203: Neale James – The Business of PhotoFilms for Photographers

Premium Members, click here to access this interview in the premium area.

Neale James of nealejames.com is a former BBC Radio 1 broadcaster and his background in sound, combined with his documentary photography style has seen him become the pioneer of wedding Photofilms.

Neale was recently a guest on the Photography Xperiment Podcast where we explored Neale’s work, in particular, Photofilms and how they have played a major role in his life and business. If you're unfamiliar with the term Photofilm – it's a combination of stills and sound, recorded on the wedding day or the portrait session.

Think wedding or portrait cinematography meets stills photography where you see the images captured by Neale with the voices and sounds of the real wedding day. Neale adds narration and ties the wedding day or portrait session story together.

In this interview, the plan is to explore the business side of PhotoFilms, how to make them, price and market them and to understand how you might be able to use them in your business.

Here’s some of what we cover in this interview:

  • How Neale started using sound for weddings, portraits and personal projects
  • Using Photofilms to serve as a documentary legacy for your loved ones and clients
  • Why different is better than better
  • Having a unique selling point in order for your business to flourish and stand out
  • Do all clients get a Photofilm and how it affects pricing
  • How many clients Neale photographs in a year
  • How clients discover Neale’s business
  • How to upsell a Photofilm to clients booking photography only
  • How Neal prices his wedding and portrait Photofilms
  • How much extra work is involved when venturing in photo films
  • The learning curve for someone who wants to start doing Photofilms
  • How long it takes to finish a single Photofilm- then and now
  • How to make yourself different and have your own unique selling point
  • Neale’s thought process when collecting the sounds to be weaved into his films
  • How to record snippets of audio without being too obvious or obtrusive
  • Which sounds to use when creating a Photofilm
  • Can someone with an ordinary voice do narrations or will you need to hire a ‘radio' voice
  • Who to consider to do voice overs when adding narrations to your Photofilms
  • Will you need a script for your narrations
  • Considerations and tips when doing Photofilms for the first time
  • Which microphones to use when recording audio as a photographer
  • How to setup your gear to start sound recording
  • Software Neale uses and recommends in editing sound

Neale James Photography Podcast

What’s on Offer for Premium Members

If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this episode where you can hear more of the interview where we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed for and include:

  • How to synchronise sound and photography for your Photofilms
  • Neale’s Photo Film workflow following a photography session
  • The difference between videography and a photo-film
  • The best way to output a photo film file for clients
  • Photo film formats to consider for ease of use
  • Why Photofilms are not designed to be viewed on a television
  • Where to find music for your photography films
  • Why it is important to only use royalty-free music
  • Can a paid royalty-free music be used over and over again
  • Why Neale doesn’t like to use music too often on his films
  • How Neale writes the script and narration he uses on his films
  • The best thing Neale has ever done for his business
  • What Neale would do to get the business rolling quickly if he moves to a different country
  • What is a legacy film
  • Why Neale would launch his portrait business before weddings if he was to start over
  • Using Photofilms to network with vendors in your market area

If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interview with Neale, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.

I want to get away from this idea that everything has to be broadcast standard. Yes it sounds better if it’s good quality. Of course it does. But the power of just having the audio is better than not having the audio at all. – Neale James

Plus, access to a members only Secret Facebook Group where you can connect with other members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take what you hear in each episode and put it into action. You will not find more friendly, more motivated and caring photographers online.

Neale James Photography Podcast

What is your big takeaway?

Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Neale shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as a result of what you heard in todays episode.

I challenge anybody to leave a meeting without thinking that they've lived a wedding after seeing a Photofilm. – 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 in the comments area below.

Neale James Photography Podcast

iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs

Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!

Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners means more interviews and ultimately a better show.

If you have left a review in the past, thank you!

If you haven't and you'd like to, head to https://photobizx.com/itunes and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.

Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast  and email me your key words or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.

Here is the latest PhotoBizX review:

The greatest, most inspiring, possibly life-changing podcast ever! If You're a photographer that is.

In iTunes by Portland, Oregon Family Photographer, Damian Blacklock  on January 12, 2017

If you are a Wedding or Portrait Photographer, you NEED to listen to this podcast. Simple as that. Whatever level you're at, however long you've been doing it, there's a friendly Aussie bloke who is pulling for you and wants to help you be a success.

He's a great photographer who seemingly produces this excellent podcast as a labour of love, to help other photographers and foster a sense of community among us all. It's basically an interview show with a photographer or a related business expert every week, but it's so much more than that. It's a (potentially literal) goldmine of tips, strategies, inspiration and advice.

And there are now 200 episodes to go back and rediscover. Everything from branding, marketing, sales strategies, SEO, blogging, writing, and of course MAKING MORE MONEY! Now, there IS a premium version with even more content, but DO NOT LET THIS SCARE YOU! It will be the wisest business expense you could possibly make in my opinion. Unless you don't have a camera. If that's the case, you should probably buy a camera first…

The premium membership offers a ton of extra resources including possibly the most valuable of all: a private members-only Facebook group, populated by all us premium members plus a ton of the podcast quests too. It's friendly, nonjudgmental and so helpful.

Aside from the content in the podcast, I have to say that Andrew is one of the most genuine, kind and enthusiastic people I've ever ‘met'. His level and speed of communication and customer service is phenomenal – he really seems to care and knows all the premium members by name. Do yourself a favour and listen now, then do what I did and sign up for the premium membership before the end of your first episode

Neale James Photography Podcast

The NEW Photography Xperiment Podcast is live and available

Following the success and support shown by listeners after the experimental format of the recent interviews, the new Photo Xperiment Podcast has been launched and is available on this site and in iTunes now.

Interviews are underway and I'll be looking for new guests, not restricted to wedding and portrait photographers. If you have someone you think would be a good fit, let me know in the comment area below or email me, andrew@photobizx.com.

The idea behind these interviews is to get into the headspace of the photographer and find what makes them tick, what drives them, their thought process, philosophy on shooting and how they achieve what they do with their photography. So yeah, a little technique type content too.

These interviews will not focus on the business of photography – that'll be preserved solely for the weekly and unchanging format of the PhotoBizX podcast.

To hear these interviews in your podcast app, you will need to subscribe to the podcast – these interviews will not be delivered automatically if you're subscribed to PhotoBizX. Open your favourite podcast app and search “Photography Xperiment Podcast” or enter the feed URL,  https://photobizx.com/feed/xperiment/ into the search field of your podcast app.

The last episode featured Neale James who 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.

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

Check out the interview and learn more about a photographer who is working toward a legacy any photographer would be proud to leave behind.

The interview is available here: Neale James Interview

Neale James Photography Podcast

When you think of photograph, you think of detail, don’t you? And you think of landscape and you think of portraits. It’s the same when you’re collecting sound. – Neale James

Neale James Photography Podcast

Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:

Neale James Website

Neale James Photofilms

Breathe Pictures Ltd

Neale James on Vimeo

Neale James on Instagram

Neale James on Facebook

Neale James on Twitter

Neale James on Youtube

Neale James on Rivervale Barn

Different is better than better by Lynda Decker

Episode 122: Kevin Mullins – Talking Photography Technique and Wedding Business 

Episode TPX16: Neale James – Photofilms and Bringing Photography to Life with Audio

Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers (SWPP)

Aimee and Steven | New Hampshire Wedding Photofilm

Amelia’s first birthday

Adobe Premiere

TripleScoop

MusicBed

Final Cut Pro X

Adobe Audition

Neale James Photography Podcast

Thank you!

Thanks again for listening and thanks to Neale for coming on and sharing his thoughts and ideas and views on what is an exciting and growing genre in the world of professional photography.

When you meet with a couple, if you can play some audio that touches them in such a way, regardless of whether they buy a photo film or not, but if it touches them and they go away and thinking “Whew! Wow!” I can almost guarantee they will not go to their next meeting. – 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 this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!

Thanks and speak soon

Andrew

By | 2017-04-01T17:40:14+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|Podcast|16 Comments
  • Brian Smith

    Just listened to Neale James on both PBX And the Exp podcast .
    Both great. Thought the PBX version with all the basic “how to” info was one of your best Andrew.
    What a great idea for Wedding Photographers. Just wish I had Neale’s voice !
    Well done to you both😊

    • Thanks so much Brian – great to her you enjoyed the interview and appreciate your feedback!

      In regards to Neale’s voice… me too!

      Now you need to work out a way to mic up the pets in your photography biz. 😉

  • Neale James

    Thanks Brian for your comment. If you’re in the pets business, I can just hear an owner talking to their dog out on the moors or hills, calling them – with the sound of nature… and perhaps answering some questions about them as you walk and talk with them. Excited barks and so on.

  • Brian Smith

    Thanks Guys, lots of possibilities 👍

  • Brian Becnel

    I listened to the episode on my drive to work this morning. Neale speaks with such an inspiring energy as though ANYTHING is possible. And it is thanks to his genorisity of sharing his process (workflow) and passion for the art he is creating. I’ve started shooting some weddings as I get my business off the ground. The ending sound clip of the father’s speech brought on some tears not only as a photographer that connected with Neale’s work but as a father of three girls, two of which are married.

    Thank you Andrew and Neale for your passion and generosity today. I’m really quite moved.

    • Neale James

      Thanks Brian for your kind words. I find the recall of sound is a powerful personal driver, as you seemed to find listening to that father speak. Sound is SO potent. For example ‘Don’t you worry ’bout a thing’ is used in the soundtrack for the new animation hit Sing. It’s a great song. Stevie Wonder sang it first then a whole bunch of folk including Incognito in 92. I was sat in the cinema watching the film with my kids and wife on Saturday when Tori’s new version closed the film… BOOM… the song hit me again and floored me… I got that glow up the back of my neck, and I remembered a record company plugger visiting me in my office when I was presenting at the BBC all those years ago… that plugger wouldn’t let me out the room til I’d listened to the song at pretty much full volume. It resonated with me to the degree that I can remember the traffic sounds outside in Regent Street, the sunshine streaming through the window and a happy glow as we both tapped in time to this incredible cover. It’s my sunny day song, it’s my pick me up song when I’m tired… it’s the song I play when the tread mill is my nemesis, it’s the song I’ve turned to when I’m down. And for that moment in the cinema ALL those moments came back to me. I hope Andrew won’t mind me sharing the link to it on YT… turn it up loud… and when the brass strikes, let those memories in. AND NO… I’ve not been drinking, it’s 11.30 on a Thurs morning. 😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzI3ALq3PBY

      • Absolutely no problem Neale – I’m off to check it out now myself.

    • Hey Brian – great to read your comments and love that you enjoyed the interview. You’re dead right about Neale, his generosity, skills, enthusiasm and energy… I can see future interviews and segments with him in the future.

      I have two sons and one thing I truly miss about not having a daughter is missing the chance to go through a wedding day with a daughter – it must be very, very special.

  • Lee

    Great interview gents! I saw Neale talk a couple years ago at a conference in London, opened my eyes to photo films and the impact they have, I’ve been a follower of his work since. Still remember THAT story to how it all started!

    • Thanks Lee – you’re luck to have been able to see Neale in action in person – I’d like that chance at some stage. Glad to hear you enjoyed the interview.

    • Neale James

      Thanks Lee. Kind of you and I appreciate the comment.

  • Great stuff. I want to do something like these Legacy films. Geared to folks in their 80’s Looking to create a memory real of a recap of their long life. I was hoping to view a few of Neale’s films. I did find one on youtube. Do you have any others we can find online to check out. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Hi Joe, I don’t have many of the Legacy projects to share TBH as they’re all recorded fairly privately for folk…. but here are a few films (my Vimeo channel is generally more populated with a whole host of stuff)….

      https://vimeo.com/160338835 (Gramps part 2) – interesting project as this was the grandson doing the interviewing – I just facilitated the whole thing.. it’s long!

      This was the first part https://vimeo.com/156940516

      This one is a legacy film of sorts…. though it’s more of a documentary short https://vimeo.com/127195559

      And this one is a Grandmother film, the sort I’d like to do more of!!! https://vimeo.com/70448879

      • Thanks so much. I am sorry I listen to this one when it came out.What is a price you get for work like these?Thanks again

      • Amazing work Neale! Thanks for sharing these here.