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Ross Floyd

Ross Floyd: Capturing Time - with Capture One

Professional photographer Ross Floyd is a passionately talented storyteller. Thanks to his keen curiosity, energy and enthusiasm, he transforms the objects and the persons he shoots into images that speak for themselves.

“Ultimately, while everything changes around us, preserving the images of these objects is a bit like capturing time.”

An interview with professional photographer Ross Floyd.

Professional photographer Ross Floyd is a passionately talented storyteller. Thanks to his keen curiosity, energy and enthusiasm, he transforms the objects and the persons he shoots into images that speak for themselves.

Ross is always looking for new opportunities and challenges.

While a photography student at University of Illinois, Urbana, Ross tells about how he brought his own business cards with him to a class on entrepreneurship taught by advertising lifestyle photographer Jason Lindsey and told Jason that he would love to work for him. Two weeks later Jason Lindsey called him, and Ross served as his assistant both while a student and following graduation.

After receiving his BFA in photography, Ross served as a technical integration specialist at the University where he helped to lead the transition from digital darkrooms to the modern digital print labs. It was during this period at the school that he was assigned to teach Capture One Pro and he soon began to move away from the Lightroom workflow that he’d previously used.

“I had been doing a lot more work in the studio using Capture One exclusively for tethered shooting, but still processing my files with Lightroom,” Ross said. “Eventually, because of the volume of work I was doing, the extra steps it took to use both simply didn’t make sense anymore. The more familiar I became with the RAW processing capabilities of Capture One, the more I realized how easy it was to get the results I wanted with one comprehensive solution – I haven’t looked back since.”

Today, in addition to shooting independent commercial projects and serving as a digital workflow consultant, Ross works as a full-time photographer for Wright, a Chicago-based auction house specializing in modern and contemporary design and post-war and contemporary art. Ross is responsible for photographing objects ranging from sculpture to furniture and precious jewelry for Wright’s award-winning catalogues.

“Our catalogs and website are sales tools, but they also serve as valuable resources for design collectors; the images we present must not only be visually perfect, but they need to stand apart and tell and the story of the objects presented,” he said.

The work is incredibly fast-paced, with slim to no margin for error. While shooting for an auction, Ross will take four or five images of 15 to 20 works (plus many detail shots of those) or as many as 100 finished images in day.

“The studio at Wright currently owns two Phase One medium format systems, because we require the highest level of quality, precision and detail. And of course we use Capture One Pro. You can’t drive a Ferrari without the correct gas.”

“One of the things makes Capture One stand out, as opposed to other solutions, is the truly impressive responsiveness of Phase One’s customer service and support.

“We started experiencing a problem moving files, and so I contacted Phase One through the tech support section of their website. I was pleasantly surprised when the support team responded that a small number other people had been having the same problem and they were already working on a solution. We drive Capture One Pro hard, and obviously can’t tolerate downtime. So resolving technical issues quickly is critical. As it turned out, it was days, not weeks before the software was updated, and my issues resolved.

“The color fidelity that Capture One and Phase One digital backs offer is very important in our workflow. It allows us to represent every piece with the highest standards of accuracy. When working with something that is of incredibly high value, such as the Picasso collection we offered at auction this past spring, the advantages Capture One offers are not only important, but they become paramount.

“The thing about Capture One Pro 7 is just how well it works right ‘out of the box.’ There’s very little need to manipulate image quality initially (which is huge in this business) and for what you do want to adjust, it’s just way more responsive. Pushing exposure, you can just get more range out of the files. Compared to anything out there, I’d say it’s simply a more powerful tool.

“It’s a professional product -- fully customizable so that all the controls are right there in front of you, not hidden under different menus in various components. I just wouldn’t be able to do the work I do without Capture One Pro.

Some of Ross’s favorite Capture One Pro features:
- “Tethered shooting, I love the way you can shoot and process simultaneously; the software’s robust enough to handle what we put it through;
- The overlay mask: I constantly use it to check my composition against our catalogue layouts;
- Floating tools are great; I always have a large focus window open on a separate monitor to make sure my images are tack sharp;
- You can see the images processing and know exactly where you’re at in the queue.. This is incredibly valuable when working under tight deadlines because I can let our art director and retouchers know how when the images will be ready;
- Recipes are great in Capture One Pro 7 because they are immediately accessible from the interface and I can easily toggle them on and off;
- Flexible workspaces: I love the flexibility of setting up a comfortable interface, one that works for the job at hand. You can get the tools you need when you want them and get rid of the tools you don’t need when you don’t want them.”

“Not only must the images be perfect for the catalogs, but they have to work on the web site as well. So you’re always thinking about processing images for two different mediums. Wright really differentiates itself with the quality and volume of images on the web. We post on average of 1000 to 1400 images for an auction.

“Also, everything is presented full bleed -- so you see can see that image existing in space for the full page - nothing else there but the object. No other auction house does that. And it takes an extremely high level of quality to create those images.

“Working with Phase One enables us to present high-quality images across multiple platforms in creative and exciting ways in print and online.

“Ultimately, while everything changes around us, preserving the images of these objects is a bit like capturing time.”

Professional photographer Ross Floyd works as a full-time photographer for Wright, a Chicago-based art auction house. He also does independent commercial projects and is a digital workflow consultant.

Wright Auction House www.wright20.com/about/wright/
Ross Floyd Photography www.rossfloyd.com
Jason Lindsey www.jasonlindsey.com/

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