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Meet Jay of JLC Imagery in DTLA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jay of JLC Imagery.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story started with a model that I was dating, which was making noise around my hometown of Nashville. She had a simi-reveling calendar that she sold out of her car and on social media. Of course, I was a little overwhelmed by the attention she was receiving from the calendar, and the shoots prior.

We talked, she set me straight by telling me “look babe this was here before you, so you can accept it and reject it.” If I rejected it, the relationship would probably be over. So I hung in there and decided to find ways to ease the tension of her attention. She was already somewhat out of my league anyway – so I was like I’m not letting her get away lol. So I started showing up to her photoshoots, selling calendars, helping with marketing and social media. After seeing how tasteful her shoot was she suggested I start shooting her. At first, I was like I’m not good enough to match the experts she was shooting with. Then I remembered that I’m a graphic designer and even if my photos suck I can make them look decent. So I got a camera and started messing around with fashion shoots, runway, events and of course shooting my beautiful girlfriend.

Flash forward a few years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of my camera (I’m a Canon person btw) and ready for the big time. Only to be rejected due to my style of editing. For some reason, I liked to make all of my images resemble a movie-style poster with overly dramatic tones with dark hues. This did not go over well with one of the agencies that I started working with in Nashville (Tribe Modeling Agency.) My good friend Sherry (owner of Tribe) saw potential and gave me some guidelines and some advice. I took the advice and switched my style to match what the industry accepts as great quality images.

With that knowledge and support from my former girlfriend now fiance´, Sherry and a ton of YouTube videos, I ended up in Los Angeles to work with some of the nation’s top talent. I have worked with Bravo, Real Housewives of LA, Kevin Hart, NBA, fashion magazines and the list goes on.

I’m working on continuing my career shooting amazing people and creating iconic images that will make you say damn that’s got to be JLC. lol was that corny? Well, how about this, I’m shooting towards the stars and if I miss – at least I will be amongst ________! Lol, you get it.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of my earliest struggles was toning my editing style to fit industry standards.

My road wasn’t smooth by any means. I would say some of my biggest challenges were transitioning to LA and finding models. I remember when I got to LA, I put the word out that I’m here, come shoot with me via craigslist, model mayhem, Facebook, IG and nothing was working for hummm like 6+ months. I have to step away and reevaluate my position in this big city. So I started DM’s, networking events, friends of friends, etc. until things started to roll.

There is no secret to what I did, there is just a willingness to keep going. I eventually found a photo studio, two stylists (clothing, hair), a publicist and that I work with to create some amazing images. Each image you see from me has a team involved and with the power of IG, you can see each person(s) role.

I know its cliche’ but teamwork makes the dream work, and that’s so true.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about JLC Imagery – what should we know?
JLC Imagery is a company that specializes in creative imagery. Photography, designs, soon to be motion pictures.

What we are known for is inspiring set designs, innovative images, enlightening designs and awe-inspiring productions that welcome new comers and seasoned professionals to join in the creative projects because we all see things differently.

I like to teach my craft to spread my love of photography. I was given the opportunity to speak at my mother and Oprah’s alma mater Tennessee State University on two occasions. Where I did a live photoshoot as an open forum to teach about the modeling and photography industry. We had a blast – Thank you, Pauline Sullivan, for that opportunity.

What sets me apart from others is my willingness to try new things and my work ethic. I’m constantly researching imagery, models, lighting, equipment, techniques. Then actually trying them with clients. On a JLC Imagery set – you will rarely see the same set up twice.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Myka Drake – The reason I became a photographer. Sherry Rhine-Padilla – My biggest coach and cheerleader. My parents – for always being there even though the free photoshoots. They kept asking when are you going to get paid? Lol. William Springfield – Friend first that turned into a national model than a photographer. Always great with the advice from both stan points (awesome person to have in my corner). Tavell Brown – Super support when I needed him. Letting me use his studio, lights, resources. Pauline Sullivan – for opening doors to my teaching platform

My stylist family past and future: Tanya Davis, Andrea Ward, Maete Udoh, Markeisha Rose, Karissa Baker, Lamarion Meddling, SherryO, Mel Ramsey…

Publicist: Linda Robins, Barbara Sanchez

Mentors/fellow photographer: Tavell Brown, William Springfield, Logan James, Lorenzo Belmonte, Dre (imDrePhantom) Griffin, Brandon McClain, Chris March, John “Jay Tee” Taylor, Lenny Bur, Genie Deez…

And the mass of models, events personalities, influencers thank you!!

The reason I’m listing credits in the first place – My friend Zana Messia – Thanks You!


  • Studio shoots start at $200 an hour
  • $1500+ Day rate

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The headshot by: Lorenzo Belmonte | @lorenzobelmontephoto

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