Sweden

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.

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.