Peter Ellis is our special guest photographer in this month’s Perfectly Clear “Photographer Spotlight”. Over 30 years of photography experience, his passion won him a Kodak Gold Award. Learn more about Peter Ellis by visiting his website.
Perfectly Clear Interview with Peter Ellis
Tell us about your typical day in the studio?
Peter Ellis: My studio is at home. That’s where all my work happens. When I started photography I was on my own, so I had to try to do different things for myself. I’m always working with things very close and so I’m always trying to come up with weird and wonderful things all the time .
What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Explain your workflow.
Peter Ellis: Perfectly Clear is my starting point it’s the main plug-in I use. I quickly run my images through Perfectly Clear Photoshop Plug-in, saving me lots of time, and my next step is Adobe Bridge.
Do you like using Perfectly Clear?
Peter Ellis: I Love it! I think it’s a fabulous program. I really wished I found it years ago, because it saves me so much time. Especially when processing weddings I just want to get on with a job and finish it. With Perfectly Clear you can literally sit back and have a cup of tea or a cup of coffee, it’s a very clever program. Version 2.0 is much more user friendly. It’s really designed to help us photographers. It’s amazing when you show people what you can do with Perfectly Clear, it gives my photos a WOW factor!
What is your most memorable moment as a photographer ?
Peter Ellis: I’ve photographed most of the royal family. But my most memorable moment was when the Pope, John Paul II flew into whales where I am based, and I was one of the official photographers for the day. It was so impactful for me. I’m not a religious person, and at the end of the day he came to me, shook my hand, and said it was very nice to be with you today. You’ve been very good, very professional, and thank you so much. I just had a tingle go right through my body, and just couldn’t believe it. He affected me in such a way. I will never forget that.
Whose work has influenced you the most?
Peter Ellis: People like Monte Zucker (when he was alive). Some great photographers in Canada are also very influential to me. One that comes to mind is Christian Lalonde from the company, Photo Lux.We’ve become really great friends and have come to know each other throughout the years through WPPI. I’ve actually gotten Christian to come to Estonia to do a lecture. His Photoshop work is just superb.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started photography?
Peter Ellis: To be a better business man. The biggest problem with photography is we tend to give most of it away. I started photography part-time as I had to work.
What’s in your camera bag?
Peter Ellis: Well it use to be full of Nikon’s, but now it’s full of Canon’s. I was always a Nikon man all my life. Then when they went digital I encountered a few problems with the Nikon camera’s I had,they where too noisy. A friend lent me a Canon, that was it, I love using them. I use the Canon 5D Mark III.
What type of lens do you like to use?
Peter Ellis: The one lens I love to use for wedding photography is Canon’s 24-300mm. On Portrait jobs I use EF 85mm and for commercial work 105mm.
What are your preferred settings while shooting weddings/ portrait/ commercial photography?
Peter Ellis: If I’m working in the studio my ISO setting will be 100, and the f-stop is usually around 11. When I’m working on a wedding the ISO is usually 250 and f 5.6. I love keeping the background clean. When people look at my photographs I want them to look at the subject and not the background.
Any tips in shooting wedding photography? What’s your favorite time to shoot?
Peter Ellis: Keep it simple, work fast and make people laugh. Weddings are supposed to be fun, they are not funerals. Enjoy yourself, have fun with your clients, and just really get out there. The best time for me is shooting at twilight because of all the lovely colours you can get in the sky. When I have a commercial job I will go check out the place and the area a few days in advance to see when the sun comes down. If it means to wake up at 4 AM to get that image that will knock off my clients socks, then I will.
Any projects you are working on?
Peter Ellis: I’m working with my local town, they are upgrading everything. So what I am doing is recording everything just as is and then I will put an exhibition together to showcase before and after,what people had and what they have now.
“Behind the Shot”
Before image was taken under a dark over hang with little light on the subjects. As you can see the shoes ,decking and the bride and groom are all a little dull and have no buzz.
The after image was placed into Perfectly Clear. I used the Vivid Preset and the WOW factor came back! Exactly how the perfect moment was captured.
What do you think of today’s photography? How does it compare to when you first started?
Peter Ellis: If people turned around and learned to use film first it would save them from so many agonies. It would teach them so much more than just putting a card in a camera.
Thanks Peter for your time and for sharing your photographic journey. To see more of Peter’s stunning work visit www.ellisphotography.com