Location: New York, NY
Shooting professionally for the last five years, Jamie Nelson’s goal is to bring her idea of beauty to light in her photographs. Her work has appeared in magazines, advertisements and billboards around the world. While some photographs show extensive hair and makeup work, others seem to be almost entirely devoid of these enhancements. She avoids narrow definitions of beauty in favor of a more open-minded approach, letting the subject dictate the specific look of each photograph.
I went to school at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara. I graduated in 2005.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
The most important lesson I learned was from a teacher in photography school. He told me that I screwed up almost every assignment in class, but I screwed up well—meaning that we should take every assignment we have and try to be inspired by it, even if it means interpreting it in a unique way or breaking the rules. He also taught us to treat every assignment in school as if it were an assignment in the real world.
What was your first job?
I photographed an actress for the Disney Channel while I was still in school at Brooks Institute.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
I think the best thing to do is spend time practicing your skill and continuing to shoot. This will allow you to develop your unique style and voice. The more work you produce, the more people will recognize your name. Eventually, you can start getting hired for editorial and commercial work as people start recognizing your vision. Be persistent. Usually, the best news is right around the corner.
What inspires you about photography?
I’m inspired when I collaborate with other amazing artists. There are endless combinations of styling, location, makeup, lighting, hair and model choices that constantly keep me inspired. Everyone brings their creativity to the table and magic happens.
What kind of camera equipment do you use?
My main camera is the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. As far as lighting equipment, I use a Profoto 7b strobe setup often paired with a beauty dish.
What’s your favorite piece of Canon gear?
I’m a big fan of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. The price was right and I love being able to go from still to video easily during a shoot. I also often use a Canon EF 100mm ƒ/2.8 USM Macro lens.
To see more of Jamie Nelson’s work, go to www.jamienelson.com.