Chelsea by day, Chelmsford by night

Light plays such a huge role in the mood and storytelling of a photo, regardless of the subject matter. From romantic portraits taken under the soft glimmering light of the golden hour (think 90% of every Poldark episode) to harsh and dramatic street photography taken in the midday sun, we photographers use light to evoke feelings and stir emotions in our viewers.

Recently I embarked on a couple of city shoots and due to the time of day. the lighting (and the editing process) they couldn’t be more different. Below I have displayed images from each shoot side by side to illustrate how much control we can have on the mood of an image, just by playing with light and deciding when to photograph a city or building.

All images were taken with the same camera (Canon 5D ii) and lens (24-70mm 2,8) which demonstrates that it is you not your camera that controls the stories you tell and the scenes you set.

 

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Commercial street photography London10

 

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Which style / collection of images do your prefer. How does the lighting influence how you feel about the subject matter? I would love to hear your thoughts. Why not let me know in the comments below?

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 http://www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / http://www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk | 07590 520539

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWillsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography | http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosswillsher/

Chelsea by day, Chelmsford by night

Heads-up! How to nail the perfect headshot

“YOU NEVER GET A SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION.”

It’s an old saying but one that is more relevant than ever before in this digital age. With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles – in addition to a professional website – now an essential part of any marketing campaign, first impressions are no longer solely made face-to-face.

Headshots are your chance to provide potential clients, casting agents or employers with the perfect first impression and to communicate in one image the person behind the brand. In order for your headshot to do this, it needs to be two things;

A) Professionally taken

A quick snap taken by a friend with their latest smartphone may seem the most cost-effective option, but aside from the compromised image quality, there is no substitute for a professional photographer’s ability to light, pose and direct you to ensure that your headshot makes the maximum impact.

B) Reflective of your personality and brand

Wearing a suit and tie and standing in front of a studio backdrop may work really well for a bank manager or accountant. However, this may not truly reflect the brand and personality of a personal trainer or actor. The location, styling and posing of your headshot needs to reflect who you are and resonate with the type of clients / audience that you are trying to attract.

It is important to find a photographer who will listen and get to know you, make you feel comfortable in front of the lens and know how to light and pose you to help you look your best.

However, your attitude and preparation to a headshot shoot can have a massive impact on its success. Below are some of the simple things that you can do to help your photographer to get a headshot that captures your unique personality.

1. Have a clear direction

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Before the shoot, think about how you want to be seen and what characteristics you want to portray. If you are a performer think about the types of roles or performances that you want to be cast in. Are you seeking roles as a villain or a leading love interest? Are you an opera singer or a rock musician? The slightest change in expression and intensity of the eyes can change how you look in your headshot so be clear about what you are wanting from the shoot and share this with the phtographer before the session.

This applies just as much (if not more) to business headshots – what are you trying to say about yourself and your brand? You may want to appear friendly, warm and approachable or appear more authoritative and convey a strong sense of leadership.

2. Wear clothes that compliment you and your brand

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Choose clothes that are comfortable and help you to feel relaxed. Again, think about the audience and what you are trying to convey. Choose colours that compliment your eyes or skin tone – pastels look good on fair skin types with blue eyes, whilst rustic colours (brown, green, orange) compliment green eyes. If you have dark eyes, most colours work well providing they contrast your skin tone.

The strength of Emma’s headshot above is not only down to her beautiful smile but also due to the colours of her outfit complimenting the earthy tones of the natural backdrop.

White or black tops can look a little too contrasting, whilst shirts or blouses with a collar frame the face neatly. However, rules are there to be broken and it all comes down to your personal style. Depending on the look you are going for you may want to avoid high-necked tops that don’t flatter the jawline or low cut tops that are too revealing. If appropriate, a bright scarf or cardigan may add that all important splash of colour that makes your headshot stand out from the crowd – especially if this colour matches your logo and marketing materials.

I always allow clients to bring more than one outfit if they are unsure or want a variety of looks.

3. Practice

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Spend some time before the shoot looking in the mirror trying different expressions – see what you think works for you. I help to guide clients on the day but it never hurts to arrive with an idea of how you look when making various expressions and an understanding of which expressions give a stronger sense of your personality.

4. Talk to your photographer

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Before the shoot, make the photographer aware of any concerns or worries you have – let them know anything you feel self-conscious about. During the shoot, don’t be afraid to suggest ideas and provide feedback on the shots taken so far. Only you can decide whether a shot truly reflects you or not and a good photographer will love hearing your input. The session is a collaborative process – not simply the photographer giving directions to you – so be honest and open.

5. Keep posing simple

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There are unlimited ways of posing and your photographer should provide gentle advice and direction. However, we are not looking for a Vogue cover shot on a headshot shoot and simple works best. This shot of Opera singer Peter is simple in pose and composition but incredibly powerful and perfect for use in concert programmes.

Some general rules to flatter your facial features include keeping your shoulders back and relaxed, and making sure your core (tummy) muscles are tight to support your posture. To avoid double chins appearing in your photos (regardless of whether you have one or not), roll your shoulders back, try to bring your forehead forward towards the camera and tilt it down a little (think “up and over the fence”). This stretches the neck, smooths out any lines and separates the jawline from the neck itself. As result your face will appear slimmer and more defined. Again, you can practice this before the shoot if you are unsure.

6. Be open-minded

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Headshots can incorporate a variety of styles now and so we can try several ideas in a session to get the look you are after. A good photographer won’t ask you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable but don’t limit yourself by not being open to suggestions. The shot above of Belinda was taken right at the end of the shoot when we decided to try one more pose and style before we brought the session to an end. We hadn’t planned to shoot Belinda in her hat and scarf but as soon Belinda put these back on, her posture and expressions became much more relaxed and we decided that this shot caught her true personality better than all the previous shots we had taken.

7. Think about the eyes

Vitawell - Debbie Ash

A good headshot is all about the eyes and connecting with the viewer. Look into the camera as if the lens is a person viewing your headshot for the first time (a casting agent or potential client) and think about how you would persuade them to hire you and what you want that first impression to be.

8. Don’t be afraid to laugh

Headshots are important and can have a huge impact on your publicity but that doesn’t mean the process should be dull and monotonous. Allow yourself to laugh when it doesn’t go right first time, be willing to try different ideas and enjoy the break from sorting emails, learning lines or chairing another meeting. Trust me – you’ll soon wish you were back in front of the camera.

Looking for a new headshot? I would love to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to call 07590 520 539 or email info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk to chat to me about your headshot needs. Alternatively visit my website to view more of my work and contact me via the online form.

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 http://www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / http://www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk | 07590 520539

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWillsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography | http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosswillsher/

Heads-up! How to nail the perfect headshot

Top tips for photographing property

When selling or renting out a property, the images you take can really make or break a potential buyer’s decision to book a viewing. Photographing property needn’t be overly difficult or time consuming, but remembering these key things could really help to sell your property faster (and at a higher price).

Tidy Up

It’s amazing how photographs can be ruined by even the smallest of objects being left in the shot. From a used dish cloth hanging over the kitchen tap, to a full-to-bursting laundry bin in the bathroom, remove any item that distracts from the space and style of the room you are shooting.

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Stand in the corner

9/10 times, the best position to shoot a room from is in the corner. This often provides the biggest sense of space and enables you to fit a maximum amount of a room’s features in the image. Where this isn’t possible, take a walk around and keep shooting until you find a spot that maximises the sense of space.

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Don’t be afraid to move furniture 

Sometimes, simply moving an item of furniture only slightly can have a massive impact on your image. Don’t be afraid to move that armchair slightly closer to the wall to show more floor space, or to rotate the coffee table so it doesn’t take up so much of the image. Remember it is the room being promoted – not necessarily its contents.

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Keep verticals vertical

The biggest error I see in property photography is what is known as “converging verticals” – this is when walls look like they are leaning into each other. Make sure that you shoot from a position and angle where the main walls in the room appear vertical in your view finder. Often the height at which you shoot from can play a major role in this, so play around with viewpoints until it looks correct.

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Highlight the main features of the room

Ideally, when photographing a room you will have enough space to capture both the floor and the ceiling to give a real sense of the room’s dimensions. However, where space is limited, you may not have this luxury and a compromise might need to be made. Always try to shoot from a height / angle that showcases the main features of the room – for example make sure you shoot from a high enough angle to see the tops of worktops in a kitchen but low enough to include the bath in a bathroom shot.

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Think about the light

Rooms should be made to look as bright and airy as possible. A dark and underexposed image can be the biggest turn-off for perspective buyers. Sometimes, the light from a window will be a lot brighter than the rest of the room itself and if you do not have the ability to add an off-camera flash or produce a composite of several images, it is better to overexpose the window light than underexpose the room.  If a room has a window, always include a shot from an angle that showcases this.

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Show space / connecting rooms

The more you are able to give a feel of how the property works as a whole and flows from room to room, the stronger your set of images will be. Therefore, always try to include shots of open-plan areas and connecting rooms. It helps buyers to envisage how they would live and interact in the space.

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Include details

For all properties – but especially those being rented out as furnished and / or short stay accommodation – include close-ups of the little details that make the property feel homely and welcoming. The attention-to-detail in how you have decorated your home can help to add an extra dimension to your property images that not all vendors will have thought of.

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Don’t forget the exterior

Always include images of the front of the property and any gardens / additional space. Whether the property is fully detached or part of a block of flats, provide the viewer with a sense of location and the external environment.

Outdoor Front 2

So there you have it – a few simple tricks to vastly improve the quality of your property images whatever camera you are using. If you have any questions or comment feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading.

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 http://www.rosswillsherphotography.co.uk / http://www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk | 07590 520539

facebook.com/rosswillsherphotography | @RWillsherPhoto | instagram.com/rosswillsherphotography | http://www.linkedin.com/in/rosswillsher/

 

 

Top tips for photographing property

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…

Relax…it’s in the bag – Part 4 – The back-up camera

 

Part 4 of a series of blog posts exploring what essential pieces of kit I keep in my bag and how each item helps to promote your brand.

Sometimes – despite all the planning and preparation in the world – things can go wrong and a camera can malfunction, get dropped or become damaged during a shoot. That’s why it’s important to carry a back-up at all times.

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The Canon 7D is never far away in my kit bag; ready and waiting to step-in should my 5D fail on me (touch wood this hasn’t happened yet). However, the 7D is far from just a back-up camera as it has some really great features of its own and in some areas even outshines my main camera.

Here are few reasons why the 7D can handle anything during our photoshoot;

Awesome focussing – the 7D is far superior when it comes to focussing for action shots as it has a wide range of focus settings to choose from. It produces sharp shots of fleeting moments that can be missed in the blink of an eye.

Custom functions – as with the 5D, I can assign particular functions to a range of controls on the 7D and so this means I can easily switch from one camera body to the other and shoot just as quickly and comfortably with each camera.

Lightweight – with a slightly smaller sensor than the 5D, my 7D is lightweight and easy to handhold which means I can happily lug it around on a shoot; whether around my neck being used or tucked up safely in my kit bag as a spare.

Multi-lens compatibility – You may have already read my previous blog post in this series all about my different lenses and how they help me get great shots during our shoots. These lenses work just as effectively with my 7D as they do with the 5D so whatever camera body is in use – we can still get a diverse set of images.

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What this means for you. 

Peace of mind. Knowing that I have a back-up camera means you don’t have to worry that your shoot will be cancelled last minute or end prematurely due to kit failure.  It also means high quality images are guaranteed regardless of which piece of kit I use.

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So if you’re looking for a relaxed and fun-filled headshot or portrait shoot or are on the hunt for a reliable event or product photographer please get in touch. I’d love to use my skills and my ever-growing kit bag to help you to promote your business, skills or products.

Have a great week.

Ross

www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk

07590 520539

Relax…it’s in the bag – Part 4 – The back-up camera

Relax…it’s in the bag – Part 3 – Memory Cards and Batteries

Part 3 of a series of blog posts exploring what essential pieces of kit I keep in my bag and how each item helps to make you look great in your photos.

We’ve looked at the camera, we’ve looked at the lenses and this week we’re looking at two small but crucial contents of my camera bag – memory cards and batteries.

Memory Cards

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The memory cards that I use are known as Compact Flash Cards. I use two makes; SanDisk and Lexar. Both makes are high-quality professional memory cards that are known for durability and speed. They are shock and vibration resistant and can cope in both hot and cold temperature extremes. They allow me to shoot lots of fast moving objects in quick successful when needed without freezing-up the camera or missing the shot. 

Memory cards come in a range of storage sizes – during a shoot I use several 8GB or 16GB cards instead of a single card with larger storage capabilities so that in the unlikely event of the card becoming damaged, not all of the images are lost.

What this means for you 

Using memory cards with the capacity to quickly store a high volume of large image files means that not only can we take lots of photos quickly within a limited time frame but also retain all of the photographic data to edit and enhance the images during the post-production stage. You can rest assured that if we don’t capture your good side straight away during your headshot shoot we will have plenty of opportunities to get it right before the shoot is over. We we also be able to change outfits and locations without fear of storage restrictions.

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Batteries 

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My camera batteries are long-lasting but also fully rechargeable.  Rarely – if ever – have I needed to change a dead battery mid-way through a shoot. Should this be necessary I always carry at least 3 other spare batteries on me at all times. I also carry one of my battery chargers with me just in case. 

Like the memory cards, the batteries perform just as well in extreme temperatures and are reliable in all conditions and environments – including when shooting in continuous mode for action shots. 

What this means for you

Do you have an event coming up that requires several hours coverage and features very important key note speakers? The endurance of these batteries means that every crucial shot will be captured and I won’t need to scramble around changing batteries mid-way through your guest speakers’ inspirational speeches.

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Hopefully you now understand a little bit more about what my memory cards and batteries do and how they provide peace of mind during a shoot. You can be assured that we have every eventuality covered on a shoot – be that a headshot session or event coverage. For even more reassurance, look out for my next post in the series – all about my back-up camera.

If you now feel that your promotional images are in safe hands with me and would like to contact me to book a  headshot, product or event shoot please do get in touch.

Thanks for reading – have a great week.

Ross

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk

www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 

07590 520539

Relax…it’s in the bag – Part 3 – Memory Cards and Batteries

Relax – It’s in the bag: Part 2 – The Camera Lenses

Following on from last week’s blog where I talked about some of the features of my camera body and how it helps me to take great photos of you and your business, this week we are looking at my lenses and seeing just what they do for us on our shoot.

Canon 50mm f1.8

The Canon 50mm is a fixed lens meaning that it only has one focal length (and cannot be zoomed in or out). The number 1.8 refers to its largest aperture setting (the hole through which light enters the lens and into the camera). The smaller the number, the larger the aperture and therefore the more light the lens lets in. At f1.8 lots of light can flood into the camera to create the shot. This lens is small, lightweight and exceptionally sharp.

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What this means for you

Your business premises might not be the brightest and most spacious location in Essex but that doesn’t mean we can’t get some great shots for your website or social media platforms. The 50mm lens is unobtrusive, and with it’s ability to let in lots of light, we don’t have to use vast amounts of artificial lighting setups that might interrupt your workflow and take up valuable business hours.

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Canon 24-70mm f2.8

The Canon 24-70mm is a great all-round lens that can be used for wide-angle scenes and flattering portrait shots. If I only have space for one lens when ton assignments, this is the one I take as it allows me to shoot such a variety of subjects quickly and to a high quality. It can let in lots of light for hand-held shooting in dark locations but also has impressive manual focussing abilities for landscape photography on a tripod.

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What this means for you

To make your website engaging and a cut above those of your competitors, you need a variety of high quality images that provide prospective clients with a strong insight into the property, personalities and products behind the brand. This lens has the versatility to take shots ranging from exterior location images through to close-up product photography. To be able to switch quickly from a close-up image to a staff group photo helps me to save you time and get back to more pressing tasks.

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Canon 70-200mm f2.8

The largest of my lenses, the 70-200mm is great for taking shots of people and objects a little further away. It still lets in lots of light in dark environments but is also great for photographing moving subjects: be they mechanical, human or animal. The 70-200mm lens is great for creating soft blurred background as it compresses all objects in the frame.

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What this means for you

Many people are a little concerned when this large lens is pointed in their direction as they feel it will highlight all of their (perceived) flaws. In actual fact the focal length of this lens and its ability to compress objects to make them appear closer together really flatters faces. Take a headshot with a wide-angle lens and you will see how distorted and unattractive your face looks – this lens does the opposite. So don’t be intimidated by its size. This lens also helps you to really stand out from the background and make your portrait “pop”.  At events this lens allows me to capture expressions and gestures of guest speakers without obstructing your audience and attendees.

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To see some more of the work created with these lenses please take a little look at my website. Alternatively, please get in touch if you would like my lenses and I to create some images that will help you promote your USP.

In my next post I’ll be talking about memory cards and batteries and their importance. In the meantime, I’d love to hear any comments or suggestions for future posts.

Have a great week.

Ross

info@rosswillsherphotography.co.uk | www.rosswillshercommercialphotography.co.uk 07590 520539

Relax – It’s in the bag: Part 2 – The Camera Lenses