“Up and over the fence” and other strange phrases used by photographers.

Every profession has it’s own jargon and technical terms that sound strange and nonsensical to those not working within the industry. Photography is no exception, and in fact photographers can be some of the biggest culprits. However, aside from the “everyday” photography terms such as aperture and shutter speed, there are some rather amusing phrases that even I think sound ridiculous to the uninitiated!

Below I have listed some of the phrases you may or may not have heard a photographer say in your presence and a short description of what they actually mean.

Up and over the fence

Nope we are not talking about how to get away from a particularity difficult client (although I’m sure we’ve all been there)! “Up and over the fence” is a phrase used primarily when shooting head shots to help eliminate double chins (even for those who don’t necessarily have one).  Often, people’s natural inclination when being photographed is to pull their face away from the lens and draw their chin into their neck, thus creating a double-chin effect. Asking people to push their chin forward then results in a gurning face as the chin is lifted unflattering in the air. Instead, I ask my clients to imagine that there is a fence that just reaches the bottom of their chin, and to lift their chin over the top so that the chin is on the opposite side of the fence to the neck. This elongates the neck, separating it from the chin and creates a defined jawline that is slimming and flattering.

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A strong jawline is slimming and flattering and sometimes we need to use a little imagination to create the right pose for this.

The Decisive Moment

This phrase was coined by famous street photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. It relates to pressing the shutter button at the precise time everything in the image comes together and creates the perfect photograph. Whilst this often still relates to street photography, timing is important to taking the perfect shot in all genres – it could be the exact moment you start to smile naturally and relax in you head shot shoot, or could be capturing a moment in time at a corporate event.

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Timing is everything – especially at action-packed events.

The golden hour

Now I’m sure most of you will have heard of this term and many will even know what it refers to. The golden hour is (in general terms) the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset where the sunlight is low in the sky, soft and golden. This lighting provides optimum conditions for both landscape images and portraiture as the contrast between highlights and shadows is not too extreme, but enough to convey shape and depth, in and around the subject matter.

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Photos taken during the golden hour have a much subtler contrast between highlights and shadows.

Feathering the light

Feathering light relates to the position of the subject in relation to the light source. Instead of aiming the light directly at the subject (or placing the subject directly in the light if using natural light), feathering the light involves placing the subject at the edge of the light source to create softer and more subtle lighting. For example, it would be the difference between standing in front of a car’s headlights, or standing on the pavement on the edge of where the headlights illuminate the space ahead. This is a popular technique across a range of photography genres, especially when seeking to create a more sensual feel to the image.

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On the edge – feathering the light can create an ethereal atmosphere in an image. Here the subject had already positioned himself on the edge of the light source and the result was too good not to photograph .

Bouncing the flash 

At events, the one question I get asked more than any other is “Why aren’t you pointing that flash in the right direction?” This answer is simple – using flash directly on a subject causes flat harsh lighting with red eyes and dark shadows. Instead, by pointing the flash to the ceiling or a nearby wall, the light is “bounced” off this larger surface and reflects back softer; creating flattering lighting. If done correctly, bounced flash can be hard to spot and is a great technique when time and lack of space may limit more complex lighting setups being utilised.

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Bouncing the flash off a ceiling or wall is far more flattering than pointing it directly at the subject. Here there are no red eyes and no distracting shadows behind.

Hyperfocal distance

Now I could I could get really nerdy here, but that’s not really my nature so I will keep it very simple. The hyperfocal distance of a scene, is the distance a photographer needs to focus his lens at, in order for everything in the image to be sharp. This usually relates to landscape photography where an object in the foreground (a gate or a wall for example) needs to be as pin sharp as the object in the background (a hill or mountain etc.). The scientific amongst us can calculate exactly what that focus needs to be based on maths and science – the rest of us use an app!!

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When everything in the scene needs to be sharp, hyperfocal focussing is the answer.

Just one more

Question: How many photographers does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Just one more! It’s an old joke but does highlight one of the most overused phrases in the industry. Why do we always ask for one more shot even after we have the perfect image? For some, it’s simply to really make sure the image is captured and we have several shots to choose from when editing, for others it’s a bad habit that is hard to get out of. I tend to say this when clients are starting to relax and the images are looking better and better with each shot. Sometimes the best image can be the very last one taken so whilst I don’t like keeping people longer than they feel comfortable, I like to keep trying new ideas from the start of the session to the very end.

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Just one more – taking photos can be addictive and we don’t always know when to stop!

These are just some of the strange photographic terms you may have heard or hear in the future – are there any other terms or phrases you have heard but don’t understand? If so comment below and I will endeavour to make sense of them for you.

In the meantime, have a great week.

Ross

Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Chelmsford and covering Essex and London, who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are.  His work can be viewed at www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWIllsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography

 

 

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“Up and over the fence” and other strange phrases used by photographers.

A quick look back before a big launch forward…

This week has been all about setting new goals for Ross Willsher Photography and thinking about all the exciting shoots I have coming up over the next 12 months. However, with the festive season arriving and departing – as ever – in such a blur, I haven’t had a proper chance to reflect on my successful first year as a professional photographer. Therefore, I think I can afford a quick look back at some my photographic highlights from 2016 before turning my attention to new challenges and successes that lie ahead.

I am lucky enough to shoot both commercial photography (headshots, food, products & events) as well as wedding and family photography, so my workload is diverse and I get to meet a wide range of interesting people as a result. That also means whittling down my favourite images was pretty hard to do. Therefore, I have chosen my favourite shot from each genre of photography I had the pleasure of shooting. I hope you enjoy this (extremely brief) overview of what I do. If you are looking for professional photography – be it to capture personal memories or to market you business – please do get in touch. I pride myself on taking images that reflect the individuality of my clients.

Website Shot

Working with the friendly professionals at Limeberry Catering was one of my highlights of 2016. The team are dedicated to delivering high quality service & produce and in doing so they make my job very easy. They also put an equal amount of work into their premises to ensure that each of their venues have the perfect atmosphere for an exquisite dining or drinking experience. I love the vibe at Bottle Bureau in Chelmsford – its dark walls and dimly-lit tables (along with a fresh and funky drinks menu) make this a must-visit bar. The team are also responsible for The New London and The Ship Inn – both of which I have had the pleasure of photographing and can recommend just as heartily.

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Wedding Shot

As wonderful as they always are, weddings can be chaotic and crazy occasions. The planning alone can be extensive and exhausting and the day can be over in the blink of an eye. My job is to not only capture all the wonderful and magical memories of the day but  to create images that serve as a reminder of what the occasion is really all about. The very essence of every wedding day is simply two people in love. I think that this photo sums it up perfectly.

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Headshot

Ah headshots…suited and booted, crossed arms and bright white background time eh? Well…probably not if you’ve booked me! I like to do most of my headshots outdoors when possible – not only does it provide more interesting and vibrant backdrops, it also helps my clients to relax and forget their emails and Outlook calendars for a short time. I feel strongly that your headshot should reflect not only your brand but also your personality. Jeannie from Real Revolution Healing is a yoga instructor who likes to offer her clients an escape from hectic city life during her workshops and classes. To reflect this, we shot her portraits in the countryside as the evening sun was golden and this was the result. I love how the light, the colours and Jeannie’s expression all work together to bring a sense of warmth to the photo.

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Food Image

I love food photography. It’s something I definitely want to do more of in 2017. Colours, textures, shapes; food photography offers it all. However, photographing food can be a lot more challenging than people think – you have to ensure the images make the food look appetising and fresh; with enough shadow to create depth and texture but not too much that the lighting is too harsh. Obviously the colours are the first thing that hits you about this image but I also love how the composition isn’t overly perfect. Some of the spices have overlapped into each other giving a sense of movement and culinary creativity.

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Family Portrait

Before I became a photographer, I spent 10 years working with children with special educational needs. I’m so happy that as a photographer I still get to work with children and young families as they can be the most rewarding shoots of all. Again, I like to do these shoots outdoors as it helps everyone to relax and results in a set of images which tell much more of a story. Often we will take a walk around a venue and stop at various locations to take a range of group and individual photos. I think forced smiles on perfectly behaved children make boring images! Muddy hands, cheeky grins and the odd strop make far better memories in my opinion. This image sums up my approach to family portraits – beautiful locations, natural smiles and moments that can be treasured on living room walls for years to come.

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Street Image

Street Photography is simply “people-watching” with a camera. I love trips to the city to capture entertaining images of the everyday things people do. In the image below noone is screaming or shouting, there’s no romantic moment or comical character. However, I just love the moment-in-time captured and the questions one could ask on viewing it. What is the lady so engrossed in? Where have they been to and where are they going? Of course, we will never know..but it won’t stop us speculating!

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Event Capture

Events can be great fun to photograph – in 2016 I photographed concerts, Hollywood-themed balls and even a Santa’s Grotto. However, one of my favourite images from last year was this shot from the Peterborough Memory Walk in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. I take a similar approach to weddings and event photography – letting much of the action unfold organically and capturing natural moments as they happen. My event photography is all about ensuring the shots capture the magic of the day so the they can be used to promote future events for businesses and charities. This shot highlights how much fun you can have raising money for a great cause.

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These are just some of my highlights of 2016 and you can see more of my work on my websites below.

Weddings and Portraits – www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk

Commercial – www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk

Thank you for reading. Click here to contact me if you would like to know more about how I could help you capture memories or promote your business in 2017. Who knows – maybe you will feature in my “Best of 2017” blog.

I hope you have a fantastic 2017 and I look forward to working with you soon.

Ross

Ross Willsher is a social (weddings and portraits) and commercial photographer based in Chelmsford and covering Essex and London who is passionate about creating images as individual as you are.  His work can be viewed at www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWIllsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography

A quick look back before a big launch forward…