Jacqui Nightscales [Family Photographer]
by Michael Kruger
What do myself and Jacqui Nightscales have in common? Well lots actually, we’re both South African, live in Dubai and have a great love for photography! Well…OK…that’s where the similarity ends! This girl with the camera, has some serious skills, especially when it comes to family portraiture! Well I don’t want to give too much away, lets have a chat with her and she can reveal all about herself and her work!
XPM: Hi Jacs, good to see you again! As a fellow photographer, I’m always following your wonderful work! So lets just jump straight in shall we? There are so many genre’s of photography, why families, babies, kids etc.?
JN: Thanks so much Michael for all your kind words! I’m a big fan of yours as well! I especially love your kick ass editing skills! I do photograph a variety of genres – all of which include people. I do corporate photography and weddings, as well as families, maternity and newborn photography. While my passion is for people, my greatest love is photographing children as I find they are truest to themselves. There is a spirit that you can capture in children that is lost as children grow up.
XPM: There’s the old saying “The hardest two things to shoot with are animals and kids” – I have to say from my own experience this is true! As someone specialising in families, what do you think? Did you ever have a kid who just wouldn’t co-operate and if so how did you manage to do the shoot?
JN: I photograph both animals and children. I can’t get enough of it. Yes…I have to crawl around on the floor, offer piggy backs and eat mud pies, but it’s all part ofthe fun. My style is completely natural, I hate posing people. Life is not posed. Life happens, life must be fun and real. I’ve often had melt downs from tired children. I know what their attention spans are and what I can expect from each age group. I have fun with the kids – that’s what it’s all about. I make no demands of them, so that is how I get them to be natural in front of my lens.
XPM: I also see you photograph newborns? This also can’t be easy surely? This must be special time to shoot with them though? Tell us a bit more?
JN: Newborn photography is not easy at all. It’s a stressful time for new mums and those first few days of the baby’s life can be quite unpredictable. I try to keep my approach to newborn photography the same as my family sessions – as natural as possible. I don’t like a lot of props and focus on the essence of the baby. My favourite part of the session is all the cuddles that I get to have with the baby. Since I don’t have any children of my own yet, this keeps me going until I can.
XPM: You’re always seem to find cool locations for your shoots, is something you’re openly always looking [new places] for or do you have your set locations and use them regularly? Also do you also shoot in the studio? Do you have your own where potential clients can come to?
JN: I do try to keep every session that I photograph different. I am constantly looking for new locations. I do have a few favourites, but they keep getting built on and I have to find new ones. The more natural the surroundings, the better. I’m always laying in any patch of grass that I can find and climbing in bushes. I am a natural light photographer by choice but do offer studio type set ups if my clients wish. Most of my clients are attracted to my style though when they book me, and I explain to them that little children will not sit still on a backdrop. I’m not about posing, I like children to be able to run around and play. Even adults feel more at ease in a natural setting. Anyone feels like they’re in the spot light with a flash firing at them.
XPM: A lot of family photographers often dabble in school photography portraits, from crèches to high school. Is this something you’ve ever done or considered doing?
JN: I have photographed schools and it’s not where my passion lies. My heart has to be in everything that I do.
XPM: Tell us a bit about yourself if you don’t mind? How did you get into this business, how long, anything that really stands out to you during your time as a photographer? Achievements or experiences?
JN: I did my first darkroom course in the States in 2000. I fell in love with it and went on to study for 3 more years getting my national diploma in photography. That was back in the days of film, and we processed our own film and printed our own pictures. I knew my love was always for children, even from my early days as a photographer. My style over the years has developed and changed, improved and is still evolving. I am an animal fanatic too, and rescue and help any animal that I can. Recently I photographed a series of photo’s with a 2 year old little girl and her dad’s bulls, which have become quite popular and have been published on a cover of a magazine. I’ve had several people in Europe contacting me about printing them too, but I’m very selective though and we are busy working on the articles.
XPM: What do you like to do in your spare time? If you have any?
JN: To be honest, I am a workaholic. I often go 3 weeks without a day off and work 12-15 hour days as the norm. If I do eventually take a day off, I love spending it with my friends, running around a water park or having a braai [BBQ]. I’m very low key and down to earth so my idea of a great weekend is camping or heading down to the beach.
XPM: If you could work with any photographer, past or present in the world today, who would it be and why?
JN: I know and am friends with heaps of amazing photographers. I’ve been lucky enough to assist on many of their shoots. I am merely fascinated by fashion photography from a lighting and technical point of view, but I have no desire to actually shoot it myself. I’d love to be on Anne Geddes set for a day to see how she handles all those babies. That would be really fun to watch.
XPM: Well Jacqui, I think that’s it for now! Thanks so much for chatting with me and I hope things keep going from strength to strength! Those reading, please check out Jacqui’s Facebook page and website on the links below!
JN: Thanks so much Michael for your time and this amazing opportunity to be featured in X-Pose Magazine! I feel very honoured!
Visit Jacqui’s WEBSITE