Member Spotlight: Sam Jamison

For many years, photography was just a hobby for Sam Jamison. But his passion for it never diminished. Today, he’s a professional product photographer with a roster of clients, plus prints on sale in multiple galleries.

“The main thing I’ve learned from Karl is that lighting is as much a science as it is an art,” he says, “and that the time you dedicate to getting lighting right is well worth it.”

Absolute joy

Sam grew up in Northern Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s, dividing his time between the city of Belfast and the County Down town of Comber. In 2002, he relocated to Maryland, USA, not far from Washington D.C. He still lives there today with his wife and daughter and their two dogs.

Sam has always enjoyed photography, and in the late 2000s began to take it more seriously. Though the pressures of work and family life prevented him from taking it further than a hobby, he took a lot of pleasure in seeing his work steadily improve as he tried out different types of photography.

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© Sam Jamison

“I love capturing interesting street photography,” Sam says. “More recently, lifestyle product photography fills me with absolute joy. I love the troubleshooting and artistry of building a scene.”

His preference for landscape and product work stems, according to Sam, from his own personality and character – something that many product photographers can probably relate to.

“As an introvert, I find it very difficult to communicate my ideas clearly when posing human models,” he says. “The tranquility of landscape photography suits me much better, while product photography gives me the creative fulfilment and problem-solving aspect that is sometimes missing with landscapes.”

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© Sam Jamison

Working from home

In 2018, Sam became a stay-at-home dad. Keen to follow in the footsteps of photographers he admires (including Mark Duffy and our own Karl Taylor), he began to dedicate more time to his passion. Since then, by expanding his skillset and deepening his learning, he’s successfully made the leap into commercial photography.

Sam’s office and studio are set up in the basement of the family home. Space is limited, but he finds a way to do what he needs to do. “It requires moving furniture each time I have a shoot, but I make it work!"

Sam's home studio
Sam's home studio. Note the framed Scotch Whisky magazine with Sam's image on the cover!
Sam's home studio
© Sam Jamison

In terms of gear, Sam works mostly with Canon equipment. Shooting with an EOS RP camera, he uses different lenses depending on the task at hand. “I tend to favour the 50mm or 100mm macro for studio and the 16-35mm or 24-240mm for landscapes.”

He uses Apple computers and Neewer lights, which serve him well and suit his budget, though he hopes to upgrade to more high-spec lighting before too long.

Sam Jamison
© Sam Jamison

Taking cover

It was working with this simple gear in his basement studio that Sam captured the photo that marks his biggest achievement to date: the cover image for the second edition of Scotch Whisky magazine.

Excitingly, Sam didn’t even pitch for the job. Instead, Scotch Whisky approached him after seeing some of the bottle and beverage photography he shared online.

“I posted a spec photo and it kind of took off. Before I knew it, the editor emailed me to ask if I had a “scotchy”-looking shot with no visible branding on it for the magazine cover. I told him I didn’t, but I could easily set one up.”

Sam Jamison Bushmills

© Sam Jamison

ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY CLASS

Whisky Photography

Discover how to capture professional-quality bottle shots in this easy-to-follow tutorial.
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Positive and encouraging

Sam is rightly proud of his achievement. He’s also very generous in attributing part of his success to the techniques he’s learned on Karl Taylor Education – for example, in his favourite Whisky Photography class.

“I could not have done it without the incredible content, lessons and tips that Karl puts out.”

He really appreciates the downloadable resources in the Business section, which have helped him get to grips with the admin and paperwork professional photographers must handle.

Sam also loves the creative community he’s found in the Karl Taylor Education Members group on Facebook. “The feedback there is almost always positive and encouraging,” he says.

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© Sam Jamison

Off the beaten track

So, what’s ahead for Sam now that he has a glossy magazine cover in his portfolio?

“I'm hoping for more magazine and brand work in the whiskey/beer field, as well as continued print sales for my fine art and landscape photography,” he says.

In terms of the latter, Sam hopes to take an extended trip around the Mediterranean with his family, capturing shots of remote villages off the beaten track. Nice work if you can get it!

Whatever Sam does next, he can be proud of how far he and his photography have come.

Find out more about Sam and his photography at sammjamisonphotography.com

Would you like to be the subject of a Member Spotlight interview? If so, please email Ben () with some details about yourself and your work, plus some examples of your photography. We’d love to hear from you!

Sam Jamison sunset

© Sam Jamison

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