+44 (0)1732 823 194
+44 (0)7887 767 260
info@jeffrussellphotography.co.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

How long have you been a professional photographer?

What is your main area of photographic expertise?

Do you work with an assistant?

Do you retain copyright of all the photographs?

Once the photo shoot is over what happens next?

Do you supply the photographs on a CD or DVD?

Are the photographs supplied as high resolution images?

How large are the final files?

What is Optimisation?

What is RAW capture?

What is RAW Processing?

What is Post Production?

What are JPEGs?

Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?

What is an index / index proof?

What is resolution?

Do you retouch all your photographs in Photoshop®?

I can't find my question here

 



How long have you been a professional photographer?

My first commission was in 1996, shortly after graduating from Belfast Art College, to shoot some stills for a BBC TV drama.

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What is your main area of photographic expertise?

As far as subject matter is concerned I am most comfortable shooting people in all situations, for all kinds of uses, from corporate and advertising to fashion and music. However, over the years I have shot most subjects and always enjoy the creative and technical challenges involved.

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Do you work with an assistant?

Usually I work alone. When the occasion demands it I employ freelance assistants.

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Do you retain copyright of all the photographs?

Yes. The artist's (photographer) copyright is protected by law. Photographers, particularly freelances, do not usually sell copyright to clients, they "license" the use of the image for specific media, territories and time limit for an appropriate fee. In normal circumstances a License To Use is quite adequate for most clients' needs. See Terms and Conditions.

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Once the photo shoot is over what happens next?

The following stage I refer to as Post Production and is an essential part of any professional photographer's digital workflow.

First I download all the photos onto the computer and immediately burn a DVD of the unedited images. I then back-up the computer to an external hard drive. This ensures the images are never lost.

I then edit out any unusable shots such as those incorrectly exposed, out of focus or completely inappropriate to the brief.

All images then receive a basic adjustment of exposure, tonal range and colour balance while still in their RAW state.
These RAW data files are then processed into usable JPEGs or TIFFs.

Then, depending on the service required, either:

  • PREMIUM SERVICE - Low-resolution index proofs are created and sent via disc or email to the client from which they choose the images to be Optimised or,
  • STANDARD SERVICE - High-resolution, non-Optimised TIFFs or JPEGs are created. These, plus index proofs, are delivered to the client on disc.

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Do you supply the photographs on a CD or DVD?

Yes, or by e-mail if requested.

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Are the photographs supplied as high resolution images?

Yes. I supply your photographs as high-resolution images along with low-resolution copies for index purposes.

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How large are the final files?

Files can be made whatever size or resolution is required depending on their intended purpose.

Clients usually need 300dpi for print use and 72dpi for web. An uncompressed TIFF file at A4 and 300dpi equates to 25Mb. The same file at 72dpi is about 1.5Mb. These can both compress down to much smaller using JPEG compression.

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What is Optimisation?

Contrary to widely held belief, professional photographs do not come from the camera without needing to go through some sort of correction process. All the images I supply have been through at least a basic correction of exposure, brightness, contrast and colour balance (Standard Service).

Optimisation goes beyond this basic correction to exploit the full potential that RAW capture allows, for maximum quality (Premium Service). This process is likened to processing film and making a hand finished print. Cost per image reflects the extra computer time involved and is comparable to hand print costs.

Optimised images are processed into either TIFFs or JPEGs.

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What is RAW capture?

A RAW image file is the initial unprocessed data produced by the camera's sensor. Professional cameras allow for an image to be saved as a RAW file. Because it is not yet processed it cannot be printed or viewed (except via an 'on-the-fly' JPEG rendering with dedicated software). With a RAW file, you have a huge amount of information relating to white (or colour) balance, exposure (information/detail in highlights & shadows), brightness (mid tones), contrast (tonal range between highlights & shadows), and colour saturation as well as the detail and size of the image. And, because this information is unprocessed, it offers an incredible amount of flexibility and control with regards the above adjustments. This means completely new parameters can be imposed AFTER the event (with dedicated software) with NO degradation or loss of quality.

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What is RAW Processing?

Because camera RAW files are unprocessed, all the photo processing is done on the computer. It is like taking a film negative to a dark room to be developed. The RAW file is the negative and the computer serves as the dark room.

Since Camera RAW files are a specialised file type, most image-viewing programs will not open them. Dedicated RAW processing programs allow you to open RAW files, do the necessary processing, and save them in common image formats such as TIFF and JPEG. This ensures maximum quality and consistency but takes time and, therefore, I charge £10-£15 per image.

It is possible to automatically process and compress RAW file information into JPEGs with a camera's on-board processing software. This uses pre-determined factory settings to obtain a (hopefully) visually pleasing result. However, this sacrifices quality with a 'one-size-fits-all' approach. With an infinite number of subject matter and lighting conditions this can be rather hit and miss and leads to inconsistency across a set of photos with regards exposure, colour cast, contrast, brightness etc.

Whenever converting to JPEG the new or converted values are then fixed and infinitely less flexible. If one attempts to then edit JPEG information it is akin to stretching the information, leaving 'gaps' resulting in, for example, loss of detail in highlights/shadows or unnatural colour casts. 

More importantly, what also happens during the conversion is that at least 50% of the original RAW information is 'thrown away' and lost forever. This is because a JPEG is a compressed version of the RAW original and for this to happen, some information has had to be discarded. Compression is applied to images to make them smaller because digital images take up a lot of space. When re-opened, JPEGS are de-compressed or expanded up to the original size, with all the discarded information being re-calculated by the computer to fill in the gaps. This is when things such as over sharpening, posterisation and unwanted artefacts become noticeable. Therefore, image quality is lost when saved using this compression (and more so every time it is opened and re-saved).

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What is Post Production?

See Once the photo shoot is over what happens next?

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What are JPEGs?

JPEG is a file format that provides a way of compressing image files. It is possible to vary the amount of compression depending on the quality needed - the less the amount of compression, the less quality is lost and vice versa.

All digital cameras can process and compress the images you take into JPEGs immediately after capture. This can be helpful, as it keeps the file sizes low and takes care of sharpening and colour correction (including white-balance, tint, and exposure) so you don't have to. However, most professional photographers prefer to have more control over how each image is processed. Therefore, many high-end cameras have the ability to shoot in RAW mode. This mode does not compress the images at all and leaves them completely unprocessed.

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Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?

Most of the time I shoot in RAW format. However, sometimes RAW quality is excess to requirements or speed is of the essence, in which case I would shoot in JPEG mode.

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What is an index / index proof?

Index proofs are small, low resolution versions of all the images shot, supplied purely for the purpose of checking what is there and choosing which images are to be processed for final usage. For this reason, when I supply indexes they have not only had an automated, basic and not very accurate adjustment (of tonal range, brightness and colour balance etc) but also a high amount of compression into small, medium quality jpegs for quick loading via the web. They are NOT representative of final image quality and are for viewing purposes only. Therefore, I would ask that IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER USE INDEXES AS FINAL VERSIONS.

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What is resolution (dpi)?

This refers to the number of pixels contained in an image and is measured in dots per inch or dpi. The more pixels you have to describe an image, the more detail the image can contain. Generally speaking, low resolution (e.g. 72dpi or pixels per inch) is what screen (web) use requires and high resolution (e.g. 300dpi) is needed for print. Quality can be good or bad with either, it does not rely on resolution.

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Do you retouch all your photographs in Photoshop®?
Only if it is part of the service.

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