Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua K. Newborn.
Joshua, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a Los Angeles native who was born in Hollywood, Ca. At the age of 6, I began to become interested in art and my father taught me to draw. My father was also into film photography and I often watched as he developed his pictures in the garage. In my teens, my artistic talents flourished and my love for music began to develop. My parents were always supportive of my artistic endeavors and kept me supplied with the tools to create. In my twenties, I began working in bars and in my free time, I painted pictures. With the accumulation of several paintings, I held my first art show at a place called McMurphy’s in Pasadena. I had 12 paintings in the show and sold every one of them. This event really pushed me to create more and start building what I have today.
Around the age of 25, I bought my first DSLR Nikon camera that was used from a guy in Hollywood. Having the camera in my hands just felt natural. I used the camera to shoot a lot of friends and events that I was working at around town. My love for music had manifested into a career as a sound engineer working for some iconic places such as The Pasadena Jazz Institute, The Little Temple and Zanzibar. So there was always lots of interesting things going around to photograph. Then I returned to school at East Los Angeles College and completed the portrait certification program, it really opened my eyes to the ability to create with a camera. During my time at school, I published a book of portraits of amazing people I know called “On My Couch”. After a couple of years and acquiring several honors awards at school I decided to take my photography knowledge and form a business. By that time I had a good amount people who had seen my work and wanted to work with me, including a major ad company called 10K Advertising (whom I currently work for). I invested in the equipment I needed to be successful and create incredible professional looking images.
For the last couple of years, I’ve been shooting architecture, headshots, products, album covers and concerts professionally. I tend to enjoy shooting portraits the most because every time I shoot somebody, I feel like I gain a deeper connection with them. This connection helps me create images that magnify the person’s inner power. Since I was a child, photography has been showing me a pathway that I’ve been happy to follow and learn about. It is something I truly love doing.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We are all learning all the time and one of the greatest teachers is experience. So, of course, there has been challenges and bumps in the road. Most of the challenges arose from the learning process of experience. Taking photos at the wrong time of day with the sun in the wrong position or the improper use of equipment resulting in sessions that just didn’t work. But every time a mistake was made, the knowledge was gained of how to do things properly the next time around. Mastering a craft means making a lot of mistakes.
Developing the business side was a struggle too. There was lots of days just eating peanut butter sandwiches and cheap meals so that I could save money for quality equipment like a full frame camera. Every sacrifice has paid off, though, at some point, you realize to be successful, you have to invest in reliable gear that will get the job done. Professional camera equipment isn’t cheap, either. As you progress in the craft, you learn, there is a huge difference between a $100 lens and a $1000 lens. The technology is always changing as well, and even though it doesn’t take the top-notch gear to produce an amazing image, from a business standpoint, you always want to be current and working efficiently with tools that are equal to or greater than your competition.
And finally, one of the biggest things to overcome was finding a mentor, I was out there on my own making it happen but not sure what I needed to do to get better. Eventually, the right people came along to fill those shoes. The legendary experience of these individuals has been guiding me towards executing perfect photos, every time.
J.K.Newborn – Photography and Design – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
J.K.Newborn specializes in creative portrait photography. Most of the work is providing clients with personal branding materials like headshots, website content, images for social media and press kits. My heavy artistic background of drawing and painting skills have refined my mastery of composition and conceptual design when behind the camera. I have a strong network of stylists and make up artists for many different looks available for my clients.
During the shoots, I pay extreme attention to detail, such as lighting, focus, body position, background, and expression. A lot of thought and planning goes into analyzing where the subject will be shot, what the subject will be wearing and how the light falls on them. I often run specials through social media where the price of the sessions is cut in half because I recognize how expensive it can be to get images that are going to elevate your brand. Truly I am open to working with any budget depending on the situation, I enjoy doing it so much that helping people out is never a problem.
The portraits I create often have a painterly look and cinematic feeling which is a product of my previous artistic background. I tend to use the light and colors in the portraits in a more dramatic fashion. I am also very skilled with retouching and editing the photos in the post-production process. I’ve acquired extensive knowledge with programs like the Adobe Creative Cloud. I actually learned to design flyers and album covers on Photoshop many years before I started doing photography. My expertise with these editing programs is very strong. One of the services my business does is taking old family film photos and shooting them digitally, then adding color corrections and removing the blemishes and scratches. So that yellowing picture of your grandmother that seems to be weathering away can be digitally remastered and printed to look new.
The history of involvement with bars and nightclubs has provided me with an exceptional eye for shooting concerts and events. I recently received praise from a few legendary musicians regarding my shots of their performances. From Bollywood parties to weddings to festivals and various other events, I have been there with camera in hand documenting the epic adventure.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success… When you are out on a shoot in 103-degree weather in some tropical location, sweating like crazy and concentrating to get the perfect shot. Then a smile comes across your face because you love being in that particular moment, the smile widens when you remember you are getting paid for it.
Success to me is doing what you love.
I would divide the idea of success for myself into three planes.
1. (Current) Doing something you love. Making money doing it. Starting a business.
2. Still doing what you love. Building a team for the business and permanent or multiple locations.
3. Persisting to do what you love. Building a home and retirement fund. Traveling the world.
- Portrait session: $200 includes a 2 hour session, up to 15 images and basic editing and retouching with 3 looks.
- Photo Restore: $50 includes the restoration of four old photographs processed to digital format. Prints are extra depending on quantity.
- Website: jknewborn.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @jk_newborn
- Facebook: @jknewborn
- Twitter: @jk_newborn
- Other: https://www.blurb.com/b/8524007-on-my-couch
Catalina Van Halen, Arthur Newborn, Michael Rodgers, Nastasha Estrada, Chaynler Joie, Django Craig & Ben vera, Mae Koo, Parker Sloan and Ky Mani Marley,