Jay Goldman Always Knows What to Do
Text by Elizabeth Friszell • Images by Jay Lawrence Goldman
Around some parts of town, Jay Lawrence Goldman, of JLG Photo in Los Angeles, has earned himself a solid nickname: MacGyver. Like the heroic TV character who could improvise an explosive device with a light bulb, a paperclip, and cleaning supplies, Goldman designs all kinds of solutions for varying situations.
"Wedding photography comes with its own set of rules," says Goldman. "I've been told that I have a quiet confidence. At the wedding, that's reassuring and calming to a nervous bride or groom. There is enough other stress that day, and I make sure that they don't need to worry about the photography aspect."
Capturing a blend between photojournalism, candids, and formal shots, Goldman helps to guide couples toward documenting their family history. "I shoot what I feel and what I think is important to tell the story," he says.
Goldman admits that part of the reason he enjoys being a photographer is the cool toys he gets to use.
"My first digital camera came with its own 8MB CompactFlash card. Now they make 8GB cards. Even before I shot digital files, I was obsessed with Adobe Photoshop. From version 3.0, I would scan something to play with. I won first place with the manipulated photo "The Spirits" from a 1.3-megapixel Nikon Coolpix 900 at WPPI in the category of 'digital non-wedding,' which doesn't exist any longer."
Personally and professionally, Goldman is loyal to the Mac and is a self-proclaimed Mac Addict. "We use a .Mac account with iSync to keep all our calendars and contacts up to date on all the computers in the studio, at home, and on location."
His two MVPs, with the "P" here meaning Programs, are Adobe Photoshop and iView Multimedia Pro. A loyal Canon shooter, Goldman has worked with the EOS D30, D60, 10D, and more recently, the EOS-1D Mark II and 20D.
"Before digital, my work horse was a Canon EOS-1v. I wasn't comfortable shooting the entire event digital until I got the Mark II. It's an incredible camera. I have an order in for an EOS-1Ds Mark II, which I'll use for my commercial work and possibly for the wedding group portraits, although I don't believe the 16-megapixel file size is a necessity for weddings. I still shoot some of my personal work on my Contax G2; I love the way it feels and the quietness of the rangefinder system is a whole other type of animal."
At a wedding, he captures in RAW format until the reception, then shoots JPEG, and switches back to RAW for the cake cutting. He carries 17 1GB cards to a full-day event. A two-photographer package will include about 2,000 images.
"I try to capture the essence of the entire day through a combination of photographic styles. Sometimes I'll walk around with my 200mm just picking off expressions, and moments in time. I'll use the 15mm to accentuate the grandiose décor in a ballroom or a crazy, packed dance floor. My main lens for the reception is my 28-70mm with a Stroboframe Stroboflip VH2000 and the new Canon 580EX Speedlite. I shoot the getting-ready pictures and décor details constantly changing the ISO or ambient light during the ceremony reception with a 85 1.2 lens."
Goldman is often contacted to shoot editorial for magazines on location or at his studio and has had weddings and editorial shoots featured in the pages of InStyle, Inside Weddings, Distinction, Angeleno, LA Confidential, Front Desk, Town & Country, Soap Opera Digest, Entrepreneur, Spa, and Los Angeles. Among his "A List" clientele are Christian Slater, Billy Crystal, and Mark Wahlberg.