Antioch's Jackie Larson has a knack for making time stand still.
The 23-year-old professional photographer captures life's most precious moments, from weddings and events to inspired portraits of families, children and newborns, as she sees them through her own creative eye.
It's very humbling that people trust me to capture those moments in their lives, Larson said. It's a huge responsibility and I take it very seriously. It is stressful, but seeing people smile and cry when they see their photos is amazing.
While pursuing a teaching degree, Larson decided to turn her lifelong passion of photography into a career and took a leap of faith, opening Jacqueline Elizabeth Photography in 2005.
She has since traded her first 35mm Canon, a family hand-me-down, for a digital Canon 30D that she points at anything and everything she sees.
I never thought I would turn my passion into a career, she said. I love capturing special moments that aren't planned or posed just life as it happens.
Before going out on her own, Larson worked at a Sears Portrait Studio, but said she felt stifled creatively and opted out after a year and a half. Now her background locations are real, adding life and natural beauty to an already pleasing photo.
There's only so much you can do when your camera's stuck to a tripod and you're in a 10x10 room, Larson said. A lot of times the families I work with know where they want their photos taken, but for those who don't, I take them to really beautiful and cool locations that I've used before.
Larson's ability to capture a subject's true nature, she said, comes from simply taking a step back.
Sometimes the posed shots are necessary, especially if it's a wedding, but my favorite shots are the candid, unplanned shots of my subjects being themselves, she said. I like to let families or couples interact with each other, how they normally would, and have them pretend I'm not there. Those are usually everyone's favorite shots.
For those who enjoy being in front of the camera, the experience is often magical the lights, the camera and all that attention. But for those who don't feel at home in front of the lens, Larson can help ease the discomfort.
I usually try to be funny; to get them laughing, she said. I want them to feel comfortable and at ease. Once they warm up, most people are able to act naturally.
Although black and white photos are her all-time favorite, Larson recently developed a flair for color.
Black and white is so classic and distinctive. It allows the portrait to speak for itself, she said. But I've been playing with color a lot more lately and I'm really beginning to get into it. I'm experimenting with fun colors and playfulness in my portraits. A lot more of my work is in color these days.
Larson recently earned Honorable Mention for a photo she submitted to the Antioch Celebration of Art contest at the Lynn House Gallery.
I was so happy to be mentioned. Most of the other entries were these amazing paintings, so to have photography grouped with them was cool, she said. It was a good experience.
For price lists and more information on Jacqueline Elizabeth Photography, call 925-382-9798 or visit www.jacquelineephotography.blogspot.com.