Neale James of nealejames.com is a former BBC Radio 1 broadcaster and his background in sound alongside his documentary photographic style has seen him become the pioneer of wedding photo films. If you're unfamiliar with the term Photofilm – it's a combination of stills and sound, recorded on the wedding day at an event or on a shoot.
Think, cinematography meets stills photography where you see the images captured by Neale with the voices and sounds of the real wedding day, portrait session or event interspersed with Neale's narration as he ties the story together.
Looking through his Vimeo channel, it's easy to recognise Neale is the consummate professional when it comes to both sound and imaging and I love the way he's using both to tell his stories.
Here’s some of what we cover:
- A background in radio broadcasting and how that started
- Is radio broadcasting really an art form?
- Is there room for creativity in commercial radio broadcasting?
- Why Neale fell out of love with broadcasting
- Has Neale ever considered a career in podcasting
- How Neale shifted from a carrier in broadcasting to photography
- Moving from portrait photographer to wedding photographer
- Neale’s impressions after doing his first wedding session
- Dealing with photography from a business perspective rather than seeing its artistic side
- How Neale's father played a part in how he was able to fulfil his childhood dream
- Does Neal define himself and his work as “the” wedding film maker?
- How a photofilm becomes an edge in your business
- Why sound is so potent in film production
- Neale shares what photofilm is all about
- The disadvantage of having a photofilm as a product you offer in business
- How Neale first came up with the idea of a photofilm
- The importance of recording audio for keeping memories alive years after the recording
- Wedding photography is a photographer’s legacy to couples
- How much gear will you ned to invest in to start recording audio at your sessions?
- Then and now – what gear Neale is using to record audio
- Adding narration to a photo film is a business differentiator
- Using a lapel mic will set you apart
- Why adding an audio recording to a slideshow can be so much more potent than music
- What does Neale gets in return for shooting photofilms?
- Neale’s process when approaching and talking to strangers before photographing them
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to read your feedback and comments. Was there something from this interview that struck a chord, inspired or motivated you?
Will you take any kind of action after hearing what Neale had to share?
Let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below.
My father's lesson to me was humility is really really important. “If you can keep your humility son, you will go far.” – Neale James
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Neale or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below too.
It's not because sound can be potent, it's everything about sound that flavours what you experience. – Neale James
One day, their stories will not be there to be told anymore. – Neale James
Most photographers are really genuine people that are really happy to discuss what they do as you well found. – Neale James
If you don't do it, you'll never know the luxury thing, you gotta be in it to win it. – Neale James
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
One day somebody believed in me. It took that one person to say “I have that”. And that’s the same with everybody who succeeds in life, isn’t it? One day if somebody says “That’s crackin’, we’ll have a bit of that.” And then before you know it, you’re a filmmaker. – Neale James
Thanks again for listening to the show and thanks to Neale for coming on and experimenting with a new and different format for this photography podcast and for sharing his thoughts, views and ideas.
Also, a big thanks to the Laura Babb and the people behind the SNAP Photography Festival for sponsoring this episode of the podcast and making the show possible.
Use the promo code SNAP100 to save $100 British pounds (roughly AUD$170 and USD$125) on your Snap Tickets.
SNAP will take place on a farm in West Wales, UK on the 24th – 28th July 2017 and will be attended by photographers from all over the world.
It's largely aimed at wedding and lifestyle photographers but they will have speakers from across all sectors of the photography industry, including photojournalists, fashion photographers, landscape photographers and academics.
SNAP organisers are focussed on learning outcomes, rather than just throwing together a line up of big names. They aim for a well balanced, diverse programme.
I've heard the closing parties are epic and there are always a few surprises along the way. At last years event, two festival attendees got married!
As well as the learning and speakers there will be activities like wild swimming, beach trips and camp fire hangouts. SNAP is a chance to recharge your batteries before wedding season starts.
Wedding photography, whilst important to somebody on their day, I never quite saw it as a legacy thing. And now I do. – Neale James
If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!
That’s it for me, hope everything is going well for you in life and photography!
Thanks and speak soon