As long as you are moving in the right direction, you can’t go wrong!
I’m Jason Alexander, founder of Alexander Photography and based in Cambridgeshire. Currently, I am a Design Engineer and have been in the design industry for over 10 years but have since found a love for photography. This love has grown over the past 4 years leading to my semi-professional career as a photographer.
My curiosity for photography began whilst on a trip to Poland where I became jealous of my friends DSLR images, contrasting with my mediocre phone snaps. On my return to the UK, I immediately purchased my first DSLR camera, from this point my obsession began. I started my photography journey with a Nikon D3200 and the 18-55mm kit lens, which is a great camera for beginners. From there my photography equipment, passion and knowledge soon grew, and I found myself hooked.
It wasn’t long after discovering the joy of taking still images that I fell in love with Fujifilm. Once I discovered a few of the basic photography skills I experimented with different camera manufacturers. Being mainly a landscape photographer at the time and thus spending many weekends hiking and climbing mountains for that perfect composition, I wanted something compact, so instantly fell in love with the Fujifilm Finepix X100 and have been a loyal Fujifilm customer since.
At this point you could say I was ‘chasing waterfalls’, I became addicted to those slow shutter speed images just like every other photographer I know. Living in Cambridgeshire it is quite flat, most weekends I would drive an eight-hour round trip to Wales or the Lake District in order to capture a different landscape. I found myself travelling all around the globe just to find a new composition.
My skill set developed and I found myself wanting to learn more, in a different field of photography, so tried my hand at portrait photography. I was lucky enough to find a studio to rent in my local area and advertised for local upcoming models. I focused on model portfolios and fashion shoots and realised I just loved being behind the camera, and I didn’t need to go far from my home to take a photo, though being up a mountain on the other side of the world did seem more appealing.
Shortly after gaining experience in portrait photography, one of my customers asked me if I would be her wedding photographer. My first answer was a resounding ‘No’, but after much persuading, I reluctantly agreed. I spent many months worrying about the light conditions of a 3pm February wedding, but after many sleepless nights, lots of online tutorials and encouragement from my wife, I shot my first wedding and haven’t looked back.
I actually feel so grateful to the bride and groom for hiring me to be their wedding photographer and feel I owe much of my success to them, as they gave me the encouragement I needed to progress my photography profession. I came away from their wedding excited about my future career development as a wedding photographer. There can’t be many jobs where every working day is full of positivity, happiness and sheer joy. Yes, wedding photography can be challenging, fast-paced and long hours, but with it also comes great satisfaction and reward.
My Wedding photography style is documentary. I love natural photos, that tell the real story of the day. Whilst I still shoot group shots if requested, I prefer to blend in with the wedding guests and capture candid moments of the day unfolding. I believe my style evolved into a documentary approach from my own wedding day, the natural images we received just stood out. In my opinion, a staged image can look great, but you will take away precious moment from the couples wedding day. They should be having fun with friends and family, that is where you capture the best images.
My current camera setup is two Fujifilm X-Pro2’s, one Fujifilm X100F. My current lens line-up is the Fujifilm 56mm F1.2, Fujifilm 23mm F1.4, Fujifilm 35mm F1.4 and then both Fujifilm lens converters for the X100F, WCL & TCL. For a wedding the 56 and 23 never come off my Xpro-2 cameras, I love this focal length combo! The X100F can also play a part at a wedding, I use this with the WCL if I need something a little bit wider.
All my cameras have recently been superseded so I am currently looking into the X-Pro3’s and X100V cameras. I am sure I will upgrade sometime in the near future, but I still feel my current cameras can certainly still handle themselves in any situation, watch this space!
At a wedding I never feel the strain carrying around a couple of camera bodies, I can certainly say I would not enjoy the wedding photography experience half as much if I was using DSLR cameras. The Fujifilm cameras are of course smaller but they are also discrete, you can get up close to your subjects without scaring people off. This is a huge advantage to my documentary style; I do not believe I would get the same natural shots if I had a larger DSLR camera.
For portraiture, I feel the Fujifilm systems helps me in a similar way to weddings. They are not intimidating to the subject/model, if they feel at ease then you get a more natural image.
I have two favourite lenses for portraiture, one, of course, is everyone’s favourite, the Fujifilm 56mm F1.2. This lens is outstanding, produces beautiful results even wide open. My other choice the Fujifilm 35mm F1.4, there is something special about this lens. It produces very sharp images, it’s small and even though it’s an older lens it never struggles. The Fujifilm 56mm lens I would typically use for headshots and the 35mm for fashion or dance shoots.
My Journey Continues…
My advice to anyone considering a career in photography would be – just go for it but be patient. Make sure you do your research, be critical to yourself, understand what you are doing and feel confident in your work and style, and most importantly – Enjoy every second.
While I don’t yet consider myself a ‘Professional’ Photographer, owed to the fact it’s not (yet) my full-time job, I tend to use the more modest term of semi-professional photographer. My photography journey is still in full motion, but my ultimate goal is to become a full-time professional photographer. I’m taking small steps each day, as long as you are moving in the right direction you can’t go wrong!
“I’m Jason Alexander, founder of Alexander Photography and based in Cambridgeshire. Currently, I am a Design Engineer and have been in the design industry for over 10 years but have since found a love for photography. This love has grown over the past 4 years leading to my semi-professional career as a photographer.”