Official X-Photographer Kerry Hendry was recently asked to shoot a product-lifestyle photoshoot for a very special client – us! Here she shares some useful tips and techniques to help you produce similar, stunning results.
Shooting the ‘X-Lifestyle’ was the brief – featuring lovely creative hipsters, out and about with their beautifully styled beards and retro looking cameras. The desired outcome: a collection of images that can be used worldwide for marketing the (fabulous) X-series cameras.
My mind was immediately racing with ideas – where, when, models, styling – what if it rains?
I love the creative side of life – and working out how you can translate the images in your mind into reality. What look am I going for? Styling? Locations? Where to capture the best light – and how?
Aim high – super ambitious ideas will challenge and stimulate your creativity. Get out of that comfort zone and work out the ‘how’ !
And so it began – working up a mood board of ideas, selecting outfits, booking models, styling and location ideas. For that true ‘hipster’ style Cheltenham was perfect, and as I only live a few miles away I know the town like the back of my hand.
Know your kit – I probably shouldn’t say this but I only ever read the manual if I get stuck or if I’m working out a new feature. Fuji X-Series are very intuitive and once you ‘get’ the Fuji way – you’ll never look back. Make sure you know all the key features to squeeze the very last drop of performance out of your camera
Making it Reality
Models were booked, outfits agreed, hair & make up booked, locations recce’d – and double recce’d! We were super lucky to have a two very special locations on board to work with.
Light & Locations – ensure you recce your locations at the time you want to shoot them. We deliberately ended up at the boating lake as late in the afternoon/evening as possible to get the best light
For the first day we shot at The Boathouse & boating lake at Pittville Park in Cheltenham and for our second day of shooting, I managed to arrange early morning access to one of the most beautiful locations in town – the Sandford Park Lido – a 50m Art Deco open air pool in the centre of Cheltenham.
Be clear what you want to achieve with styling, less is often more – better to have 2 or 3 key outfits ready to go than a room full of clothes to wade through. Think accessories – shoes, jewellery, hats – all great props
Location, location, location
Some locations are perfect – no outside interference, no people in the background, no traffic, no kids playing football around you. Others – you have to be a bit more creative, or dodge the traffic at least!
Engage & Direct – unless you have the luxury of a seasoned model (and sometimes even then), you will need to direct the shoot. If you can’t find the words to describe what you want, show them! It’s always entertaining to see a photographer try and model, which always breaks the ice
We shot in peaceful parks, standing on a traffic island on a busy road, shooting across two lanes of traffic, waist deep in wild flowers – not to mention balanced on the edge of the boathouse deck trying not to fall in. Boats drift artfully, photographers just sink.
Experiment with depth of field – we all love the fast Fuji lenses with the delicious wide apertures, but do experiment. Putting your subject in context for a commercial shoot can be important, so look at your backgrounds and stop it down from time to time
Work it – if you are just setting out, don’t be afraid to use some of the assisted options – face detection, the tracking autofocus, it’s all there to help you achieve the best photos possible
Deliver – rule No 1 of any commercial shoot – deliver what the client needs. Listen, plan, deliver – only then cut loose and add those bonus images
Above all have FUN. Fuji to me is freedom – freedom to be individual, freedom to create, freedom to experiment.
After two days of shooting the team was exhausted – most important thing of all – one very happy client (and no one fell in the lake!)
I hope you find these tips helpful and may they inspire you push the boundaries a little more and try something new in your own photography. Go on, sprinkle some Fuji magic!!!
Kerry Hendry is a fine art equestrian photographer who is passionate equestrian commissions and adventures. Her equine images have been widely published in national media and sell worldwide. A keen rider from a very young age, Kerry combines her three main passions in life: horses, photography and travel.