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/

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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.

Property Photography -1

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.

86 Broomfield Road-15

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.

Kitchen 3

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.

86 Broomfield Road-20

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

Vitawell Medi-Centre – bringing Harley Street to the High Street

One of the things I love as a photographer is meeting business owners who have a passion for excellent customer care and providing exceptional services for their clients. Upon visiting Debbie Ash and Debbie Read at their Vitawell clinic in Billericay, it was quickly apparent that both ladies are passionate about delivering outstanding results for their customers and their warm welcome and friendly faces instantly brightened up a grey overcast morning. 

But what is Vitawell and how do Debbie and Debbie help their clients to look and feel fantastic? I sat down with both ladies to have a chat about the services that they provide and their ambition for their business going forward. 

Debbie Ash                                          Debbie Read

What is Vitawell and who are the Two Debbies?

Vitawell Medi-Centre was established in March 2016 by Debbie Ash and Debbie Read after 4 years of research into the latest innovative treatments in anti-ageing from America that are otherwise only currently available in Harley Street, along with other treatments in Health and Wellness that – although already available – are often disjointed in how they are delivered to clients.

The thought process behind Vitawell is to co-join all these treatments into one central clinic, for instance if you want to lose weight, look younger, feel good, get fit and have physiotherapy for a current injury, then all these treatments and therapies can be provided by Vitawell at our clinic.

What sets Vitawell apart from other clinics?

Vitawell Medi-centre is a small private clinic with a warm and friendly atmosphere that welcomes all its clients with the same enthusiasm and professionalism. It is an accessible haven for clients to undergo innovative and technologically advanced treatments in an ethical and safe environment. Both Debbies are fully qualified and listen to what each client is looking to achieve.

We believe that Vitawell is not about us, it’s all about the client and in providing an exceptional service that is customer focused. Our clients have remained with us throughout our start-up journey, and we have retained all of our clients since we began.

Vitawell Medi-Centre Essex

How has Vitawell evolved during the first 12 months of business?

Twelve months on, Vitawell’s client base is very diverse; with male and female clients ranging in age from 18 years to late 70’s undergoing our treatments with extremely successful results.

Since it started, Vitawell has increased its services and now offers treatments and therapies in Diet and Nutrition, Fitness and Personal Training, Health and Wellness, Anti-ageing and Medical Lab testing. Our clients can benefit from the latest technology available, including;

  • the revolutionary 3D Lipomed+ non-surgical liposuction
  • Diamond Microdermabrasion
  • Neo-elegance LED Illumination non-surgical Red, near Infa-Red and Blue light Face and Body therapy
  • Total Hair Systems
  • Therma Paraffin Treatments
  • SkinLove revolutionary facial range and Skinade – the science of “Better Skin from Within”.

We are both fully qualified in the Aesthetic treatments we offer and Debbie Read is also qualified in Nutrition, Sports Science and Physiology, Fitness, Personal Training and Sports Massage.

Vitawell Medicentre Billericay

That is an impressive list of qualifications. How did you find the training process?

Debbie and I had some great laughs practising aesthetic treatments on ourselves after our training, including Debbie A’s infamous cold stomach and disappearing chin and my magic foot diamond microdermabrasion… but those are other stories for another time!

We still have practice days and we continually attend training, seminars and industry shows to make sure we are ahead with new innovations and developments and we keep up our CPD as this ensures our clients get the best of the best.

Vitawell Billericay

What is your most popular treatment?

We have seen many clients in our first year with varying treatments wanted, but our most popular by far is the 3D Lipomed which is basically “permanent body contouring”. We break down unwanted fat non-invasively, which the client’s body then disperses of naturally over a period of time. Our 3D Lipomed also does Radio Frequency Skin Tightening for wrinkles and fine lines and our Dermaroller diminishes and gets rid of cellulite on places like thighs and bottoms.

We are very proud to state that we have a 100% conversion rate from free consultation to treatment. All of our clients have started with one particular treatment and then chosen to undergo further treatment on a different body part or utilise one of our of many other treatments and services.

Vitawell Medi-centre

What has it been like getting started?

It has taken a lot of time and hard work to get started, especially with regards to getting our name out there and getting clients through the door. Our marketing has ranged from attending breakfast networking groups to leaflet dropping. We have also been featured in magazine editorials, trade brochure adverts and we constantly update out website, social media and blog posts. We even did a Tesco poster in two stores in Chelmsford.

The effort has been worth it, with all our clients staying with us. However, we always look forward to hearing from, and welcoming new clients who then refer us to their friends and family.

Client referrals and testimonials are so good for us – they really do work and are our best form of advocacy. We have also made the move to become accredited and a full member of the Consulting Room, who are a self-governing Aesthetic body who overview and regulate Aesthetic Clinics, we are seeing more and more referral clients from this avenue.

Vitawell LED

What are your goals for the next 12 months at Vitawell?

Our aim is to gain a constant flow of new clients month on month so that we can grow and continue to offer the newest and latest advanced treatments in Health, Wellness and Anti-ageing that come to the market.

Our ultimate goal is to find larger premises that allow us to offer even more treatments and therapies and in the future to expand to franchise level with Vitawell Medi-centres on popular high streets.

We pride ourselves on offering the best and most innovative treatments with good customer care, fully qualified and knowledgeable therapists and a warm welcome.

I can testify that you will definitely be greeted with a warm welcome at Vitawell and that the compassion of both Debbies shines through in all they do.  To contact the Vitawell team you can call 01245 426005 / 07927 572 431 or email debbie.s@vitawell-medi.co.uk 

You can also view details of all the treatments they offer by visiting their website HERE. 

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

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

Vitawell Medi-Centre – bringing Harley Street to the High Street

The life of a dirty low-light photographer…

Did you know…

The word “photography” is a combination of the Greek root words “photo-,” meaning “light,” and “-graphia,” meaning “writing” or “drawing.” Thus, “photography” literally means “writing or drawing with light.” (Source: https://www.reference.com)

That’s all very well, and most of the time there is more than ample light to play with during a shoot and it’s simply a case of identifying whether it needs diffusing (softening), shaping or controlling in some form. However what happens when there is very little light? How do us photographers cope with with night-time shoots, indoor events and a general lack of the bright stuff? Below are a few low-light shots from various assignments and a little explanation of how I utilised my dirty low-light skills!

Working with what you have

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This shot was taken during a charity event in a beautiful but very dimly lit cathedral (St. John’s College, Cambridge). In such sacred buildings, flash and artificial light are forbidden and it is simply a case of working with what you have. Tripods and slow shutter speeds do not work when shooting moving subjects (such as public speakers photographed here) and so I needed to be able to have a shutter speed that was fast enough to freeze the animated actions of the speaker above. Luckily my professional camera has a sensor that still produces high quality images at extreme settings and I could utilise this to help increase the shutter speed and get the shot needed. It’s a little “grainy” but this small amount of digital noise (the term we use for grainy images) is a lot better than a blurry under-exposed image that didn’t capture this charismatic gesture. For me, capturing the moment, mood or brand of the subject matter is the most important part of my job and in such extreme settings sometimes a compromise has to be made.

Looking for the Light 

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At times, even in the darkest of buildings, there are little spots of light that can help the subject to pop out from its surroundings and create a shot with real atmosphere. By exposing just for the brightest part of the image in a dimly-lit scene (known as spot metering), professional photographers are able to allow darker items in the shot to fade into the background and draw the viewers’ eye to the main focal point. The shot above from Acanteen’s Halloween event is a perfect example of how exposing for a small part of the image helped me to produce a sense of atmosphere and intrigue that communicated the story of the occasion.

Adding Artificial Light 

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For many events that take place in the evening, it is essential that I know how to use artificial light quickly and in a manner that flatters the attendees and performers. An external flash (known as a speedlite) is perfect for such occasions as I can pop it on to my camera and move around the venue and take shots quickly and without interrupting or slowing down proceedings. This flash is unobtrusive as it is never aimed directly towards the subject and is perfect for corporate and social occasions that need a little extra lighting. Sometimes there is only stage lighting to work with, but I love being able to mix my artificial light with the ambient lighting in the room. Doing so can create vibrant and colourful images that will help the event organisers to promote future events to potential new attendees.

Finding a Story in the Darkness 

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This shot is actually from my personal street photography portfolio, but it’s a great example of how light can be used to tell a story, set a scene or entice viewers to ask questions. Here I used the light in the shot to draw the viewers’ eye into the scene, but used the lack of details in the people’s faces to create a sense of the unknown. What is being said? What might happen next? We will never know but it makes us as viewers stop and think.

Therefore low-light isn’t always bad news and low-lit images can work well if you are looking for shots that force your clients to ask questions and spend those extra few seconds engaging with your promotional material or website.

So there you have it – a little insight into how I work in low-light situations. Sometimes low-light means a bit of extra kit, sometimes it means a bit of compromise but one way or another I can light up even the darkest of rooms (photographically speaking at least)!

Have you tried any low light photography? Let me know in the comments section below.

Until next time, 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 | www.linkedin.com/in/rosswillsher/

 

The life of a dirty low-light photographer…