Ten tips for capturing unforgettable travel portraits

By Saraya Cortaville

Portrait photographer and X-Photographer Saraya Cortaville skillfully draws out her subject’s emotions and feelings, in a sensitive and empathetic way. Her portraits are an observation and moment of connection between two people, rather than photographer and subject. In this article, she gives us ten tips for capturing travel portraits you will remember forever. Continue reading Ten tips for capturing unforgettable travel portraits

X100 to GFX Journey: The Evolution of the X Series

By Kevin Mullins

I’ve been using the Fujifilm system since its inception back in 2011. My very first Fujifilm camera was the Fujifilm FinePix X100 (remember when it was still called the FinePix?).

I’ve been honoured to be a part of the X-Photographer community since those early days and even after nine years or so find the X Series range of cameras the tools that I still use for all my work.

As the system has grown from the embryonic MLC that was the X100 to the high-resolution machine that is the GFX 50S, I’ve witnessed a system that has taken its first baby steps to winning platitudes and awards every year.

Going right back to the FinePix X100, this was one of the first images I took with the camera:

FinePix X100, 1/60 F2, ISO 25

I was smitten with the camera, but I think it’s fair to say that the original X100 definitely had some teething problems.

When I was shooting with the FinePix X100 I felt a deep assimilation with the JPEGs that the camera was producing.  However, trying to achieve focus, especially in low light situations, proved challenging.

And then something quite unheard of happened… a firmware update.  Not only did the firmware update fix small bugs, it made the whole camera more responsive and even added a feature or two.

This was the sign of things to come, of course, and I think one of the things that define Fujifilm’s success is their unwavering support for the photographic community via firmware updates.

Ironically, according to my Lightroom Catalog, the last personal photography I took with my FinePix X100 – which I still have (I never sell a classic camera!) is this shot of it’s successor, the X100S (note, FinePix no longer in the name):

FinePix X100, 1/480, F2, ISO 3200

This was the camera that I wrote my first book about, such was my love for it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trawling through my archives of personal family snaps that I’ve taken with the X100, the X100S, X100T & X100F.

I had over 10,000 images that I considered good enough to keep.

Of course, these are family snaps, nothing particularly arty about them and absolutely the most important thing is the memories for me and my family.

Anyhow, here are the 100 family snaps, taken with my various Fujifilm X100 Cameras and in chronological order. I have a huge debt of gratitude to the original X100. It’s the camera that made me realise photography is fun rather than just for work.  Here is my little homage to the X100 and all its incarnations.

This was really when things started changing with the little X100 format cameras, but before the X100S came out, we were bamboozled by the X-Pro1.

Now, my introduction to this camera was somewhat forced.  I was writing a monthly business column for Professional Photography magazine when the editor asked me to review the camera;

Him:  “Would you like to review the new Fujifilm X-Pro1?”

Me:  “Well, not really, the reason I love the X100 is because it’s fixed lens and I don’t want to invest in another interchangeable lens system as I still have my Canon cameras”.

Him: “We’ll pay you £200 for the review”.

Me:  “Oh, go on then….”

Fast forward five weeks and I have to take the review copy back to Archant House in Cheltenham.  As I hand over the review packages to them, the editor asks me what I thought.  I showed him a copy of my order email from WEX where I’d just pre-ordered the X-Pro1 and the three launch lenses.

Not too long after I took delivery of my X-Pro1, XF35mm, XF60mm and XF18mm lenses I sold off all my Canon gear.

At this point, we were then beginning to see new sensors and later, new Film Simulations too but really, what everybody in the photographic world was realising was that these new breeds of mirrorless cameras from Fujifilm were: smaller, lighter, cheaper and crucially, performed very well compared to what we had been used to using.

Of course, there are still some rare situations where a DSLR might be a better option for a particular shooting style, but with the emergence of the X-H1 I think even that is becoming mitigated and the Fujifilm system is catering more and more for all types of photographers.  It’s not true that Fujifilm cameras are “only for Street Photographers”.

At some point in 2013, I was in Tokyo and I was using another new Fujifilm camera, the X-M1.  The X-M1 used the same X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro1 and X-E1 but didn’t have a viewfinder.  It had a tilt screen and was actually the first camera to have Wi-Fi too.

To be totally honest, I never really got on with this camera.  It was too fiddley, and I really missed the viewfinder.  I’ve never been a huge lover of tilt screens, and I’m pleased Fujifilm continue to pacify people in both camps with cameras that have tilt screens and cameras that don’t.

The camera did yield me an image on that trip to Tokyo which went on to win SWPP Landscape photographer of the Year award though.

X-M1, 23mm F1.4 lens @ F8, 1/200 ISO 200

When the X-T1 arrived, the game changed for many people.  The X-Pro1, X100S where good cameras, but they were perhaps not quite sharp enough for many to consider for professional work.

However, when the X-T1 came along with its continuous focus and high-speed shooting, this was when I first started seeing a big influx of shooters coming to the Fujifilm stable.

Some of my favourite images to date have come from the X-T1:

X-T1, 56mm F1.2 lens @ f1.2, 1/1,800 ISO 200
X-T1, 23mm F1.4 Lens @ f1.4, 1/2,700 ISO 400

And of course, later came the X-T2 and the X-Pro2 and little curve balls such as the X70.

The X70 remains one of my favourite cameras; despite what I said about the X-M1, the X70 is also an LCD only camera and it has ergonomic issues too, but that camera has so much character and is so small that it is still one of my most use cameras when shooting.  I shoot with my X70 at weddings as well as personally and I really hope there is a future for that line of camera.

X70, F2.8, 1/125, ISO400
X70, F2.8, 1/900, ISO 400

And, as we come to the end of this whistle stop tour of my time with the Fujifilm X Series of cameras, I can’t possibly leave out two of the new guys in the stable; the GFX 50S and the X-E3.

For me, the GFX is all about prints.  I use in mainly in my family photography business which is prints only and I find it incredible that I can shoot with a medium format camera, handheld, in a candid way.

It’s a big camera of course, and that’s why it’s not really suited, for me at least, for fast paced shooting, but anything where the pace is slower, and the images may end up in print, then the GFX is the way forward.  I can’t wait to see how this branch of the series matures.

Here is a little snapshot of my own summer, all shot hand held with the GFX 50S:


More from Kevin Mullins

Website: www.kevinmullinsphotography.co.uk

Blog: https://f16.click/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kevin_mullins

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YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/documentaryeye

A Day in the Life by Kevin Mullins

By Kevin Mullins

My core business is as a documentary wedding photographer but I also shoot, and greatly enjoy, ‘Day in the Life’ family sessions.

A ‘Day in the Life’ session is a photoshoot based on the same ethos as the way I shoot my weddings; 100% candid.

It’s critically important for me that my clients can look back at these day in the life images in 10, 20, 30 years’ time and remember the actual moments with their family. Moments that happened naturally, rather than ones that I, as the photographer, stage managed.

By using the very small and very silent Fujifilm X Series cameras I can really blend in as much as possible and just observe the family, photographing the moments that I think are important to photograph. Continue reading A Day in the Life by Kevin Mullins

Y Not Festival 2017: How Weather Resistant is the X-Pro2?

By Tony Woolliscroft

The ‘Great British Summer’… We all remember it, don’t we?

As a photographer, who makes a living from shooting music events, the summer time means swapping my cameras and lenses, from my rolling camera case, to a heavy rucksack that I carry on my back. ‘Why?’ you may ask. I think you’ll understand as you read on.

From June until mid September I’m often asked to shoot at different festivals up and down the UK. A dream job in most peoples’ eyes and, yes, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had amazing times and memories at festivals all over the world.

I must admit though, over the past few years the thought of shooting a festival for 3-4 days, as Y Not Festival is, does bring me out in a cold sweat. The great British summer time, we all know, is very unpredictable to the extreme, and I usually end up photographing these events in bad weather. Take this year’s Nottingham Splendour festival for example, an outdoor one day event where the weather was fine until 4pm, when the Buzzcocks came on, and the heavens opened up. The rain did not stop pouring all evening and in to the night it became torrential – even as I drove along the A52 home.

The first thing I do before I go to ANY festival is to swap my Fujifilm kit over from a rolling case to a rucksack because, quite simply, you cannot roll through all the mud and rain where the grass used to be!

I have learned over the past few years, and this is a tip for those reading this, that if you shoot mirrorless Fujifilm cameras, chose what lenses you use the most at a festival, and only take those. To cut down the amount of time spent changing lenses, I now carry three Fujifilm camera bodies with me at festivals. I always take my two X-T1 bodies with my XF16-55mmF2.8 (which is my go to lens) and my XF50-140mmF2.8. On my FUJIFILM X-Pro2 camera I take an XF14mmF2.8 as this is a really wide lens, perfect for close ups and backstage pictures.

Due to the amount of dust, mud and rain at festivals, I never take these lenses off. This helps keep my sensors in top-notch condition against whatever the summer weather throws at them.

Y Not Festival 2017

This year’s Y Not festival opened on the Thursday night with Feeder playing in the evening summer sun. I managed to grab some portraits with Grant and the lads before they went on stage and played a great set to the early bird festival goers, who had arrived on the Thursday afternoon to set up camp.

Did I mention the summer sun on the Thursday evening? Well, that was the last we saw of it! Come midday on Friday, due to a few hours of a very heavy, torrential downpour, the whole festival site had changed completely.

What was green grass had now turned into a muddy swamp. Maybe these are the perils of holding a festival on the Derbyshire moorlands, but I think the conditions on the Friday took everyone by surprise. The main stage was particularly badly affected, driving rain had soaked the stage and there were fears of the bands getting electrocuted if they plugged in and played. A few acts were cancelled as the rain did not relent, until someone had the idea to put up four gazebo type marquees on the stage for the bands to try and play under.

This did help provide some shelter and two bands powered on through, performing in the height of the driving rain. I was at the festival to photograph one of these two bands; Nothing But Thieves. While the band had temporary cover, I, however was not so lucky. As a photographer, I, and my kit, needed to be at the front of the stage.

When I’m shooting at festivals, I’m always being asked about how weathered my Fujifilm X Series cameras are. I will admit that I’d never pushed my equipment as much as I had before experiencing the conditions at Y Not Festival. The rain was just horrendous. For the first three songs (around 17 to 20 minutes) I was photographing the band at the front of the stage. I was then side of stage to shot another two songs from there – once again I was exposed to the elements and continued to get soaked.

I can honestly say that my cameras passed their weathering ordeal with flying colours! I had no problem with the bodies and lenses in this heavy rain.

The rain continued throughout the evening and the main headline act, The Vaccines, was cancelled as the weather became so extreme. Therefore, it was time to go home and give my equipment a good clean up.
Although Saturday was blue sky, the night brought more torrential and a decision was made to call off the last day of the festival due to health and safety issues.

The ‘Great British Summer’, as I said, I get the cold sweats just thinking about it!

Please note: Not all of the X Series cameras feature Weather Resistance. Please check the specification of each model before purchase.


More from Tony Woolliscroft

Website: http://tonywoolliscroft.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tony.woolliscroft.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tonyredmen1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/redmen1

Capturing Dance Choreography in Cuba

By Mickael Marso Riviere

Mickael Marso Riviere is a Bboy (break dancer), creative director and choreographer. Being a keen photographer, Mickael enjoys shooting his choreography work, as well as travel photography in locations where his work takes him. In this article he shares his images and experiences using his Fujifilm kit on a recent trip to Cuba. Continue reading Capturing Dance Choreography in Cuba

Fujifilm X Series WILL make you a better photographer…

By Kevin Mullins

Of course, we all know that’s not strictly true, but I do believe, indirectly, that using Fujifilm X Series cameras do empower us to be better at our craft……read on and I’ll explain. Continue reading Fujifilm X Series WILL make you a better photographer…

Experiencing Rajasthan with the X100S

By Simon Bray

I wanted to explore somewhere different, somewhere that would stretch me, show me part of the world that I’d never experienced before, and may not have the freedom or lack of responsibilities to explore in the same way again; so we chose India, specifically, two weeks in Rajasthan.


I think to say that it stretched me would be an understatement of vast proportions. Every time I thought I was getting somewhere close to understanding the place I was in, something new would throw me off. My senses were constantly stimulated, whether it was relentless traffic and horns sounding, incense or burning rubbish, the colours and constant movement, being stared at or asked for money, flavours that were totally new, the combination was overwhelming.

However, there was never a shortage of things to photograph. It was almost as if every corner demanded to be documented. Everything was new, interesting, exciting, it was like returning to when I’d just started to pick up a camera and the possibilities of making images was totally new again.

Being a tourist gave me permission to photograph, I didn’t feel any boundaries. Every time someone asked me and my wife (mainly my wife) for a portrait, I asked for one in return. My confidence to take images soon built, even if my the rest of my instincts remained unsure about everything happening around me.

I don’t think I went with any direct expectations of what I wanted to capture. I don’t think I had any direct expectations of what I was about to throw myself into at all actually! The one thing I did know was that I wanted to travel light. I took just one backpack, so taking a raft of lenses and equipment really wasn’t an option, which is why I opted for the FUJIFILM X100S, it was an obvious choice really.

It’s a camera that I’d grown to love shooting with over the past year or so. The simplicity of using it is what really drew me in, but the image quality continues to impress me, I’d go as far as saying I like working with the files over my full frame DSLR option. It’s my go-to camera for travel, to the extent that I’ve just ordered the FUJIFILM X100F, which I know will be by my side pretty much everywhere I go!

I have compiled the images I took during my time in Rajasthan into an 86 page book, co-published by Let’s Explore Publishing and myself. It’s an exploration to experience a culture that is different to my own. Different values, commodities, traditions, history, religions, customs, food, politics, economics and yet so much to be shared together along the way.

If you would like to pre-order a copy of the book, please visit: http://www.simonbray.co.uk/prints-publications/the-limited-findings-of-a-westerners-short-stay-in-rajasthan


About Simon

Simon Bray is a Manchester based documentary & landscape photographer. He began taking photographs when he moved from Hampshire to Manchester as a means of assimilating into his new surroundings and adjusting to city life. His work has been exhibited at The Whitworth, Manchester and Brighton Photo Biennial and displayed at The Southbank Centre and Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. His work has been published in The Guardian, BBC In Pictures and Outdoor Photography.

Website: www.simonbray.co.uk
Instagram: www.instagram.com/simonbray
Twitter: www.twitter.com/simonbray

Capturing interiors – a photographers guide

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By Maria Fernández

Beautiful interiors are no longer only to be seen in interior design magazines. From restaurants and cafes to hotels and offices, every business, no matter its nature, is making an effort to incorporate some type of style and design to their interiors. We can’t deny there is a big trend to make spaces look simply beautiful. Interiors are one of my favourite subjects to photograph. As in any other type of photography, lighting is the Continue reading Capturing interiors – a photographers guide

Shooting stills on a movie set with the X-Pro2

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By Keith Bernstein

Earlier this year Castel Film Studio in Bucharest, Romania, underwent a dramatic makeover. The studio’s backlot streets, previously the location of a Gothic horror movie, were re-modelled into 1900 Milwaukee, the setting of a new movie set in the American Midwest at the turn of the century. A cast of American and British actors filmed over 3 months, helped on a daily basis by up to 500 Romanian extras and backgrounds actors.

Background actor on set
Background actor on set

As the stills photographer on the film, I took the opportunity to use the X-Pro2 on set for the first time. Stills cameras on movie sets – usually SLR’s – have to be silent to prevent any shutter sound being picked up by microphones or disturbing the actors during a take. To silence the shutter the camera and lens is housed inside a blimp – a soundproof housing that lets you shoot during the filming of a scene. Heavy and slightly awkward to use, the blimps have only limited camera controls on the outside; changing camera settings necessitates opening the housing. The silent shutter mode of the X-Pro2 was immediately attractive; and shooting without a blimp meant saving 1.4 kg of weight around my neck.

I used the X-Pro2 extensively to photograph the extras and a lot of the set decoration, often switching the format on the X-Pro2 to a 1:1 ratio. This allowed the pictures to be quickly uploaded in square format on to social media to market and publicise the movie. Light levels on set, especially the interiors, were often very low, and the X-Pro2 at ISO 4000 with the XF35mm f1.4 lens worked amazingly well, even when shooting at maximum aperture.

There are a number of great features on the X-Pro2; the format change option, live view when changing colour temperature selection, and the silent electronic shutter are among many outstanding choices. One irritation I have with the camera is the battery life – it’s not the best so I always carry spares.

I am currently working on a film in Germany, and am now using two X-Pro2’s with 23, 35 and 56mm lenses. So have I given up on the heavy blimp and SLR combination and switched over entirely to X-Pro2’s? No not yet; there are still some on-set circumstances where the SLR & blimp combination works better for me; but the size, weight, electronic viewfinder and options such as format change of the X-Pro2’s is pushing me ever closer to the edge of change.

Set dressing on interior set
Set dressing on interior set
Castel studios backlot and re-created Milwaukee street
Castel studios backlot and re-created Milwaukee street

Biography

Based in London, working on film sets throughout the world; recent productions include the last 6 Clint Eastwood films, (Sully, Sniper, Jersey Boys, J. Edgar, Trouble With The Curve, Invictus) ; Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba; Argo with Ben Affleck and Gunman with Sean Penn
Website: www.keithbernstein.co.uk
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Facebook: www.facebook.com/KeithBernsteinPhotographer