Category Archives: for photogs


So I had a random dream last night. It included a discussion with my dermatologist about business, and how he got to be so popular. See, it takes forever to get in to see him for an appointment… subconscious being overactive? Anyway, he fake told me that to be as busy as he is, all someone has to do is follow his example: specialize in something people really want, which has built-in longevity and repeat business. Be excellent at your specialty, cultivate the reputation for being THE one to go to for that specialty. Not bad advice for a dream.

The quest to find a niche and a specialty is one of self-discovery, and patient expectation. That’s the polite, artsy way of saying it seems to take forever and I don’t want to wait any longer. Sometimes a step or three back to “see the forest for the trees” is a good thing. Bottom line is, the imaginary discussion taking place during REM sleep has actually provided some humorously perfect direction.

If you need a good dermatologist in the Eugene area, Jay Park is excellent – and he gives good dreamtime counsel, too.


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  • JeramieWell you certainly have been following your own advice. I can’t imagine another photographer in Eugene making a living with you in town 🙂 Anyways, beautiful work as usual and thanks for always being a good source of inspiration, even beyond the visuals.

  • MelindaDo you think he’ll bill you for the dream time consult? Is that covered by insurance?

    Love your images. And if you ever decide to teach a local lighting workshop I’d love to hear about it.

  • Kim O'NeilI agree with Melinda…teach us, please! 🙂 And, I love your shots of the bride and groom on the beach. Your lighting and exposures are always perfect, Jay!

  • LizI love your portraits. They are some of my favorite in the biz.

  • SethI had a dream I got punched in the face by Optimus Prime. Your dreams are way better than mine. You got great advice. I got punched in the face by a benevolent semi. On an unrelated note, I love your work.


Zack has been an inspiration for me since 2006, roughly the beginning of of my professional career. I’ve always been fascinated with music, so music photographers hold a special place in my heart. Jeremy Cowart, Annie Leibovitz, the late Jim Marshall, Mark Seliger, and Zack Arias, to name a few music photographers I love, bring two artistic mediums together in different ways, all of which speak to me as a person.

Zack teaches a lighting workshop and has a DVD called the OneLight, which is focused on off-camera lighting (my favorite way to shoot). You’ll work with speedlights, Pocket Wizards, softboxes, umbrellas, and a number of other light modifiers. You will also do some math. Sorry, it’s just part of the process. I’ve wanted to attend this workshop for years, and 2010 was my year, it seems. I chose DC, and aside from a monster $187 ticket for being a single-occupant driver on a freeway, not a LANE, mind you… an entire freeway (like I could possibly know anything about that, thanks  a lot officer Sensitivity of the VAPD), it was a great workshop. I’m pretty comfortable with lights already, although I admit I rarely use speedlights, it’s usually my Alienbees, so it was nice to gain speedlight experience with the modifiers I already use. The math aspect was one that I was specifically interested in. I hate math. To quote Will Ferrell’s George W. Bush, “math is very much a part of  the Axis of Evil.” I think the officer who decided an Oregonian didn’t deserve a warning about a violation he couldn’t possibly know about is also in the Axis of Evil.

To explain why I wanted the math aspect, I’ll step back 4 years or so. I love natural light, but back in the day I loved natural light partially because I was scared of flashes, strobes, umbrellas, and all of the off-camera wizardry. I didn’t understand it, so therefore I loved natural light 🙂   Now, I still love natural light to this day, however; I feared strobes. I decided I didn’t like avoiding something because I was afraid of it, that’s a foolish rationale, so I bought a Canon 430EX and an Alienbee 400 with a standard shoot-through umbrella. Major fail. I didn’t get it and I didn’t do it well… so I set it all aside for “a while.” Like over a year “a while.”

Then I found Zack’s work. I saw a Flickr photo with the tag under it “Screw you all, I still love jump shots.” I instantly loved the photo and the photographer. It was now 2008 and I started paying a lot of attention to people with lights, Zack in particular. Fresh, clean, easy to understand lighting. I tried my hand at lighting again. This time I fell in love and have been using them more frequently ever since. All because I decided not to be afraid of something and was willing to make some atrociously bad images until I felt comfortable.

Fast forward to why I want the math. I don’t want to think about how to light, I just want to do it… I want it to be as second nature as aperture, ISO, and shutter speed are. That’s the “why” behind wanting the OneLight DVD and workshop experience. This July I got both, and I am so thankful – bucket list item, for sure. Zack put on a legit program, not forgetting Zack’s right hand Dan, and I highly recommend it. I’m still digesting the math, as it is my weakness, so we’ll see if I ever get to the place where it is second nature.

Zack demonstrated the techniques, then we implemented them.  Pretty simple, huh?

Dan gets lazy, but Zack shows him how to do it right.  We got turned loose to do our own thing, these are some of the images I came up with.


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  • Rick WennerYou got some great shots from this workshop Jay. I went to Zack’s workshop in Brooklyn last year and I had a great time too. Learned so much. Good work man

  • jayeadsthanks rick! it’s a good one, huh?

  • daronaliyainspiring! i’ll admit that i’m scared to use strobes/etc also. perhaps i shall work on viewing off-camera lighting with curiosity rather than fear. 🙂

  • Paul PrattI went to a OneLight in 2009 and I went from confused to “lights on” in one day. You got some great shots from the workshop. I find the math part easy until I’m using 1/3 stop increments and I need to be 1/2 a stop brighter…too much for my brain to compute!

  • Tweets that mention DC OneLight with Zack Arias | Jay Eads Photography --[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jay eads, jay eads. jay eads said: new blog. it's about @zarias and the OneLight workshop I went to […]

  • Marinaawesome. your shots are GOOD.

  • Steve ElmerTHe 3rd last one is pretty killa dude 🙂

  • Sean OpenshawI was on the fence about going to that workshop but had I known you were going to be there I might have tried a bit harder. Great shots. The tones in your images blow me away.

  • Nirav PatelLooks like an awesome workshop and shots are jaytastic (not sure if that word will ever catch haha)! I’m scanning the country right now for some workshops to take. Will have to add this to the growing list. I’ll be broke but educated in no time (Just like college all over again). Hope your cold is but a distant memory now. Can’t wait to see more of what you do with the stuff you learned. Take care Jay.

  • DanGreat stuff Jay! I really like the second to last shot.

  • jayeadsthanks dan! you guys were a blast… i wish i had more time to hang with you, but you know… i had a class and whatnot 🙂


“…when are you going full-time with photography?”

I have heard that question so many times over the last few years. Sometimes people assume I already am full-time and it makes for good conversation.  No doubt the topic also comes up because I work full time and photography is a “side project” which takes up 40+ hours a week and keeps me up until 2-3am each night. That’s all changing…

I’m going full time as a photographer as of June 25th. One response I’ve heard a few times now is, “it’s about time.” This has been a significant and difficult journey over the past 3 years, and I’m choosing to see it as a beginning. Sure, it is the end of a 15 year employment relationship at a company I dearly love, which encompasses my entire adult life… but I leave with nothing but gratitude and loyalty.

Why now? Thanks to the amount of work I had, 2009 was the hardest year of my life. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Some days I would see my little boy for 20-60 minutes total, or not at all.  The time I saw my wife was distracted, to say the least. Editing on the couch and watching TV is not quality time.
  • I lost approximately 1100 hours of sleep last year, going to bed at 2-4am and at work by 8am. Not healthy.
  • I couldn’t offer either job 100% and that isn’t acceptable to me. It made my completion times for photo jobs and weddings longer than I would like to see. I had no time to expand or grow.

I’m no martyr… I know I’m not alone, I just wanted to explain myself.

It was time. I needed to wrestle over the decision for a few months, evaluating all the factors with friends who know me well, and photographer friends who know me and the industry. In fact, in a large way, I have Benj Haisch and Mike Smith to thank for helping me with this – not to mention Zack, Ken, and a host of friends who have great experience.

This is who I am… or, this is who I am supposed to be right now. I’ve heard it said that who we are is God’s gift to us, who we become is our gift to Him. I don’t know if any of that is true, but I like the sentiment of it, and I like the forward, aspirational feeling it gives me. I wanted to share a number of the images that made the last few years so meaningful to me. The first image is of the founder of the company I have been at for half my life, and he passed away this year. Spending a good deal of time with him over the years, I had the honor of being with him for many of his last days. After his passing, I spent countless hours pouring over pictures, details, and documents from his 80+ years on Earth. I was tasked with the mission of creating a slideshow/video that reflected who he was as a person. As I held his hand at his bedside that last week, I couldn’t help but think about the risks he took to start his own publishing house at the age of 50, leaving another prominent publishing house, started by his dear friend. Risk. Payoff. Legacy. I have Bob to thank for making this decision, as well.

It’s about time?  Nah… it’s about timing.


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  • Sean OpenshawWay to go Jay! I think there are a lot of us in the same boat, knowing where we want to be or where we should be (photography), but for whatever reason, our path has taken us on a detour. I can’t imagine that with your distinct style and quality, you will have any problem getting work. Again, way to go and the best of luck.

  • benj haischstoked for you, man. it’ll be so incredibly good for your family and your relationship with Jesus, too.

  • scottyyour words are way more powerful than any of your photos. thanks man.

    oh and what benj said.

  • maddiewow, congratulations! i’m extremely jealous! your work is definitely good enough to be a full-time photographer. it’s incredible, infact. so i’m jealous of that too! i’m still sitting on the fence myself. i don’t have a husband and children, but i work a 40 hrs/week day-job, then shoots 2 or 3 nights a week, play on 2 softball teams two nights a week, and have a boyfriend. and honestly, editing has been on the back-burner for WEEKS! i’ve recently outsourced my color-correcting (haven’t seen the final results yet, but i’m hoping it will make a huge difference in the amount of time it takes me!), and i’m hoping that will help me keep my sanity until i can afford to quit my day-job. geeze, that was a lot of info, sorry about that. but my non-photographer friends don’t seem to understand, so i was excited i could relate to you a little bit 🙂 anyway, i wish you the best of luck, but i think you will be doing just fine!! 🙂

  • MarynWell said and well done.

  • megmanionsillikerjay – you’re awesome! much happiness + success on your journey – the world is ready for your talent….full time!!! as dr. seuss said – you’re mountain is waiting, so get on your way!! xo

  • BethanyAnneoh geez Jay you have this totally annoying way of making me emotional. After reading your post then looking at the first picture, couldn’t help but tearing up… but just a little. 😉

    The photo of the Haisch’s is one of my favorites ever too.
    beautiful, beautiful work, all of these.

    I’m glad you’ll be able to spend real time with your family now, even if it meant giving up some good things. God bless on this new chapter! 🙂

  • caleb rexiusthis blog post brought me a lot of joy. I wish you the best, and we will certainly continue to work together. blessings to you and your journey ahead.

  • morgaineJay, I fully understand decision making and striving for balance in work and personal life. Blessings on the journey, my friend… may it be smooth and joyful all the way.

  • Gareth Robins (Wedding Photography in Auckland, New Zealand)I’m just blown away by these photos. Each one carries so much emotion and character. Just amazing. The thing I love the most is that the colours, and lighting, and exposure is just right. I mean it’s totally spot on, perfect. This is great photography.

    I wish you every success as you go full time. I will be keeping a close eye on your work now, and can’t wait to see more. ~ Gareth

  • Paul PrattJay

    It’s about time!

    Seriously, congratulations you definitely deserve it. Enjoy the change, the journey and most of all the time with your family. I hope one day to push my own quality level up to the point where I too can be in your position.

    Once again, congratulations.


  • kristin browni have been checking in on your blog now and then ever since i saw zack arias’ critique of your website. you have such amazing images and i love your style.

    i’m so glad you are able to make photography your full-time job now–i can’t wait until i can quit my day job and do what i love. congratulations!

  • Brandon WitzelWelcome to the family.

  • Rensche MariCongratulations Jay! I wish you all the best, your images are amazing and you will enrich peoples lives with great memories.

  • Tomme HiltonSo glad for you Jay, what a dilemma of many of us in this economy and still a decision many of us struggle with for various reasons. The older we get, the more we realize time really IS all you have. Make the most of it!
    My glass is raised to you.

  • MikeSo awesome man. You made this happen on your own. We are all proud of you 🙂

  • Nirav PatelCongrats Jay!!! This is so awesome and I am very happy for you. Take care man.

  • JasonJay,

    I was turned on to your work through Zack’s critique, and all I can say is that my mouth fell open! Not because your work is fantastic, but because so many of your images are how I see portraits in my mind.

    After being out of photography for almost 9 years, I just recently jumped back into this amazing digital world of photography and seeing your work has just catapulted my already elevated enthusiasm! I know you have dealt with some self-confidence issues, so all I can say to that is “Jarvis who? Give me Jay Eads.”

    I’m always looking to learn so if you are ever in the New Orleans area, please send me an email… dinner will be on the wife and I.

  • jayeadsUm. Wow. Thank you! Never been to Nawlins. Might have to find a reason 🙂


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