Enthusiast to Pro Photographer – My first steps

Guest Blogger strip BLACK

By Rachel Riley

12938283_10156677220760567_2341754691662753021_nSitting here, cup of tea in one hand, a sleepy puppy curled up by my side, I wonder I got to this point – writing a blog for the good people of Fuji about my journey in photography so far. After a good deal of umming and aahing, long, heart-searching conversations with those I love most, the decision has been made – leaving my 20-year career in education behind to take the first tentative steps into professional photography.

Like most folk of my age, I guess, photos played a huge part in my youth; from family snaps in albums to hilariously poor quality shots from primary school day trips, all blur and thumbs, either over the lens or enthusiastically held up by school friends. Growing up, through school and then into student years, photographs were a record – of parties, events, drama productions, collages of images of friends and family from home adorning the walls next to a dog-eared “Taxi Driver” poster. Photos always surrounded us, but as a way of recording our lives. My late Dad, as a gifted artist, used many media to great effect in his work, but never film – photography wasn’t really seen as an art form in our house.

HW trees2

Despite this, one of the first images of which I was very proud was taken in 1992 on a school Classics trip to Greece. I had in mind a shot I really wanted to capture – that of the Parthenon against a clear blue sky. In the end, our visit coincided with snow in Athens – so my eventual photograph was the Erectheion dusted with snow against a moody grey sky. Not quite what I had intended but I was pleased nonetheless!

Digital photography soon began to seep into our every day existence – although our wedding in 2003 was shot entirely on film – at about the same time as the birth of my daughter. Sharing photos suddenly became an instant activity – grainy snap shots from my Nokia 3650, or on our tiny 1MB digital camera were so easy to ping via email to family at a distance and, by the time my son arrived in 2007, social media provided the perfect forum for visual sharing.

For me, the turning point in photography from babies and holiday snaps came when our family relocated to Portugal in 2009. Leaving behind my teaching job to give my children the chance to experience another country and to support my husband in his own career, I was keen to grasp the opportunity to use this sabbatical wisely. The original plan had been to co-write a sitcom with a friend back in the UK, but once faced with the fresh light and unique environment of the Atlantic and the river Douro, the ranging, tightly-packed cobbled streets of Foz and the beautiful city of Porto, my heart was lost. Capturing the curious fog on the beach, the mussel beds and driftwood revealed at low tide, the endless beautiful tiles and ancient doors became a wonderful challenge.

wave web

Lizzy1smallArmed with my little point & shoot and a woeful lack of technical knowledge or expertise, I wanted to learn more and, indeed, achieve more at such an opportune time. After a while, a DSLR seemed the logical next step. Slipping back into a little teaching at the local British School meant I could save up for a Nikon D5000 which, from the moment of purchase in April 2010, rarely left my side. My new hobby grew from that point on. A little win in a Facebook Photography competition led to joining a group of similarly minded keen amateur photographers around the UK and beyond. They were undertaking a 365 photo a day project which proved to be a fantastic experience – a daily image, shared with the other group members, learning from each other, through both successes and mistakes!

On our return to the UK, it was back to work. Although with a lot less time for photography, it continued to play a big part in my life. Through some work with Photobox, I met landscape photographer Paul Sanders and together we started Camera Kids, working with Fujifilm, to teach children photography in school-based workshops and after school clubs. We had some success with this, even working with Travel Photographer of the Year at their annual exhibition. I attended an Aspire training course in Cumbria – right out of my comfort zone – and fell in love with the intuitive design and ease of use of the Fuji X-series cameras, eventually choosing the X-E2. And so my photography took another huge step forward.

last day bw small

Having taken another break from teaching as my husband was working in Kazakhstan for two years, I had a little time back to concentrate on photography again. Requests began to come in – from a local gardening business, to portraits of family and friends for gifts and special occasions, greetings cards featuring my Instagram images (shooting square is something I love), photographing plays and events at my children’s school, running a photo booth at the summer fair. Gradually, however, it became clear that my interest lay in children’s portraits – after years of working hard to get the best out of youngsters and being blessed with two very patient and photogenic kids myself, this was surely what I wanted to do.

Phoebe

And so here I am. My husband is back in the UK and working reassuringly near by,  and the decision to become a photographer seems to have been the right one. I have a batch of pleasing square Moo business cards, a Facebook page and website up and running, and six jobs under my belt already – there are a myriad of other things that need to be done and carefully thought about! But, for now, with my cup of tea and sleepy puppy, the love, enthusiasm and endless support of some wonderful people, here’s hoping that I am finally on the right track and facing the challenging but exciting times that lie ahead.

Rachel Riley


To see more of Rachel’s work click here.

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Buy an X-Pro2, win a workshop with an X-Photographer

Pretty simple right?

If you buy an X-Pro2 and register the warranty on our website before the 8th April 2016, you could win a place on one of our fantastic workshops.

Image by Dave Kai PiperDSCF4552-Edit-

1st May – Portrait workshop with Dave Kai Piper – (4 delegates)

Location: Amersham Studios

Being a photography lecturer, Adobe Community Pro and Fujifilm X-Photographer, Dave Kai-Piper will take you on an exciting journey into portrait photography.

His workshop starts off with a conversation with each participant discussing individual goals for the day alongside a group objective. As part of the morning set-up you will have a look at some iconic images from influential photographers. Then he will break down what makes those images work & talk about how different lighting types can create moods and styles. You will learn how to build on simple lighting styles like Butterfly lighting, Split lighting and Rembrandt lighting and then put them into practice using live demonstrations with a stunning model.

Once your objectives are set, you will jump into the studio full of the newest WiFi controllable Broncolor lighting to put your new Fujifilm X-Pro 2 through its paces. You will look at ways to shape, control and create that perfect image. Within this workshop you will also learn the best way to communicate and pose your subject to get the best from your model.

Whether you have spent a lot of time in the studio using lighting or have never used additive / flash lighting in your photography before, each attendee will leave the workshop with a broader knowledge of various techniques from lighting your subject, creating a scene and directing your model.


Matt-Hart

4th May – Street workshop with Matt Hart – (4 delegates)

Location: Liverpool

Spend the day with Street, Event and X-Photographer Matt Hart in this candid street photography workshop. It is here that Matt will give you an insight into the way he works and how to shoot his style of street photography.

He will show you how to anticipate and capture decisive moments, how to be invisible in public spaces to get the best images and how to to develop confidence shooting street photography. He will show you the best places in Liverpool to capture great street images – so in the future you can come back and have another go!

Matt’s workshops are always fun, informative and relaxed whilst at the same time challenging and have been designed to stretch your imagination.


Winchelsea-1

7th May – Landscape workshop with Paul Sanders – (4 delegates)

Location: Dungeoness and surrounding areas

Your day will be spent with Fujifilm X photographer and landscape artist Paul Sanders, he will help you develop your own way of seeing the landscape to create images that resonate with how you feel about the location.

Paul’s specialty is long exposure photography, he will take through a natural and easy to follow workflow that enables you to get to grips with the technical side of this style of photography. He will have some Neutral Density filters and graduated filters for you to use on the day. Filtration is one of the key aspects of landscape photography, it allows you to control contrast, mood and exposure time. Paul will explain all of the pros and cons of using filters and the different types of filters available.

The day will be split into two sessions – one at Dungeness and the other at Winchelsea beach.

Dungeness is the only classified desert area in the UK, its flat bleak landscape has inspired photographers, artist, writers and filmmakers for many years. The beach is a detritus of fishing boats and fleet. The decaying hulls of boats are left on the shingle, nets, huts and machinery make this a photographers dream location. Paul will explain that landscape photography isn’t always about the big vista but also lies within the details and the abstract he will guide you around the area so that you don’t miss anything.

Winchelsea Beach is a long exposure dream, lines of decaying groynes stretch along the beach. These make the perfect subjects for getting to grips with the minimalist style that long exposure work generates. Paul will also pay special attention to composition and exposure time to create beautifully minimal images.


 

Register your X-Pro2 warranty here

 


Terms
  • Only X-Pro2 cameras purchased from Authorised UK Dealers are eligible to win.
  • Each workshop has 4 spaces available.
  • Winners will be notified by the 13th April.
  • Prizes are not transferable and does not cover the cost of travel and accommodation.
  • Lunch and refreshments will be provided

Why I chose Fujifilm X – Andy May

Andy_May_Header_image

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

Andy_May_HeadshotI’m a photographer based just outside of Bath, UK. Reading books as a child was all about the pictures. I’m a visual person and love to create. I guess being a visual person photography has become a natural creative outlet for me. I’ve had an interest in photography for as long as I can remember, I don’t recall a specific moment that made me fall in love with taking pictures, it’s just been a life long love that crept up on me.

I did the whole college course thing, read books (looked at the pictures) and tried to improve my photographic knowledge and skills. My first ‘real camera’ was an Olympus OM-1n. Learning on film was slow and expensive.

Andy_May_1

In 2004, I moved to a digital DSLR with which digital photography brought a whole new learning curve. But the addition of Photoshop and digital processing really opened up a new world of creative options for me.

I think that having children of my own was what really got me hooked. I started to appreciate the significance of capturing moments in time. Kids are one of the most challenging and rewarding subjects to photograph.

As my photography progressed I found myself leaning towards studio shooting as a firm favourite, as I liked being able to experiment and control light. I don’t think that you can beat great natural light but you are at the mercy of mother nature – when you are shooting to a schedule, artificial light is your friend.

Andy_May_13

Why did you choose to shoot with the Fujifilm X series?

I have always been an SLR shooter, but it got to a point where my gear was impractical to carry everywhere with me. Even carrying a “Lightweight” bag wasn’t really that portable – and after a whole day on the shoulder you certainly felt it.

My journey into the X-System started with the X100 in 2012. This gave me the quality that I wanted in a small & light package. As a result, I started to carry a camera about with me everywhere.

Andy_May_2

Having used the X100 for a while I found that I was using my SLR system less and less for personal work. And when the X-T1 came out I decided to take the jump – flogged my SLR kit and moved to Fuji. The layout of the controls on the X-T1 is an absolute godsend for me. I love being able to turn a physical dial for all the important stuff and in 2015, I used the X-T1 for a 365 project. I used it with just the XF18-55mm and a Samyang 12mm. This little combo went everywhere with me, everyday for a whole year.

It didn’t let me down, not once.

Andy_May_9

I don’t consider myself to be a niche photographer. If I see something that interests me, I’ll shoot it. I enjoy portraiture and people do make up the majority of my work. Part of the appeal of the Fuji system was its small size. When photographing people with the X100 or X-T1 it stays out of the way so I can get a better connection with my subject, it’s less imposing.

Credit: Ben Lowrey
Credit: Ben Lowrey

What is your favourite lens in our range and why?

I guess with portraiture making up the majority of my work, it has to be my most recent addition – The 50-140 f2.8. Yes it is starting to get into heavy gear territory but not so much that I notice it. The quality of this lens is simply stunning, at any focal length and at any aperture.

Model: Freyalily
Model: Freyalily

The above image was shot using the X-T1 and 50-140mm in very low light (using UV) the autofocus had no problems locking on, and the OIS really helped here.

It’s great in the studio too. Having the flexibility of a zoom really helps. If your lucky enough to have the extra space you can make the most of it -from mid telephoto to telephoto gives a great deal of flexibility quickly without breaking your flow.

Model: Paul Walker
Model: Paul Walker
Models: Jaz Talbot & Paul Walker
Models: Jaz Talbot & Paul Walker

Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?

I’ll admit that I’m not the most organised photographer. I don’t plan things in any great detail and tend to shoot by feel. When shooting people it’s always tricky to get them to relax in front of the camera, very few people feel completely at ease under the spot light – even models. Communication before the shoot is key – even if you don’t have every last detail planned, share what you do know with your client.

When you are ready to shoot, don’t. Put the camera down and talk to your victim (I mean subject). The usual pleasantries are fine, “How was the traffic” or talk about the weather (I’m allowed, I’m British) anything to break the ice and try to build rapport.

Once I’m all set up a trick I often use is to ask my subject to keep looking in my general direction and don’t worry about me. I tell a little white lie and say that I’m just testing my light / exposure to make sure I get everything set up correctly. I know my gear and through experience I know my settings are fine. The thing is that the subject doesn’t think that the photos will be used. I find quite often these first few frames can be the most natural.

Model: Layla Leigh
Model: Layla Leigh

The image above was taken with a beauty dish against a white wall, using the “Don’t mind me I’m just mucking about technique”

Talking of mucking about, relax and enjoy yourself. Everyone likes to have fun and a bit of silliness now and again makes great images.

Model: Layla Leigh
Model: Layla Leigh

What’s next for you?

The last 12 months or so have been amazing for me. I’ve met so many great new people through photography. I’ll keep on getting out and about, planning shoots and producing more themed work. The summer will soon be here and I’m hoping to be ready for it. I’m always on the lookout for a great location that can be used to shoot in / on / over / under. I have a couple of things in the pipeline that are still just concepts at present but will develop over the next few months – I just need to find the time somewhere !

Andy_May_7

Contact info

To see more of Andy’s work, please visit his website and social channels.

Twitter @Kuhlephoto
Instagram @Kuhlephoto
Blog www.kuhlephoto.tumblr.com
Facebook https://m.facebook.com/andymayphotography/
Website www.andymayphotography.uk

Fujifilm X for Newborns

Elli-Cassidy

By Elli Cassidy

I’m a newborn and maternity photographer and trainer based in Lincolnshire and also in London, UK. I’m often asked why I recommend the Fujifilm X series for my newborn work so I’ve outlined the main reasons below.

I bought an X100S in 2013 which I intended to use as a personal camera for photographs of my children as my DSLR was just too big to carry around daily. I fell utterly in love with both the look and feel of the X100S and also with the files it produced. I soon concluded that I need to progress to Fujifilm for my client work, so I sold my existing DSLR camera and lenses and bought an X-T1 for the studio, it has the same Fujifilm feel, and again, wonderful files. Once I started using the X-T1 for client work I found it really came into it’s own, so many of it’s design features helped make my sessions run smoother.

When posing babies on my beanbag set-up I need to stay within close proximity to them so that I am always within arms reach if they were to stir or startle when in a pose. My favourite lens for these images is the 16-55mm as it enables me to get full body shots and also closer crops all whilst staying right next to the subject. I will sometimes use my 35mm too, as I love the extra shallow depth of field I can get when shooting wide open, it helps the blanket backdrops naturally fade off without having to manipulate it in photoshop after.

To help babies settle I often keep my hand on them so they still feel some contact, at around 6-12 days old they aren’t use to being left alone yet, and this is where the X-T1 makes a massive difference to the way I work. It is light enough that even with the 16-55mm lens, I can shoot steadily with one hand, only removing my other hand from the baby just before I take the shot.

The silent shutter is also a winner, once the baby is asleep it’s great to know that there won’t be any heavy shutter clunks to disturb them.

Beanbag
X-T1, 16-55mm, 1/180s, f/2.8

For prop shots I usually use my 56mm or again the 16-55mm zoom. When I shoot against my wooden backdrop the 56mm at f/1.2 gives a wonderful separation between the baby and the backdrop and really makes them stand out. For these shots I do ask a parent to spot the baby for me and they are right next to them, just out of the frame, ready to hold the baby should they roll or startle. On these portraits I tend to use the tilt screen so that I can hold the camera just above the floor enabling me to capture the baby at their eye level which gives a really intimate feel to the images.

Prop
X-T1, 56mm, 1/180s, f/2.2

Another set-up I like to do is with the flokati rugs, the baby is all curled up in womb-like pose and I shoot from above looking straight down. With the X-T1’s tilt screen, I stand next to the baby and using a light weight wrist strap, hold my camera directly overhead using the screen to frame the image. Before I moved to Fujifilm I had to use a small step to stand on to be able to compose the same image with my DSLR, it was heavy to hold and I never felt that standing on something near the baby was the safest way of working, so I’m delighted now that the X-T1 lets me work around this easily.

When including older siblings within a newborn shoot I have found the X-T1 to be less intimidating and intrusive to my young clients. It’s not big and menacing like large DSLRs and using live view means I can keep eye contact with them too which makes for a much more relaxed image.

Flokati-rug
X-T1, 35mm, 1/125, f/2.2

An obvious benefit I felt when swapping to Fujifilm was the improved practicality, after a day of shooting my wrists, arms and back really thank me for the weight difference. I certainly couldn’t have entertained the idea of shooting as freely as I do know, sometimes one handed and frequently over the top of my tiny model.

I love that the settings I tend to change within a session are all easy to access, the ergonomics of the X-T1 have always felt ‘right’ to me, I can twist a dial without having to go hunting through menus. I spot focus and find the D-pad easy to use to toggle my focus points, and the auto white balance seems to do a fantastic job with tricky baby skin tones.

I genuinely do think my little X-T1 combined with the great line up of lenses are the perfect match for my little clients.

Baby-in-hands
X-T1, 16-55mm, 1/180, f/2.8

 

Kit List:

 

About the author

To view more of Elli’s newborn work, please click on any of the following links:
minimemories.co.uk | Facebook | Twitter | Google+

Pet Photography

JRXT7877By John Rourke

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerNot many people realise it, but before I started travelling and shooting Motorsport, photographing pets was a major part of my business. I would shoot a lot of equine and dog portraits with the odd cat, snake or rat thrown in now and then. I still run Pawfolio, but it’s now more a project of love, or reserved for when people who know me as ‘the pet photographer’ really want me to shoot their most beloved….. not the kids, yep it’s always the dog!

I see a lot of people posting photos of their pets on instagram lately, with some pets even having their own pages. So I thought I would put a few tips together that might be fun to try out if you want to get a great shot of your own pooch…. some of the tips might even work on pictures of the kids too!

For my doggy model, I’m going to use Bria aka ‘The Beast’, my beautiful Sprocker Spaniel. These shots all involve natural light as I wanted this article to be of use to everyone. As long as you have a camera and a lens you can get stunning shots of your beast without expensive lighting.

Preparation

In my ‘Pawfolio’ bag. Don’t panic! You don’t need all of this! this is just some of the equipment I use on various shoots… If you have only one lens and a camera you’ll be fine 🙂

Camera: XPro1, XT1, XT10
Lenses: 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 10-24 F4, 90mm F2, 50-140mm F2.8
Lighting: Ambient/Natural Light
Extras: Dog, lead, willing assistant (wife, kid, person you met on a dog walk?), dog treats / squeaky toy / bouncy ball / whistle, silly voice, insurance (if you want to shoot other peoples dogs!), mobile phone

Top Tip! Things become massively easy in life once a dog knows how to sit, stay, and look at food!! this is where all that training pays off! You will need a few basics such as;
Sit, Paw, Down/Sleep, Stay, Come…
(We had to learn some of these commands in polish once for a clients dog we photographed.)

A food-orientated dog is perfect, if this isn’t working then it’s down to the favourite toy, bouncy ball or failing that, making stupid noises…..dogs love this! The right noise will get a dog to tilt it’s head in a way that looks cute but whilst saying ‘what are you doing, human?’

Play with your beast first;

  1. this builds a little trust between the dog and yourself.
  2. It’s fun for both of you,
  3. it burns off the dog’s energy reserve

A few minutes playing around the kit isn’t a bad thing either, it lets the dog know that the camera is nothing to be worried about and not something strange and dangerous…

Around the house – Your own dog

Ideal for practice and often the easiest of images to shoot are where the dog is relaxed in their own surroundings or favourite spot. I normally wait for ‘Beast’ to find somewhere nice to settle or I encourage her to sit roughly in the right place. Quite often I’ll pap her as she drifts off to sleep. These are candid based shots but can turn into gorgeous intimate photos.
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I use any of the following 18mm f2, 35mm f1.4 and the 90mm F2 mostly to achieve the shallow depth of field for this type of shot. The XF35mm f2, XF16, XF23 and XF56mm would be amazing also. Any lens at  F1.2 – F2 will make a stunning image. I often use the X-Pro1 and X-T1. The OVF on the X-Pro1 can be really useful in hybrid mode during low light if the EVF wont preview the shot.

#Tip – You can put the Fuji camera to silent mode if the dog is too distracted by the shutter sound. Beast used to hear the shutter then pounce on me because she thought the sound meant that the shoot was over.

The candid shots I usually try to get for every dog shoot are:

Nose

That big snuffler is amazing. Shot at 1.2 or on a Macro it makes a stunning detailed image.
JRXT2184

Paws

The texture of the pads or the hairy paw is beautiful. If it’s your dog, hold the paw and capture a paw & hand selfie #TooCute

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Face

Poor beast with the collar of shame
Poor beast with the collar of shame
"What's going on down there?"
“What’s going on down there?”

Like any face or portrait I shoot, I always focus on the eye closest to me. If you shoot the furthest one and the closer one is blurred, the image just looks wrong – please don’t do it!!

#Tip – Try shooting the dog from ‘a dogs view’ or from below the dog looking up. Crawling around in the dirt is just an everyday thing for me, but I think it’s really worth getting the unusual perspective. This is also now where the flip out screen is genius and the X-T1 or X-T10 becomes king.

That said, don’t rule out the standing up traditional viewpoint. Sometimes if you stand right over the dog looking down, you get that ‘puppy face’ beaming back up at you, and there is nothing cuter.
JRXT2267

Outdoors

For outdoor shots, choose a nice spot your dog is going to love and that has some features or atmosphere about it. The beach is an awesome place for dogs, and one of our favourites, with lots of space, great light, and lots of zooming. For this a 90mm, 50-140 or the new 100-400 is ideal because the animal can move around freely but you can still fill the frame. This situation is ideal for the X-T1 or X-T10 because of their high frame rate. I would probably go for the X-T1 more to help keep the sand, salt and spray out of the camera. I would also recommend the weather resistant lenses for this type of shoot. A rogue wave splash or a shake down from the Beast can spray your gear from a surprising distance.

You won't believe the range on this thing!
You won’t believe the range on this thing!

Rivers are great too, but always check the current is safe. Look for a spot on the bank with space and great moody lighting, perhaps between some trees. You should make sure your beast can get in and out easily, and I always have someone with me to throw a ball or something safe for the dog to chase, or I sometimes just sit and watch the animal play and have fun on their own.

My favourite lens for outdoor dog shoots has to be the 50-140 F2.8. With good flexibility and a shallow depth of field at F2.8 there’s always gorgeous bokeh in the background. I try to keep the shutter up between 2000th and 4000th of a second to keep the motion frozen. If the light is changing or the dog is running through light and dark patches, try ‘auto ISO’.

Set the the auto ISO range function to work between ISO 200 and 6400. To control the aperture, try to stay in the range of F2.8 – F4/5.6 or if you want some amazing textural shots and there is loads of light, dial in F8 – F11. Again get low… I have the tilt screen for this, or just get in the dirt and sand and the shots will be amazing.

You could also try the 16-55 F2.8 if you want the shot to be a little more environmental, shoot wide and get more of the landscape in your photos. When you print this type of shot they look great printed large.

JRXT3707-Edit-Edit 2

If you want to get really creative try ‘panning’ the dog. This is a technique we use on the track to shoot cars at the races. Select a shutter speed between 1/8th (very creative) up to 1/200th (suggest you start there and work your way down to 1/8th), and rotate your body at the hips following and tracking your dog as it runs past. You want to work your shots at slower and slower shutter speeds to create a wonderful action arty shot…

Dog pan
Doggy pan

More about the author

John + Beast
John + Beast

John Rourke has been shooting professionally for 15 years and is the owner of Adrenal Media, the Official Photography Agency for the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship), and the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) including the world famous ‘Le Mans 24hr’. He shoots all of his professional and personal work on Fujifilm X series cameras.

Links
Adrenal Media on instagram
John Rourke website
Adrenal Media website
Pawfolio Facebook

 

How to create a beautiful portrait

By professional fashion photographer Dave Kai-Piper

Dave Kai Piper-35w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerPortrait photography is one of the most amazing genres in my eyes. Simple on the surface, yet complex and diverse underneath. At first glance, photographing people is pretty simple, but when it’s broken down into the 4 main elements: Location, Lighting, Subject & Camera we start to understand the subtle nuances of what it takes to build up a wide and diverse portrait portfolio.

To get started with artificially-lit portraiture, there are 3 main lighting types: Rembrandt, Split and Butterfly. Each of these lighting types has characteristics which allow us to be creative. And it’s by experimenting with each of these lighting types you will learn how to control the shadow placement on your subject, and how by combining these techniques you’ll discover the art of the portrait.

Here is a quick way to identify each lighting type:

Rembrandt lighting: Light will come across the face from a 45 degree angle in an elevated position from the eye-line of the subject. The bridge of the nose should create a triangular area of light under the eye the other side.

Split Lighting: the light will hit one side of the face or part of the head creating a deep shadow on the other side. Normally the light source would be behind the eyeline of the subject.

Butterfly lighting: Commonly used in beauty set ups, the light should present evenly across the face in line with the nose and high above the subjects eye-line. Even shadows under the nose are a sign of this lighting set up.


The shot

In the example I am using here, I have mixed two of these lighting types to give me the effect I am looking for. I have also used two types of light known as Hard light and Soft Light.

Hard light creates shadows with sharp edges; it is made by using undiffused light sources such as a Speedlight aimed directly at the subject.

Soft light creates shadows with a smooth transition between light & dark; it is made by using indirect light sources or by using diffusers to scatter and soften the light before it reaches the subject.

In our example we have set up the split light to have a hard light and the Rembrandt light to be soft.

 


How to create ‘The shot’

Firstly I set up the ‘Key Light‘ (most important light in the shot) to the Rembrandt Lighting position using a Cactus RF60 Speedlight & a Roundflash modifier. I found the exposure setting I wanted by selecting the f-stop I wanted on the camera after setting the ISO at 200. I left the shutter speed at 1/125th of a second.

Our ‘Hair light‘ is in the Split Lighting position and is set up to be used as a hard light. In the sample for this blog we used another Cactus Speedlight but this time modified with a piece of black wrap. This is the same as cooking foil or aluminum foil that you would find in a kitchen, but is matte black. It is very common in the film industry as a quick and effective way to shape light or to block light ‘spilling’ over to an area that was not intended. Here I have rolled it up and created a homemade snoot to give me very close control of the placement of light.

I then used a V6 Cactus Trigger mounted on to the camera hotshoe to control the power output of the flashes; which were mounted on a set of tripods remotely. This allowed me to work faster and in a more controlled way. Once ready, I took three images: one of each light firing independently and then one shot with both firing together to create the final look.

The angle of the camera for this shot was placed just below the subjects eyeline to give her a powerful look, and in this example I used the XF90mm lens to get rid of any unwelcome distortion that wide angles can give.

Focal lengths from around 50mm to 200mm are good for a head shot or portrait.


My 10 top tips:

  1. Portraits are about timing, emotion & people, not cameras, lights or anything that is technical.
  2. The technical guidelines are always starting points and flexible at that.
  3. The bigger & broader the light, the softer the shadows will be. If you want contrast – move your light source away from your model.
  4. Soft defused light is better if you are trying to create a ‘beauty’ light
  5. Hard lights are great for creating hard edged shadows and character
  6. The story is in the shadows.
  7. When setting up your lights, use a lightmeter if you can.
  8. My lights are very rarely on full power, soft and subtle is the key
  9. Be creative, but don’t over complicate the shot.
  10. Avoid lighting people from below the eyeline of your subject

Final result

Here is the final resulting image which has been converted to black & white.

Model: Stephie Rebello, Lighting: 2x Cactus RF60 Speedlights
Model: Stephie Rebello

To see more of Dave Kai-Piper’s work, please visit: ideasandimages.co.uk

Learn from Fujifilm X-Photographers live at SWPP

Join official X-Photographers Damien Lovegrove, Kevin Mullins and Trevor & Faye Yerbury at The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP) 2016 Convention in London between the 20th and 24th January 2016.


Damien Lovegrove

damien lovegroveAn official Fujifilm X-Photographer, Damien Lovegrove has become one of the foremost trainers of portrait photography in our industry. A published writer and regular columnist, Damien has traveled the globe sharing his knowledge and expertise.

Damien left his role as a cameraman and lighting director at the BBC back in 1998 after 14 successful years to create the renowned Lovegrove Weddings partnership with his wife Julie. Together they shot over 400 top weddings for discerning clients worldwide.

In 2008 Damien turned his hand to shooting beauty & portraiture and has since amassed a dedicated following for his distinctive art.


Location LightingSuperclass: “Master Location Lighting” 10:00 – 16:00 Wednesday 20th Jan

On this 6 hour photography workshop at a unique London Location, you will learn a variety of trade-secret interior portrait lighting techniques. You will use the beauty of natural light as well as use continuous spotlights to add a sense of drama to your shots.

This is a styled, fashion orientated shoot that will give you the knowledge and skills to recreate a repertoire of lighting setups – changing the way you see the world around you. Throughout the session Damien will provide you with hands-on instruction and an excellent grounding in how you and your camera can achieve amazing results.

Limited to just 15 delegates. Click here for more information and to book now


Striking PortraitMasterclass: “Top tips to create Striking Portraits” 16:00 – 18:00 Thursday 21st Jan

Damien will discuss the 7 top techniques that he uses to create and capture those key moments in portraits. He will explain in detail a number of important elements that you can combine to produce great images. Having a strategy and a vision is fundamental in creating portraits that wow and this is your chance to learn from a contemporary master at first hand.

Click here for more information and to book your place


Kevin Mullins

KevinMullins-Headshot-200x200Kevin is a wedding photographer by trade with a passion for people watching. He wants his wedding photographs to be snapshots of real, uncontrived but tender moments in time.

He wants his clients to be taken right back to that moment in time when the image was exposed and see it from their guests eye view. For Kevin it is imperative that his clients don’t remember their wedding day as a fashion shoot with the photographer. He would rather they forget entirely about him, but in 50 years’ time when they are showing their grandchildren the pictures of their wedding they can point to real moments, real people, real photographs.


kevin3Location seminar: “West End Street Photography” 10:00 – 16:00 Thursday 21st Jan 

Join Kevin on this six-hour sojourn around the streets of the West End of London.

The session will start with a briefing where we will discuss the core elements of good street photography and we will finish off with a beer and de-brief.

Kevin’s Street Photography workshops sell out each time and this is a great opportunity to dip your toes into the fascinating world of candid street shooting, or, for the more experienced, understand how Kevin works in more detail when shooting on the streets.

Limited to just 15 delegates. Click here for more information and to book your place


kevin2Masterclass: “Pure Wedding Photojournalism from the Heart” 9:00 – 11:00 Friday 22nd Jan

The session will explore what’s needed to be a successful wedding photojournalist, from both an artistic point of view and from the business elements.

There will be a frank and open discussion about client management, expectation and the mechanisms of building a business based on candid wedding photography. You will spend time analysing images, see full weddings, and dissect the factors of this genre that are so appealing to clients. Kevin will also talk about his migration from DSLR to a fully mirrorless configuration.

kevin1Most wedding photographers shoot at least some candid photography and this Masterclass is aimed at anyone who wants to either improve that element of their photography, or, who want to move their business more in the direction of wedding photojournalism.

This is part of the Masterclass multi day event. Click here for more information and to book your place 


Superclass: “SEO is Changing” 14:00 – 18:00 Saturday 23rd Jan

In this session Kevin will discuss everything you need to know to get up to date with the changing world of Search. Be prepared to take lots of notes and take away with you the knowledge that will get you onside with Google.

We will talk about the huge power of Social Media, Graph Search and the Network so… If you think SEO is about Keywords, think again!

Limited to just 20 delegates. Click here for more information and to book your place


Trevor and Faye Yerbury

Faye 01 Trevor YerburyAs true educators with a wealth of experience behind them you could do no better than attend one of Trevor and Faye Yerbury’s workshops where you will learn how they light their portraits in the studio and on location or how they designed one of the most successful boudoir marketing promotions.

Trevor Yerbury comes from a long and historic family of professional photographers. Trevor’s Great Grandfather established the company in 1864 and Trevor is the 4th generation to carry out the family tradition.

Faye joined Trevor full time in 1996 and has earned an enviable reputation for her work. On 3 occasions she has won the title of “Kodak UK Child Photographer of the Year”. She also holds a Kodak Gold Award and, like Trevor, is a Master of the Society of Wedding & Portrait Photographers.

They are both Fellows of the SWPP, MPA and are invited Fellows of the Royal Photographic Society a rare honour. In 2014 they both were awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards.


Flowing Voile copySeminar: “Fine Art Nude Location Class” 10:00 – 16:00 Friday 22nd Jan

Trevor and Faye Yerbury have been photographing the Fine Art Nude for over 30 years and are represented by galleries in Amsterdam and New York. Collectors worldwide seek out their work, which are printed on the finest art paper using the platinum/palladium process. Their work has appeared in countless books and magazines. The Glasshouse Hotel commissioned over 240 of the art nude images from their archives for wall artwork to grace the hotels bedrooms and suites. They have also had exhibitions in Edinburgh – London – Madrid – Malta – Paris and Vancouver.

This unique Location Shoot provides a unique opportunity to spend a day with Trevor and Faye exploring their world of fine art photography of the female figure.

SEMINAR SOLD OUT. Click here for more information


Gian Carlo MenottiMasterclass: “Lighting Portraiture” 14:00 – 16:00 Sunday 24th Jan

Trevor and Faye will take you through their history in portrait photography with examples from 4 generations of the Yerbury dynasty including original portraits of Andrew Carnegie, J M Barrie, King George 1V and many others.

This will be a very inclusive seminar as they take you through a series of their classic and contemporary portraits and talk about the session, how they approached it and how the subject reacted. They will also demonstrate how they approach a portrait session and what equipment they use.

 

Click here for more information and to book your place


X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Chris Upton

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography? How did you develop your style in photography?

20150718_chris_0042I am a photographer based in Nottinghamshire, UK with a passion for Travel, Landscape and Social Documentary photography.

My love of photography started in my teens when I used the camera to record walking and climbing trips around the UK but especially in the Peak District and Lake District. As my knowledge developed and results improved, the emphasis changed from less walking to more photography. In those days I was shooting 35mm slide film and enjoyed processing my own black & white prints in my darkroom at home. As with many other photographers the shift to digital helped to improve my photography and it’s certainly more comfortable processing images in the digital whiteroom!

Over the years I have been fortunate to travel widely and consequently this has become my favourite genre of photography. I find it an amazing experience to observe and photograph a variety of cultures, people and landscapes, and hope that through my photographs I can bring a little of this to the viewer and inspire others to experience the beauty and diversity of the world for themselves.

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Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

Having used a DSLR system since their launch I had always hankered after a small rangefinder style camera that I felt would offer more freedom and enjoyment in my photography. When the Fuji X-E1 was launched I bought one straight away thinking it would complement my DSLR and would be a great walk around camera. As soon as I got the camera I was smitten. It was so lovely to use, it felt just right, it was intuitive and it made me want to take pictures. The only area where I needed reassurance was image quality, could an APSC sensor really match my full frame DSLR? Well I should have had no concerns. The combination of camera and stunning Fujifilm XF lenses delivered superb results and there was a further revelation, jpegs! I hadn’t shot jpegs for a long time but when I saw the results I was amazed. They were sharp, the colour rendition was spot on and the overall feel of the image was beautiful, almost film like in their appearance. I bought a couple more lenses, the XF10-24 and the XF55-200 and the brilliant Fuji X-T1, and this opened up more creative opportunities. I started to use the Fuji kit more and more, no longer was it a back up to the big, heavy DSLR. It had earned its stripes and I loved the combination of a smaller, lighter, robust system that was so intuitive and simply a joy to use. Today the DSLR system sits in the cupboard waiting for the inevitable ebay listing as the Fuji accompanies me everywhere at home and abroad.

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What & who inspires you?

I love great pictures whatever the subject matter and as a travel photographer you have to be pretty adept at different genres as you will be shooting architecture, people, landscape, detail, street and many other subjects in the quest to capture the spirit of the place. Therefore I have many sources of inspiration. I marvel at the landscape work of Charlie Waite who seems to capture scenes at their absolute best with sublime composition and feeling. David Noton, Elia Locardi, Ric Sammon and Steve McCurry are among my favourite travel photographers and Art Wolfe’s images combine the best of nature and travel with fine art. Sebastio Salgado has to be there for his amazing documentary and people pictures. I just think it’s important to open your eyes to the world out there and draw inspiration from as many sources as possible.

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Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?

Without doubt the number one priority with Travel photography is planning. We don’t have unlimited time or budget when travelling so we have to make use of every moment. That means understanding key locations, viewpoints, weather conditions, sunrise & sunset times and direction and any local factors such as opening & closing times. The internet is an invaluable resource for this and I will check out tourism websites, Google images, flickr and 500px. You will find some stunning images of your locations that you should use as a starting point. Of course you will want to shoot the iconic views of famous locations but when you have those in the bag look for something different, put your stamp on the place. You will be surprised that it’s so often those images that give you the most satisfaction.

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The majority of my images are taken using a tripod. Now whilst some photographers regard a tripod as an unnecessary evil there are many good reasons to use a tripod other than just avoiding camera shake. Sure there are times when I shoot handheld but using a tripod slows you down and makes you think more carefully about your subject, enabling more precise composition. It also helps makes the use of gradual neutral density filters easier with more accurate positioning.  Creative opportunities are also opened up by using longer shutter speeds in daylight, including the use of ND filters, to capture movement. But of course it’s the ability to capture the best light of the day at sunrise and sunset that make the tripod an invaluable part of any travel photographers kit.

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I love photographing people, but for many the prospect of approaching a stranger and asking to take their picture is a real challenge and that’s why some take the easier route of a long lens grab shot. Whilst there is certainly a place for the candid approach I have found that taking pictures with permission yields far better results. So I would urge you to pluck up the courage and try to make that connection with your subject. I always try and learn a few words in the local language which, even if I get wrong, usually results in smiles and breaks the ice, creating a perfect start for your people photography. Check your equipment before you approach your subject including lens selection, aperture, battery life and frames remaining on your memory card. Also once you have permission don’t just take one shot and move on. Shoot a few images, move around and work with your subject. Resist the temptation to keep chimping your screen but use it to show your subject the results, this works really well with children and of course thank the person when you’ve finished.

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What’s next for you?

I have just completed a major Social Documentary project on the closure of Thoresby Colliery, the last pit in Nottinghamshire. Being such a significant event in the county’s industrial and social history I was keen to produce an enduring record of the colliery and to share the images with as wide an audience as possible. So I am delighted to have produced a major touring exhibition which opens in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and runs until 27th February and have also published a book, “Thoresby The End Of The Mine”. Full details of both can be found on my website www.chrisuptonphotography.com  So in the short term I am busy publicising and promoting but I am also looking forward to a few trips abroad including Venice, India and Andalucia.

Thoresby Colliery
Thoresby Colliery
Thoresby Colliery
Thoresby Colliery

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8 shots with the Fuji X-T10 & XF27mm pancake lens

By Kevin Mullins

Last week I purchased a Fuji X-T10 as I wanted something a little smaller than the X-T1, but with interchangeable lens options, for my street photography.

Although the camera has been out for a while, I’d never actually used one until my one arrived. But as soon as I got the camera I immediately knew it was going to become my 27mm pancake lens camera option.

The 27mm is a lens I love to bits.  It’s also a lens I’ve lost twice and I’m now on my third XF27mm lens and I suppose it’s a testament to just how small this lens is that I keep losing them!

I won’t be using the X-T10 as a wedding camera; for me, it’s not quite at the level I need for me to be comfortable shooting weddings with it.

However, it will likely be one of my backup cameras for weddings and it will definitely be a camera I take on my street photography trips out.

It really is a very discreet camera.  Couple it with something like the 27mm lens and you can really just blend in and behave like anybody else with a small point & shoot camera.

These are just a few processed snaps from a day I spent in Southampton running one of my street photography workshops.

“I’m a huge fan of the 27mm lens and I think I’ve found the perfect compliment for it in the X-T10.”

I’ve recently been using a prototype of the new Camslinger Streetomatic which is an upgrade to the version I’ve been quite comfortable with for a while.  The new bag is PERFECT for street photography. The clasp is better and yet it’s still possible to quickly remove the camera with one hand and start shooting.  I used it with the X-T10 and 27mm lens.  I had plenty of room for two spare lenses, my wallet, phone and notebook etc.

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Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/4,000 f/5.6 ISO 200
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Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/1,700 f/7.1 ISO 400
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/1,800 f/7.1 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/1,800 f/7.1 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/350 f/8 ISO 400
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/350 f/8 ISO 400
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/420 f/10 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/420 f/10 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/4,000 f/2.8 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/4,000 f/2.8 ISO 200
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Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/4,000 f/2.8 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/150 f/3.6 ISO 200
Fuji X-T10 / XF27mm 1/150 f/3.6 ISO 200

About Kevin

KevinMullins-Headshot-200x200Kevin Mullins is a Wiltshire-based award winning wedding photographer who specialises in telling stories, through pictures, of weddings. The style of wedding photography he uses is known as documentary wedding photography, or reportage wedding photography and he is passionate about photographing weddings authentically, sympathetically and responsibly.

Visit Kevin’s website for more inspirational and educational posts