Behind the Lens with Yorkshire wedding photographer Neil Jackson Photographic
31 Jan 2017
We find out more about the passion and profession of Yorkshire photographer, Neil Jackson
How would you describe your style of photography?
I would call myself a documentary wedding photographer, first and foremost. My approach is completely unobtrusive and aims to be authentic to the real story of the day, in the most natural way possible. I also love to get some cool portraits with my couples and I make sure I take advantage of the best light and locations throughout the day.
How did you start out in wedding photography?
Seemingly the same way a lot of us wedding photographers do; I was a keen photographer already and was asked by some friends to photograph their wedding. The rest is history.
Who are your ideal clients?
I think it's really important for my clients and I to be a good fit. The people who book me do so because they have spent lots of time looking through my work and really want me to tell the story of their wedding, through my eyes. For me, while I'm always open to ideas, I love it when clients put their trust in me and let me work as I would do naturally. There is no greater compliment than a client telling you that you were their one and only choice to photograph their wedding.
Can you choose a picture that encapsulates everything you want to achieve in a wedding photograph? Tell us what it is about this image that you love.
Wow, that's tough. I think as you develop as a photographer, that ideal is constantly evolving. At the moment I do like the image below. It's a simple idea, but has enough twist about it to make it catch your eye and take a second glance. Some images work because of their instant simplicity and lighting, others because they require you to look around the frame and discover more as you enjoy the image.
Photographers seem to inject a lot of their personality into their work… what are your inspirations?
My initial inspirations for getting into photography were landscape and wildlife and they are still two of the main driving forces in my work now. While you may think that these disciplines have nothing to do with photographing people and weddings, it's amazing how composition, lighting and technique in one discipline will inform everything else I do with a camera and, hopefully, make me a better, more rounded photographer for the experience. I think of myself as not just purely a wedding photographer, but more simply as someone who has a passion to photograph the things that really interest and define me as a person.
How far in advance should those interested look to book you? Do people stand a chance of getting you last minute?
In the six years I've been lucky enough to be photographing weddings, one thing that has definitely struck me is how far in advance people now book. While booking a minimum of a year in advance would be recommended, I would say the earlier the better, as popular weekend dates can be snapped up very early.
What’s the most challenging part of photographing a wedding?
I guess it's those things that are beyond your control – as I shoot almost exclusively with natural light, you can't control lighting or interior decorations at particular venues etc. However, I love dealing with the challenges that photographing weddings poses. It makes you think on your feet and that definitely brings out the highest standard of work in me. Every wedding is so unique and each one presents a different, but interesting and enjoyable, challenge.
How can couples help to ensure the best work?
As I mentioned earlier on, it's great to be left to work in the way I naturally would like to. A great photograph is not just about the content but about the lighting. Sometimes that nice doorway in front of the church may be horribly lit and however nice it looks, the photos just won't work. I also don't like to stage any of my photos, even the portraits I take. I feel that natural images say so much more than ones that are contrived in some way, so giving me a long list of images to take doesn't always help that process.
What are the 3 most important questions for couples to ask their photographer, in your opinion?
- Are you available, we'd really like to book you?
- How long are you with us on the day?
- What is your approach to the work on the day?
What’s your opinion on the controversial ‘group shots’ – can you give us an example of yours?
I understand that group shots are very important to some couples, however I am finding more and more that the clients that book me don't want very many taken, if any. They can interrupt the flow of your day somewhat and guests can get tired of standing around waiting, if there is huge list to get through. I tend to suggest no more than 10 groups but that is, of course, up to the couple to decide.
In terms of trends, what do you think is the most interesting at the moment?
I think trends, by their nature, come and go. I find myself making things simpler as the seasons go by. I hope my images are more genuine for it. I do find the use of drones quite interesting but that's only my techy-geek side coming out. Hardly makes taking a subtle and natural image very easy.
What’s the most common misconception that you have to correct with couples? The thing you’d most like to communicate to the masses.
I think my clients are pretty clued up on what they want. I guess some of them are quite surprised by how late I stay until in the evening. I stay as long as it takes to get the best possible shots I need – I won't be disappearing as soon as that first dance is over.
What’s been your most memorable wedding to photograph, and why?
Another tough question, as there's been so many great weddings. One that did stand out, that got quite a bit of attention, was a marquee wedding I did in Gringley On The Hill in Nottinghamshire. It had everything you hope for as a photographer, while being very relaxed and informal at the same time. Great locations and weather, beautifully designed detail, a truly awesome band and most importantly a really lovely couple and party-loving bunch of guests.
Can you tell us why you think wedding photography is worth the investment?
Simply, as cliched as it sounds, because the wedding photos are the thing that truly stand the test of time and trigger those memories of one of the most amazing days of your life. It's so important to really love your photos and make sure that they say something unique about you both as a couple – generic photos are very impersonal.
Finally, if you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be?
I guess a guitar teacher. I used to teach full-time before my photography business took over. I still try to teach one day a week and love doing it.