Through the Lens of An Artist 9

ISO Photo Studio gears up for summer adventure

Jacqueline Zema, Owner of ISO Photo Studio, may appear sweet as can be, but underneath her gentle smile is a fearlessness and an undeniable sense of adventure.

“I’ve jumped out of an airplane,” she told me over coffee. I sat, transfixed, as I drank in her enthusiasm. “It was a lot of fun, and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I always said I would do it, so at 24 I found a place out in Canton and did a tandem skydive. But it really was a one-time adventure—I have not done it since.”

These days, though, her adventures are much more down-to-earth. Zema looks forward to summer in particular for the opportunities that the July weather provides her as a photographer. She lights up as she considers all of the unique locations that are perfect for portraiture, and she dreams of the moments she will be able to capture through her lens.

“I teach one-on-one photography classes, and I do architectural photography for local designers,” she explains. “But, come summer, I really get to have fun as I head outdoors with my camera. Childrens portraiture, engagement sessions, and senior pictures are just a few of the projects that I take on. And I love to get creative.”

Homebased in Norton, she travels around the Medina, Wadsworth, Akron, and Canton areas to seek out the best locations for outdoor photography.

“I love hiking,” she says. “I have a Sheltie and an Australian Shephard-Border Collie mix. Photography really ties in well with that hobby, heading out on an adventure to find that perfect spot makes the final product feel even more special.

I love doing senior portraits—older kids have the ability to climb into trees to get really unique shots. A lot of senior shoots are on the creative side, so I like to visit cool locations like Blue Hen Falls and Virginia Kendall. One of the first shoots I did when I was starting out eight years ago was with the Medina Dive Team, we did that at Blue Hen Falls. Portraiture offers you the opportunity to really get creative, and that’s what I enjoy the most.”

That creativity has been instilled in Zema since high school, when she first started photography. When she studied communications and video at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida, Zema says she begged her way into the photography program. While she still does a bit of video editing for weddings, ISO Photo Studio helps her satiate her need for creative expression.

She recalled one such shoot that she had been dreaming of for a while but only recently brought to life.

“I really wanted to do a tea party shoot” she gushes. “I collected Disney stuffed animals as a kid and ran across some of my classic Winnie the Pooh Characters. I have a client who loves Disney and I started thinking, ‘what a great combination.’ We ended up creating the scene in a park with her little girl and my old toys. It was really fun—we got there early in the morning to ensure we had the right light; when they walked up with their daughter and she saw the set, her eyes just lit up.”

And, of course, another source of inspiration is the very environment in which our cozy Midwestern culture is situated. Zema lists Silver Creek Metropark, Portage Lakes, and Hampton Hills as some of her favorite locations.

“Our environment offers a million opportunities,” she explains. “Especially those parks with trails, big rocks, and cherry trees. Around this time of year, I cannot help but get excited at the idea of adventuring for the sake of portraiture. I love the power of photography—its ability to create connections and to capture the better moments in life. I really love to keep in contact with my clients, and a lot of times I get to see their families grow. As a photographer, every day is honestly an adventure.”

When asked what the next dream project is Jacque laughs and says, “I enjoy kayaking and I’ve been waiting 8 years to pull that into a session.  I’d really love to head out for a sunset photoshoot on Lake Erie.”

To connect with Jacqueline Zema, contact her via email or phone at or 216.390.0370. For more information, visit