Jadera Thomas, the effervescent, creative owner of Jaded Expressions Photography and Design, says she is in love with the people and places in Lorain County.

“This is my home. I grew up here. I live, work and play here. I would love to stay here,” she shares.

Thomas began her photographic career almost by accident, purchasing a camera necessary to complete a college art project. Within six months after graduation, she left an advertising job and opened her photography business. She also was hired as a graphic designer by Lorain County Neighborhood Alliance.

Today, five years since the opening of her business, her enthusiasm for photography grows as she captures families, infants, weddings and other events. She enjoys following clients from weddings through maternity and newborn photos to their six-month pictures. 

“Photography freezes time,” says Thomas. “A photograph is an image of people falling in love at their wedding, or of a bride with the sunset in the background and just a shadow of her face. It’s a picture of newborn that is so tiny for such a short period of time. It’s just inspirational.”

Her favorite backdrops are nature hikes, places that are not confined and allow movement without traveling from location to location in a car. This scenery works especially well with high school seniors who have multiple costume changes. “When I’m shooting at Lakeview Park, there are so many options. There’s the fountain, the Rose Garden, sand and, of course, the lake. There is unusual stonework. I can find 50 places, all different and all within walking distance.”

Tappan Square in Oberlin provides another favorite backdrop that changes by the season. “There are variables here because of the trees and the landscape that make this a beautiful place for photographs,” she says.

Although some bridal parties might find it unusual when Thomas suggests Crownhill Cemetery as the ideal place for capturing their special day, her photographs convince them otherwise. “There’s a fabulous staircase that gives a different type of vibe. The cold stone against the fashionable bridal party just works.”

She loves the backdrop in downtown Amherst, too, and considers Cork’s and Stubby’s, a local pub and wine bar, a real find. “There’s a retro ‘50s, James Dean-type room there with leather couches, wood floors and paneling.”

This fall her studio’s traditional Family Photo Day will continue at Brian-Kyles Landscapes of Distinction in Avon. For a couple of weekends in October, Thomas conducts a photography marathon where she shoots 20-minute sessions. “It sells out every year, and it’s all word of mouth,” she says, adding that many of her original wedding clients return to schedule photos of their growing families. “Being here is what makes me happy.”

Setting the Mood

Creating the right mood often means finding the proper backdrop. Photographer Jadera Thomas chose Lakeview Park in Lorain, part of the Lorain Country Metro Parks, for this dramatic moment. Customers Bob and Stephanie Wilson were so pleased with the outcome that they chose Thomas to photograph their maternity and newborn photos of their first child.

Love was in the air even in 15-degree weather. When couple Melissa Pugh and Chris Varady requested a snowy backdrop, Thomas successfully added warmth to the snowy scene, setting the mood at Sandy Ridge in Elyria.