Hello, Jim! Can you tell us about yourself, where you live, and how you got into photography.
Okay, well I am Jim, hubby to Vicky and dad of Charli and Toby and our furchild Moosedog. I am creative, passionate, adventurous, probably overly sensitive (thanks Mum), chirpy, loyal, empathetic, hard-working and curious amongst others no doubt. I think I'm also one of those "Extroverted Introverts" which I know is an oxymoron, and that suits me just fine. I thrive on being outdoors in all landscapes, human or natural - though mostly natural. I spent my teens and twenties hiking and snowboarding in mountains all over the world.
We now live in a home we designed and built, nestled amongst the mountains and lakes of the Southern Alps in New Zealand. We are extremely lucky to live in a Pollard Paradise, we have ski fields, lakes, mountains, forests plus all the infrastructure of Queenstown on our doorstep. Though I have to add this life was not handed to us on a silver spoon, we had to work hard to earn it. Life is about choices.
I come from a long line of photographers and artists, though none were professional. Professional standard for sure, but art was deemed an unrealistic career choice back in the day, so amateur they remained. I'm actually one of the first in the family to make the jump into doing a job for the love of it. Travelling as much as I did in my young adult life, a camera was always part of every journey. To be honest becoming a professional photographer was an organic affair, there was no real plan. Interest in my photography increased to the point where we able to say goodbye to working for others and do something for ourselves.
The weddings you photograph are at the most phenomenal locations. Can you tell us about your all time favorite wedding venues?
I'm super happy to say our couples are adventurous types when it comes to their weddings. People keep saying it, but you have to find the right clients to suit your love and work.
Hmmm, top 3:
Your landscapes, although sometimes photographed in harsh or splotchy lighting, are never blown out. How do you achieve this consistent look?
I really think we have the harshest light in the world down here. There's no Ozone Layer or pollution, which makes for very very strong lighting. I always shoot/expose for the highlights. Most modern cameras can cope with pulling detail out of the shadows, especially with software like Lightroom. But once highlights are blown, they're pretty much gone. I guess it comes down to the fact that we shoot for the environment we're in and this will shape your photography.
Photographing so many outdoor weddings must make for some interesting weather situations. What is the most extreme case of mother nature you have dealt with?
One of the most important things about working well with people is being able to relate to them. You need empathy to understand their situation. You can't go shooting a couple on top of a mountain with the bride in a skimpy lace wedding dress in freezing winds, when you're wrapped up in a down jacket. You need to feel what they're feeling, once you can understand that, you can start working with them and the environment.
I shoot in alpine environments all the time, so I'm pretty used to the conditions. Invariably the most extreme weather shoots turn out to be the best. Keith and Emma's Spring wedding started off with a hot sunny day and intense light, by the time we were off to do the portrait shoot the weather began to close in. We were lucky enough to use a chopper to fly us to a couple of locations. The first was an extremely windy spot with flat light, so we went hunting for another. The chopper was buffeted by strong winds and I think the pilot in hindsight was angry. We found another spot on a ridge that had little pockets of sunlight, all about that light. Getting Keith and Emma into place, we were again attacked by gale force winds, flurries of snow and then the sun popped back out and boom. It was probably about minus 15c (5f) in that wind and Keith and Emma were from the tropical north of Australia, they were legends. They earned those epic pics.
If you could go back to the beginning of your photography career, what are 3 things you wish you had known or done differently?
Ah this is tough. I think we need to go through trials and tribulations in order to learn what works and what doesn't:
Jim is a wedding photographer based in Queenstown, New Zealand. Most of his weddings are in the NZ Southern Alps, but he has a tendency to roam and shoot weddings all over the globe. He shoots in an informal, relaxed manner and likes to utilise his past life as a snowboard coach where possible. Jim's work is known for the magnificent landscapes in his portraits, as well as capturing beautiful candid moments that make up a wedding story. In 2015 he won a coveted place in Rangefinder Magazine Top 30 Rising Stars.
To see more of Jim's work, visit him at jimpollardgoesclick.com.