyone and everything I’ve been photographing, I would just love for everything to get more intense.

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?

If you are really passionate about something that’s all you should ever do. Shoot with your heart.  Create a style all your own and let your clients be themselves.

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?

It’s the sources that aren’t tangible… energy, emotions and love are the biggest inspirations of all… and, of course, my mom.

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

Not a thing! I’ve gotten to where I am because of lessons learned and all the bumps in the road and from the support and encouragement of my amazing friends and family.

Name a photographer you would like to take a portrait of? Is it bad that I can’t think of one?

No, I can’t think of one either!

Do you have any workshops on the horizon? I will have workshops starting in 2012.

I’ve learned the most from…

Myself, my experiences, my parents, my grandparents, my travels and a few close friends.

What talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to sing and create music like my brother, Michael Greenberg.

Something you’re still learning?

Everyday is a learning experience.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Chris Brown has been my lover and best friend for the past 7 years!  (Not the music artist, f.y.i…!!!)

What is your greatest fear?

Not having the ability to live my life to the fullest extent.

Something that is overrated?

The color pink

Something you’re saving up for?

The rest of my life

What item do you wish you had designed?

Post-It notes

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

Henry Cartier-Bresson.  What an honor and privilege to have lunch with a true master of photography.

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

Depends… I could be camping, out with friends, with my family, home in front of the fire, on the back deck, on the beach, or prepping for a wedding.

Your favourite film (movie) of all time?

City of God

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

Don’t know the answer to that one.  Maybe I could be the character that plays herself in the movie!

First thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Travel.  And take my entire family with me.

Which five words would your friends use to describe you?

Inspiring, honest, intelligent, creative and outgoing

What ambition have you not yet achieved?

Trying to take over the world

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

I’d love to be traveling, eating sushi and photographing!  Oh wait… that’s the same thing I’m doing right now!

And the last question, if you had one wish…

How can I just pick one thing?  Oh!  I’d wish for more wishes!

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

Be independent, passionate, positive, hard working, inspiring, loving life and with limitless energy.  But, really, you should just be yourself.

Your readers can find out more about me:

Website: http://www.jagstudios.net

Blog: http://www.jagstudios.net/blog