Surf and Lifestyle Photographer Russell Ord

Interview With Russell Ord


Firstly, can you start with a little bit about yourself?

Russell Ord, I have been married for 19 years (that went quickly), father of three and crazy sports fan, if I were not a photographer, I would undoubtedly have something to do with Rugby League.

What drew you to capture the ocean the way you do?

I don't think I am very creative in the way I capture the ocean, the ocean to me is a type of peace or meditation, and the camera is like a little cherry on top which allows me to be immersed in salt water that much longer.

What equipment do you use to create your images?

I have been using Fuji Film mirrorless cameras for the last three years they have indeed brought that "feeling" of photography back into my work. I remind myself that all the best photos in history were probably taken with a worse camera than mine to stop me thinking that I need this and I need that. A lot of photographers dwell far too much on equipment and not focusing on the art of photography and their client's needs.

Interview With Surf and Lifestyle Photographer Russell Ord

Do you have a favourite lens and why?

The Fuji 23mm 1.4mm (35mm film equivalent) - I set the lens to f/2 and fire away, I have made many trips where I have taken one camera and one lens (personal work), and that's my go-to setup.

What motivates you to push yourself right to the edge to get that perfect shot?

There is no such thing in my eyes as the perfect shot. I like to look at photos and see skill level or images that are very creative, photos that make me wonder "how did they do that". I have a number of my images that talk to me this way; the rest are just moments in time that anyone if being honest could take with a few camera skills and being in the right place at the right time.

Interview With Russell Ord

Have you ever had an experience that scared you?

Nothing personally to myself, I have always felt in some control, my oldest son had a misdiagnosis when he was sick last year, that sort of thing scares the shit out of me. Him not having a chance or anyone for that matter, not having the opportunities to experience life makes me more than emotional thinking about it. Live your life people because one day you know the rest.

What are your go-to settings when you shoot in the ocean?

If I am shooting wide, I like to have an aperture around the F/8 mark other than that I am continuously changing to conditions and the images I am trying to create.

Interview With Russell Ord

What would you say inspires your vision?

Family and living in the present, I tend not to plan too far ahead and always thinking of new personal projects or ways to experience as much as I can.

Can you tell me about any crazy encounters with marine life?

I had had several encounters with marine life with teeth; however, it was when I was surfing that a tiger shark gave us a real scare by charging towards us. It had second thoughts around a meter away, which was pleasant for all involved; I can still picture that day and just how significant we are in the ocean.

Interview With Russell Ord

Among all your work, what is your most memorable capture?

I have maybe 5-6 images that I can honestly say were very difficult to capture, They are the images that I can say to myself "that's a Russell Ord" nothing creative but challenging to be in that position and to press the trigger. I see several images (count on the one hand) a year that completely blows my mind, and I certainly go out of my way to congratulate the photographer, inspirational once again.

What is something you wish you had known when you first started your photography journey?

Never to put your camera down, I dropped the ball big time there. Swimming for hours on end through the day was enough for me; it was like a camera down, time to relax.

In hindsight, I should have shot far more culture because in the end that changes a lot over time and a surf shot is just a surf shot. It's probably why I shoot so much lifestyle now and not much action.

Interview With Surf and Lifestyle Photographer Russell Ord

On day by day basis, what do you do to keep yourself physically fit to be able to do what you do?

Hahaha in my prime when I had a real focus for photography or sport, I do everything possible to make it happen now it's just surfing myself followed by a nice glass of red or beer watching the league.

How do you mentally prepare yourself to shoot such enormous waves?

Have you heard of that saying - preparation, prevents piss poor performance. It's so very accurate, cross the t's and dot the I's and you are mentally ready for anything.

Interview With Russell Ord

What methods do you use for editing? Can you explain your workflow?

I do not spend a heap of time on editing the actual image. When I finish a shoot, I upload to Lightroom, and all my copyright information is embedded in the upload. I then delete all the photos that do nothing for me while editing the keepers. Re-name and arrange the catalogue to my liking and save two copies.

How do you educate yourself to become a better photographer?

I force myself to learn one new skill a day, never get stale and keep in a positive frame of mind. Photography is like any other skill, the more you work at it, the better you will become and certainly be patient; it's not Instant (Instagram).

Interview With Russell Ord

Who are your greatest influencers and inspirations?

People that come from hardship or against all the odds, I am shocking; lately, I will be watching a doco while travelling (flight) and I will be in tears sometimes by those type of circumstances, I do love those type of stories.

Where is your favourite place to shoot in Western Australia?

I like being far out to sea somewhere past Esperance; you get a real feeling of just how significant you are out there.

Interview With Russell Ord - Mark Matthews

What do you enjoy most about shooting in the ocean?

The complete serenity, I love to swim out and shoot on my own; it's impressive how heightened your senses are.

Finally, what is one piece of advice you would give someone starting in photography?

Be patient, learn your craft and don't get caught up in the perception of the photography world.