The Whimsical World of Barb Uil – Jinky Art

Please note that this is an “excerpts” version. More questions, images, & the full replies from Barb are available at our forum here to paid members.

“If you’re a dreamer, come in, come in” is a famous quote by Shel Silverstein and the words used to set the theme of the Jinky Art website. There really couldn’t be a more fitting choice of words to welcome a family or visitor into Barb Uil’s whimsical world of excitement! From the moment you land on the site till the last click you have time to make… you are entrapped and inspired by the photographic art of one of the most sought after photographers in the world. We couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to present to you this rare interview and we really hope that the tone, information, and imagery will inspire dreamers across the world!

To prepare for this post, I decided to research every prior interview of you that I could find to really get a feeling for your work, personality, style, and attempt to come up with uncharted information. Through out this journey I came across some exciting and interesting facts about you!

• You met your husband playing the alien shooter game ‘Quake’ online : )
• You’ve 3 daughters yourself
• You braved our “Tower of Terror” ride at our Disneyland here in California while teaching workshops in the country
• You have a genuine love for kids and can’t seem to get enough of them
• You seemed to get started in the industry by photo blogging quite a bit
• You love to plug in interviews…LOL
• You’re a believer in offering photography free until you’re ready. Then don’t charge too cheap but appropriately!
• You’re a canon, a pc, and a gadget lover
• You’re not a drama lover. You often promote photographers to keep the peace (very cool!)

Now, that’s just a few things but there are many more exciting facts that our neighboring photography communities did an awesome job covering already. I encourage everybody reading this to search out those interviews and give them a good read later on as well! In this particular interview however we are going to approach things slightly differently so I hope you enjoy!

While doing my research I honestly had a feeling that I’ve never had when viewing another photographers work before. Not only did I fully buy your genuineness in capturing a child or families journey, but I also felt as though I was witnessing YOUR own amazing journey through life as well. That you’re really not just a photographer taking amazing pictures but rather someone who views each session as a new adventure yourself. Do you feel any truth behind this statement?

Firstly, thanks so much for having me! I think my day just got 10 billion times brighter reading your questions – truly thank you. Its true that I feel like I am on this amazing life changing adventure because of this thing called photography. Sure, there are some things in my life that I am grumpy about (like having to do the dishes)…but for the most part I really value the experiences that my clients bring to me. I am fully aware that this journey might end one day with a great big thud which is why I want to give it my full heart and my best. I want to tell my clients story with 1000% enthusiasm. I think the day that I just show up, given little pre-thought, and very little care is the day that I should throw in the towel. I am just so thankful and beyond that, I truly do get excited and so inspired by the though of telling individual stories in a unique way. I feel very fortunate.

Through your artwork, you managed to really take me above the world of technicalities and poses involved in photography. Behind the scenes are things really this fluent, natural, and easy for you? What is your trick and/or what would you recommend other photographers consider when approaching a session to give this same appearance or ability?

I enjoying “making”. I use to be a child care worker, so craft is my middle name and you will see a lot of that in my work. Some shoots take more effort however I find that people are often surprised at actually how little effort some of the shoots are. I tend to try not to go overboard to much which does make prep a little easier. Concept shoots are really something that the photography industry is going crazy for right now and I just adore them. My advice is to try and keep the subject in mind..always. If you keep the client in mind, and most of all involved then the sky is your limit.

Where do all the various boats, costumes, bubbles, globes, animals, etc typically come from in your images? Let’s face it… you have some interesting ones…LOL. Do you supply many of them, find them on location, or do the families bring them? Are the shots with these items usually your idea, theirs, or both?

A mix. Some we supply, some clients bring. I actually prefer clients to bring their own props, as its more meaningful however I do adore a good antique shop and find it hard to resist picking up unique items. However whether my props or theirs, the shoots are always a collaboration. I must admit, I do have a good store of props…and yes..even a boat which is now a sandpit in our backyard. Its very sweet.

You’re an eye capturer! One thing I notice often with new and sometimes more experienced photographers is that they seem to really have issues with eyes. Some appear slightly blurry and some are over-sharpened in post making them appear like flat glass. The eyes in your imagery are done beautifully and really capture the essence of the story inside each of them. Is this achieved SOOC or do you have a recipe in the editing process you recommend? Any other thoughts or advice on the subject of capturing eyes?

I didn’t even realize! =) Well, I don’t sharpen for print for the most part. I do sharpen for web. I tend to steer clear of sharpening eyes and again for the most part don’t touch up the colour of eyes selectively etc. (read more of this reply in the full interview available at the forum)

In my own hometown in California, we have the original art studio to a famous painter named Thomas Kinkade who is known in his images for being the ‘painter of light’. Looking through pages and pages of imagery in your blog I couldn’t help but relate your work to that exact same title. You deal with light and capture it in unique ways with just about every single photograph. Can you give our members some advise on how they could approach such artistry in their images as well? Technical or creative thinking advise is welcome!

Wow thank you. I am a bit of a diva actually when it comes to shooting at the right time of day, and also when it comes to shooting in the wrong light. Or, shall we say, not shooting. I tend to postpone shoots if its too dark, or the wrong weather for the shoot in mind. I really want to give the best results I can for my clients, so this is important to me. (read more of this reply in the full interview available at the forum)

How long did it take you to find your style and niche in the photography industry? Did you always have a specific vision for the types of images you wanted to create or did you photograph anything/everything until your true passion just clicked? I know you speak of drawing inspiration almost purely from your clients but was this always the case or did you ever find inspiration from other specific photographers, artists, or outlets?

At the very very beginning, I use to take photographs of flowers on macro mode. Of the sky, of the ground and really of anything. You would often find me laying upside down somewhere trying to get a good angle on something. My husband once told me that there is a photograph in anything and that I just have to see it. So, from that moment I took it upon myself to FIND the photo in any given scene or situation. Having children lead me to realize my love of photography, and being able to combine photography with my background in child care was just so wonderful. (read more of this reply in the full interview available at the forum)

Many will notice in your images from time to time that you have an absolutely beautiful family yourself! Do you mind telling us a bit more about them? Do you feel that they inspire your work on occasion? For instance, maybe this new photography publication we’ve been reading AMAZING reviews titled ‘For the Love‘?

Absolutely they do! And thank you. I am really fortunate. I always tell people to make sure you say out load, and often, however beauiful your family are in your eyes. And I do feel so fortunate to have three wonderful gorgeous girls, and a yummy husband (in my eyes of course ). I want to never ever take that for granted, and just adore them. I often find that I am giving my heart and soul to my clients and forget to breathe in the tiny moments that my family bring to me and thats what inspired me to write the eBook and give myself the challenge to document them more often. Back in the very beginning of this photography journey I was inspired by my children so much so that my website ( was actually a blog documenting their day to day. I really have them to thank for this entire journey.

Well Barb, I can’t thank you enough for giving us this amazing insight into your world and journey. Your images go far beyond documentation and really promote peace, imagination, character and love which is something really incredible to achieve through a lens! We look forward to working with you much more here at LSI as you are such an inspiring talent!

Please note that this is an “excerpts” version. More questions, images, & the full replies from Barb are available at our forum here to paid members.

We are also pleased to relay to our members that Barb Uil of Jinky Art will be joining Baby as Art under our Inspiring Workshops link. Learn Shoot Inspire recognizes Barb as being a host to one of the very best workshops on the planet that any aspiring photographer should attend. Barb has introduced her 2012 workshop dates recently and they are selling out fast so please visit her store to book right away!