Featured in the press

It's always very exciting to see your work featured in the press, especially when it's highlighted with a name credit. But what should you do when your name is spelled wrong? I have been up against that particular demon all my life - Neal with an A can be a double edged sword (my brother is Marc with a C so I blame my parents.... ha).

One of my pics has been used by Swedish QX in an article about a live gig for Alcazar (click here) but they got my name wrong. I did the photos for free as it was a great chance to learn on the job so to speak, with people I know very well (I briefly dated Andreas from the band in 2013). So the pics have no commercial value to me, but to the band they are proving to be very useful. You only have to check out their twitter, instagram and Facebook to see that they are getting used. 

It's exciting but if people try to find me they will get the name wrong. Maybe I should just suck it up. It's great exposure either way! Long may the usage continue.

Beautiful London

London is beautiful in an obvious way, so many historical and often controversial buildings to feast your eyes upon. You can literally be transported from 18th century sumptuously decorated period properties to arrogant and somewhat clinical modern creations within a few steps everywhere you go. 

How often do you look up above the never ending line of homogenous shop windows?  

 

Heron Tower #london

Heron Tower #london

Next time you are in the melting metropolis, take some time to look up (though not in the middle of the pavement or you'll get stampeded!).

 

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Liverpool Street Station's beautiful roof structure rises above the tacky modern shops beneath. #lookup

Photography lessons

I gave my second lesson today to my first photography student. I'm really pleased to see that she has progressed very well. The home work was to experiment with Aperture priority and Shutter priority to get a better understanding of how the camera worked, increase her knowledge about light and be more comfortable with using the camera.

The results were fantastic. Some great close up shots of bees on flowers and even some landscape work. Most impressively she had demonstrated a complete understanding of what she was doing, what she was trying to achieve and more importantly her frustration at not being in complete control of the camera.

Today's lesson centred on going to fully manual, giving her complete control over what she was doing (ok so we set the ISO to automatic for most of it, but let's not quibble).

We spent about 45 mins revisiting her homework since the first lesson, brushing up on theory and then we established what we wanted to do in this lesson - master use of manual settings. Off we went to a beautiful side street with lots going on to work on this. Being with someone who is truly interested in what she's learning about, happy for me to gently chastise her about how to hold the camera (think piano teacher rapping knuckles with a ruler!) was truly rewarding, for me and her. In anything in life if there is a two way flow of enjoyment then you're on to a winner.

By the end of the 2 hours, my student was so much more confident about what she needed to do, adjusting Aperture and Shutter speed depending on the circumstances to get what she wanted from the shot. I know I have given her courage and confidence to shoot more - practice makes perfect. 

Looking forward to lesson #3 in september, when she will have completed her next assignment.

For more information on booking private one to one lessons, please contact me here.

The power of social media

Whilst sitting in Starbucks updating my website, blogging, uploading pictures and catching up with my photography work I was surrounded by lots of people making use of the free wifi, also working. 

I noticed the guy next to me, he worked for Bacardi. Not long after I got a new like for my page. The guy next to me had noticed my work.  

This is what he said:-  

"Hey Neal, sorry for the random like. I saw you in Starbucks earlier and thought I'd say hi! You seem very talented by the way, some great work you're doing!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day! 😊"

He made my day. And totally demonstrated that when you work for yourself you're ALWAYS at work, always on display. Thanks for the like Matthew! 

Stockholm calling

I was in Sweden last week, indulging my passion for this amazing country. The land of Abba, Ikea, Volvo and Carola. If you have never been it is the most beautiful place, especially in the summer. This weekend was boiling hot, from morning to night in the land that never really gets dark in the summer.

There were number of reasons to be in Sweden - visiting friends, seeing live music (Chess in Concert at Dalhalla, Sarah Dawn Finer's acoustic tour premiere in Uppsalla) but a big reason to be there was to do a photoshoot with one of my favourite pop bands of all time, Alcazar.

Andreas and I briefly dated in 2013, but we are firm friends still and he was open to the idea of a backstage photoshoot. For me it was a fantastic experience, as I develop my skills in the personal photoshoot area. Understanding how internal lights affect your work is a big learning curve. The way that intense points of light like fluorescent lights can change the way you must set up a shot is tricky - I am after all used to unmoving structures like bridges that are in many ways MUCH easier to shoot. Though I am usually averse to it, I did use my flash a fair bit.

One of the most important elements when shooting actual people is to establish a rapport with the subject - you can't simply shoot and expect some kind of reaction. There must be a constant dialogue to get the most out of someone. I try to get to know my subjects better so that they relax with me, the images are more natural and not contrived. In my opinion the best images come from this method.

Blessed with some willing subjects though, I believe I have delivered a fantastic set of shots that the band can use for whatever purpose they desire. I have included a few here to show case as an example. Maybe this will lead to more work for them or others in future. I certainly think they look great, and as I speak Andreas has shared one on social media! Check out a selection of the images here

Creative Direction

Carpe Diem - seize the day!

When my day job stopped, I asked myself if I was strong enough to pursue my dream of being a professional photographer. Should I take the plunge and go for it. The universe answered with a resounding YES!

I don't know how spiritual you are, but I've always felt things happen for a reason. A sudden end of contract presented an opportunity to me and I am going to grab it by the horns and run with it. Even just from talking to my neighbour today, I am giving my first photography lesson which excites me immensely. I am bouncing ideas off my network of friends, all of whom say they will be supporting my work, by getting me in front of people who need my skills.

This year alone I have completed photoshoots for FreshEgoKid and LittleLife. The past two days I have been asked about weddings (Do I do them? - YES!); Corporate Imagery for websites (Easy); and now giving lessons. I know that by getting myself out there, by pushing something I am truly passionate about I can make it.

The influence will even spread abroad - with my Swedish Family (as I call the motley collection of friends I have in that beautiful country) I am already lined up to do a behind the scenes shoot for Alcazar, and hopefully making it work to shoot one of my favourite artists, someone I am honoured to call a friend Miss Sarah Dawn Finer. We will see how that pans out. 

Very exciting times. I get to be my own boss. Call the shots. Take the risks. And do something that feeds my soul. I couldn't be happier.

 

A new chapter

Welcome to the new version of my website.

As my photography grows and develops, I must adapt to the world around me. The demands of social media and social commerce are changing at an ever evolving pace. No longer do we sit and search our imagery on our laptops, we are ever increasingly a world wide community who consume media, be it music, video, books or simple browsing, via our mobiles.

My last website wasn't mobile responsive and it suffered for it - I needed something that my audience could use on the move, interact with in a more dynamic way. And here it is. I hope you like it. 

The aim is to showcase my work in a way that is more free flowing, easier to view and encourages people to come on this journey with me. During the last year I have moved on personally in a number of ways, the biggest one being geographical. I left London in November 2013 after 15 years, determined to build a new life - in Bristol. As soon as I had moved though ironically I found myself doing more photographic work in London! Sod's law.

I still have a base in London, and continue to work there - being in a different city means I actually get to see London with a newfound delight every time I visit. Something new to experience, a different angle to shoot or discover. I'm excited about the prospect of learning about Bristol from a photographer's perspective, but also of the continuing journey in my hometown.