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Community Leader Feature | Lia Jay | The Elena S Blair Education Facebook Group


The Elena S Blair Education Facebook Group is one of the most positive and active Facebook Communities for Lifestyle Photographers on the internet.

Elena S Blair has, over the years, cultivated a community of photographers that wants to uplift and support each other. The true definition of Community Over Competition. Within the Facebook group are group experts known as Community Leaders. Our Community Leaders, in the Facebook community, lead with compassion. These Leaders really help foster positivity within the Facebook group and support community members with their questions as well as, provide valuable information/content on their area of expertise.

We will be highlighting each of our talented Community Leaders each month! Keep reading to see who we are highlighting this month!

Community Leader – Lia Jay

Today we talk with Community Leader Lia Jay a Lifestyle Photographer from North Bergen New Jersey.

What genre(s) do you photograph and how long have you been in business?

I shoot Family/Newborns/Etc and Events – since 2008, officially.

What would you say is your photography super power?

I would say my super power is reading my clients emotionally which helps, me help them, and guiding them to give me the emotion I am looking to capture. Showing confidence that “Ive got this” allows them to trust me to take care of them.

What is your favorite personal development resource and why? Podcast, books, IG accounts? Please share one or two.

Classes – I am all about watching and learning. It’s how I learn the most efficiently.

As a visual person, even watching someone speak will help me with internalizing and remembering the message. I am also all about being able to ask questions, so I know I really understood. And what a trip, knowing I understand and am able to apply, it’s a powerful high. To grow, produce and create. A-Maz-Ing! Sue Bryce is the most recent.

Who are your favorite photographers?

I love the feel of a powerful image. I love Elena’s (your) work as I FEEL the image. But that’s too obvious an answer. I really enjoy looking thru Stormy Solis for her colors (LOVE the dramatic intense color) and her dramatic poses – but even more as her images are not perfect. They are posed and yet I see how they can be offered as art. A bigger FAV is Zalmy Berkowitz. Raw and just amazing. Been a fan for years. He plus Bre Thurston, and most recently Tryie! for events. On how allowing the image to unfold and tell a story as it is being taken. The Sincere Storyteller – love how her images make me feel I am always looking for photographers that inspire my need for creative feels and art. Where I can study an image and see the layers. These are photographers I want to use for inspiration now. What I get excited about is the knowledge I will continue to find from others that will very possibly put me on a different path. And thats VERY ok. To be able to grow and develop. What a rush!

How do you find the courage to be different?

Not to be cliché but – Elena. You were the first photographer who didn’t stand there an say “you need to learn and follow and listen to the technique of everyone else.” But to find MY style. To allow me to be my best artist. And man was that a hard lesson! I spent the first Mastermind in anxious terror of failing. Every client call, every job. I questioned whether I could really be the photographer THEY wanted me to be. Imposter syndrome was strong. And finally the second Mastermind (best decision!!!!!) where I learned to believe that I need to breathe and trust MY art taste and style. And to just trust MY vision. It’s been an amazing journey trusting….ME! And then in turn to find my clients LOVE that I’m in charge and will give them the same images they see on my website. I also recently realized that for all the, many, times I claim not to be a control freak, turns out, I control my sessions. I will tell them the pose specifically as I want to have a certain feel and look. And to trust me. Not co pilot. Not only with their family’s pose but to pose THEM!

Did you have a tipping point…like when you knew you had “made it?”

The first tipping point was during the second Mastermind, 2 different points.

1- see the previous response (above) for the first aha moment. Permission to do what the heck I wanted. And not to worry about “tack sharp” images as the be all end all.

2- Darcy Benincosa. That was the first time I feel I truly understood the difference between self confidence and self worth. And how these are not the same. This CHANGED MY WORLD.

Now I know I am worth the pricing I want to charge because I am good at what I do and am worth it and, WORTHY of it. Ok fine. I am still working on that. But life is a journey! And then recently (say a year ago?) I was working at an event. And I decided instead of using my go to lens, I was going to “play”. It was the second half of the party and I felt confident I got what I needed. And now it was time to create. I popped on a brand new lens. And went to town. It was AMAZING. I didn’t feel the worry and weight. Now, for every event, for the second half, or on occasion and depending on my mood, I’ll experiment from the beginning! I push myself and play with light, with flash and with my ISO. For family sessions, I’ll use two cameras. One for more safe poses and one just because I will not end a session without having played. Even just a bit. Feeds my soul, and allows me to feel like I am on the next level. I have been doing this for many years. 2008 was my first official event. It was a VERY slow grow. I pushed hard and am still pushing. But now when I am chatting with another photogs and we discuss settings I get a thrill at their shock when I share how “wide open” even at an event! I feel like I stepped up to the next level and I am very proud to be here.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who was just starting out?

Your art is not about a “price” . Its about finding what you love and are good at. And run with that. And no, its not the same for everyone. Not even close. Learn the rules so you can break them correctly and create your own brand. Then you wont care every time a new photographer appears. There is enough clients for everyone and trust me when I say you only want the ones that want you.

You can see more from Lia Jay and connect with her on her website and on her IG account.


If you are searching for a positive photography community on the internet to connect and learn from others, The Elena S Blair Education Facebook Group is the place for you. You can join today by clicking the button below. We would love to have you. See you there!

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