Self-described “photo geek” Stephen Jones first picked up a camera—his dad’s Pentax SLR 35mm—in high school. He enjoyed the hobby, and decided to hone his photography skills at the University of Georgia, where he earned a BFA in photographic design and graduated cum laude. After more than a decade in the newspaper industry, an unexpected layoff gave Jones the jolt he needed to pursue his passion and open his own studio, Studio 331.
Today, the photographer distinguishes himself from the hundreds of others in his field by passing the rigorous exams and portfolio reviews necessary to earn the title of Certified Professional Photographer—an honor that only a small percentage of professional photographers hold. Jones specializes in weddings, where he shoots brides as they primp for their big day and newlyweds as they walk away from the altar amidst steaming showers of rice pilaf. His family shoots capture the emotional bonds between youngsters and their parents; his senior portraits, in contrast, showcase the confidence and potential of soon-to-be graduates.
Though Amy Koontz Knippel’s resume teems with prestigious education and accolades—she possesses a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, was awarded the Visual and Media Artist Fellowship from the South Florida Consortium, and received the Millennium Cultural Recognition Award from the Florida Secretary of State—she’s not one to keep the secret of her talents to herself. That’s why she started Natural Photo Safaris: she knows that others love photographing the beauty of the world as much as she does, but might not possess her level of training. She leads groups out into the world to capture eye-catching sights in a range of photographic styles while she teaches guests the ins and outs of their own cameras. She instills the core principles of taking good pictures regardless of what kind of equipment her students wield, even catering to students with older-model cameras that take film.
Photographer Jamie Lee, who got her start in sports photography, has been involved in the wedding industry since she was 17. She fell in love with the beauty and romance of weddings, and decided that she wanted to become a professional photographer. She quickly developed her own style, a blend of photojournalism and artistic shots for weddings of all sizes. When she's not snapping wedding, landscape, and nature photos, Jamie captures pictures of interacting families, beaming couples, peacefully sleeping newborn babies, and expecting mothers.
JMarie Photography's shutterbug says her business is a "simple start up," but her images capture the complexities of human emotion in broad, artful strokes. She shoots outdoors and on-location to seize those moments, pairing natural light with natural expressions. Freezing the candid and spontaneous are her goals, capturing people just being themselves. Portraits are taken in color or black and white with just a touch of color to draw attention to little details, such as flowers or a dress. Accommodating all photography needs, she's available for everything from family portraits to special events.