The Editor in Chief

This is part of my Forever Grateful project.
As I was selling my home and placing my business on hiatus for a period of time, I took portraits of about 30 people who influenced my career over the past 12 years. This was my way of saying “Thanks” and letting everyone know that I couldn’t have done it without their support.


As I mentioned in my post about Jenelle Riley, shooting for BackStage was one of the biggest breaks of my career. As Editor in Chief, you had the final say in whether I was on the roster of photographers. You gave Jenelle the green light to bring me on board and over the next 10 years, I was given an opportunity that many photographers only dream of.

Your faith in me especially meant a lot, because you are also a photographer… a very skilled one at that. You would get first dibs on the celebrities you wanted to shoot and I would get the ones you weren’t available for when your schedule was busy. Speaking of which, I have thank your husband and first born child as well… because when you were pregnant, you didn’t shoot as many covers and during that time I got to shoot with Betty White, Pee-Wee Herman, and Morgan Freeman!

But seriously, the opportunity to shoot for you was the most rewarding and the most challenging. You helped make me a better photographer.

Forever grateful,


The Story Behind the Shoot:

After shooting a couple headshots for Jamie in her backyard and a couple shots for this project, I packed up and was about to head out when I noticed this antique camera on Jamie’s fireplace mantle. It reminder her of the Mamiya camera that took her from being an amateur to pro photographer. Having a higher quality camera in her arsenal gave her more clout and people had more faith in hiring her.

Jamie Painter Young - photo by Blake Gardner Photography
Jamie Painter Young – photo by Blake Gardner Photography

I hear people say “it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer” and though I understand the sentiment is that a skilled photographer can take great shots with a crappy camera… but if you’re playing with an amateur camera and taking good shots, imagine the kinds of photos you’ll take when you start working with a better camera. Invest in yourself and buy that nicer camera and better lenses today! It’ll pay off.

Shot with a Canon 5 D Mark III and Lensbaby Composer lens (maybe I should take my advice and upgrade to a canon tilt shift lens?)

You can read more from my Forever Grateful project HERE.

3 thoughts on “The Editor in Chief

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