It's daybreak. Award-winning photographer Jim Jordan works out
and does yoga before starting his workday. After reviewing the
day's projects with his agent/studio manager, Marilyn Whetstone, he
heads to the beach to launch a multiple-day ad shoot. Dressed in
swim trunks and shirtless, with spiked blond hair, he's off to
scope out the scene, have fun with the models, and satisfy his
His signature images of outdoorsy, friendly men and women swimming, running, fishing, and horsing around in some of the world's most picturesque landscapes have earned him an enormous roster of happy, high-end clients. Interview, Marie Claire, and Vogue, BMW, Warner Brothers, Brooks Brothers, L.L. Bean, J. Crew, Sundance, Alicia Silverstone, Charlize Theron, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert Redford all savor the joie de vivre JJ, as he's known, brings to every shoot.
Jordan's engaging photo style was born during years of traveling around as a hair and makeup stylist for magazines and modeling agencies worldwide. He always had a knack for discovering models. "Even in high school, I was able to pick out young men and women with a unique look, cool features, and captivating personalities. I've always been drawn to open, friendly, easy-going people."
His rapport with models is paramount in his images. "When we gather for a shoot, I like to hang out with my talent to make them feel comfortable with me before getting in front of the camera. They know right away they're going to have fun and I will make them look and feel amazing," he says.
Take a look at some classic Jordan images throughout this article. For the Club Sportswear photo, JJ picked model Denny Sachin for his healthy, surfer style. He waited for the warm end-of-day sun to play up the outdoor theme. The triple header was shot in the West Indies for J. Crew. Recalls Jordan, "We chartered a boat for seven days and cruised around to different islands. The whole team had worked with each other on earlier shoots. It was like a family outing." The shot was backlit, with only natural fill light to save the detail in their faces. "I love natural light, especially back light. It gives me images that are clean, upbeat, and true to life."
Much as the Ancient Mariner retold his tale to anyone who'd listen, JJ delights in telling how his in-house workflow solution has liberated his business.
"You know, a couple of years ago things were getting out of control at the studio. I was traveling back-to-back jobs and my images were just sitting on the shelf. I needed a better way to archive the images digitally and retrieve them for syndication, stock, or self-promotion. Through research I discovered a system that works best for me. I purchased a 75GB VST FireWire Tower and burn all my images on DVD. It simplifies archiving and retrieving, and streamlines the entire selection process: what goes to stock houses, what I should sell, what I'll use for self-promotion.
"After a shoot, once the film is processed, our graphic artist Eric Sanchez scans my favorite images, 'my heroes,' organizes them on the VST and makes contact sheets as a reference." The negs are scanned onto a Scitex scanner for hi-res; a Kodak Photo CD scanner system for lower res. Finished images are printed on an Epson 1270 or the Fuji Pictrography 4000.
This elegant organization lets JJ post images on his website-, www.jimjordanphotography.com, -easily. He directs clients to his site by email, giving them passwords to view his images. "I can't believe the response I get from these emails. It's a powerful medium."
Freeing up significant production time has enabled JJ to expand his business ventures.
"Through our new company, White Cross Productions, we offer clients a unique service package including casting and booking models, booking sites, arranging catering, and other details of a shoot. They're very receptive."
Recently, Jordan has been compiling a director's reel by bringing his movie camera along on photo shoots. International Creative Management (ICM) is taking an interest in directing his career growth into commercials and motion pictures.
Jordan's off to Hawaii for Marie Claire, and Brooks Brothers and L.L. Bean assignments await his return.
"It's so important to surround yourself with fun, creative, inspired people. I'm so thankful for the people, places, and experiences this job brings me."