As per invitation, my friends and I arrived at Overpeck Park. This is the picturesque spot that Teaneck-based photographer, Lia Jay, had chosen for our photoshoot. We were greeted with a big smile and a lot of enthusiasm.
Lia started taking pictures as a bat mitzvah girl, when she received a film camera as a gift from her father. “From there,” she says, “I took pictures of anything that moved.” After college, Lia continued snapping shots of everyone around her, including her children. “Every time my children blinked, giggled or moved, well, there is a picture to show.” When her children started school, Lia went back to school as well, to the Fashion Institute of Technology. After she received her degree, she began taking pictures again, but now with a digital camera. “Everyone loved the images I would show them, plus I loved what I was doing.” A eureka moment was, “Why am I not making a business of this, as so many people would ask if I could take pictures of them?” Finally, she did just that and started her business nearly ten years ago.
Lia Jay Photography’s services include event photography, modeling shoots, portraiture, newborns, real estate, product photos and even glamour/boudoir photography. However she has found her niche in taking pictures of people: families, couples, children, even street photography. She enjoys having fun with families and exploring their dynamic. She says she sometimes “gets strict with them,” telling one child he has to “hug Daddy even harder, the biggest hug ever!” so that the love can be caught on film.
Lia loves being able to coerce a smile from even the most serious of subjects; she has a special knack for that. Her favorite kinds of compliments are those from parents seeing their beaming child posing for a photo. A mom recently told her, “I’ve never seen my daughter smiling like that before.” As Lia puts it, “To me that means I reached the child.” Her favorite part of photography is getting to know her clients, understanding where they’re coming from, how they envision the pictures, and translating that into a photo. Lia says, “God gave me a gift. I am able to translate emotion into an image; how lucky am I?”
Lia says she learns something new at every single job. It could be something small but “I think it’s very important—it keeps you fresh.” She is also a big proponent of printing out pictures and not just keeping them digital. “We have Shabbos, when you cannot enjoy the photos unless you have them on the wall, or in a book, etc.”
For our photoshoot, Lia Jay suggested my friends and I meet her at Overpeck Park. It is a beautiful, picturesque location but can also be a lot of fun. Lia was full of creativity and made the shoot an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. She suggested we start out by taking some pictures on top of the boats near the dock in the park. It was a perfect setting to work with; she found so many creative ways for us to pose. She kept our spirits up the entire time, making us smile and laugh with her lighthearted humor. As for the result, Lia took nearly 75 awesome shots during our half-hour shoot. Each one deserves its own article because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Lia Jay updates her website (www.liajay.com) Instagram (@liajayphoto) and Facebook www.facebook.com/liajayphotography) as often as she can. To see her most current work, visit any of these sites.
By Mairav Linzer
Mairav Linzer is a rising senior at Stern College for Women. This summer she worked as an intern for The Jewish Link.