Jim Talkington has been a professional photographer for over twenty years. He freely shares those many years of experience on his informational website, prophotolife.com.
While Jim's work week is spent running Daylight Photo (the commercial photo studio he co-owns and operates in Cincinnati, Ohio), after hours all attention is on the creation of a new instructional video or exploring a new topic for prophotolife. The opportunity to teach keeps Jim energized about photography. As he puts it, "I make my living as a professional but still love photography like an amateur".
Jim credits diversity as being key to his longevity in the photo business. His specialties have ranged from disciplines as diverse as food photography to action sports.
"I started out working in a small portrait studio in the West Virginia town where I grew up", he comments. "After about a year there I moved to Ohio, to a larger city, to pursue photojournalism".
While stringing for small newspapers in his new home of Cincinnati, Jim decided to assist commercial photographers between assignments. He found the discipline of large format and the studio appealing. Before long, advertising photography became the primary pursuit.
Cincinnati was home to a number of major retailers at the time and work was plentiful. Four years spent shooting catalog photography honed his skills with the view camera and provided intensive training in studio lighting. It wasn't unusual to shoot small tabletop sets one day and large room sets the next.
Years spent in the dark studio, though, eventually had Jim itching to return to the great outdoors and his first love of photojournalism. With camera in hand, he left the security of the catalog position to pursue motorsports photography, another lifelong passion.
Throughout the 1990s Jim traversed the country photographing motorcycle racing for advertising and editorial clients located around the world. It was during these years he also became a writer, providing text to accompany editorial submissions.
Since 2000, he has settled closer to home, spending the majority time in the commercial studio once again. With an interest in all things mechanical, industrial and manufacturing clients are a particular specialty.
"I understand manufacturing processes and really enjoy working with tradesmen and engineers. They have great pride in what they do and what they create. As a result, they recognize my particular skills and allow me to do what I do best. They really are great to work with".
An average month at Daylight Photo may find Jim shooting in a machine shop one week, photographing food the next and creating lifestyle images the following. And there's always the occasional exhibit of his personal photography, often quiet scenes with a nostalgic air.
"Diversity is the key, it's what keeps me interested and challenged. I love all aspects of photography and really just want to do it all, sharing with others what I've learned along the way."
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