We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Byers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jay, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Consistency matters, but work-life balance matters more when you’re building your brand. It’s important to create a routine that caters to your personal well-being. In the past, I have felt burnt-out at times because I was pouring so much of myself into my work. I was sacrificing sleep, food, fun and even relationships. Things changed for me when I caught Covid in the fall of 2021. When I tested positive, I realized that I had no choice but to take care of myself, so I stopped doing everything and only rested. Once I started to gain some of my physical energy back, I promised myself that I would give myself what I needed even if it meant taking a break from my work. As a result, and believe it or not, I’ve been able to accomplish more this way . The big lesson here is that although society makes hustling sound good, true prosperity stems from slowing down, being present, and focusing on what’s right in front of you…..the rest will follow, and it has. Since I began working in this way, I’ve prospered more than ever before and trust that I will continue to.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Photography has always served as my microphone. I’ve used my lens as a way to speak and compensate for the things I don’t always know how to put into words. I’ve been taking pictures of others since I was a teenager, but before I did that I focused my lens on myself first. By starting off as a self-portrait photographer, I was able to discover and understand who I was. This was essential during my upbringing, because I was adopted at birth, and although I grew up in a loving, beautiful and diverse family, I struggled to see myself. Eventually, my friends, church family, and community noticed my gift to capture things in a creative way, and before I knew it I became a very well known photographer in my city.
I left for college in 2014, and have had the opportunity to live in many different places and grow as a photographer. I am now in my dream city and am blessed to be able to call Atlanta home! I’ve only lived here for a few years, but even in the midst of a pandemic I’ve had the opportunity to network, build clientele, take note-worthy images, and expand.
My ultimate goal as a portrait photographer is to visually honor the love and light in people, and to commemorate their stories. My business, Jay B Image Lab provides studio and on-location photography services in Atlanta for lifestyle, beauty and fashion, branding, engagements, birthdays, graduations, and other special occasions that deserve to be seen. My most recent work recognizes women, our beauty and intelligence, and our courage to define ourselves and our lives in a world that often tries to do that for us. In many ways I believe I’m creating awareness around a more diverse standard of beauty and way of life, and am dismantling societal norms that imply what people should look like and be.
I am proud of the work I create, and am thankful for what this photography journey has been thus far. I count every win and lesson as necessary, and if I were never able to take another photo, I would hope that I visually left my mark in a positive way. Further, I want the world to know that pictures are important– they’re the archives we need to reimagine and relive moments. I encourage everyone to take pictures, whether they are booking a formal shoot or just using their iPhones. Everyone can be visually documenting history, to add to their own narrative and to inspire generations to come. I hope those in the future will come across the photos that we’ve all taken and will use them as part of their own guiding light.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Yes! I got you! My favorite places to hangout at are Ponce City Market, Piedmont Park and Colony Square. For restaurants I would highly suggest Bar Vegan, Breakfast at Barneys, Roc South Cuisine, Folk Art and Juiceheads ATL! Most importantly enjoy good drinks, music and vibes at The Parlor and Apt 4B.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely! Photography is a gift and I’m grateful to use it in my everyday life. SHOUTOUT my parents who believe in everything I do, and invest into me and my ideas. SHOUTOUT to the rest of my amazing family and friends who genuinely support me by sharing my work, sending clients (Shoutout to my clients too!), booking with me, affirming me and cheering me on. Lastly, SHOUTOUT to my church, Evolve Life! They continue to pray with and for me, and have believed in me during moments where I doubted myself. Finally, I must thank God for aligning my purpose with my desires and dreams.
Facebook: Jay B Image Lab
Other: Book with Jay B Image Lab: https://sessionl.ink/jaybimagelab