Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.
Our fourth interview is with South Australian based photographer, Robert Lang.
Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?
I’m from Port Lincoln, South Australia. I was originally a qualified carpenter building residential homes before changing my career to professional photography. It sort of just fell in my lap really, I never truly chased it. Starting on small jobs for friends and local businesses would somehow always create enough demand for that next job to roll in. Once I started freelancing, I was hooked completely. I work a lot on my own now; I love the flexibility of working to my own schedule and the more time it has given me at home with my family. For me, taking pictures borderlines addiction. You never know what that next shot will be like, so it’s become this constant pursuit of the unknown.
You currently use the Fujifilm X100T, how do you find the image quality stacks up against other brands?
I was immediately impressed how a much smaller camera in my hands could still give me such a high-quality image. I quite often find the SOOC (straight out of camera) jpegs are so on point that I would question myself if it was even worth post processing the image at all.
For the ones I did wish to play around with, I found the RAW files if ever needed could be pushed as hard as I would use my regular DSLR workhorse. Adding in the high ISO noise performance on the X100T alone, now meant on my everyday excursions I was successfully grabbing useable handheld shots from low light scenes you just would never expect from a camera that size.
How did you get your start as a stock photographer and do you find it to be rewarding?
I got my foot in the door after a friend of mine, noticed the style I was already shooting. He suggested I try and join a few different stock agencies that he was already in. At the time I didn’t have much photography gear, so I used the passive income to re-invest in new equipment, slowly replacing the second-hand gear I started on and setting myself up with everything I needed to move into a profession. Stock photography has given me an uncomplicated form of access to clients I would normally never have the opportunity to sell to and has given me a wonderful new group of extremely talented like-minded friends all around the world.
What do you most like about the Fujifilm X100T and has it changed you as a photographer?
It was the first time I ever held any camera that truly compelled me to go and take a picture, purely because of how it felt and looked in my hands, I didn’t just want to go photographing with it, I needed to. It was smaller, more lightweight than my normal chunky DSLR, something I would often leave at home. Now I finally had something that I could take with me everywhere, so straight up I was taking more pictures than I used to and without the somewhat intimidation of a larger camera.
A feature I frequently love using is customising the setting of the Fn (Function) button to the inbuilt neutral density filter. I also get a real kick out of using the OVF (Optical View Finder) and leaving my shot reviews until I get back to the computer later. Combined with the slick retro look and feel of the camera itself, it gave shooting that addictive old school feel. My all-time favourite focal length is already 35mm, so with its 23mmF2 lens (35mm full frame equivalent) it even has me covered there too. Overall, there is this seductive and confident freedom the X100T gives me from shooting on a smaller camera, yet still in no way, ever compromise on the quality. You feel unobtrusive in simple moments, which makes for some beautiful candid photographs.
When you shoot, do you use any particular settings like aperture priority, set on the X100T?
I’m a fan of the cameras Classic Chrome jpegs for sure. For actual shooting style, it’s got to be full manual control all the way for me, and I particularly love the focus peak highlight in manual focus with the AE & AF (Auto Exposure & Auto Focus) set to switch mode.
Do you have any tips when it comes to photographing children and animals?
Probably nothing that hasn’t been said before. Getting down to their eye level certainly, does help. I think it comes down more to the moment you choose to hit the shutter button instead. I do like my high-speed burst mode in the drive button settings to increase my chance of getting the right frame in the moment something is happening. I would then go back and delete the ones that I didn’t need. I have looked them over post shoot and found some pure gold this way. Just make sure you have an SD card with a fast write speed if you want to keep up with this camera though.
What has been your favourite image captured using the Fujifilm X100T? Can you tell us the story behind the photo?
It would have to be the one of my Border Collie called Reggie who was asleep on the shearing shed floor. I just got my hands on the WCL-X100 wide angle conversion lens and went for a walk at home to fire off some new shots. It was the first photograph I took with it, so yeah just a test shot that I fell in love with.
What advice can you give for someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocksy to represent your work?
Always value your own work, if you don’t then neither will your clients and never waste an opportunity that knocks on your door either. My best advice though I was given starting out still rings true for me today “always shoot for fun and the rest will sort itself out”. I just love Stocksy, and I’m really proud to be a part of their team.
In my opinion, the photographers are quite simply world class; it’s high-quality premium content at every turn. This quality over quantity approach to their collection also means the submissions are stringent, so if I ever get a photo accepted I wear it like a badge. Money talks too, as Stocksy has the highest royalty rates in the industry, and as a Co-Op, it really bucks the trend that has seen artist’s rates declining over time by sharing the bottom line back to its own photographers.