It wasn’t until I reflected on the whole journey that the shot meant so much more to me.Russell Ord
In this episode, I speak with surf photographer Russell Ord, who documents the ocean adventures of athletes and surfing enthusiasts in Australia. After working for 20 years as a firefighter, Russell decided to pursue full-time photography. Even though it wasn’t an easy decision to make, it led to a plethora of amazing opportunities, from magazine cover features to the creation of a documentary.
We talk about:
- Why Russell Ord decided to become a full-time surf photographer
- The process of taking bold and vibrant surf photographs
- The values that every photographer should have
Russell Ord is a very talented photographer and mentor. Thanks to the twists and turns in his life, he has a lot of wisdom to share. Make sure to listen to this interview if you’re interested in the art of surf photography, mentorship, and managing a full-time business.
Here is a preview of our conversation with Russell Ord.
Q: What is something that you wish everyone knew about surf photography?
Russell Ord: Just how difficult it is to get certain shots. That’s like all types of photography. When I look at surf photography and how people have taken certain shots, I know the effort that’s gone into it.
It would be like looking at a mountain climbing photo. You just imagine how much effort that photographer put into the shot. People take that for granted. When I see certain shots, especially in surf photography, I just know the effort that’s gone into them and the experience behind the images.
Q: What kind of preparation is necessary for beginners in surf photography?
Russell Ord: If you’re going in the ocean, you want to be able to keep calm. When you’re keeping calm, you think better.
That breath hold journey, if you’re getting dumped by a wave, is just so much easier if you relax with it.
Anyone that goes into the ocean just needs to go into a meditation state. I would have loved to learn breathing methods when I was a kid or when I was playing football or as a firefighter, but it was only until I started pushing my own boundaries in the surf that a whole new world opened for me. Beathing changes the way you feel.
Q: Are there any other genres that you’d like to experiment with?
Russell Ord: I just set up a studio in my gallery. There’s a lot of lights here. I’ve been playing around with settings. It’s quite technical. It’s more technical than the surf side of things.
I’d love to do a little bit of studio photography and get better skills with my artificial lighting.
I’d probably just keep it to freediving photography underneath the surface. I’ve got a few shots, but it’d be amazing to get a couple of underwater images of manta rays or whales. I need to start travelling to tranquil oceans.