Haze kware Art Photography
Landscape Photography: Drew May

Here is a quick bio of Jake Olson accomplishments:

  •     Jake Olson “Jake Olson Studios” was named by The Huffington Post as one of the Top 30 Most Socially Influential Photographers in the World in 2014 (Number 20).
  •     His images have been featured in dozens of publications around the World including British Vogue and Digital SLR Magazine, Practical Photography Magazine, Digital Photo Magazine, SLR Lounge, and My Modern Met.
  •      Jake’s images have also been used by the BBC, ABC NEWS and featured on National Geographic, Forbes.com and Bloomberg. Jakes images are licensed by Trevillion Images one of the world’s leading creative photo agencies.
  •      His images are sold to book publishers and bestselling authors like Lee Child, Colleen Faulkner and Jody Lynn Anderson and now seen on dozens of titles around the World.

1. Hello Jake, tell us about yourself.

Hi! I’m Jake Olson a children’s and family portrait photographer from Blair, Nebraska, USA. I also do one-on-one post processing webinars for students all over the world.

2. You have a very unique style of photography, what do you categorize your genre as and what inspired or lead you to this style of photography?

I classify myself as a “hybrid” Digital Artist/Photographer. What inspired me was the beauty of golden hour “Sunset” in Nebraska and putting people in the special lighting situations Nebraska has to offer as well as the vast landscapes with powerful leading lines.

3. What is the story behind you picking up a camera for the first time and its evolution into such a brilliant talent?

A book recently got out titled “Reframed” The Jake Olson Story written by Dr. Heather Fox that tells how I got into photography and explains my successes in such a short period of time, as well as my decades long battle with addiction.

 I have always had the ability to draw and paint but hadn’t done it for years, when I picked up a camera for the first time two and a half years ago. I had been battling an addiction with alcohol and when I decided to get sober, I picked up a camera instead of a bottle! I got good from burying my nose in camera technique and shooting thousands of images a day. I also got better at post processing by practicing as well. Once I learned to use layers proficiently it was off to the races!

4. What does your camera kit consist of?

Right now, it’s very simple. I only use natural light so no flash or reflectors of any kind. My camera body body is the Canon 5D Mark III and the only lens I use is the Canon 85mm 1.2 L II. I will be switching to the Canon 200mm 2.0 L soon though! I keep it very simple and mobile. I don’t even own a tripod.

5. Many people think that post-processing is unethical and unnatural, what are your thoughts on it ?

I don’t agree, unless it’s being used to report news or accurately record and event. Beyond that I believe it’s an art form and open to interpretation. I felt guilty for using a camera at first because I thought if I was a true artist I wouldn’t need one. The camera is the only cheat. Photoshop is also extremely vast and complicated to use. You can’t just open the program and produce professional looking results without a lot of practice or some artistic ability.

6. What should beginners keep in mind while clicking a picture ?

They should keep post processing in mind. When I’m shooting I pretend I’m looking at a computer screen. I’m constantly adjusting things that I know I need to get right in camera and I stay very aware of things that can be fixed or adjusted in post. The most important things to me in a camera are focus and depth of field. I also shoot a lot wide open at 1.2, so for this I back away from my subject to widen my focus plain. I do this knowing I can crop in post. I also only shoot in RAW so I can tweak my exposure. I’ve never shot in Jpeg before, it’s a waste of valuable camera information.

7. It can be observed that most of your work consists of children Portraits, any specific reason behind it ?

The reason behind it is that children are so animate and unpredictable. They’re my favorite subjects because I never know what I’m going to get. Each shoot is different even if it’s utilizing the same background. Shooting portraits seven days a week like I do, client consistency is important so I use the same background quite often. I also know the lighting conditions at certain times of the day and I can guarantee results.

8. How is your experience while clicking them, as it is difficult to tell them to pose according to photographer’s need?

I don’t plan on cooperation, I count on spontaneity. Most of my best images will contain movement and that only comes when the children are playing. I put them in specific lighting locations and encourage them to play, not pose!

9. Which softwares do you use for post processing these beautiful images?

I use Adobe CC and Lightroom only!

10. Tell us about some funny incidents that happened during the shoot.

I’ve had children throw rocks and spit at me and do all kids of unexpected things. I can’t think of an isolated incident, but I actually enjoy it all. Even when they’re a little naughty!

11. Finally, can you suggest the Dos and Don’ts for the beginners while shooting such Portraits in different landscape backgrounds?

Do wait for your best light!

Don’t shoot in overhead sun!

Do make your clients comfortable and be yourself.

Don’t be aggressive with children and let them make up the rules.

Do give them choices and get them involved!

Gallery: (Click on image for full-screen mode)

Jake Olson Children n Family Gallery

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Jake Olson
Jake Olson Studios
Blair, Nebraska
United States


My links:

500px Gallery:  https://500px.com/JakeOlsonStudios/about

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jakeolsonstudios

Haze kware Art Photography
Landscape Photography: Drew May