Introducing Stocksy Photographer Reece McMillan

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our last interview in the series is with Sydney based photographer, Reece McMillan.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you love most about photography?

 

I’m Reece, a (mostly) self-taught, medical school dropout, turned world traveller, turned photographer & videographer. Most of what I shoot falls into the realms of travel, outdoor lifestyle, and fitness. My perfect day is spent outdoors, in the fresh air, on some kind of adventure with a camera in my hand… preferably overseas. It’s hard to lock down what I love most about this career, but one thing would be the lack of a routine. I’m always meeting new people, having new conversations, seeing new places, and photographing new activities. I’ve got a curious mind, and I love to document experiences, so photography is a reasonably great fit.

 

 

You were selected to receive some loan equipment from Fujifilm Australia for a recent trip. Can you explain what you used and why?

 

I took the X-T2 body with Vertical Power Booster Grip, the XF23mmF1.4, XF16-55mmF2.8, XF50-140mmF2.8 and seven batteries. Moving from a DSLR camera, shooting travel, outdoor lifestyle, and adventure, I wanted something rugged, with good image quality, and lighter than my current kit. Shooting a lot more video now, I wanted to test the 4K abilities of the body also. The lenses I selected were direct crop factor equivalents of the lenses I mostly shoot with regularly.

 

 

After returning the loan equipment what did you most miss about the Fujifilm X-T2 after returning to your DSLR kit?

 

I absolutely missed the size and weight of the X-T2 and the quiet shutter. I definitely liked the images that came out of it, but moving back to my big DSLR kit, I felt weighed down by it. I was less inclined to carry it and take it out and much more self-conscious taking photos in intimate settings, due to that typical loud mirror slap. I missed the ease of being able to carry it in my hand on a 7-hour hike and shoot without disturbing people.

 

 

 

Was there anything you didn’t like about the Fujifilm X-T2 body that you would like to see improved?

 

I’ll never be a fan of mirrorless battery life unless it somehow rivals DSLR’s, but let’s face it, many of us have been spoiled in that regard. The ergonomics took a bit to get used to, and I wasn’t a fan at the start, but after a couple of weeks, they were a non-issue. Anything else was just teething problems from being set in my ways.

 

 

Do you have any tips for working with talent or working to a client brief?

 

The only hot tip I have for working with talent is to be genuine…If you show up with a good attitude, the right intentions, and a warm personality, it’ll get you a lot further than gear, skill, or access. Same can be said about many aspects of life, really.

 

 

Can you provide some insight into how Stocksy looks after their photographers when compared to other stock agencies?

 

I have no experience, and almost no interest in the more traditional stock agencies, where you have to sell hundreds of images to make something resembling a profit. For that reason, and for the aesthetic differences, I’ve only ever wanted to be with Stocksy. A side benefit of joining Stocksy has been the support they’ve given to help me direct my portfolio, and have always helped with content ideas for different locations I’ve travelled to. I don’t know if the ‘inner circle’ of many other agencies would know their photographers like the team at Stocksy.

 

 

What advice can you give someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

Don’t expect it to be easy, and don’t lose yourself to the creativity gap (google ‘Ira Glass and that’). I chose Stocksy, because their representation and support of photographers seemed next level compared to other stock agencies, and the work I saw displayed on Stocksy didn’t feel like stock photography, it feels more raw, and honest. Honestly, it’s the only stock agency I’ve wanted to join.

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Skye Torossian

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our sixth interview is with Victorian based photographer, Skye Torossian.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?

 

I’m a Melbourne based photographer; I concentrate mostly on contributing to stock photography at Stocksy United. I specialise in children, lifestyle and capturing those quirky real-life moments hopefully with an aesthetic appeal. As a mum of three and also working with animals I run a hectic life and love most about photography the way it slows me down, helps me to stop and appreciate the beautiful little moments in life that might otherwise get lost amongst the daily chaos.

 

What Fujifilm camera have you shot with previously and can you tell us why you chose it?

 

I have shot with an X100 and then upgraded to the X100T. I chose this camera as I felt like I needed something a little smaller to be able to bring my camera with me when I’m on the go in my day to day activities. I loved the potential of having something a little less conspicuous – especially with teenage kids who don’t want to be seen in public with me shooting away. Also having something that has more range of options and quality than just a phone. I was also drawn to the WiFi capabilities and loved the retro look, so there were many reasons why I felt this might be a good fit for me.

 

 

As a DSLR user, how do you find the switch to a smaller camera body? Did you have any problems understanding the features and functionality of the X100T?

 

I found the switch to be fine; actually, I love the smaller body as it brings with it flexibility to take it almost anywhere. I saw that it was indeed straightforward to learn how to use this camera and was off and running with it from the start, although I do continue to discover and learn more as I go.

 

 

In your eyes, what makes a great photo?

 

There are so many different genres and styles of photography, and I find so much amazing and compelling work out there. I personally really enjoy a photo that is not just visually interesting but has some layers in the storytelling, an image that uses light or space as a way to convey more than only the subject matter within that image. I love using negative space and also everyday realism in my pictures.

 

 

How do you find the dynamic range of the Fujifilm X100T?

Do you find it performs well in harsh Australian daylight?

 

I find the dynamic range of the X100T to be pretty great, especially in our harsh daylight and there is simply no way of avoiding that light here sometimes! It seems to be able to record both highlight and shadow information well but importantly maintains really natural colours and contrast even in mixed lighting.

 

 

When working with children to produce a collection of images do you have any tips you can share?

 

I think its really important to not be too pushy with kids, especially with your own when shooting. I often find the best results really do come from capturing them doing something they love especially when they are really consumed in it or enjoying what they are doing. When you don’t want to ruin a mood, a moment or be too intrusive the X100T’s capacity to be completely silent is actually great for this.

 

 

What advice can you give to someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

 

Anyone wishing to make their start I would just recommend going slowly, not trying to learn everything at once as it can be very overwhelming. I think to begin just capturing what you love or are passionate about is the best place to start. Don’t be too hard on yourself as improvement is a process, it does take time and practice.

 

I chose Stocksy to represent me as I just loved the look and style of images they promote. I love that they aren’t selling old-style posed, sterile stock photos, but instead real-life, dynamic, authentic imagery. They also have such amazing artists and editors; the community is great where everyone is open and approachable and ready to help – I really have to pinch myself most days that I get to be a part of it all.

 

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Gillian Vann

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our fifth interview is with Adelaide Hill’s based photographer, Gillian Vann.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you love about photography?

 

I’m a forty-something photographer, and I came into the industry later in life, after many years in hospitality, retail and small business. I’ve got a businesslike approach to photography as opposed to artistic. I feel a bit like people who collect bugs…. I see a beautiful moment and want to preserve it. I really love photography because it’s something you can do every day, anywhere, anytime. There are rules, but then there are no rules.

 

 

We noticed you have recently used a Fujifilm X100T to take some stock images. What was your experience like when using this camera considering you mainly have used a digital SLR?

The Fujifilm is a great camera to take in situations where you don’t want to lug a heavier kit or you only have a pocket in your jacket. For example at the Polling Booth where I took a photo of the ‘iconic’ sausage sizzle, it was so much easier to get that shot having the little Fujifilm with me. It’s great for wandering the streets when travelling, as well as having in my bag in everyday life.

 

I have shot so many cafe breakfast images with the Fujifilm; I like how unassuming it is. Being able to hand hold at a lower shutter speed is a significant advantage too. I took some fun blurry images while waiting at the airport that I really love. I also took the X100T out skiing, as I’m not quite a good enough skier to trust myself with my bigger DSLR, but the Fujifilm fit inside my jacket where it stayed warm and accessible.

 

 

 

As a photographer how do you best portray emotion in a photograph?

 

Well at the risk of sounding obvious, have your subject show genuine emotion. You have to put your subject at ease, which isn’t always easy in the case of a quick shoot where you don’t really know the person. A good trick to help achieve this is to shoot through the moment. Once you think you’ve got the shot, keep shooting while the subject recovers and becomes more relaxed and genuine. Sometimes I will act as though I’ve got the shot, look away but keep the camera where it was and take a few more shots. Usually, it’s the final few shots of any shoot that are the best. For me when I shoot my own teens they are already very relaxed with me, so I don’t have to distract them like this, but if I find they aren’t quite in the mood, I’ll get them talking about themselves. Involving other people to talk to your subject is a good trick, a little side banter creates some genuine emotion.

 

 

How do you go about choosing your still life subjects to photograph? Do you do any research into what is selling or do you capture whatever you feel?

Both! I usually shoot food that I’m going to eat, which is why I have more ingredient shots than final shots. My family are patient but only to a point. For non-food still life it happens in a variety of ways. I might see some fun props that will spark an idea, so I’ll buy them and ‘hopefully’ will get around to shooting with them. I know I’m not alone in having a large prop cupboard full of guilty purchases (like the gold salt & pepper and mustard I bought at a deli recently, the gold cutlery set I purchased to go with it, I’m still wondering how to pull it all together).

 

Sometimes I’ll notice a trend or concept and I’ll try to think of a way to shoot it that might be good for stock, but to be honest, I find these types of shots much more difficult and they can become a big formulaic. Of course, there are the seasonal things like bottlebrush at Christmas time or spring fruit tree blossoms and I know I only have a limited time frame in which to shoot something. My teenagers are also a big help. They are into every latest trend and have all sorts of trinkets in their rooms that inspire me, and they enjoy getting involved to help create a concept.

 

There’s all sorts of stuff in every home that can be photographed. And while apples, flowers, keyboards and keys have been done to death, there’s plenty of things that haven’t, so I research looking for gaps. I just bought charcoal bamboo toothbrushes and they are so pretty, so I’ll be playing around with that next.

 

 

Do you edit any of your images with post-processing to improve their look or do you find the image from the Fujifilm X100T is good enough?

 

I shoot in RAW, so I do have to do some editing. I do all my basics in Adobe Camera Raw (I make presets for each camera and lighting situation and it’s just one click to be 90% done) and then into Photoshop if there’s skin to fix or tricky clones (for logos etc). I am in love with the wifi transfer on the Fujifilm X100T though. I indeed find the in-camera jpeg conversion good enough to send images straight to social media.

 

 

Based on your style and experience what would you say is the best type of lighting for photos? Can you share the story behind one of your images taken with an X100T that portrays this light?

 

Every photographer loves early morning or late afternoon light, but also window light, or a shaded spot under an awning that still allows soft light onto the subject, these are all perfect. There’s an image I took on an early morning walk with my husband at Whale Beach, Sydney that I just love. Again, when we are just going for a walk in the mornings I don’t want to take my big camera, but I always like to have a camera with me (in case we see a unicorn), so the Fujifilm X100T is perfect, and I really loved the set of images I took that morning.

 

 

Do you have any tips on how to work with teens to obtain the best photographs?

 

Now on this, I think I could write a book! I have three teenage daughters with different personalities. Ask your teens to be involved in the creative process, from wardrobe to styling and to posing. They will have their ideas about what looks cool and it’s usually opposite to mine, so when we collaborate we get some interesting shots.

 

At some point, be it in the beginning or perhaps when you suspect they are getting bored, let them do what they want, no matter how silly. They are teens and usually quite egocentric, no point working against that. Some want direction, and some want to do their own thing, you have to be able to go with it, but also pull out your mum voice and get some control back. I teach them about light, where it is and how to stand in the light, how to pose their bodies (they all like that part!). I pay my daughters a % when an image sells, or of anything they helped create/assisted on, so they are usually really willing to be a model for me. Most teens have at least one social media account, and they love having heaps of fun photos to post, so that’s also a good motivator for them too. I often play music when shooting kids, including teens; it’s easier than trying to entertain them myself. So we pick a few songs, whatever they like, and it gets them happy and dancing.

 

 

What advice can you give someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

It’s a tough industry, no one is handing out jobs, you have to go and find them yourself, and you have to be able to show up, on time, deal with the shooting conditions, edit and deliver work to the client. There’s no one available to teach you these things, so you really need to be a self-starter and be able to critique your work honestly. Nowadays everyone thinks they are a photographer, and while they may get plenty of likes and followers, that isn’t always a reflection of quality work.

 

We all now have access to fantastic gear and editing that help create great images, but there’s more to it than that, just as being able to put some paint onto a canvas doesn’t make you a painter, nor does nicely rearranging your living room make you an interior designer.

 

Buy gear you love (not just gear everyone is talking about), watch tutorials online, intern with professional photographers (just ask them, many will be more than happy to have an assistant, and even carrying gear, changing and cleaning lenses, holding the flash/reflector, watching models and stylists, are amazing skills to learn). Shoot what you love, then the work will never seem a chore. Stock is a great place to help improve your skills. Any of the stock agencies will critique your work and the rejections will be part of your learning process (more than client work ever will be).

 

I am incredibly grateful that Stocksy chose me. It’s such an amazing place full of mind-blowing talent from around a world. The nerd in me likes having my work critiqued by the editors, it’s humbling and I have improved so much as a photographer since joining Stocksy in 2013. Of course the co-op platform is unique to any stock agency, and the community is very supportive. I have direct access to talk with anyone, right up to the CEO. Add in the generous commissions and you’ve got the best agency to be with.

 

 

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Robert Lang

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our fourth interview is with South Australian based photographer, Robert Lang.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?

 

I’m from Port Lincoln, South Australia. I was originally a qualified carpenter building residential homes before changing my career to professional photography. It sort of just fell in my lap really, I never truly chased it. Starting on small jobs for friends and local businesses would somehow always create enough demand for that next job to roll in. Once I started freelancing, I was hooked completely. I work a lot on my own now; I love the flexibility of working to my own schedule and the more time it has given me at home with my family. For me, taking pictures borderlines addiction. You never know what that next shot will be like, so it’s become this constant pursuit of the unknown.

 

You currently use the Fujifilm X100T, how do you find the image quality stacks up against other brands?

 

I was immediately impressed how a much smaller camera in my hands could still give me such a high-quality image. I quite often find the SOOC (straight out of camera) jpegs are so on point that I would question myself if it was even worth post processing the image at all.

 

For the ones I did wish to play around with, I found the RAW files if ever needed could be pushed as hard as I would use my regular DSLR workhorse. Adding in the high ISO noise performance on the X100T alone, now meant on my everyday excursions I was successfully grabbing useable handheld shots from low light scenes you just would never expect from a camera that size.

 

How did you get your start as a stock photographer and do you find it to be rewarding?

 

I got my foot in the door after a friend of mine, noticed the style I was already shooting. He suggested I try and join a few different stock agencies that he was already in. At the time I didn’t have much photography gear, so I used the passive income to re-invest in new equipment, slowly replacing the second-hand gear I started on and setting myself up with everything I needed to move into a profession. Stock photography has given me an uncomplicated form of access to clients I would normally never have the opportunity to sell to and has given me a wonderful new group of extremely talented like-minded friends all around the world.

 

 

 

What do you most like about the Fujifilm X100T and has it changed you as a photographer?

 

It was the first time I ever held any camera that truly compelled me to go and take a picture, purely because of how it felt and looked in my hands, I didn’t just want to go photographing with it, I needed to. It was smaller, more lightweight than my normal chunky DSLR, something I would often leave at home. Now I finally had something that I could take with me everywhere, so straight up I was taking more pictures than I used to and without the somewhat intimidation of a larger camera.

 

A feature I frequently love using is customising the setting of the Fn (Function) button to the inbuilt neutral density filter. I also get a real kick out of using the OVF (Optical View Finder) and leaving my shot reviews until I get back to the computer later. Combined with the slick retro look and feel of the camera itself, it gave shooting that addictive old school feel. My all-time favourite focal length is already 35mm, so with its 23mmF2 lens (35mm full frame equivalent) it even has me covered there too. Overall, there is this seductive and confident freedom the X100T gives me from shooting on a smaller camera, yet still in no way, ever compromise on the quality. You feel unobtrusive in simple moments, which makes for some beautiful candid photographs.

 

 

When you shoot, do you use any particular settings like aperture priority, set on the X100T?

 

I’m a fan of the cameras Classic Chrome jpegs for sure. For actual shooting style, it’s got to be full manual control all the way for me, and I particularly love the focus peak highlight in manual focus with the AE & AF (Auto Exposure & Auto Focus) set to switch mode.

 

 

Do you have any tips when it comes to photographing children and animals?

 

Probably nothing that hasn’t been said before. Getting down to their eye level certainly, does help. I think it comes down more to the moment you choose to hit the shutter button instead. I do like my high-speed burst mode in the drive button settings to increase my chance of getting the right frame in the moment something is happening. I would then go back and delete the ones that I didn’t need. I have looked them over post shoot and found some pure gold this way. Just make sure you have an SD card with a fast write speed if you want to keep up with this camera though.

 

 

What has been your favourite image captured using the Fujifilm X100T? Can you tell us the story behind the photo?

 

It would have to be the one of my Border Collie called Reggie who was asleep on the shearing shed floor. I just got my hands on the WCL-X100 wide angle conversion lens and went for a walk at home to fire off some new shots. It was the first photograph I took with it, so yeah just a test shot that I fell in love with.

 

 

What advice can you give for someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocksy to represent your work?

 

Always value your own work, if you don’t then neither will your clients and never waste an opportunity that knocks on your door either. My best advice though I was given starting out still rings true for me today “always shoot for fun and the rest will sort itself out”. I just love Stocksy, and I’m really proud to be a part of their team.

 

In my opinion, the photographers are quite simply world class; it’s high-quality premium content at every turn. This quality over quantity approach to their collection also means the submissions are stringent, so if I ever get a photo accepted I wear it like a badge. Money talks too, as Stocksy has the highest royalty rates in the industry, and as a Co-Op, it really bucks the trend that has seen artist’s rates declining over time by sharing the bottom line back to its own photographers.

 

 

How to Make Any Object Interesting Using Depth of Field

From great lighting to flashes, filters and other accessories, there are a myriad of ways to improve your photos. For anyone with a X Series camera, however, one of the most powerful ways to enhance your subject is to manipulate the depth of field.

 

What is Depth of Field?

 

Simply put, the depth of field is the amount of the picture the photographer keeps in focus. While laypeople may assume the entirety of a shot should be in focus, experienced photographers know that letting the background blur can actually draw more attention to the subject.

Image by Clèment Breuille via Instagram

 

How to Control Depth of Field

 

Like shutter speed and exposure, depth of field can be controlled by manipulating settings on your camera – specifically the aperture setting. The aperture is an opening in your camera’s lens, which opens and closes similarly to the dilation of the pupils in our eyes. As the aperture gets smaller, the depth of field grows, meaning more of your image comes into focus.

 

In addition to your aperture setting, your distance from the subject and the focal length of your lens will impact your depth of field. Since the depth of field is focused around the subject, the closer the subject is to your camera, the shallower that depth will be. Likewise, the longer your lens’s focal length (the more you zoom in), the shallower your depth of field, given any aperture setting and distance.

 

Overall, these three attributes – aperture setting, distance and focal length – are all crucial for achieving the exact depth of field you desire. Changing the aperture setting is the most common route, but don’t be afraid to back up, move in, and zoom in and out!

Image by @chandrasentosa via Instagram

 

Changing Settings

 

When it comes to changing the aperture setting, it’s important to understand that the aperture width and specification are inversely related. Wider settings are represented by smaller numbers, and vice versa.

 

The settings themselves are typically presented in F-numbers, often-called F-ratios or F-stops, which are a measure of lens speed. For instance, a lens with a 100mm focal length set to an F-stop of 10 has an aperture diameter of 10mm. Setting that same lens to F20 would give it an aperture diameter of 5mm, while setting it to F5 would result in an aperture diameter of 20mm.

 

Overall, the smaller the F-number, the wider the aperture – and the shallower your depth of field will be. If you really want to zero in on your subject, leaving the background blurry and obscured, you’ll need a small setting. If you want most or all of the picture to be in focus, you’ll need a high setting.

Image by @matt_ellis via Instagram

Choosing Your Aperture

 

Which depth of field is right for your next shoot? The answer will depend on your subject and goal. Portraits typically feature shallow depths of field, focusing primarily on subjects’ faces. The same is often true for weddings, parties and other events, where you’re trying to separate the subject from a bustling background.

 

On the other hand, you’ll need a deep depth of field to see details in both the background and foreground. Landscape shots are a perfect example.

 

Also important to note: depth of field is not evenly distributed in front of and behind your subject. Even with all the adjustments you can make to the aperture setting, distance and focal length, your field is usually about one third in front and two thirds behind your focal point. The field becomes more equal as your focal length increases, but as we discussed before, it also becomes shallower.

Image by @chels_e_buns via Instagram

 

The Right Tool for the Job

 

Photographers often refer to bokeh, the blurred, out-of-focus background quality that makes pictures incredibly lifelike and vivid. If you want your shots to have bokeh, you’ll need a lens capable of the widest aperture settings.

 

Fujinon’s XF series lenses are perfect for the job. Featuring aperture settings as low as F1.2, these lenses allow for beautiful close-ups that will stun your viewers. With a wide aperture range, they’re also versatile enough to be used for wide range of projects.

If you want to learn more about the range of Fujifilm products, check out our 2017 Buying Guide.

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Gary Radler

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our third interview is with Victorian based photographer, Gary Radler.

 

Can you tell us about yourself and what you most love about photography?

 

I am a husband, father, grandfather and lover of photography. I work both as a clinical psychologist and photographer.

 

My work as a photographer grew from my work as a psychologist with people with a developmental disability. In this role I often provided talks, professional development workshops and other presentations. I supported these with slide presentations, but when searching for images to include from the available stock libraries I was disappointed to find that these mostly showed people with disabilities in stereotyped and patronising ways. Instead I wanted images of people with disabilities as citizens of our communities doing things that were valued and ordinary. I wanted photos showing them as contributing, active and engaged people in everyday and valued roles. Given the dearth of such images, I decided to make my own! Then, all of a sudden I fell in love with photography. I was well and truly hooked. Nothing was safe from my lens.

 

Then, by pure serendipity, I started specialising in photographing Aboriginal Australians. In 2008 on my way back to my car after a meeting, I bumped into a man who I now count as a friend, Dootrule, a Wurundjeri Elder, and asked if I could take his photo (I always had my X100 with me). (Here’s a link to a video I made of Dootrule and his partner, Tracey: http://www.garyradler.com/Video/Dootrule/). He said yes and from there I struck up many more relationships with Aboriginal Australians over the ensuing years, who became my models. I soon learned that the stock photos of Aboriginal Australians were also clichéd and failed to portray them as citizens of contemporary Australia and so I took it upon myself to fill this gap!

 

I came up with a mission statement: “My aim in my stock photography is to create compelling, high quality images of people who are members of groups that have demonstrated resilience and survival in the face of marginalisation and discrimination. My goal is to portray the models in ways that advance their dignity and opportunity.  My mission is to make photographs that can be used politically, commercially and educationally to promote equality and to enhance the social standing of the people and groups that they portray.”

 

You describe yourself as a photographer of members of groups that have demonstrated resilience and survival.” Can you share two pictures you have captured using the Fujifilm X-T2 that best portray this and tell us the story behind the images?

 

 

Matt deserves a medal. Matt works for a Disability Support Organisation and for a week in every month he transports, mentors and has a great time with people with a disability who work at various farms in North East Victoria.

 

Matt is a quiet, gentle, respectful, hard-working dedicated young man. He is skilled at promoting the engagement of all of the participants he supports in his quiet, unobtrusive, and natural way, and it is a pleasure to witness.

 

Jarod is one of the men that Matt supports. He is man whose appetite for work is unsurpassed. This photo shows Matt and Jarod relaxing in the Ovens River after a hot day’s work at a blueberry and garlic farm in Myrtleford. To me this work exemplifies how people with a disability can be truly afforded respect and dignity in their lives by giving them opportunities and support to live the ordinary lives other citizens, like me, take for granted.

 

 

This next photo shows a woman, Lesley, who was rehearsing a contemporary dance performance. It was one of many I took of her and other people with a disability when I was commissioned by the State Government of Victoria as the photographer for their State Disability Plan 2017-2020 (you can download the plan here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/publications/state-disability-plan-2017-2020). Again, my approach was to spend time with each of the models as they went about living their lives. The unobtrusive X-T2 paired with the small and high class prime lenses were perfect for the job.

 

 

Having used multiple Fujifilm X Series cameras over the years, including the original X100 how do you see the system has developed? Has it been going in the right direction or could there be more improvements?

 

I remember just holding the X100 and enjoying the tactile experience. Weird, I know. As a piece of modern-retro design I thought it was exquisite, and a work of art in and of itself. Then it also made the making of art a simple, enjoyable experience. It was unobtrusive and suited my style of portrait photography perfectly. It’s fixed 23mm lens taught me to get to know what an image would look like at this focal length even before I put the viewfinder to my eye. That leaf shutter with the resulting 1/1000th second flash sync speed made shooting outdoor shallow-depth-of-field portraits a breeze.

 

Since then I have owned the X100S (which I lost – much to my annoyance), the X100T, the X20, the X70, the X-T1, the X-PRO2 and the X-T2. I have since given away the X20, and sold the X-T1 and X-PRO2.

 

The development of the X system has seen improvements I have appreciated, including the increase in resolution, the tilt screen (the absence of a tilt screen was my main reason for selling the X-PRO2), and the greater range of built in film styles.

 

 

When you are out on assignment photographing people, do you have any tips on how to best approach and engage with individuals?

 

Just talk. Have real conversations. Become so accustomed with the technical aspects of photography that you can forget the camera, relate to and interact naturally with the people in front of you, and just wait for the light to be just so and the moment to unfold. For me, the best photographs are all about the moment, the light, and composition. As I write this I am wondering if I’m coming across as someone who can do this. I can’t! But I am striving to.

 

 

If we were to look in your photography bag, what Fujifilm cameras would we find? Can you tell us the reason why you chose the Fujifilm X-T2?

 

It depends on what sort of photography I’m doing. This generally varies between my stock photography of people with a disability and Aboriginal Australians, landscape, street, family photography (I have a 3 year old grandson now and he is perhaps the most photographed child in the world!), commissioned assignments, weddings, and travel photography.

 

For my portraiture work you’ll generally find the Fujifilm X-T2, the XF23mmF2, XF16mmF1.4, and XF56mmF1.2. I use my old Nikon SB-900 flash (from my DSLR days), Cactus V6 HSS II flash transceivers, and a variety of portable light modifiers.

 

Buying the Fujifilm X-T2 was not a hard choice for me to make. It has what I need; which is not to say there is not more I would like in a future model.

 

 

Do you find living in the outskirts of Melbourne to be an advantage to your photography? Has it opened up any doors for you over city based photographers?

 

The main advantage is that the beautiful Yarra Valley is virtually out my front door. I have taken to cycling with an electric bike, which has been such fun as it means I ride now instead of drive as it flattens out the very hilly terrain, and I always take my camera with me. The rural and agricultural landscape around here is stunning, and I have found that cycling has meant I am seeing and appreciating it like I have never before.

 

 

Based on your experience, if you were to include a feature in a new Fujifilm camera what would it be and why?

 

In-body image stabilisation. I never use a tripod for my work and being able to shoot at slower shutter speeds hand-held would be cool.

 

 

What advice can you give for someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocky to represent your work?

 

My advice would be if it grabs you in such a way that you can hardly think about anything else, then go for it! There is a lot of technical stuff to learn, and it’s only when this is under your belt (if it ever is!) that the real learning about image making starts. This amount of learning can only happen by putting in the hours. And this only happens when you love it. So if you love it drown yourself in the flood of learning resources available on the web (I learned heaps from Kelby Training), listen to the image making podcasts (the best being The Candid Frame, LensWork, and PPN-Inspiration Show, The Art of Photography), but make the act of actually taking photos your main learning method.

 

I chose Stocksy after being ripped off by iStock for a few years with the paltry commission they pay to their image creators! Stocksy was a breath of fresh air in so many ways, and not just because it pays its photographers a decent commission of 50%. It is a cooperative of its contributing artists, supported, represented and guided by it’s “head office” of talented, impassioned, cutting-edge and funky leaders. It encourages its photographers to be artists and doesn’t reject photos because of trivial “artefacts” (whatever the hell they are) because they were not shot at an ISO of 100!

Introducing Stocksy Photographer Jacqui Miller

Since the start of February, we are featuring eight Stocksy photographers who use Fujifilm X Series cameras to capture their images for commercial use. Discover what they like about their kit and how they utilise the equipment to obtain the best results.

 

Our second interview is with Perth based photographer, Jacqui Miller.

Can you tell us about yourself and what you love most about photography?

 

Hi there! I live in Perth, Western Australia with my husband and two daughters. Growing up, I always had a desire to create art, but I was hopeless at drawing and painting. When I finally found photography, I found an art form that fit. I fell in love with slow shutter motion blur when I got my first DSLR in 2010.

 

You use a Fujifilm X100S to capture commercial images, how do you find the camera performs when compared to your digital SLR?

 

There are certain images I like to create where the X100S is my go to camera. For example, I find its lighter weight and compact size easier to handle when panning. I like playing with seascape and landscape motion images, and the X100S never disappoints.

 

What do you think are the most important things to look for when capturing an image?

 

For me, it’s content and mood. I love seeing images that evoke a strong emotional response in me. Those images stay with me for ages, and I revisit them often. To give you an example of images that have really moved me, I’ve created a gallery on Stocksy with some of my favourites from fellow Stocksy photographers.

What has been your favourite shot you have captured using the X100S? Can you tell us the story behind the image and let us know why you decided to take it that way?

 

My favourites are probably the abstract images. I love the whirling details in human movement, the way the colours blend together in seascapes and landscapes, and the intense colours and sharp lines when shooting lights at night. I have to remind myself to shoot the authentic scene as well because it’s too easy for me to get caught up in the abstract. Having said that, I love all of the images from my last holiday. I challenged myself to travel light, to leave my heavy camera gear at home and only take the X100S. It was amazing and utterly freeing.

 

Are there any photographers who have inspired your photography? Have their images pushed you to explore new techniques or to photograph new genres?

 

I’m inspired by so many photographers and by a whole range of styles and techniques. I feel like I should be able to reel off a list of the most influential photographers of all time but, to be honest, it’s current, everyday photographers who inspire me the most.

 

 

What has been your most successful commercial image taken with the X100S? Why do you think this picture has sold so well?

 

I’ve sold quite a few of my images taken with the X100S. I can’t think of any standouts, many of them are still relatively new to my online portfolio. I have had the pleasure of selling some of my abstract movement images. It’s always a thrill for me when I sell an image I enjoyed making.

 

 

From your experience, what should photographers be aware of when constructing online galleries for commercial sale? Are there any particular elements or genres that should be included?

 

I haven’t been in stock photography for long, and my knowledge/experience is limited. However, I do think it’s essential to be aware of the current trends (themes/colours) when shooting for commercial sale. I’m lucky to be a part of a company (Stocksy United) that has a dedicated editor team with high curatorial standards. In my experience, if I follow the current trends, those images are more likely to make it into the collection.

 

What advice can you give to someone who wishes to make their start as a photographer and why did you choose Stocksy to represent your work?

 

The best advice I ever received was ‘shoot what you love’, and that’s the first piece of advice I give to others. I also recommend uploading your best/favourite work to an online platform and get involved. I signed up to Flickr in 2010 when I received my first digital SLR. I joined groups, met loads of amazing people, learnt heaps and had loads of fun.

Eventually, it was an online contact which led me to Stocksy. I wasn’t actively looking for a stock agency at the time, but I loved everything I was reading/hearing about Stocksy. I was thrilled when they accepted my application.

 

 

How Fujifilm Builds Strong, Quality Cameras

A world leader in optic technology, Fujifilm has been building cameras since the 1940s. Today, our Fujinon lenses are used in medical equipment, satellites and high-end filming devices, as well as countless additional products.

While Fujifilm is well-known for analogue photography, we’ve made major strides into the digital realm, and our flagship cameras include the X-Pro2, X-T2 and the recently released GFX 50S. Known for their strength and durability as well as their unmatched photo quality, these models are all assembled in our Taiwa factory in Sendai, Japan. Here’s how.

 

Made in Japan

 

A sign of quality, craftsmanship and reliability, we proudly etch “Made in Japan” onto all of our flagship models like the Fujifilm GFX 50S, X-T2 and X-Pro2. Among other products, the X100F, X-T2 and X-Pro2 all undergo final assembly in our Taiwa plant about 20 miles outside of Sendai, the largest city in Japan’s Tohoku region, roughly 370 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.

 

From Raw to Refined

 

Our optics division is also the only company in the industry that handles every step of the production process, from raw materials to finished product. Fujifilm Optics Co. has three more factories in Japan that mould glass, process barrels and polish lenses.

 

Handmade with Care

 

As our visitors can attest, very little automation occurs in our Taiwa facility. Skilled workers carefully assemble and test every lens, barrel and finished camera, ensuring the highest degree of precision and craftsmanship. One lens may take several hours to produce, and the production process includes at least seven different tests and inspections. Even our more hazardous, automated processes are watched over by skilled workers and managers.

Image by @azul_zaidi via Instagram

 

An Eye for Details

 

That level of handiwork also requires exquisite attention to detail. Small devices in and of themselves, each camera contains hundreds of tiny components, each of which must be properly placed to produce a functioning product. In particular, aligning the image sensor is the most important and difficult part of the process, requiring a trained eye, patience and several in-process tests.

 

Safety and Cleanliness

 

Getting dirt on your lens is bad enough. It would be terrible if you opened a new camera to find grit in the lens, or to realize its moving parts weren’t working because of debris. To ensure the cleanest, safest production environment possible, we require all of our workers to wear lint-free fabrics, and some technicians also don double-layered hoods, surgical masks and padded booties. When making precise, highly sensitive lenses and cameras, no precaution can be spared.

Image by @danielrucci via Instagram

 

Rigorous Quality Control

 

Last but certainly not least, our rigorous quality-control process all but eliminates the chance a customer will receive a faulty product. Each assembled lens passes through quality control, where it is tested for mechanics and sharpness. Any failed unit is adjusted and readjusted until it renders the test image correctly. Even then, 10 percent of all packaged lenses are randomly selected, unpackaged and loaded onto a camera to ensure they’ll operate properly for customers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Top 9 Camera Accessories

Are you looking for a few add-ons to take your photos (and photo business) to the next level? Or are you shopping for a photographer? Either way, there are more camera accessories available today than ever before. From lenses to simple, reliable cases and cleaners, there’s something for everyone. Here are the top nine camera accessories you might want to consider for your Fujifilm camera.

Image by @Hendralou via Instagram

  1. Lenses

 

A photographer’s skill will impact a shot more than anything – but a top-notch lens sure doesn’t hurt! In fact, the lens affects photo quality more than the camera body itself. If your shots aren’t turning out the way you want, and you’ve only got one accessory in the budget, a new lens is your best bet.

 

There’s quite a selection of Fujinon XC, XF or GF lenses to choose from, but most lenses fit into one of two categories. Prime, or fixed, lenses are versatile and low-cost, but they can’t zoom in and out. Zoom lenses, on the other hand, allow for a variety of depths of field, often at the touch of a button.

 

  1. External Flashes

 

As new photographers quickly learn, the built-in flashes on most cameras aren’t strong enough to light a subject that’s further away, images can start to look underexposed and too dark.

 

An external flash like the Fujifilm EF-X500, however, can strategically shine light into an area that reflects onto your subject from an angle. Mounted onto your camera or even a stand in another part of the room, you can point multiple flashes wherever you like – the ceiling, for instance – and set them to fire in sync with your shutter.

 

  1. Filters

 

A flash helps you control how much light hits your subject; a filter limits the light that reaches your camera’s image sensor. In general, filters come in one of three categories. Ultraviolet (UV) filters block out harsh light, but cheaper ones may reduce clarity. Neutral density (ND) filters limit the overall amount of light that passes through your lens, allowing for longer shutter speeds without overexposure. Finally, polarizing filters reduce glare and reflections, somewhat like putting a pair of sunglasses on your lens.

Image by @tylerweberphoto via Instagram

 

  1. Reflectors

 

Simple and effective, reflectors reduce unwanted shadows by reflecting light onto a subject. The angle, material and colour of the reflector determine the intensity of that light. White produces the softest light, while silver and gold offer a higher intensity and degree of warmth. To achieve the opposite effect, you can even add a black panel to a reflector, preventing a light source from hitting your subject from a certain angle.

 

  1. Photo Tents

 

Most commonly used for shooting flowers, food and other small objects. Tents are translucent “boxes” that diffuse light from multiple sources. In effect, they allow for even, almost shadowless lighting – perfect for product photography with a de-emphasized background.

 

  1. Cleaning Kits

 

Dust and dirt are a photographer’s nightmare, and even the best lenses won’t shoot clearly when they’re dirty. A microfiber cloth is perfect for wiping away debris, but a blower can make the job easier and faster. Also, while most new cameras have self-cleaning sensors, you may still need a sensor cleaning kit to keep your camera in tip-top shape during frequent shoots. Although sensor cleaning kits are available we highly recommend sending in your Fujifilm camera in to your nearest Fujifilm repair centre to have your camera serviced by a qualified technician.

 

  1. Battery Grips

 

You never want to run out of power during a long shoot. You can carry an extra battery in your pack, but a more convenient option is the battery grip: a holding device that plugs into the bottom of your camera. Many photographers enjoy the extra heft it adds to an otherwise small device, and many models include extra buttons that make portrait shooting more ergonomic.

 

  1. Lens Hoods

 

Almost like a hat for your camera, a lens hood can improve image quality by blocking strong sunlight from directly hitting your lens. A sturdy hood also provides physical protection, preventing bumps and scratches to the most important – and expensive – part of your setup.

 

  1. Tripods and Ballheads

 

Does your shoot require laser-like focus and an impossibly steady hand? If so, a tripod is your best bet. Today’s carbon fiber tripods are lightweight, sturdy and stylish, and they come in a variety of sizes for use at different heights. Topped with an adjustable ball head, they can be used to position your camera at virtually any angle.

Image by @myahya09 via Instagram

 

If you’re interested in a Fujifilm camera, but don’t know where to start looking, download our free eBook, Which X Series Should I Buy?