Behind the Lens: Jacob Poehls of JPP Studios
Welcome to another Behind the Lens post where I interview talented wedding photographers whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. Every photographer has their own distinct style so the purpose of this series is to help you choose a photographer whose style best represents you. Thus I want you to meet them not as “vendors” but as potential friends who just so happen to have the skills to creatively chronicle your special day in pictures.
Meet Photographer Jacob Poehls
Chicago-born Jake studied photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA and has been in the wedding photo business for years. He started JPP Studios in the bay area, and two years ago he returned to Chicago where he now resides. I first got to know of his work through Beth & Scott’s Hip-Meets-Classic Wedding and was immediately taken with his artfully composed naturally-lit photos! Jake embraces photography for the art form that it is — he doesn’t hide behind Photoshop techniques and only uses the basic functions of the camera to create his wonderful, genuine images. I also love that his clean and modern photographic style fits the vibe and aesthetic of the city weddings he captures so beautifully!
His work has been featured on widely read publications like Style Me Pretty & The Knot magazine where he was voted “Best of The Knot” for two years in a row (2011 and 2012). He’s also a member of the prestigious Chicago Social “Luxe List.” Hope you enjoy getting to know Jake and looking at the striking photos that’s made him in demand in the wedding world!
* All photos on this page are copyright JPP Studios*
Hello Jake! Please tell us more about yourself and JPP Studios.
I am the owner/founder of JPP Studios, based in the city of Chicago, IL.
The company itself is only a few years old but I have been photographing weddings for close to 8 years. I began as an assistant carrying camera bags while still in art school and gradually worked my way up to owning my own business that shoots 20-30 weddings a year.
Although weddings are what I primarily shoot, I also do corporate events, Bar Mitzvah’s & the occasional family portrait session.
In terms of aesthetic, the company itself is very DIY. Outsourcing is at a minimum and every product has my personal touch.
What’s your photographic style?
To pin point my photographic style, I would say that I am predominantly a documentary photographer but I know how to direct people when need be.
Regardless of how I go about getting the shot, I try to make sure my photographs are graphically exciting (whether that results from the environment, use of light, composition or color) and as ‘natural’ as possible.
The quirkiest wedding you’ve ever photographed?
It was actually one of the first ones after I started my company. I was still living in San Francisco and it was my last wedding before moving to Chicago. The couple had their ceremony in a boat under the Golden Gate Bridge & when it was over, everybody (including the bride and groom) jumped into the bay to “take the plunge.” Everyone was in swim suits and costumes and the pictures that came from it were really unique. I have a sample album of it at my studio and it is continually a client favorite.
The most unusual or unexpected location you’ve shot a wedding at?
Salvage One. This may may seem like a standard choice since it is so popular, but when I first stepped inside, it completely blew my mind. I have a penchant for “interesting” & “unusual” locations and I had never seen anything quite like it.
A wedding photography fad you will never follow?
I guess I would say the ‘Vintage Chic’ look that is so popular these days (Ex: the mason jars, the ranch, sun flare, suitcases, etc). I have seen a lot of talented photographers do it well, so no disrespect or anything, but it just isn’t me. I have never been one to follow the fads, though. A few years ago, it was all about weird Photoshop filters and now they are completely outdated. I find that the best pictures are the simplest ones: a clean black & white or color photograph of a couple in their element; There’s no need to make it complicated.
Jake, I can’t tell from your site if you’re married but if you are, can you tell us what your wedding was like? If not, how do you foresee it being?
Nope, not married yet. I’d like to say I see my wedding being a laid back party with close family and friends but that seems to be what everyone says & it ends up taking on a life of its own…so we’ll see!
Barring budget, logic or reality, what would your dream wedding (to shoot) be like?
I can’t say I have a ‘dream’ shoot, to be honest. Part of the fun of this profession is going to new places & meeting new people, so there hasn’t been a wedding I’ve been praying for. However, if I had to narrow it down, it would probably be in an architecturally vibrant building in Chicago. I tend to get inspired from my environment, so if it’s in an exciting venue, that is enough for me.
A book, movie or tv show you’d love to base a styled shoot on?
That’s a tough one…maybe “Lost in Translation.” I’m not sure how you could specifically style that but something that captures what it is like to be in a visually explosive environment, and exotic culture & just the ethereal, romantic atmosphere that the film conveys.
A celebrity couple’s wedding you’d like to photograph if you could?
Although I don’t have documented proof, but I’d like to think the marriage between Salvador Dali & his wife, Gala, was something to be seen. It would be worth it simply to get a portrait of them.
Quick, name 5 favorite songs off the top of your head!
“Victoria” – The Kinks, ”Sexy Sadie” – The Beatles, ”Elevate Me Later” – Pavement, ”Morning Dew” – Grateful Dead, ”Broken Face” – The Pixies
(That’s a very random selection. Not totally sure why those were the first random 5! Ha.)
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
Professional musician. I was a drummer for years and years. For the longest time, it’s what I thought I would be. Unfortunately, I don’t play much these days but there is still a part of me that holds on to the idea.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about Jacob Poehls. The stunning images on this page are just a taste of whathe can offer! If you want more info on this talented photographer, please visit the following pages:
* See all our previously featured weddings by JPP Studios.
* Meet other featured photographers in our Behind the Lens interview series
* While you’re at it, do check out the site map to browse our real wedding/engagement/styled shoot features by photographer and by location.