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Adventure Clips With Jon and Ash

by Natasha Christopher

These two close friends didn’t start out being friends during high school when they first met rather they couldn’t stand the sight of each other.  However, after a few meet-ups, to graduating in college together and trips alongside their friends, they found a common passion for photography and videography. Thus, they turn their interest into business officially by the name of J&A Productions that was formed in the year of 2015.

What prompted you to start your own production house with each other?
It all started in college during photography class. We would post our pictures on social media and it was received well by our friends and lecturer. From then on, people started hiring us to snap their happy moments on their wedding day and other engagements. We figured since people are giving us money for our work, why not make it into a business. It pretty much kind of snowball from then on. Plus, we didn’t have any professional background academics or experience in the line that we do.
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Where did the passion for videography and photography start?
Jon – I’ve always had an interest in photography ever since I could remember. Every picture I take, I want to convey a certain message behind every photo and just make people who look at my work to have the “wow” factor within them. I don’t have a specific genre that I love to snap, rather I love to try something new that is out of my element.

Ash – Documentary is what I grew up with, for example, BBC and NatGeo. Capturing a glimpse of such is what I am most passionate about. It can be a documentary about people or even animals. There’s always a story element when it comes to doing videography that’s what I like the most about it.  

What are the biggest misconception people have about the work you do?
I think the biggest misconception is that people think it’s easy and fun all time when it’s not a bed of roses every day. No doubt, it is fun for us but it can get really tiring and exhausting. From travelling non-stop or being on the shoot for many hours or just simply managing clients.The hardest thing is when a client does not know what they want and it becomes tough for us to execute the work to satisfy them. Another thing is that often you’ll get demotivated due to the fact that you have to accept lots of negative comments from clients. Even from our experiences, we’ve been told before by our clients that our work is not good but it didn’t stop us from learning our mistakes and keep getting better at it.
Jon - Photo (5)What are some of the perks you have being in this industry?
*Laughs* We have a lot of perks. We get to travel to beautiful places to work, go to places where most people don’t have access to and even fly our drones in a restricted area because we have the permission to do so. The best perks of all, was no doubt meeting the most awesome people in our line of work. You’ll get to meet people who have travelled around the world and even people who started a multi-million company from the ground up. You’ll be surprised that not only are the big-timers stories are interesting rather it’s also the people you meet in fishing villages and they have one of the best stories that will make you want to know more. Lastly, it’s building more and more friends with people we’ve worked with.
Which is your favourite lens? Why?
Jon – For me it has to be the Sigma 24-35mm F/2 Art Lens. This lens has a low range but a wide aperture. Perfect for low-light shots, clarity and the sharpness is pretty amazing too. It’s a bit on the heavy side but it’s a lens you should not walk out of your house without.

Ash- I would have to say Sigma too but mine is the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art Lens. This is a time lens with no zoom usage. Love using this lens for video. The one lens set up is really great if I’m trying to show the beauty of a certain place.

How do you educate yourself to take great pictures and shoot videos?
We would have to say our lecturer for the photography class in college, Mr Francis was one of our influencers to start this passion but the lesson was all very basic. To learn more, we did not pick up a book of photography but we look at an example of images. Besides, we even watch a lot of Youtube tutorial videos, website and just playing with our camera to know more of its settings and functions. Even after seven years of freelancing and now in the professional field, we still watch tutorials and new techniques to outperform ourselves and be updated to the current trends.
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Among all your work, which is your favourite? Why?
Basically, it’s anything that we’ve done work outdoor or with the people that we enjoy working with. We can’t pinpoint one of our most favourite work, we sort of just fall in love with all. This is also due to the fact that we have a real connection with stories behind a place or a person and that is what really makes us go on more.

How have drones helped in your work better?
We were one of the first people to use drones in the country and it dates back to the year 2012. This tool is what most people are missing out on and there’s an extra perspective to using a drone. You can talk about using a really tall tripod on a stick, and that’s not going to work. Or even hiring a helicopter to shoot pictures. One, that is very expensive and you can’t get too close to the subject matter. When you have a drone, use it to the fullest. People’s perception of a drone is that the bigger the drones are, the better, this is not true. I’ve flown with big and expensive drones and you’ll get a similar shot with a smaller one and sometimes a better shot with a cheaper drone. My advice to the newbies always start small.

Taken with a drone

Taken with a drone

Do you need to equip with better gears as you specialised mainly in outdoor media productions? Why?

Basically, if you’re in this industry, you need specialized gears, and it’s no different for us. Since we are shooting and filming outdoors mostly, the camera needs to be more lightweight, weather sealed, zoomed lenses, and also its gears that can go underwater. As for indoor gears, they are much more polished.
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How is your production company different from the rest? 

How we differentiate ourselves from others is that we make every shot and video we do counts. Our basic standard operating procedure is that every shot we take has to look artistic and stunning. Besides there alot of thought process to a single product we produce. We want it to be almost as though it can be hung on a wall and it’s Insta-worthy. Let’s be honest, social media is a huge platform to showcase our shot and videos.

After the sunrise the temple officials finally permuted entrance into Angkor Wat. The monks were setting up their spaces for tourist to receive blessings. Then this interaction between a local and a young monk happened. It was so candid. 📍 Angkor Wat, Siem Reap 📷 #canon5dmarkiii #sigmaart . . Follow me on IG and FB @jondexphoto . . #angkorwat #siemreap #cambodia #instagood #adventureinspired #travelgram #bevisuallyinspired #instapassport #beautifultravel #travellandscapes #instacontest #aov #moodygrams #agameoftones #createexplore #lensbible #earthfocus #ig_color #exploretocreate #hsdailyfeature #keepitwild #gramslayers #folkgood #bestvacations #passionpassport #earthofficial #incredible_shot #vocket

A post shared by Jon Dexter |28| 🇲🇾 (@jondexphoto) on

What’s next for J&A Productions?
We’re looking to be the premier and the best outdoor production in Malaysia, at least and then we can look at other countries to expand our passion. Also, we just want when people think of outdoor videos, content provider or social media, they will relate it back to J&A Production. Now, we are working with a lot of eco-friendly companies, for example, Habitat Hill Penang. They pioneer on how to be sustainable and earn a profit at the same time. It’s interesting when we can incorporate our interest while saving the environment through our work. Heck, even our new name card is made out of environment-friendly products.

To follow more on Jon and Ash’s work, visit their Instagram at
Ash:  Ash Raja

Jon: Jonathan Dexter

J&A Production  (Facebook).

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