Jessica Brandi Lifland's Photo Blog

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Switching gears, I thought I’d drop in an outtake from a recent event shoot I was happy to be a part of. While shooting, I am always looking around for anything that catches my eye regardless of whether it has anything to do with the event at all.

As one mentor, Bryan Moss, put it to me, “Make Jessica Pictures.” I try to share that sage advice with my students at CCSF. This time I looked up and noticed the event was being watched over, quite literally by an angel peeking out over a black backdrop.  The event planners had set black drapes around the walls to create a more formal and intimate atmosphere on the inside of a hangar – the Innovation Hangar – at the Palace of Fine Arts. The angel was decidedly left out of the party, but could look in.


I’m not much for technical conversation but I was asked to explain my shooting in a bit more technical detail. I am all about available light whenever possible. I had my 70-200 on my Nikon D4 body. I usually shoot in manual and did so here. ISO 1250, Shutter 1/200 and my aperture wide open at 2.8. I used Lightroom as I prefer to – for very minor post production – usually just to convert from raws to jpgs. Simple settings. Simple image.

I am in the market for a smaller lighter weight camera so I could do more of this type of shooting when not on assignment – something a step up from my iphone camera. I have been wavering between the Fuji and Sony Mirrorless models. Would love a chance to demo them. Advice welcomed.

The idea to to post a photo and discuss it as I am came as apart of the #VantagePoint project for the company, Light, who will be releasing their new compact camera later on this year! If you’re interested in seeing more photos from the Vantage Point project, check out their Pinterest board.

It seems to be not an “either/or” option with the Fuji or Sony mirrorless, but more like a fun “and” option.

I am curious. It looks like an iphone with a bunch of little lenses on it and they said, “It’s super lightweight but has awesome new technology … it’s a great option for travel pics!” – Would be happy to have a chance to demo it too.

Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

May 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Photography: An Honor and a Privilege

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I had the recent privilege to photograph a family’s water birth at Marin General. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life let alone my career. It was the first birth I had witnessed since I had my own daughter, and as you might imagine, I was much more present for this one.

With permission of the family, I just wanted to share 2 images with you. I would be honored to experience this again with another family!

Please welcome little Asa to this world!


Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

May 26, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Haven’t posted any photos in a bit, so Hello!

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Hi all,

I have been busy with CCSF’s Etc Magazine. The 4th issue I have been the advisor for and the first one since taking over from the previous instructor, Tom Graham who retired.

You should soon be able to find it on Etc Magazine’s site and hopefully on a revamped website soon.

As an advisor I am not directly responsible for any of the content but I still feel like I birthed a baby. We had a small dedicated staff and they did a great job. Below is the cover:

etc magazine cover spring 2017 v7_Page_01


Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

May 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Images from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering 2017

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Photography at the 2017

To see more of the 2017 Gathering follow me on instagram @jblif or visit my website at



Thursday at the Gathering:

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Betty Ramsey and Ramblin’ Jack

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Andy Hedges, left and Joel Nelson’s boots, onstage during a show called A Rare Find also with Randy Rieman.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Local Indian Cowboy Stories with Woody Harney, Ted Howard,
Mike Thomas, and Reggie Sope.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Local Indian Cowboy Stories with Woody Harney, Ted Howard,
Mike Thomas, and Reggie Sope.


National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Amy Steieger backstage.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Amy Steiger performing during a show called “Fresh Pasture”

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Gail Steiger walks off stage to talk to guests after a session called Swapping Stories.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
The Western Folklife Center at night

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
Weigand Gallery Opening Exhibit.

Wednesday evening:

Doug Moreland and the Flying Armadillos

Luke Bell

National Cowboy Poetry GatheringNational Cowboy Poetry GatheringNational Cowboy Poetry GatheringNational Cowboy Poetry GatheringNational Cowboy Poetry GatheringNational Cowboy Poetry GatheringNational Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

February 3, 2017 at 3:07 pm

The Latest Chapter in the Cowboy Poetry Photo Project: A Photographic Adventure with Amy and Gail Steiger

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Recently, for the first time since 2009, before my daughter was born, I was able to shoot again for my project documenting the cowboy poets and musicians who I have met in Elko, Nevada over the past decade and then some at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. I have simply come to refer to this body of work as the “Cowboy Poetry Project.”

This past June I had the honor and pleasure of visiting the talented Amy and Gail Steiger at work on the Spider Ranch outside of Prescott, Arizona. They were working cows together during the days I spent with them.

The latest installment of the project, which are images I made during time spent with the Steigers has just been posted to the section of my website also titled “Cowboy Poetry Project.”

To see the latest images of Amy and Gail Steiger click here.

To get to the cowboy poetry page click here.

Gail and Amy Steiger at the Spider Ranch

June 10, 2016 – Prescott, Arizona, Gail and Amy Steiger at the Spider Ranch outside of Prescott, Arizona (Jessica Brandi Lifland/)

The intention of the project was to offer a  glimpse into the worlds of the cultural storytellers of the American West. The images are meant to go beyond the stage persona – which is how many see them; onstage performing in their fringed leather, pristine “show” hats and colorful dress up boots, but as they are in their regular daily lives. All the performers whom I have worked with lead or have led authentic Western lives, which they draw from for their creativity.

These shoots are a mere glimpse into their worlds at a point in time during my visit with each of them. Some actively cowboy, some have moved on to other daily activities, some never cowboyed, but are very much a part of the fabric of the American West. Appearances, relationships, jobs and homes have changed for some of them since the photos were made. In fact, I am particularly grateful for the time I spent with Jack Walther and his wife Irene on their farm in Lamoille, Nevada. He has passed since our visit.

This project was originally conceived to be a photography book, with a poem by each artist to accompany the images. It was not intended to be an iconic Western cowboys and horses photography book. These beautiful books already exist thanks to the talents of people such as Jay Duasrd and others. I do have to mention the influence of William Albert Allard, whose work has influenced my ideas for this since inception.

I am interested in your opinions and advice and assistance in regards to the process of making this book a reality. Where do I go from here?

I do plan to continue to shoot and if any one of you wonderful Elko performers (you know who you are) would like to discuss a visit to your ranch or home, please contact me and let’s get it going.

Thank you,





Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

September 16, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Evansville Indiana Skyline in 2000

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This image is copyrighted, ©2000 The Evansville Courier & Press.
It is not available for common use despite apparent public opinion. It was photographed by me, Jessica Brandi Lifland while on staff at the Courier & Press
Evansville Skyline

Evansville , Indiana, Evansville Indiana Skyline (Jessica Brandi Lifland/Evansville Courier and Press)

©2000 The Evansville Courier & Press
If anyone wishes to purchase rights to publish this image, please contact the newspaper.

Thank you.


Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

September 15, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Baby Belly Photo Shoot at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Near Half Moon Bay

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Pregnancy Photography


Written by Jessica Brandi Lifland

September 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm

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