A passion for photography has seen James Day travel to Canada and the US to develop his craft with some of the world’s finest photographers. He shares his enthusiasm for producing amazing images for his clients.
>James, tell us a little about yourself?
Sure. I’m James; I’m a wedding and portrait photographer in the Armidale and New England region. I have a photography studio, upstairs in the Hanna’s Arcade, and spend most of my week photographing, meeting people and editing people’s photos to make their images look even more amazing.
I was born in Armidale, and from a very young age, grew a fond interest in photography – especially of people’s faces. I loved how different everyone was and being able to show that in an image.
My father was right into photography, so when I was 6 or 7, he started teaching me all about the f stops, and shutter speeds and ISOs of the camera. He passed away when I was 14, and I saw it as an opportunity to put his professional camera gear to use and take it to the next level. He always told me to do what I had a passion for, and if I did that I would do well.
I think I’ve taken up his advice perfectly with my chosen profession, and I’m so glad I did.
> You’ve just got back from 3 months in Canada and the U.S. What was the purpose of your trip?
The winter season for a photographer is typically not quite as busy as the warmer months, so this year I saw this as an opportunity to get away and spend 3 months in Canada and the U.S. Until recently, my girlfriend was based in Canada, so I used Calgary, the city she lived in, as a base.
While I was there, I linked up with some of the world’s finest photographers, photographing weddings with them, and learning as much as I could so I could bring back a whole bunch of new ideas to delight my clients with. On an interesting side note, my girlfriend who was based in Canada just moved here and is living and working in Armidale!
> Do you have some favourite locations here in Armidale to photograph?
We are so blessed in Armidale to have such amazing locations to photograph in. I am forever finding new favourite locations, but I have a few sentimental ones. Peterson’s Winery would have to be one of the most picturesque and luxurious places to photograph, and I love it when I get to photograph weddings there.
The thing about being the local bloke is that I know the area well and can read the weather and know the best times to photograph in certain locations to get the most out of it. That’s something that someone visiting Armidale just can’t do.
After that, I think one of the great things is that we are surrounded by some of the most breathtaking landscapes on our local properties. Some of the best images I’ve taken have been when we are taking the pictures on a family’s beloved property.
> Your most favourite weddings in the Armidale region?
I find people in Armidale are generally very romantic and relaxed, so I’ve got lots of favourites. It’s more about the people than the places.
It is so exciting to walk through the mall and see your happy clients whose memories I was entrusted with to capture on their most special day.
> Do you have some tips for people who want to take better photos themselves?
I’d love to! The first thing we need to keep in mind is that it’s all about the light! We need to find good light in order to take a good photo. We can either make good light by using flash or studio lights, or we can find it. I much prefer to find it. It’s a lot more natural.
Early morning and afternoon light is your friend when it comes to getting a great image. When the sun is low, it creates the most flattering light, and makes for the best images. If you don’t have the luxury of taking your photo at that time, then there are other solutions.
Placing your subject near the window, with the window over your shoulder as you take the photo. I take all my bridal portraits in this light and get amazing results. If you’re out in daylight, it’s often best to put the sun directly behind the subject. It means they don’t squint, and also means that you won’t get nasty shadows on peoples faces.
If anyone would like any more tips, you are all more than welcome to email me and I will do my best to help!
> Looking at your photos, it’s obvious you bring out the best in people. How do you achieve that?
It sounds simple, but making people feel comfortable to be themselves is the key. By being comfortable with yourself and not being afraid to have a bit of fun, the people around you are much more likely to do the same thing.
If it’s a soft tender moment I’m after, then I will speak softly, and be very gentle with my movements. If I’m after fun and frivolity, then I show the subjects that in my actions.
You can’t take yourself too seriously though. Getting in there and having fun is always the best option.
> What camera and lens do you use?
I have many, many cameras, but my main camera is the Canon, 1ds Mark III. Basically it’s the Rolls Royce of cameras. Everyone told me I was silly to buy a camera this good, but I just wanted to treat my clients to the very best on the market so that their photos could be the very best they could be.
The lens I use are the top of the line too, and my favourite lens would have to be the 50 mm f1.2 lens. It’s every photographer’s dream lens, because of its ability to make everything look amazing. You know how people joke about the ‘soft lens’, that every mother of the bride wishes for? Well this is it.
> Favourite type of photography?
My first love will always be weddings. There is something so special about being with a bride and groom with the sole intention of creating images that will be act as reminders of their love and commitment for each other.
Photographing babies is always a challenge, but a challenge that I rise to every time. For those of you who are thinking of getting baby photos taken, the best time to get them taken is within the first 2 weeks of the baby being born.
They generally sleep a lot and we don’t get too many shots of them crying, just resting and looking like an angel!
> How long has your business been established in Armidale?
I took on my first job when I was 16, and haven’t stopped since! I’m now 23, and already have 7 years experience under my belt in the professional scene.
I moved into Hanna’s Arcade about a year ago, and since then I’ve seen my business go from strength to strength. I’m blessed to be surrounded by some incredible businesses in that Arcade, and it’s a wonderful, relaxing place to do business.
> How can readers see your photos?
I have a website, www.jamesday.com.au which has thousands of examples of my photography that I have done both locally and beyond. The Journal is the place that people keep coming back to look at.
I update the Journal every few days with brand new images from weddings or portraits I’ve photographed. Last month the website had over 12,000 visitors come to the site, from all over the world. There must be some reason why people keep coming back!
> What are your plans for the future?
For the moment, I’m really enjoying being here in Armidale, looking after my clients and teaching budding and professional photographers. I think the thing that my clients and future clients will be most excited about are the incredible images that I am going to create for them.
I am absolutely bursting at the seams with exciting ideas, which I know are going to leave them speechless. I am forever exploring new ideas and techniques, so that no shoot will ever be the same!
> Thank you James.