Local man turns hobby into career

All photos courtesy of www.liftoffphotography.smugmug.com

All photos courtesy of www.liftoffphotography.smugmug.com

Photography is in David Jaffe’s genes.

“My grandfather was a hobby photography, my father was a hobby photographer, it’s kind of in my blood,” Jaffe said.

Jaffe picked up his first DSLR professional camera, a Nikon, in 2007. He took a trip to Europe shortly after and came home with 5,000 pictures.

“I was hooked,” said Jaffe, who is now the owner of Lift-Off Studios.  The hobby photographer never planned to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps – it just kind of worked out that way, he said.

“I think the changing point was just getting tired of working in a regular corporate career,” Jaffe said. He most recently worked as a certified mechanic with Harley-Davidson Motor Company, and before that was a computer engineer for 10 years before losing his job in the recession and realizing “I just wanted to work for myself,” he said.

Pursuing his dream paid off, as Jaffe is now celebrating his one-year anniversary at his current location at 652 Griffith Road. Jaffe started his business in July 2012 and moved into his current studio in June 2013.

All photos courtesy of www.liftoffphotography.smugmug.com

All photos courtesy of www.liftoffphotography.smugmug.com

“It feels really good,” he said. “It is a rough industry to get started in, especially when you have a physical location. A lot of photographers struggle with the business side.”

Lift-Off Studios’ current location came because Jaffe needed a space that was big enough to photograph cars inside. Shooting cars is one of the things Jaffe likes most, although he’s not opposed to shooting other subjects such as weddings and portraits.

“My primary focus when I started the business has always been commercial and automotive,” he said, adding he started shooting other subjects because he was building a portfolio.

“I like the creative challenge…” of shooting commercially, he said. “A lot of very careful thought goes into the lighting process, especially with a product.”

The key, Jaffe said, is to make the product look beautiful without misrepresenting the product.

“It’s a much more creative challenge,” he said.

A different sort of challenge has been marketing the cost involved in photography to customers. It’s very difficult for people to understand there’s much more involved than just taking a photograph, Jaffe said. Processing film and spending time in front of the computer is what the clients don’t see. Jaffe said processing the film on the computer is different than using Photoshop, a computer program used for a more creative approach to photography and something he doesn’t like using because he likes a more natural approach.

“I have a very old-fashioned business approach,” he said. “I believe in strong customer service and building relationship with clients.”

Building relationships has helped Jaffe gain continuous work from a few clients including Bike Exchange, a client he works with monthly, and Carolina Bride. His work ethic also has allowed him to shoot for Baggers Magazine and Cruisin’ Style Magazine.

“My motto is, it doesn’t matter how small or how big your job is, it’ll still get the same detail and quality,” he said.

Find more information on Lift-Off Studios at www.liftoffphotography.smugmug.com or call 980-298-6218.

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Laura Edington

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