Shooting street fashion portraits with Alex Lambrechts

“Join me as I walk you through my photographic expedition into the world of street fashion photography with the masterful” – Alex Lambrechts.

TFST0017

In this ‘episode’, Marc and I were given an excellent opportunity to join the exciting Fashion X Street workshop with Alex Lambrechts. The aim of the workshop was to get photographers using the system in-the-wild, on the fly and to build upon an individual’s confidence in a shooting style, which is to my mind, full of adrenaline, passion and presence.

The group met inside a beautiful coffee/pizzeria house located in the heart of Soho, and it was here that Alex began to explain his craft and the general structure of the day. As part of the ‘FujiGuys UK’ we took along some of our new Fuji toys for the group to have a play with. These included the X100T, XF18-135mm lens and the pocket-rocket X30. After a coffee and a chat, we set out to the streets of Soho armed with our Fuji cameras in hand!

TFST0098

 

Alex led us to our first destination; a small, dark and empty alleyway – sounds ominous so far I know, but bear with me 😉 Alex showed us how the light between two buildings gave the perfect softbox lighting effect, and that this would prove excellent for the style we were going for.

He gave the client’s brief, which was what he wanted to see in our shots and practical suggestions as to how to achieve exactly that. The brief immediately grabbed my photographic appetite and I couldn’t wait to see what I could achieve.

The fictitious brief was this (not a word for word quote):

“Because the subject is a musician and a model. I want to see you capture and explore the human element within the shots, not just the standard model expressions but ‘who’ our client is.  And as this is to be published in a fashion magazine, I want to see shots off-angle, gritty and real.”

You can probably see why I was excited; it was something completely new to me and just wanted to get as much experience out of it as possible.

This is where Alex’s stunning wife & professional model Jasmin Lambrechts came in, and what a combination! As they worked side by side, Alex explained things in an informal, yet very informative style. He gave some seriously useful tips on how to direct your model, how to set the camera and how to achieve the perfect lighting on the subjects face.

We started with some slow shutter speeds ‘1/30 to 1/60’ of a second panning shots, this was to capture movement and a unique style, only really achieved in this manner. I think we all found this a pretty tricky technique, but it was probably the most rewarding when you actually got a “YES, I got a good one!”.

TFST0070
X-E2 – XF35mm – 1/40 – ISO 200 – f4.5

As the workshop progressed, we started giving some direction to Jasmin, it was bits and pieces at first, and I’m sure this was down to some of us never having shot a model before. It did however, become more and more natural as we built a rapport with Jasmin and as we found what camera settings worked best.

TFST0134

One of the most helpful tips Alex gave in my opinion was regarding lighting. He really wanted to focus our attention to the exposure of the shot, to ensure we were exposing for the highlights of her face. It may seem an obvious piece of information, but I found really focusing on it turned images from delete to keep. It ensured all the detail was kept on the face, especially when dealing in this ‘contrasty’ environment.

TFST0159

The shot above is one of my favourites from the day. I asked Jasmin if she would throw her hair back so I could try and capture it in full swing. Here I used a fast shutter speed of 1/3000, a generally accepted no-no of ISO6400 (because I needed the fast shutter speed) and had the camera set to manual focusing to make the shot ‘instant’ when the shutter was depressed – and yes, this was not the first attempt, maybe more like the fifth to get it right! The ISO performance on the X-E2 is SO good.

This was another great tip from Alex in regards to action and street photography. He said if you pre-focus on an area where your subject is going to walk and then switch to manual focus, you know every single time that your image is going to be in focus when the subject / model hits that spot. This is particularly useful in street photography, it allows the photographer to frame up a shot and then simply wait for the subject to walk into that frame.

Here are other shots I took that ‘made-the-grade’, at least in my book anyway 😉

TFST0147 TFST0165 TFST0138 TFST0126 TFST0127

Alex had great presence when talking us through ideas as we shot in this environment, throwing us suggestions, checking our shots on the go and even highlighting some great shots our fellow photographers were getting whilst there. This all helped spur me on to try and get the best results I could.

Once we had shot this location from every possible angle, other than hanging off the side of the building (which I would have tried if I could have found a way!), Alex talked us through the next stage in this exciting photography voyage.

Basically, we were going to be on the move, shooting fashion in the streets of Soho amongst the general public. This was where my adrenaline levels went from 7 to 15 (out of ten!) in less than a second.  Alex explained how he wanted us to capture the more human element in this environment, the ‘circus’ as he put it, and it really was just that.

Jasmin stepped into the busy, bustling streets of London and we needed to be ready. We were advised to keep ahead of Jasmin to ensure we could scope out the best framing, best angles and to be more aware of great photographic, candid moments. For me, this involved running like mad to stay ahead, trying not to get run over by cars, bikes or pedestrians, not photobombing other photographers shots and still find a good angle myself with the correct exposure! All in all, super exciting, very challenging and incredibly fun!

TFST0171

The reason it was such a circus is because we looked like the Paparazzi. Imagine 12 -14 photographers chasing a beautiful model down the street, all trying to get the perfect shot will certainly draw some attention. People were taking pictures on their mobiles, just-in-case she was famous, asking who she was & who we were – what a buzz I can tell you!

TFST0221TFST0185

We even had a local restaurateur take to the street stage to grace us with his surprisingly good singing voice. These were the kind of quick paced moments you needed to really know your camera settings, luckily I was just about ready to capture this one below.

TFST0206

After the crazy, brilliant and thrilling roller coaster ride, it was nothing short of perfect to get back to the pizzeria for a beer, pizza and have a chat. The group mingled beautifully, each sharing our successes, failures and our ‘what we would try next times‘. Alex wrapped the day up nicely by highlighting things we did well, things we could improve upon and again, going through individual’s images to give personal feedback – this was a nice touch.

For me, I compare this experience to that warm fuzzy feeling you get at Christmas. I had been given the experience to meet our lovely photographers face-to-face, develop my skills as a photographer and share this experience with like-minded individuals.

10712395_10152550311853579_9169321068005723950_o
The Gang

If you get the chance I highly, highly recommend going on this course and any other that gives you the chance to learn your photography with others. It not only is a great sociable experience, but most importantly, you get to learn how others see shots that you, yourself may have missed.

If you have any thoughts, questions or comments, please do drop us a line below and we will try and assist where we can.

Click here to see images taken by other members of the group (Log into Facebook required to view).

Thanks for reading

Dale

 

What focal length should I use and why?

w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerHere’s a quick, hopefully informative snippet as to why you might choose one focal length over another, and why.

The idea for this blog came about when I was asked recently “Why don’t you just zoom-out to get the person in the frame?”. This is a very good question and I felt it needed a mini demonstration to really help answer it. All one needs to conduct this experiment is the following:

  • A willing volunteer – I had a Marc
  • A zoom lens of any kind – In my case, the XF18-135mm lens
  • Oh, and a camera!

The experiment is simple; frame your subject (Marc) the same each time and take a picture at different focal lengths. I chose four focal lengths along the barrel of the lens to best demonstrate. With this, we had the ever-helpful Terry to hand with a camera to capture the experiment from the third person perspective.

Hopefully what you will notice is that the wider the angle, (18mm) the more clutter there is in the image whereas at the 135mm setting, pretty much all clutter has ‘disappeared’.

Why does this happen?

Without going into huge mathematical detail (that I don’t even fully understand) it is because wide angle shots will achieve a larger angle of view and long zooms won’t. This is how much ‘fits’ into the shot – peripheral vision if you like.

As a rule of thumb, wider angle lenses work great for landscape photography and indoors (where you don’t have a lot of room to manoeuvre) as they can fit more in. Wider angles, however, are not great for portrait shots as they will pull the centre of the frame forwards creating distortion in perspective – example image below.

Longer zooms on the other hand work great for de-cluttering a frame to create stunning portraits. This is because the angle of view is smaller, and more importantly, they have a compressing effect. In essence, a long zoom pulls the background closer to the foreground and can give a more natural, slim looking head shape whilst also helping aid the bokeh effect – increasing the focal length of a lens decreases the depth of field.

Here are two example shots I took that hopefully help demonstrate the difference:

The image on the left (135mm) shows Marc’s head in proper perspective. However, the right shot (18mm) shows the nose being ‘pulled’ forward towards the lens and his head being turned into a rugby ball! You will also notice there is more of Marc’s surroundings in the wider angle shot – this diverts some attention away from his face, which, in a portrait shot we don’t want to do.

I hope this post gets you thinking more about which focal length to use rather than just zooming in and out for convenience.

Having a zoom lens is incredibly helpful at times, but it would best to think of your zoom lens as a series of prime lenses. Most photographers, if not all, use specific focal lengths for specific purposes; this is due to the individual optical effects each focal length provides. It really does make a difference to the end result – as (hopefully) shown above 😉

If you can, please go and try this yourself to get a real feel for it. It will help with your own understanding as to what focal length you might want to use, and for which subjects

 

Aspire and Fujifilm – Becoming a Storyteller with the X-Pro1 and X-T1

For those who don’t know, Aspire Photography are based in the Lake District. Set amongst the beautiful and dramatic landscape, along a windy road and built within converted stable yard, you have to walk over an old cattle grid to enter. This may not sound like a very poetic or creative start, but hang on a mo. As you walk over the cattle grid something really rather magical happens. You can’t see it, you can’t smell or taste it, but you can feel it. It’s as though invisible fairies are perched on the gates and sprinkle you with fairy dust as you walk into the entrance.

You may be thinking that I’ve had a bit too much to drink, or perhaps been out in the sun for too long, but bear with me.

Aspire Photography (rather, multi-award winning Aspire Photography) are a very special group of photography trainers, running courses for all different levels throughout the year. They specialise in styled shoots and empowering photographers to understand how they can become better photographers, and how to run a successful photography business. They also have a strong, but by no means exclusive, female engagement. It’s not just down to things looking pretty, or sets being styled to the most amazing standard. What Aspire teach is that it’s a totally safe environment to ask questions, to challenge your limits and to play – to really play with photographic techniques and leave with a portfolio of new images and a fresh outlook on your personal style of photography.

5

One of the reasons we wanted to engage with the Aspire “tribe” is because the X-Series of CSC cameras has really connected with female photographers – they love how light the system is, the amazing image quality and the damage limitation the price point has on their business expenditure.

The day started with Kerry Hendry, our first UK female photographer, talking us through her journey from Nikon to Fujifilm. Why did she decide to make the switch? What did it mean to her style of photography? We then move on to the technical aspects of the X-T1, X-Pro1 and lens line-up. There’s a mixture of attendees. Some are curious and open to the idea of the X-Series and others are already X converts but want to know how to get more out of their camera.

6After lunch the real fun begins, and I mean the opportunity to play! Three models have been dressed to embrace the Midsummer’s Night Theme and amazing stages of beautiful woodland fantasy scenery were created to make an amazing photographic landscape. Everyone was encouraged to interact with the models, to capture stunning still images that would demonstrate the creative capabilities of the camera and to have fun. The images from the day, from all the attendees were stunning.

I interviewed both Kerry and Catherine to understand their view of the day:

Why Fuji?

Kerry Hendry – Love The Image

Going back to using Fuji has been a remarkably natural progression for me.  I shot grainy Fuji film as a teenager and fell in love with the Fuji way right back then.

I am the one who misses the smell of film in the fridge!  More recently I’d gotten drawn into the whole ‘bigger is better’ perception – and that’s all it is, a perception – and it just didn’t feel right.  I was looking to find my photographic mojo again – and bought a Fuji X-E2 and one kit lens, and I’ve not looked back.

I adore the unique image quality the Fuji’s produce, after all, quality is still the primary influencer.  The smaller, lighter system gives allows me to feel free again – to try new things, to capture landscapes without 10kg of kit in my bag.  Travelling light in any respect is liberating – and for me, using Fuji kit has made me excited about photography again, given me new inspiration – and it also seems to bring a smile to my face.

I’ve worked with Aspire for almost a decade, in a marketing capacity and as a photographer – the Aspire way really does change your life!

The team teaches you to look at your strengths, concerns, opportunities, your creative ‘wish list’ and so many other aspects of becoming a better photographer – whether that’s as a hobby or with the aim to going pro.  And then of course, they help you achieve these goals.

On the Aspire/Fuji courses we leave the every day aspects of life – pressures, distractions and worries – at the Aspire gate.

Once you drive onto the estate it’s all about freedom to express your creativity within – while learning and developing too.

On the Fuji days of course we talk kit – and there’s the opportunity for guests to try and of the cameras and lenses they like – including all the latest releases.

Many courses will talk theory, but there’s no better way that putting what you learn, or new things you want to try, straight into practice on a professionally styled shoot.

It’s the perfect opportunity to capture amazing images for your portfolio, or simply immerse yourself in a friendly, explorative environment in which to learn.

Think gorgeous models, magical styling, likeminded new friends to work with, technical expertise to quiz – and of course Fuji freedom & fun!

Catherine –

Aspire Photography Training designs educational programs that teach and inform whilst inspiring those to push the boundaries of their photography.

We train those that have a keen interest in photography and those who are passionate about photography.  Whether you are a hobbyist or seasoned professional we have a range of courses to suit all.  We have been a significant influencer on some of the best businesses in the UK.  Education is at the core of all we do.

We believe the Fujifilm X-Pro1 range will revolutionise the perception of what a professional photographer should look like and already is essential gear for a professional to have over their shoulder. Women and men alike are leaping to change over to the X range, all for differing reasons.  We have witnessed photographers reach out to the X-range to seek sheer quality of the product, we also have seen many photographers change to the X-range to liberate themselves from an overweight camera bag, enabling them to deal with any scenario with ease. The Fuji X-Pro1 is high on Aspire’s agenda, we will be giving this camera and system a great deal of conversation, time and training space. The X range is making it’s mark with the professional photographers who are at the coal face of weddings, commercial and portrait shoots, mainly due to the freedom given and the sheer level of technical ability it gives them on a daily basis.

Aspire Photography Training is all about looking ahead, liberating and thinking out of the box.  In fact we don’t even have a box, just a broad and open mind to all the possibilities photography can give you when you choose to think creativity.

The next Aspire and Fujifilm workshop takes place on Wed 20th Aug, in the Lake District.

All images by Kerry Hendry at Love the Image.

 

 

Illumination Part 5 of 5 – Location Portraits using Flash and Natural Light

We’ve been working with professional portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove to bring you some videos that will inspire you to get more from your camera and help you take your photography to the next level.

Part 5 of 5

Damien finds that the available natural light in the garden is enough for close up portraits of Claire, but decides to use a flash system to brighten up some wider shots and provide some more “sun light”.

We hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with other people who might also like it.

About Damien

Damien Lovegrove is a renowned photographer and lighting guru. He specialises in portrait and beauty photography and teaches professional photographers his craft across the world.

Read more

Illumination Part 4 of 5 – Location Portraits using Flash and Natural Light

We’ve been working with professional portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove to bring you some videos that will inspire you to get more from your camera and help you take your photography to the next level.

Part 4 of 5

Damien goes down into a darker basement to make use of the ambient light to create some wonderful portraits.

We hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with other people who might also like it.

About Damien

Damien Lovegrove is a renowned photographer and lighting guru. He specialises in portrait and beauty photography and teaches professional photographers his craft across the world.

Read more

Illumination Part 3 of 5 – Location Portraits using Flash and Natural Light

We’ve been working with professional portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove to bring you some videos that will inspire you to get more from your camera and help you take your photography to the next level.

Part 3 of 5

Damien takes his model Claire to the edge of a field and tries different compositions and usage of the natural light to produce very different images.

We hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with other people who might also like it.

About Damien

Damien Lovegrove is a renowned photographer and lighting guru. He specialises in portrait and beauty photography and teaches professional photographers his craft across the world.

Read more

Illumination Part 2 of 5 – Location Portraits using Flash and Natural Light

We’ve been working with professional portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove to bring you some videos that will inspire you to get more from your camera and help you take your photography to the next level.

Part 2 of 5

Damien takes his model Victoria outside to a magnolia tree and shoots into the light using an X-T1 and XF56mm.

We hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with other people who might also like it.

About Damien

Damien Lovegrove is a renowned photographer and lighting guru. He specialises in portrait and beauty photography and teaches professional photographers his craft across the world.

Read more

Illumination – Location Portraits using Flash and Natural Light

We’ve been working with professional portrait photographer Damien Lovegrove to bring you some videos that will inspire you to get more from your camera and help you take your photography to the next level.

In each of these videos, Damien talks you through his thought process when shooting portraits with different available light. He provides you with examples of his work and describes how and why the shot was taken in that way.

Part 1 of 5

In our first video in the series, Damien shoots some mid shot portraits of Victoria in a well-lit classic English country house – typical of the type you might find in a UK wedding venue.

We hope you enjoy and please feel free to share with other people who might also like it. Make sure you subscribe to be notified as parts two to five are also released.

About Damien

Damien Lovegrove is a renowned photographer and lighting guru. He specialises in portrait and beauty photography and teaches professional photographers his craft across the world.

“I’m inspired by beauty and as I have matured as a photographer I’ve learned to see beauty in just about everyone and everywhere. It’s not what I look at that matters to me, it is what I see.”

“I love people and I suppose women in particular. I love their mannerisms, fashion, style and beauty. I love photographing women. I also get a buzz from teaching.”

Read more

See more like this

Although the above video was completely free, you can also purchase “ILLUMINATION –
The ultimate training video experience in lighting portraits on location”
from Damien’s website. You get the following:

  • Full HS 1080p
  • 19 chapters
  • 115 minutes
  • Speedlights
  • Big flash
  • Natural light

Click here to learn more about this Lovegrove Training masterclass presented by Damien Lovegrove.

Jens Franke combines street photography with portraiture to capture images that are both intimate and mysterious

Münzstraße März 2013Jens Franke is a professional designer and photographer from Stuttgart. His passion for photography started during his exchange semester in Rio de Janeiro. He was so impressed about the versatility and tensions between the different population groups living together in one mega city.

To share his impressions he started a blog where he posted his personal view on the city. Back in Germany, his aroused wanderlust took him to exciting destinations in Columbia, Morocco, Europe and the US.

Capturing fleeting emotional moments of people, whether of happiness, sadness, joy, anxiety or loneliness became his goal of each journey.

Stuttgart

Rotebühlplatz März 2013
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/125sec, ISO800

With all the possible exotic places in mind, and having grown up in the Bavarian Alps, I thought Stuttgart would be quite a boring place to live when I was here for the first months. To keep myself entertained I started to watch out for the subtle adventures of every day life. My camera got the main pretense for my everyday strolls through the little neighborhoods here. It worked out for me! I sensitised my view and step by step I got used to the rhythm of the city. Sometimes i feel like Daniel Quinn in Paul Auster’s fiction `City of Glass` when he is loosing himself in the city of NY.

Friedrichstraße Februar 2013
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/4000sec, ISO200

I really like Austers quote in this book: “In other words: It seems to me that I will always be happy in the place where I am not. Or, more bluntly: Wherever I am not is the place where I am myself. Or else, taking the bull by the horns: Anywhere out of the world.”

Herderstraße Januar 2013
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/8, 1/125sec, ISO800

While I started photographing the people in the streets of Stuttgart, I got more and more interested in individual portraiture and the story behind the people. In my last Exhibition “Little Districts”, I combined street photography and portraiture to enable my visitors to see my city from both an intimate and a mysterious perspective at the same time.

Königstraße Januar 2013
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/60sec, ISO400

Morocco

Marrakech, Medina, Januar 2014
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/4, 1/40sec, ISO400

During the last two years I’ve traveled to Morocco four times to capture the glimpse of the Moroccan spirit close to the western Saharan border and the region around Marrakech. But a lot more I wanted to illustrate the people in their every day life – Moroccos inhabitants are the real points of interest of the country!

Marrakech, Januar 2014
X-E1 with Contax C/Y Sonnar 85mm – f/2.8, 1/320sec, ISO400
Marrakech, Medina, Januar 2014
X-E1 with Contax C/Y Sonnar 85mm – f/2.8, 1/125sec, ISO400
Sidi Ifni, Januar 2014
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/1.4, 1/1200sec, ISO400
Tafraoute, Januar 2014
X-E1 with XF35mm – f/2.8, 1/3000sec, ISO200

Technique

Most of my current images are taken with this Lineup:

  • Fuji X-E1
  • Every Day Lens: Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R
  • Fujinon XF 56mm F1.2 R
  • Fujinon XF 18mm 1:2 R

I really like the unobtrusiveness of the X System. With my blacktaped E1 I got barely noticed on the street and my whole equipment fits in a small camera bag. Since Street Photography is often a matter of performance i also like the intuitive controls and the customizable function keys. I made my X-E1 behaving like the Contax G2 which handling i loved. I set the focus via thumb and set the lightning via pressing the shutter halfway down. For a better handling i use the additional and pretty ergonomically handgrip.

I also enjoy the analog developing process and some of my other work is photographed by analogue medium and 35mm cameras.

Links:

To see more, you can visit Jens Franke’s website here or follow him on Facebook here.