About Jeff Walton
Jeff Walton is a commercial editorial photographer based in Atlanta, GA. who specializes in commercial photo assignments, editorial portraits and head shots for actors and professionals.
What's your story on how you got into photography?
It seems like forever ago, but while studying graphic design at Ringling College of Art and Design one of the requirements was to take an intro photography class. I had a decent 35mm SLR as a gift from my parents and that got me started shooting black and white film. I just fell in love with the whole process from shooting to processing my own film and developing prints in the lab.
Tell us more about your graphic design background…
In college I majored in Graphic and Interactive Communications. When I graduated in 2004 I accepted a job as a graphic designer at a full service advertising agency. I worked with a team of creative directors, art directors, copy writers and account managers producing everything from print collateral to TV spots and long forms. I continued down that path but never stopped pursuing photography on the side, when traveling, to document my life and sometimes support my design work. Eventually I decided to start doing photography as a part-time job, which allowed me to grow as a professional in the field and encouraged me to finally leave my full time job and start Jeff Walton Photography.
Does your experience as a graphic designer
make you a better photographer?
I think like a designer every time I look through my camera. The experience definitely helps me understand a creative director’s strategy or an art director’s vision so that I can deliver photographs that communicate the idea and fit the format requirements. I am constantly thinking about how the photos may be used, who will handle them and how I can make their jobs easier.
What camera do you use and should we care?
I’m a Nikon guy and that’s all I’ll say. And, no, you shouldn’t care. I’d much rather be judged for my work.
How do you estimate the quote for a new job?
I look at the time and requirements needed to complete the job successfully, and take into account how the images will be used. For example, I know that most head shot sessions will be a couple hours shooting and a couple hours in post processing/managing the files. Large commercial jobs get a little trickier. Commercial jobs usually have a lot more people involved and I have to budget for everything including casting, planning, execution, post processing and file delivery. This is where a lot of people don’t understand that an 8-hour shoot can actually be 40 hours of work.
Do you prefer indoor, outdoor or studio shoots?
I love all of them for different reasons, so it really depends on what is best for the job. I love shooting on location but we have to deal with challenges such as hauling equipment, property releases, different lighting situations and the weather. The studio is definitely less stress, all I have to worry about is getting everyone there on time.
What'd be your dream Photo Assignment?
One with absolutely no budget limits for crew, locations or styling [smiles]. In all honesty, any assignment with a great crew is a dream job. I could start a list of people I’d love to work with but it wouldn’t do much good, the list would never end.
What should someone that wants to work with you do?
After reviewing my work, just shoot me an email with a basic idea about what they’re looking to accomplish. After that I like to set up a phone call to discuss in detail, this helps make sure we’re all clear on what’s expected from the shoot. I definitely don’t respond to random texts like “hey I want to shoot with you” (yes, this really happens).
I really like it when a potential client points out one or two photos from my portfolio that appeal to them. This helps me get an idea of exactly what they’re looking for and what is involved to meet their needs.