HauteButch Feature: James Alexander

Recently, HauteButch had the pleasure of working with photographer, James Alexander, owner of Sneak Peek Photography. James is an artist at heart, which can be seen through his hobbies, business and entertainment career, and he oozes positivity any time he speaks. His upbeat personality, desire for connection and eye for composition not only puts clients at ease, but enables James to take breathtaking photos.
James found his way to HauteButch through a friend he made back in 2003 while performing, Ain't Misbehavin - our very own Danette! While catching up, James learned about the brand and offered to donate his time and photography skills.
"I thought, well that sounds hot!" James explained. "Being a photographer, I said is there anything I can do to help? I would love to donate my time, my photography. One thing led to another, and I was at the shoot. It was a wonderful experience."

Working with HauteButch

Being a photographer as well as a HauteButch team member, hearing the satisfaction in his voice made me happy but also curious. I wondered what made the experience so wonderful, and thankfully, James was more than happy to speak with me about his experience.
"When I got to the set, it was very relaxed," James told me. "There was a great energy. Danette really created a wonderful atmosphere. There was a lot of help, which was nice, so things ran smoothly, and once the models started coming in, [there was] just an easy, breezy feel. They were really really sweet and some of the models were not professional, but they were able to take direction and really vibe with me, the camera, the atmosphere, and we had a system going on."
James continued, "There was a level of trust back and forth, and it was just a beautiful experience. I would definitely say, if i gave it a grade - the atmosphere, the models, the whole set up - I’d give it an A+. I had a great day that day, and I made some really, really nice friends that I know I’ll be friends with forever. The models are amazing."
Heartwarming, right?! You should have heard him say it in the interview! You can't help but smile when another industry professional has such sweet things to say about your company.
Since I was unfamiliar with James, I wanted to find out more about him, his entertainment career as well as his company - Sneak Peek Photography. As with discussing how the photoshoot went, James was more than willing to give me an inside look at everything, and the more I learned, the more privileged I felt having an opportunity to speak with him.

Entertainment Career

James is an actor, singer and comedian - along with being a photographer - which means he knows actors, singers, comedians, directors, producers and reviewers who need photos taken. He is fortunate to have colleagues in the industry know him as a photographer as well and explains that some people, such as younger generations in the entertainment industry, only know him as such.
"It’s really been a blessing that I started when I did - taking pictures, and also taking quality pictures and really caring about what I do," James commented. "People need pictures. With this covid happening, we'll get through this, and it will turn around. We're creatives. We make it happen. We know how to get through a rough time." 
There's some of his unwavering positivity. Yes, we WILL get through this!
"A lot of people are really, really struggling, and we help each other when we can, which is a beautiful thing," James expressed. 
We couldn't agree more! Working together is how we will get through this pandemic because we are so much stronger together. 

How He Got Into Photography

James has always been a visual person and an artist. Around middle school, and up until his late teens, he focused on drawing with pencil and ink. Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to cameras via a Kodak disposable. Shocking right?! Oh the days before digital everything...
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, James started playing around with disposable cameras and evaluating what he captured.
"I was really curious, and I think from there is when I started trying out shooting people, you know, and looking at light - how people look in light, in different lights - and composition," James explained. "And I think the artist in me that draws with pencil and ink basically gravitated toward the photography. I think that’s when the lightbulb hit, and I was thinking, wait a minute, there’s something to this."
James felt photography was a natural progression - from pencil and ink drawings to photography. It helped that people in his life genuinely enjoyed his pictures. Having a supportive community, or inner circle, can definitely help when developing new talents, but it also requires a level of curiosity - a desire to learn more about your craft.
"Being able to control natural light and get the same effect in a photograph that I would in my drawings was very intriguing to me ," James commented.  "When you look at someone, there are things going on behind those eyes and to be able to capture those moments (and they last forever), that really excited me! It also helped me be able to know how to talk to people, how to bring certain things out of them."
When asked for an example, James explained, "Some people are shy - I’m a comedian, so I’ll have them laughing and be able to capture those moments. I’m not able to do that in a drawing. Even though I can do a great job, this was like the next progression, but I think that’s why I got into photography. It really excited me to be able to create on the spot and, the composition of it all - place the person’s head in the picture or just that - it was just exciting."
Curiosity + talent = Sneak Peek Photography. 
Type of Photography James Specializes In 
While photographers clearly have a passion for being behind the camera, not everyone shares the same interest in types or subjects. For example, before working for HauteButch, my style was boudoir and/or macro photography. James, on the other hand specializes in headshots and portraits.
When asked about his specialization, James divulged, "The two styles that I love equally are headshot and portraits. I think because both images are personal - there’s nothing like sitting down with someone and connecting. A great headshot is about connection. A great portrait is about connection."
YES! So much YES! We are wired for connection, and it can be found in so many ways. Click here to check out my article about finding connection through fashion. Connection through photography is so important, especially when doing headshots or portraits. James was kind enough to explain his process with new clients.
"So usually what I do is, I have a consultation and we meet - in a relaxed atmosphere - and we talk about many things,  just to get their aura and their energy.  Once we do that, we discuss what the shoot is going to be: what they’re going to wear; what are they trying to portray?" James explained. "So this way we can continue to have connection, but I can take them on that journey and direct them so that once we get the clothes and everything, [it all]comes together and connects - including their eyes and their auras. Also, I can get to know the person and see how they move their face.I just like to see how people move, how faces move, how their bodies move when they talk." 

Aura, Energy + Connection

James also explains the importance of a person's aura and how that impacts connection and a photo session.
"It’s about capturing [their] aura because that aura will get them work or it will be a part of their brand," James continued. "It’s an organic thing, and I feel that when you connect with a client and the client connects with you (even though you just met), it’s  a lot like talking to a good friend. There’s a certain way they look at you, and there’s a certain way you look at them.
The energy is bouncing back and forth, and I always tell people, as we’re talking, 'You know, this is a great energy. This is exactly what the energy is like when you go to stand in front of my lens. It’s not deep. You’re already a superstar. So what we’re doing right now, keep it real, easy breezy, and it happens.' So I think I like the intimate part of it, the organic connection that happens in a portrait or headshot, whether it be something - an action shot, or maybe something a little more serious for a commercial shot - it all is the same thing. It’s just different energies. A great, great portrait or headshot is all about your energy. That’s what people see. They see your essence, so I think I gravitate toward that. That’s why I love these two styles." 
Beautifully explained. James is so clearly passionate, genuine and talented.
At the end of our conversation, James left me with these sweet parting words, "Thank you so much for having me do this interview. I think it’s pretty awesome. I think your clothing line is pretty awesome, and I just thank you for being so generous to have me come in and share a little bit of my story." 

Contacting James + Sneak Peak Photography

I'm sure by now, you're wondering how to reach James, his company, or even just see his work. We can't blame you! Below you will find various ways to view/reach out to James.
Website: www.sneakpeekphotography.com
Instagram: @sneakpeekny
Twitter: @SneakPeekNY
Contact Sneak Peek Photography 
Entertainer Website: www.JamesEdwardsAlexander.com