Meet an Air2Air Photographer: Yissachar Ruas

Welcome to our new interview series here on the JPEGmini blog. We recently spoke with Yissachar Ruas, who has built a reputation in Israel as an outstanding event photographer. He is also a freelance photojournalist who writes and produces special features for INN related to Policy and Military issues. On top of all of this, he also contributes to magazines such as Air Forces Monthly among other publications. He has been a professional photographer for over 10 years.

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We had a chance to sit down with Yissachar who worked and studied with the well-known Jerusalem photographer, Meir Zarovsky, to hear a bit about how he got started in the world of photography and what tips he has for aspiring photographers. 

How did you become a photographer?
Most photographers will answer that question as to the first time they were handed a camera, mine was handed to me by my mother at the age of 10, but I didn’t actually feel like a photographer until I started working as a lighting assistant at the age of 13 and taught how to work with different types of light. By the age of 16 I was already working professionally and it was all downhill from there.

What inspires you?
Achievement. I am usually inspired when achieving some new type of shot, especially if a significant amount of planning is involved.

IMG_2753 German Chancellor Angela Merckel and Israeli President Shimon Peres sharing a moment

What type of photographer are you and why did you choose it?
I started as a Wedding/Event Photographer, I grew into that type of photography so it was very natural for me, I had the privilege of working for some exceptional wedding photographers in the Jerusalem area and it helped me make a smooth transition to the same type of business/photography.

Over the years I was introduced to the military side of photography which has a much wider scope of “action” than I was used to. Today with this type of work becoming harder to achieve at the higher end of it, I strive to push the boundaries as far as possible. 

I always liked Wedding/Event Photography because I got to see people at their happiest and be fortunate enough to capture those moments.

When it comes to the military aspect, whether in the ID/AF or U.S. Armed Forces, I get to shed light on a very small segment of the population that dedicate themselves to a cause. I enjoy being able to shine a small light on their activities.

IMG_2623 2 RDAF F-16 Viper on Patrol over the North Sea

How do you get the subject of your photo in front of the camera the way you want?
Getting my subject in front of my camera when it comes to events is really dependent on said subject; children can be a challenge sometimes, especially if they are uncooperative. If that is the case I will take a step back and ask the parents to do the same, usually giving the child some breathing room, and allow them to interact independently which usually will create the necessary environment for a good portrait.

Other subjects can be more challenging. I thoroughly enjoy directing aviators to a shot while mixing man and machine – especially in an abstract kind of way. Some of my famous pictures I have been accused of “Photoshopping” which I take as a compliment since it means that people have a hard time believing something so awesome could be real – which it always is.

How do you make a picture stand out from the rest?
Making a picture stand out from the rest is not easy, especially in this day and age when there are a lot of effects that are machine made and aren’t noticed by the regular person. I try to always come up with new concepts – it is not easy, but when you put together something new and receive positive feedback on it – the feeling is extremely rewarding.

IMG_1887 2 recognized by Aviation Weeks editor as one of the best Aviation Shots of 2014

How important is it for a photographer to “connect” with their subjects to bring out their true self?
“Connecting” with your subject definitely adds to the final result but I find that building trust with a subject is also important. Many people aren’t “natural” to being photographed, so when they come to a photo-shoot they may try to put barriers up. Building that trust is like building a bridge over those barriers: your destination is a good if not a great picture as a result.

After a photoshoot, what is your workflow like? How does JPEGmini fit into it?
My workflow is generally to either hand off a CD for the clients to choose from or setting up an online portal for them to choose through. In either case I use JPEGmini to compress the amount of data to make the work process smoother and faster. On the back end of my work I use JPEGmini files as a backup to my original files in order to save precious drive space.

Since using the product I have cut down the use of CD/DVD’s by approximately 50% and the time my computer is uploading by roughly the same margin.

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What are your favorite kinds of photography?
Favorite? I like shooting anything I find interesting, even a smaller event can be extremely interesting to shoot. Within that range I probably most enjoy doing Air2Air photography with various Military Forces. I have been privileged to have flown with the USAF, USMC and Israeli Air Force and each experience have provided me with amazing pictures.

Do you have a photographer who influenced you? If so, how?
When it comes to Weddings/Events I have probably been the most influenced by Meir Zarovsky who is based in Jerusalem and who I had worked for for almost 10 years, aside from learning basic skills through working with him, I am always looking at photographers that use a certain natural editing workflow, since I grew up working with film and in a lab. I believe strongly in only using the same tools in my editing that were once used in a lab.

I was recently delighted to participate in Aviation Week’s annual photo contest, which is held to the same standards and was mentioned twice in the editor’s top 20 picks for 2014.

What tips do you have for other photographers out there?
I think within all of us there is the craving to create something, if you are an aspiring photographer, use your camera as much as you can and shoot what you find interesting.

What type of a photographer are YOU? Would you like to be featured on our blog? Let us know by dropping us a line –!