Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamil Taylor.
Jamil, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always loved memories. I hate forgetting things; so even as a kid I would save anything that meant something to me. It could be old homework, a shirt that, or anything that I could use as a timestamp of a memory that happened. Growing up, my mom would call me a “pack rat” just because I would never like to throw anything away. So fast forward to December 25th, 2015 my mom bought me my first camera. It was a Nikon 5300 with a kit lens on it. I loved it instantly. I always told her I wanted a camera but because they are so expensive and I’m so frugal, I never purchased one myself (I would have eventually but I also struggle with procrastination).
It started out as a hobby, I just wanted to capture things in a way that I wanted to remember them, in their natural environment, no matter the subject. It gave me a real appreciation for candid moments. When I first started, I was in my final years of Sacramento State University and I took my camera everywhere. Most of the time I wouldn’t even take any pictures but I thought to have it just in case “something happens”. I was also getting tired of getting fired from different restaurants so I needed a way to make money (legally). As I always had my camera on me and in every class, I would position myself in front of as many students as possible; then I would edit just about the entire class period. Soon people were coming up to me telling me they always watch me edit and so on. So I started to do class portraits starting at $80 then going to about $125 and I had a print package going for an extra fee. People should try to sell more prints, digital will never last. I shot a friend’s wedding for $160 dollars then shot a wedding soon after for $1200. This was all while living in The Bay.
Two years ago, when our father passed away I reconnected with my brother Jayceon “The Game”. After he brought me on as his photographer to shoot his “45” European tour After the success of that tour, I was inspired to move out to LA as soon as I could. I saved up what money I could; put everything I had in my Camaro and moved to LA 6 months later. A month after moving to LA, Game started to record his album “Born 2 Rap” (in which I shot the cover for). I attended every single studio session, not because I had to but rather I wanted to. I love the studio. It was a vibe every time. During this time, I was taking hundreds of pictures everyday of a lot of different people in different industries such as: Nipsey, Tracey Mcgrady, Wale, Meek Mill, Dr. Dre, Wiz, Mozzy, Snoh Alegra, etc. With this wide variety of pictures, I decided to self publish a photo book titled “Born 2 Shoot” to give his fan a visual representation of what the making of the album is like. Through the candid pictures, there is a vibe you can feel when you view book in full. It’s the first thing in life I have accomplished alone that I am proud of. Right before the corona virus took over the world, I had just completed my send UK/EUR tour with Game. So now I’m home working on my second and third photo books.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road. There was a portion of time where I was not financially stable. There is a lot people that expect you to work for free and may take advantage of your time. I have been homeless during the process but I have never been jobless. Because of my camera, I always had a means of making money so I was never “broke”.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
My business is me. I am my only employee, assistant, and co-founder. I am a photographer whom goes by “Jamil not Jamal”. My specialty is portrait photography focusing on lifestyle, candid, family, and business portraits. I also have a strong background in sports, weddings, editorials, and event photography as well.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans for the future are to simply keep growing creatively. I want to start videography as well, just to challenge myself to learn something else completely new. I’m going to start a vlog and turn it into a travel vlog so I can travel the world, document my personal experiences, and get paid to do it. I also want to help anyone I can grow in the industry of photographer. I want to work with as many people on as many projects as possible.
- Portrait/Content Packages start at $175
- Website: https://born2shoot.myshopify.com
- Phone: 8319028439
- Email: Jamilmtaylor@gmail.com
- Instagram: @FreeJamilnotJamal
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taylor.nef
Jamil Not Jamal