My big break

NPhoto - - Contents - Keith Wil­son

Ross Har­vey re­veals the shot that helped launch his ca­reer as an award-win­ning wed­ding pro

A graphic de­signer by train­ing, Ross Har­vey be­gan his ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher in 2010. Since then he’s twice been named Best Wed­ding Pho­tog­ra­pher in Eng­land in The Wed­ding In­dus­try Awards. To see more of Ross’s work visit www.rosshar­vey.com

Ross Har­vey’s rise as one of the world’s lead­ing wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phers has been me­te­oric. Just seven years ago, on Christ­mas Day 2009, he re­ceived a present from his fa­ther that was to change his life: “He gave me a sin­gle gift with a note: ‘Fol­low your dreams’. I opened the par­cel to find a Nikon D700 in­side. I can’t ex­plain that mo­ment ac­tu­ally, it was just pure joy. He then went up­stairs and came back down with three presents, which were the ab­so­lutely bril­liant 85mm f/1.4 D lens, along with a 70-200mm and 24-70mm. That day changed my life for­ever, and if it wasn’t for his gen­eros­ity I wouldn’t be speak­ing to you now.”

Up to that point Ross had dreams of be­com­ing a fash­ion pho­tog­ra­pher, but all that changed when a friend asked him to shoot his wed­ding. “I shot it with the 24-70mm on my D700 and I ab­so­lutely fell in love with the process.” There was no turn­ing back, and in 2010 Ross turned pro­fes­sional with the launch of his wed­ding pho­tog­ra­phy business. He also up­graded his gear, buy­ing a D3 to use with a 50mm f/1.4, along with the D700 and 24-70mm f/2.8 for his wed­ding as­sign­ments. Mirror im­age “My big break came with my win in The Wed­ding In­dus­try Awards, be­cause that put me on the map,” says Ross. “It all hap­pened very quickly – just a few years af­ter get­ting the D700.

“The win­ning shot was this black-and-white im­age of a bride hav­ing her hair done. I re­mem­ber won­der­ing how I could layer two im­ages on top of each other – back then double ex­po­sure wasn’t re­ally the done thing – so I ended up us­ing a mirror. There was a strong bevel on the side of the glass which en­abled me to in­clude the make-up artist’s re­flec­tion right next to the bride’s face. It al­lowed me to pro­duce a re­ally ab­stract por­trait. It’s very beau­ti­ful, with the beads and this lovely blurred light – that shot de­fined ev­ery­thing I was try­ing to do that year and it proved to be re­ally pop­u­lar.”

To take the shot, Ross fit­ted a Nikon 85mm f/1.4 on his D3 and used the avail­able light. “I al­ways aim to use the am­bi­ent light to do some­thing cre­ative,” he ex­plains. “I think that adds to the chal­lenge. I make a point of only us­ing flash if I can’t use the am­bi­ent light, and that’s quite rare.” Ross works mostly in colour, so the choice of black and white for this im­age was a de­par­ture from the for­mal style of the time. “Peo­ple loved it,” he says. More im­por­tantly, did the bride love it too? “Yes, she did, she did. And she still does.”

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