I'm a swell guy. Moms love me, and I'm good with kids. You hire me, and I'm on Team You, whatever that entails.

My Equipment and Visual Style
A lot of photographers use about the same setup -- perfect top-of-the-line Canon or Nikon digital cameras and the standard two or three perfect lenses. Their photos all look fantastic, and pretty similar. I mostly use a modern DSLR camera, too, but I pair it other photo gear that's well-worn, quirky, and cantankerous, like me. I use lenses as old as your grandma, and I like to get some offbeat Holga lenses, toy cameras, and film in the mix. (I shoot about 100 photos an hour when I'm on a tear, and with pro film that adds up, after film processing.) That said, if you'd like me to use a pro setup, I'm happy to rent it.

Visually, I probably like your ancient family snapshots better than contemporary, meticulous advertising photos. I'm not the type to pose people just so -- people move around and clap and laugh, and I like folks to look like themselves, not mannequins. I like a little blur when it makes sense -- quiet moments should be still, but active moments should have life. I also like a little out-of-focus dreaminess here and there, if it fits. Technical perfection is less important to me than emotion!

I shoot with available light whenever possible for a more natural look, though of course I have flashes for when the need arises. While I completely adore getting loose, I also know not to shoot your kid's birthday party like a MoMA installation; usually, most of the pictures will be fairly straightforward with some arty business thrown in for spice, unless we discuss otherwise.

I'm Also a Painter, and a Trained Graphic Designer
Something that may set me apart from other photographers: I'm an working fine art painter. I've been a gallery painter and printmaker for 10 years. I know pictures! In another life I worked at design firms and ad agencies in Manhattan and London. Which will come in handy when it's time for photo books or fancy wedding albums.

I'm Not a Sales Weasel
I'm a no-nonsense guy from New York. I don't have the patience for a mawkish and syrupy sales pitch designed to separate you from your money and convince you to order things you you can't afford; you don't need me to tell you good photos of an important event can be powerful. I'm a craftsman, not a salesman; I do strong work for a fair price, and try hard to make it as best I can. When I nail it, they're beautiful. I like making beautiful things.

I Run a Bare-Bones Operation
I don't have $20K of state-of-the-art equipment, or a fancy storefront studio with fine Corinthian leather couches, or a team of assistants that I'll ask you to pay for.

I'm Not Overburdened by Experience
Which means I'm not bored and haven't been shooting the same assembly-line poses for 20 years. I'm endlessly curious, and my eye is never still.

... But I Do Have Some
I've shot quinceañeras, corporate events, class reunions, fundraisers, weddings, academic seminars, family and kids' portraits, small businesses and portraits of their owners, product photos, and Christmas-card portraits, along with whatever I'm forgetting. Basically, put me in front of it and I'll take photos for you.

A Note About Weddings
I am available as a second shooter for large weddings; I've done this a few times and enjoyed wandering around and getting unusual shots while the main photographer does their thing. I could be the main photographer for backyard weddings, receptions in town after a wedding elsewhere, and smaller events.

By the Way
I'm not crazy about having my picture taken, either. Despite my rugged good looks, there's a reason I'm behind the camera instead of in front of it. Stressed people make for stiff pictures; I understand and know how to get everyone to relax.

Taking great pictures is pretty satisfying, and when we go over your photos, I think you'll be happy.


© James J. Barnett. All rights reserved.