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.

 

 

Art and Mind – 10 Days in Japan [Part Two]

By Chris Weston

Part 2: Art and Mind

Hokkaido (Days 6 – 10)

We often hear or read the quote, “It’s not the camera, it’s the photographer”, meaning the creation of great photographs is not dependent on having the latest or most expensive gear but on having a keen eye, an open and inquisitive mind and the artistic skills to turn vision into a reality that is a photograph. After sixteen years as a professional photographer, I can attest this is absolutely true. Continue reading Art and Mind – 10 Days in Japan [Part Two]

Photographers, We’re Storytellers – 10 Days in Japan [Part One]

By Chris Weston

When I first became interested in wildlife photography, I harboured a deep fascination with Japan. I used to study the work of some of the great Japanese nature photographers – Michio Hoshino, Mitsuaki Iwago, Nobuyuki Kobayashi – and found, in their images, a hidden depth, an elusive something that I could only describe as “soul”. I also noticed many of my early photographic heroes, photographers such as Art Wolfe and Jim Brandenburg, as well as my favourite artist, Monet, had been inspired by immersion in Japanese culture. Continue reading Photographers, We’re Storytellers – 10 Days in Japan [Part One]

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Mark Loader

Our latest X-Thusiast photographer brings an inspiring approach to photographing his subjects. Learn how Mark Loader adds mood and emotion to his images, and be inspired.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

 

My name is Mark Loader and I’m from Perth Western Australia. I currently live in the southern suburbs between Perth and Fremantle. I’m married with three children. You can see my work on Instagram under the name Ranford Stealth.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

I only took up photography eight years ago (January 2009) after a lifetime of interest, so better late than never! I used DSLRs for the first few years and I still have those but rarely take them out now. I first discovered the X100 and was struck with its usability and IQ. The old-style shutter speed and aperture controls seemed so much more intuitive to me even though I wasn’t active with film SLRs. This naturally progressed to the interchangeable lens models, which I use constantly today.

Fujifilm X-E1 with XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS – F14 – 1/250 second – ISO 250

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

I was lucky in that my good friend Rob Miller is a pro and has mentored me. He impressed upon me the importance of an image’s background and its relationship to the subject. I mostly take portraits and I found this invaluable to my growth as a photographer. So it’s background first always. I try to get as much mood and emotion in a portrait as I can and I put relationship preeminent in my shoots. I like to know my subject. Finding great available light and playing with shadows affects my work as well. Shadows are to light what silence is to sound in music. They go hand in hand.

 

What inspires your photography?

 

My subjects of course, and the work of other photographers like W. Eugene Smith and Dan Winters. Locations often suggest ideas depending on the light and time of day.

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light?

 

I prefer cityscapes … alleys, lanes, doorways, etc. But I’m always open to new ideas and places.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF565mmF1.2 R – F5.6 – 1/250 second – ISO 250

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

A few years ago I went out with a friend (it was about the fourth time I’d shot with her) and we went from about 11am to 5pm (with breaks). Everything clicked that day; she became my muse, and I went home believing I had something to say as a photographer.

 

Can you tell us what’s your favourite Fujifilm camera to use and why?

 

Mostly the X-T1, great workhorse and the live preview is wonderful. I always shoot manual so that helps with fine-tuning the exposure. I also use the X-Pro1 and X-E1 … I get attached!

Fujifilm X100 at 23mm – F8 – 1/250 second – ISO 250

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

For portraiture I love the XF56mmF1.2. The XF35mmF1.4 is a great all-rounder and the XF23mmF2 for street and it was a great asset for shooting bridal prep indoors at my friend’s wedding last November. I’m a bit stunned by the XF16mmF1.4 at the moment, a surprising choice for me considering I used to think the 35mm was ultra wide! The XF18-55mmF2.8-4 is so much more than a “kit” lens.

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

For portraits, I shoot RAW and JPEG, but usually just the latter for street. I edit in LR5 and Nik. Each picture presents a different mood and challenge so I don’t have too many default presets.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF56mmF1.2 R – F2.8 – 1/250 second – ISO 400

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc? Other preferences?

 

Learn the basics, sunny 16 rule, subject/background relationship, rule of thirds, Fibonacci’s principle. Getting it right in camera is a great discipline to adopt from the get go. Anyone who simply says “fix it in Photoshop” should be hunted down and dealt with severely! As should be those who say to ignore the rules. To that I say: Fine, break the rules if you want but do it for a reason, not out of ignorance. My photographic education really started when the camera was no longer an obstacle.

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

Be passionate. If you are not then photography may not be for you. That’s ok. Buy books, go for long walks looking for possible locations and where and when the great light hits it. Find a mentor if you can. If not buy “Road To Seeing” by Dan Winters before it’s out of print. Actually grab that book come what may, it’s a mentorship in itself. Find out who the top shooters are in your preferred genres and learn about them. And from them. Lastly, browse some photography quotes. You may find a gem or two in there to live by….”What’s the use of a great depth of field if there is not an adequate depth of feeling?” (W. Eugene Smith)…so be like Nike, fellow togs, and just DO it!

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with XF35mmF1.4 R – F2 – 1/250 second – ISO 500

 

 

If you or someone you know in Australia is interested in joining our X-Thusiast community, check out the full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details here.

 

Why I switched BACK to the Fujifilm system

dscf1577

guest-blogger-strip-black

By Scott Johnson

I first dabbled with Fujifilm WAY back in 2003 while working on a cruise ship.  In an all-film world, we were the first team to go digital with the Fujifilm S2 Pro, and I was really impressed with the quality, so much so, that when I started shooting weddings, I brought an S3 and for the first few years, this was the main camera I used at all of my weddings, but then I went full-frame and moved over to Nikon, and stayed there until the spring of 2016, and the arrival of the X-Pro2.

I’d been lugging around my D4s’ and a handful of prime lenses at weddings for a few years, and it was doing my back no good at all, but it wasn’t until I booked a wedding in the United States that I looked at changing my equipment. “Why change your entire wedding set-up mid way through a season for just one wedding” I hear you shout.  Well, the Continue reading Why I switched BACK to the Fujifilm system

24 Hours in Yosemite

X-Photographer strip BLACK

By Bryan Minear

As I sat on a plane bound for San Francisco, staring down some 40,000 feet to the clouds passing underneath me, excitement and anticipation filled my soul. It was the beginning of a journey – an epic adventure creating unique images and memories. I hoped that this pilgrimage with fellow photographers would live up to my expectations, and further inspire me to follow my dreams.bm_7After being awake for 30 hours, we arrived at dusk. On the way into Yosemite, we stopped off at tunnel view. It was my first glimpse of California that wasn’t being hidden away by the night. The rock faces lit up underneath a sea of endless stars. In that moment, it all felt like a dream. I was now experiencing this miraculous destination that I had experienced so many times before through someone else’s eyes. We spent an hour shooting before heading to drop off our bags and get settled in our condo. At 4:30 AM, we were off to glacier point to prepare for our first sunrise.bm_5I stared into the face of half dome, brilliant and gleaming in front of me. In some ways, I was taking a photo that millions of people had taken before me – but at the same time, I took pause to remember that the beauty of photography is that each moment captured is infinite and unique in its own way.bm_2The sun began to glow, and I was able to catch the last few stars in the sky over half dome.  My X-Pro2 clicked away on a timelapse and my X-T2 shifted in my hand as I tried to find my perfect composition. I was awaiting the shot that I was planning on taking since the trip’s inception.

“First light over half dome” is something that I had wanted to see for myself since I knew Yosemite existed. My lens of choice for the perfect capture was the XF10-24mmF4 R OIS. It gave me the versatility I needed to grab a few shots at various focal lengths in order to choose my shot in post.

After a short and much-needed nap, we ventured down into the valley to see the golden light as it passed over us. Fall color was in full swing and there was a slight chill to the air, only further enhancing the experience. We found a spot along the Merced River with a beautiful view of half dome reflected in the water. Along a nearby boardwalk, we took in Yosemite Falls as it towered above us. The falls were not supposed to be running at this time of year, but luckily, a storm passed through the night before we arrived, giving the falls a second wind.bm_6I framed up a shot with a 10-stop ND and 3-stop ND Grad to get some cloud and water movement. Shooting long exposures during the day is one of my favorite things to do because it gives me some time to enjoy the scene around me. Oftentimes I get so caught up in getting the shot that I don’t “see” things for myself. The photos are the best way to relive the moment, sure. But it’s equally as important to live in the moment and enjoy your surroundings.bm_4As the light started to drop in the sky, I shifted into creative mode trying to make the absolute most of the light that I have left. I set up another timelapse in front of the half dome with my X-Pro2, and with my X-T2 and XF16mmF1.4 R WR attached, I began walking around finding different compositions to maximize my last few moments.bm_1Over the course of the next few days I experienced close to all that Yosemite and the surrounding area had to offer: Taft Point, the 7,503 ft lookout point, Tioga Pass, and the desert-laden Eastern Sierras that lie just outside of Yosemite proper. The trip was full of friendship, laughter, and best of all, amazing scenes to photograph.

Lightning Photography 101

BY BEN CHERRY
Ben Cherry Lightning-4
Witnessing a lightning storm can be frightening, but it can also be energising, certainly to photographers. The thrill of capturing lightning in a frame is like nectar to a photographer’s calling. Before we get consumed by this exciting subject it is important to remember that lightning storms can be extremely dangerous so please take suitable precautions when around a lightning storm; photographing lightning is great but it is not worth putting yourself in danger.

Lightning occurs all around the world, at different frequencies and strengths. I’ve been lucky enough experience a good few lightning storms, with my most memorable occurring in the tropics. But this isn’t to say that you can’t get great lightning shots wherever you are, all you need is some knowhow and then the lightning! Here is a brief 101 of lightning photography to get you started.

“It’s all about the light”

Like a flashgun, lightning is over in but a moment, and like flash if it is the predominant (or only) light source then it acts rather like its own shutter speed.
When using a flash at night for example, you might set the power output of the flash and then move to the camera settings. Generally speaking you turn the shutter speed to the maximum flash sync speed and then use ISO & aperture settings to compensate for the power of the flash. If it is too bright you increase the aperture and/or drop the ISO, if it is too dark then you do the opposite; much the same applies to lightning photography.
The intensity of the light from lightning is affected by two things:
The first is the power of the lightning: if it is a particularly large strike then if you’re set up for some previous strikes that weren’t as powerful, it’s more than likely the lightning will have blown out your highlights in the image.

The second thing to affect the light intensity is the distance between you and the lightning itself. Generally, lightning storms are large storm clouds which means that the lightning can be very close by one moment and then many miles away the next. These fluctuations in light can’t really be predicted but it is something to be aware of, and even to account for by increasing your aperture by a stop more than required to save your highlights.

Ben Cherry Lightning-3

Composition 

Lightning is spectacular by itself but sometimes a scene can be made all the more special by being aware of your surroundings and looking for things that could add to the moment.
If you’re lucky enough to have something of interest in the foreground then see if you can add this to the electric scene. If there is still some ambient light around then you should be able to illuminate the foreground via your long exposure. If not, then illuminate using a torch or flash. This simple addition to the frame can help to better portray the scene. However bear in mind that you want to photograph as much of the lightning as possible so a sky-dominant frame will help to ensure this.
Ben Cherry Lightning-9

Intervalometer

Built into many of the X-Series cameras, an intervalometer allows you take a set number of photos with pre-determined intervals between each shot, this is set by the photographer and can be between 1 second to 24 hours. This is very helpful for lightning photography as you can set the camera to take a series of 30 second exposures (or less if this is overexposed) and sooner or later you’ll capture a lightning strike within one of those frames.
Ben Cherry Lightning-7

Be patient 

The curse of photographing lightning is you can never guarantee where or when it will strike so you should always be prepared to wait a while for a good shot!  At the same time though, be aware of where the storm is moving to and adjust your composition if it is moving out of frame.
Ben Cherry Lightning-5

Shoot RAW

This really can make all the difference! Because the exposure changes so frequently due to the intensity of the lightning, you cannot always achieve the perfect exposure 100% of the time. A RAW file records so much information compared to a JPEG that you can recover many more files which have the highlights blown out according to the histogram.

Daytime

If you come across a lightning storm during the daytime my method is to set up the aperture and ISO to the most light-demanding settings possible (e.g. F22 ISO 200) and then simply use the intervalometer to repeat the suitable shutter speed. It can produce some interesting results.
Ben Cherry Lightning
Let us know if you’ve caught any lightning photos using the hashtag #fujilightning
Ben Cherry Lightning-2

Ben CherryA little about Ben – Ben is an environmental photojournalist, zoologist and Fujifilm X-Photographer. His passion is showing the beauty and fragility of the natural world. Find more of his work at:

What to shoot in November – Longer wintry nights

Remember, remember, there’s plenty to shoot in November! Don’t put your camera into hibernation just when the nights are drawing in – try our pick of this month’s most photogenic events

The end of October saw the clocks shuffle backwards by an hour across the whole of Europe, giving early risers a little more daylight, and earlier sunsets at the end of the day. Don’t be disheartened by the encroaching dark or use it as an excuse to hang up your camera until the spring, though – there’s plenty to shoot in these shorter days. For starters, why not try your hand at some low-light photography? Before you even leave the building, do a little planning.

Think about where you’d like to shoot, and be sure to tell someone where you’re headed – or better still, convince an equally shutter-happy friend to come along for the ride.

Don’t let your quest for the perfect shot get in the way of personal safety, and be sensible about where you plan to stop and take pictures. Cities and remote landscapes alike can be beautiful once the sun’s gone down, but they can be scary and potentially dangerous as well – so be safe.

Low-light landscape pictures can be incredibly impressive, but getting a great shot when there’s little light around is a real challenge – longer shutter speeds are essential, so make sure you’ve got a tripod or other support on hand to ensure pin-sharp details. Keep your ISO setting low and set a shutter speed of around 15 seconds to capture as much light as you can. Set your lens as wide as possible and ensure your aperture’s also as wide as it can go, which will help to retain details and make the most of available light. Adjust your camera’s white-balance to change the mood of the image: you might find that cooler, bluer tones give you more of a midnight feel, so don’t forget to experiment while you have the chance.

Want to capture a lifelike scene at dusk? You could always test-drive the built-in HDR feature on most X-series cameras to layer exposures and achieve as much detail as possible in your final image. And if your dramatic sunset landscape has turned out cloudy, try using the X-series’ Film Simulation modes to shoot a moody black & white twilight scene with real drama in the skies above. Most importantly, don’t forget to take a torch, keep a spare camera battery cosy in your pocket and wrap up warm, because the more comfortable you are, the more you’ll enjoy your low-light shoot.

First frost

First FrostIf the month lives up to its reputation we’re in for chilly mornings – but this means beautiful images of finely-detailed frost for you. Get close to the fronds of plants in your garden, or seek out a frozen cobweb for a glorious late-autumn shimmer. Just head out around sunrise before any thaw and don’t forget your gloves!

Winter wildlife

Winter wildlifeWild creatures are readying themselves for the rigours of winter, so this time of year is an ideal opportunity to see beasts out and about collecting their food. If you’re a fan of feathered subjects, try setting up a feeding station in your garden and see what local birds you can lure in front of longer lenses like the XF 55-200mm.

Christmas lights

Christmas lightsThe big switch-on seems to happen earlier every year – but that just means more time for shooting the decorations! Larger towns and cities become a festive light show, but make sure you time your shooting for twilight so there’s still some blue in the sky – it’s this contrast of natural and man-made light that will make your shots sparkle.

Festive markets

Festive marketsWith Christmas just around the corner, you’ll find festive markets aplenty in your local towns and villages. Seasonal crafts, twinkling decorations, cheerful crowds and a variety of unusual foods present ideal subjects, and if you’re shooting handheld, remember to switch your Optical Image Stabilisation on for sharper shots.

Traffic trails

Traffic TrailsLong exposures change the way you see the world, and a great example is when shooting the rush hour. Using a shutter speed of around 10 seconds turns crawling cars into an amazing stream of light and with its shortened days November is the perfect time to try it out – you can even shoot a few on your way home from work.