Could this Canon photographer make the switch?

By Brian Rolfe

Back in August the guys at Fuji were kind enough to give me some time with the new X-T1 and 56mm 1.2 lens, I’ve had an X-Pro1 since around April time and since getting that it has become my natural light camera of choice but I was looking forward to seeing what the XT had to offer as I was still using my Canon full frame for commercial work… could this be the camera that made me move away from Canon?

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I had a location test lined up with model and stunt woman Gemita Samarra, we were off to a beach for the day about an hour from where I live, as I was packing my gear the new Fuji kit arrived, I had no intention of using a completely alien camera but thought I’d take it along with the X-Pro and at least give it a go while I had the opportunity.

We arrived at the beach on a beautiful warm sunny day, got the make up done and headed down onto the beach to set up camp, a good selection of clothes and a surfboard, it was sure to be a good day! I decided to try out the XT straight away and then I could switch to the X-Pro once we’d done warm up shots and got a feel for the natural light of the day, what actually happened was a pretty unconscious thing really, the XT controls didn’t feel alien at all and I only realised when we stopped for lunch that I’d shot our first half a dozen looks with just the XT, the X-Pro did not leave my bag the entire day, I was that at ease with the new camera, we were all chatting and enjoying the shoot so much that I just kept going with it and the results were just perfect!

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I’m not really into technical reviews, I’m not really qualified to give one anyway but I can give a user experience, which for me is far more valuable than graphs and pixel peeping! The first thing I noticed about the XT was it’s size, it’s smaller than the X-Pro which surprised me, with the 56mm attached though it felt solid and balanced in my hands. The addition of back button focussing was a big plus for me as that’s how I use my 5D Mk2 most of the time, there is a workaround way of doing it on the X-Pro but it’s not something that was built into it. Auto focus and responsiveness on the XT is a huge leap from the X-Pro, I’d shot on the beach a few weeks prior to this shoot with the X-Pro and I didn’t feel that confident in capturing the model moving around too much and getting focus every time but not so with the XT although I did miss focus on a number of shots that was me and not the camera.

Even as we were losing light and golden hour was fading away the focus didn’t let me down and although the ISO was going up and noise was becoming a factor it was still more than acceptable and because at this point I was shooting black and whites it worked in my favour anyway. The EVF is unbelievable on this camera, the vision through that viewfinder is a big plus, unusually for me though I did find myself using the screen to compose quite a bit as well, it’s so clear! I even found the new flip screen useful, that was unexpected, I just thought it was a nice gimmick but I do like to shoot at unusual angles and being able to do this without laying on the floor or pulling any muscles can only be a good thing, shooting from above would normally have meant a ladder but with the flip screen I can just hold the camera up, angle the screen and still compose well without just guessing.

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So those were the main things I noticed with the XT, I also like the fact that ISO control is now on a dial on the left side of the body. Obviously the camera is only as good as the glass attached to it and the 56mm is just amazing, I already loved the 35mm as being a 50mm equivalent it suits what I shoot but the 56mm just blew me away, come in close for a beauty shot and wow!! I’ve used the 85mm L series from Canon and this is equal if not better than that lens to my mind. For beauty and fashion work it’s on my wish list now, I’ve used it in the studio and out on location and it’s just an amazing, fast lens, focus is quick, the detail it produces is just beautiful. I compared my Canon beauty shots against ones from the Fuji and I actually think the Fuji edges it, every little facial hair, every pore and eyelash is in sharp focus. The lens itself you might expect to be ridiculously heavy and a bit clumsy feeling on the smaller bodied Fujis but it’s actually just right, I really liked the balance of it on both the XT and the X-Pro, honestly I really couldn’t fault this lens.

Having had the XT over the Summer I do regret not having used it more in the studio and worked out the white balance sweet spot under strobes but I love shooting with the Fujis in natural light so I took every opportunity to do so, whether it’s the XT or the X-Pro they both give me that filmic feel that I love and coupling that with natural light only accentuates that film like quality.

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Will I switch to the X-T1? I haven’t yet, if funds allowed I would have one and a 56mm by now, I’m only really holding out because when (and I’m certain it’s when rather than if) I go 100% Fuji I have to tick all the boxes for my commercial work as well as my personal work, that includes tethering to Capture One which I’m sure will come, in the back of my mind is an X-Pro2 though and if that is as much of a leap forward as the XT & has tethering capabilities then I think that will be the moment I become a 100% Fuji shooter. For now, I’m happy with my X-Pro still, I am missing the XT mind you, but a 56mm is looking very likely and I have now added the X100T and teleconverter lens to the family. I’m just excited to see what Fuji comes up with in 2015, I have a feeling it’s going to be very interesting!


About Brian

me2Brian Rolfe is a professional photographer based just outside of London with a clean and classic style specialising in beauty, hair, fashion and portraiture.

“I always strive to create images of timeless beauty & ensure the subject is still the main focus. Lighting is important but I don’t like to let it take over an image and the same applies to retouching.” 

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Win a place at Alex Lambrechts ‘Fashion X Street’ workshop!

Alex Lambrechts is offering the chance for two lucky photographers to win a free place at Alex’s newest ‘Fashion X street’ workshop (usually £115 per person). It will be based in Soho, London for a Street Fashion shoot with a twist.

Who is it for?

Suitable for all levels of photographers, because you’ll be receiving personal hands-on tuition, tailored to your experience level. This course is especially exciting for those still on the fence about switching to the X-Series from traditional DSLR, rangefinders and/or other formats, and a must for those wanting to pick up loads of new and unique tips and tricks.

Note: it is not essential to bring or use Fujifilm cameras, the majority of principles taught are indeed universal, and you will have the opportunity to use Alex’s cameras and lenses if you wish.

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What will you learn?

This hands-on Fashion X Street workshop will focus on the various techniques and ideas Alex frequently uses when shooting an ‘On-Street’ Fashion, Press or Portrait job, shooting with both daylight and flash for varied environmental and lighting effects. During this 5 hour course, you and up to 14 others will be learning/testing loads of tips, tricks and secrets. Prepare to be taken out of your comfort zone, no matter how experienced you are!

Alex Lambrechts:

We’ll be shooting a professional international Fashion Model, you’ll will be taken right the way through the process, from the pre-shoot, makeup, styling and planning set up, to directing your model for maximum results, learning the following along the way:

 

  • In-depth manual control and familiarisation of the various features unique to the X-Series, as well as basic manual photography. (again, it is not essential to bring or use Fujifilm cameras, the majority of principles taught are indeed universal)
  • Accurately & confidently selecting and using various focal lengths, in both Auto & Manual focus modes, with a variety of focusing techniques for different lighting and environmental situations.
  • Knowing how and when to switch between the various view options of the Hybrid viewfinder and LCD to get the most out of these great tools in every situation.
  • Looking for, identifying and creating dynamic compositions on the go, for that ‘reportage look’ whilst avoiding the typically boring/posed images.
  • How to shoot in the ‘real world’ and ‘on the fly’ with varying lighting conditions and moving subjects on location.
  • How to effectively break the ‘Professional Photographer Mindset’ and rules to achieve more visceral and striking imagery, and find your own unique style.
  • How to use your flash in various ways, for either fill or creative lighting, as well as incorporating existing or external light sources, to enhance your creations.

The final part of this day will then be spent reviewing and editing your new images, (catching up in the warmth) as well as going over any aspects you might want to revisit or discuss again.

Note: I also follow up with an hour Web cast live group chat session where all participants can discuss their shots and I will go over how I process my images again in even more detail…

For more information click here.

Where and when

The workshop will run on Saturday 28th February, starting at 12:30pm till 5:30pm.
Address: B-SOHO, 21 Poland Street, Soho, London. UK. W1F 8QG

How to enter

For a chance to win, simply post your best street fashion image into the comments section of our #FujiFashion Facebook competition post by the 18th February 2015 at 10am. Alex will then choose the two lucky individuals by Thursday the 19th February.

Fujifilm UK Facebook

Past workshops

Want to know more? Have a look at past workshop blogs from the links below:

X SERIES STREET FASHION WORKSHOP

SHOOTING STREET FASHION WITH ALEX LAMBRECHTS

 

Remember, if you don’t win, you can still purchase a place on the workshop here.

Good luck! 🙂

Initial impressions of the Nissin i40

Nissin kindly sent me one of their much talked-about flashes – the i40 – to test out. I plan to write a full review of the flash in mid-February but before then I just wanted to share my initial thoughts. This is only going to be brief as I wanted to get this up as soon as possible as I know a lot of people are interested in this Flash for the X-Series.

Unboxing

Straight out of the box it is very nicely presented, coming with a great little case, a stand and even a diffuser (not always the case with other manufacturers).

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Usage

So what else is there to do when you get a new flash and live seemingly in the middle of nowhere…. Selfies obviously! I set up the X100s with the TCL-X100 attached on a tripod and had the i40 flash on a light stand with a little softbox attached. The camera and flash were connected by a TTL (through the lens metering) cable so allowing TTL. I moved the flash around a little bit and I’m pretty impressed with the flash (the same can’t be said for the model, what’s up with the constant smirk!).

The first image was taken with the camera exposure compensation set at 0ev. With the flash to the left of the camera and slightly higher. 2015/01/img_0699.png
The next two images were taken with the camera exposure compensation set at -1ev. You can see that the background is much darker compared to the above images. 2015/01/img_0704.png
For this image the flash was moved closer to the camera and a little higher so the flash was falling straight down onto my face. 2015/01/img_0705.png

Conclusion

As mentioned before, I will put together a more comprehensive review of the flash in mid-February once I am back from Romania, where I will be putting this little flash through it’s paces, photographing an Ice Hotel for Untravelled Paths.

Until then I have to say that I am very happy with this small but powerful flash. It looks a great addition to the X-Series with the flash balancing well with the cameras.

Where to buy

Click here to see retailers selling the Nissin i40 Fujifilm fit

Interview – Tony Woolliscroft talks about his recent portrait shoot with Jimmy White

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How did the shoot come about?

The shoot with Jimmy White came about through a long running association I have with a media company in Liverpool that specialises in sport personalities biographies – basically I shoot the book covers for them. It’s a collaborative thing on some of the shoots we both think of ideas/concepts etc ideas for the shoot and book cover and how it should look.

Kit used and settings?

This shoot was slightly different as I was out on tour with The 1975 at the time, so my car was packed full of equipment. My Fuji bag was packed full as I took everything with me on tour! But the main lenses I used on the shoot with Jimmy were my trusted 23mm & 56mm lenses, combined with my XT1 bodies. I love both of these prime lenses.

How much time did you have?

For this shoot, I had a couple of hours. Unfortunately things never go to plan and although I left Glasgow at 5:45am to drive to Liverpool for 9:00am, I hit major road works just outside Liverpool town centre, which made me half an hour late.

Luckily for me, Jimmy was late too.

The worse thing I can find as a photographer is rushing to set up while the client is waiting for me to start shooting. It’s my pet hate if I’m honest. I like to be ready and waiting as the subject walks in, with all my lighting tests done.

How accommodating was he?

Jimmy was fantastic. A really nice guy, he went along with all the ideas that we asked him to do.

Did you use any additional lighting?

I have to set up my portable studio whenever I shoot a book cover like this, so I carry everything with me. Backdrop stands, backdrops (white and black) light modifiers and finally my lights, which I carry up to 4 Bowens heads with me.
I’m like a pack horse!!!

How much interaction do you have in a situation like this with the subject?

There was a lot of interaction with Jimmy on the day. He was totally up for the ideas that I asked him to pose for. He was truly a great guy!

Would you do anything different next time?

Yes, I’d make sure to get there earlier and set up before the subject arrives haha. Even look at the traffic reports!

Any tips for amateurs trying to get this style of shot?

Make sure your lighting ideas work! It’s no good changing your mind on the day when your subject arrives. Also, do your research; try replicating lighting techniques that you have seen on other models shoots online or in magazines.

About Tony

Tony has shot some of the biggest rock bands on the planet today – Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The 1975, with over 20 years photographic experience.

Click here to check out his website

Shooting street fashion portraits with Alex Lambrechts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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X-E2 – XF35mm – 1/40 – ISO 200 – f4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Gang

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

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

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

Thanks for reading

Dale

 

Interview with Dave Jackson – a recent convert to the Fujifilm X-T1 for professional wedding work

Dave JacksonDave started as a full time professional photographer in 1993 using a medium format Bronica. He made the switch to digital in 2005 using Fujifilm S2 and S3 cameras. From 2008 he’s been using Nikon D300’s and D700’s.

Dave and his wife Janice now specialise in weddings (40-50 per year), with a blend of classic, traditional, contemporary and reportage. They are pretty obsessed with lighting and locations. and use Graphistudio exclusively for their albums.

Recently they made the switch over to Fujifilm and offered to write about their reasons for doing so.

“My love affair with Fuji X cameras started like many professionals with the X100 which I’ve had now for a couple of years. I had yearned after an X-Pro1 for a while and took advantage of the great deal at The Photography Show in Birmingham this year which included the grip, 18mm F2, an extra battery and the chance to claim a free lens from Fuji I chose the 60mm F2.4 macro and also purchased a 35mm F1.4 shortly after.

“I really don’t know why but I didn’t take a lot of notice of the X-T1 on it’s launch but after another trade show and attending Damien Lovegrove’s Concept to Print tour I was hooked.

“I began to consider how the X-T1 could fit into our current range of Nikon D700’s and pro lenses and even on a longer term could it become our main camera(s)?

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XF18-55mm – ISO 640 – 1/160 – f/8

“We are a 2 shooter husband and wife team currently covering between 40 – 50 weddings per year. For some time, we have been concerned about the weight of our equipment and camera bags, today’s weddings are non-stop, very demanding assignments, often with several locations and very little time for actual shooting. I can’t begin to tell you how many camera bags / waist belt combinations we’ve tried (“oh no! Not another camera bag”, sighs Janice!) but nothing can change the actual weight of a D700 with battery grip, 2 batteries and a 70-200 F2.8!

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XF35mm – ISO 1250 – 1/160 – f/1.4

“I was taken aback at the weight of the X-T1 with vertical grip and 18-55. Other features that attracted me were the large dials for exposure compensation, ISO selection and shutter speeds, the tilt screen, virtually silent operation (the D700’s are noisy in a quiet church) and of course the best electronic viewfinder available so far. Fuji’s ‘roadmap’ of lens releases was also beginning to make everything look so promising.

“So I went ahead and purchased an X-T1 with 18-55 F2.8 -4. Already owning an x100 and X-Pro1 meant many of the menu settings were familiar and of course the 3 prime lenses I already owned could be put to immediate use if necessary. I already had 2 batteries but purchased another 2 as well as I knew they would be needed for the number of shots we take at an all day wedding. The camera felt so right in my hands and in no time at all I set everything up ready for wedding photography (settings shown in the image captions).

“We had a wedding just 5 days after purchasing the camera. I decided to jump straight in at the deep end and shoot as much of the wedding as possible with it.

“The X-T1 behaved impeccably! It took a while to get used to the EVF, I found a sort of 3 stage evaluation of the images whilst shooting-
1. Assess image with live view (aperture priority with exp compensation). The image can look a little contrasty with dark shadows and / or bright highlights.
2. Check the 0.5 sec preview. This looks better and less contrasty than the live view.
3. Chimp the image on the rear screen if in doubt. The image on the rear screen was confirming all was fine and I found myself ‘chimping’ less and less, knowing if the EVF preview looked ok that was enough.

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XF35mm – ISO 400 – 1/3000 – f/1.4

“Use of the EVF provided another advantage that I hadn’t really thought about. When ‘chimping’ with the Nikons the rear screen can be difficult to view. We often find ourselves taking a shot and turning our backs to couples to shade the screen to try and check exposures / blinks etc. The XT-1 solved this immediately with the preview in the viewfinder perfectly viewable regardless of light levels.

“A lot has been said about battery life. I added the vertical grip after the first 2 weddings and purchased another 2 spares. If a battery dies then the one in the body is immediately deployed so no chance of missing any shots and I can change the grip battery at a convenient moment. I am using 8GB Sandisk Extreme cards getting about 200 shots and the batteries are lasting for about 2 cards (400 shots).

“My next task is to sort using flash. Conditions were such that I didn’t need to use fill flash for these weddings. I used a Nikon SB22 and Nikon SB900 on Auto Aperture for a couple of in car shots and one cake cutting shot and used the D700 for first dance.
At the time of writing we have now shot 4 weddings with the XT-1 and I am completely convinced we have made the right decision.

“So, another XT-1 for Janice with 55-200 F3.5 (until the 50-140mm F2.8 arrives!) and probably an X-E2 each as well + 56mm F1.2, 10-24mm F4 lenses, – Oh dear the bank balance is going to take a hit!”

Check out more shots in the slideshow below:

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To see even more of David’s work, click on the following links:
http://www.davejackson-photography.co.uk
https://www.flickr.com/photos/djp_lighterside/

What focal length should I use and why?

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

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

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

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

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

Why does this happen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Yerbury Studio and Fujifilm Power of the Portrait Seminar

I’m so lucky. I have one of those jobs where I get to speak to creative people on a daily basis, share ideas, see amazing images all the time. It can be quite overwhelming, inspiring visions springing out of nowhere, ideas being converted from the written word to a physical printed image. In an industry which is (thankfully) teeming with creative types, there are certain names which keep being talked about. One of those names is Trevor Yerbury, in fact two names Trevor and Faye Yerbury. For those who don’t know Trevor and Faye own the Yerbury Studio, based in Edinburgh, one of the most highly respected and regarded photographic studios in the UK. Trevor Yerbury is a 4th generation photographer, the business founded by his great grand­father in Edinburgh in 1864.

2Trevor joined the family business in 1968 and has been driving the business forward, with his wife Faye and team, ever since. Together they create the most amazingly simple, striking and sophisticated images, creating an overall elegant and timeless collection of images. Both Trevor and Faye have received accolades over the years from Masters of Photography, Fellowships and between them hold 15 Kodak European Gold Awards. Internationally they are also respected judges.

Trevor and Faye organise a series of very successful seminars, both in the UK and abroad, sharing their experience, skills and passion with fellow professional photographers.

Both Trevor and Faye are now passionate users of the Fujifilm X range of cameras and Fujinon lenses, using them pretty much exclusively for all their work now. Trevor uses the X-Pro1 and Faye the X-T1, but as with all married couples they are pretty happy to share cameras and lenses. That’s how it works, right?

I recently joined them on one of their seminar tours in the UK at St Albans. They’ve been producing a series of seminars based around The Power of the Portrait.  Here they spoke to an eager congregation of professional photographers, who were there to learn the secrets to success in portrait photography and help fine tune skills in marketing and promoting a profitable portrait business.

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There are many things which I found fascinating. Firstly, just how generous Trevor and Faye are with their knowledge and understanding. Of course, they are experts in terms of photography skill, but they’ve fine-tuned all aspects of their business, will talk about most commonly made mistakes and also how to maximise the profitability, the relationships and the longevity of the business.  They will talk to photographers in a way which really resonates, especially elements such as creating your own photographic style, the importance of relationships, after sales and creating unique products.

Secondly, how passionate they are about our cameras – you may find this hard to swallow and a bit contrived coming from the PR Manager, but they really are. To hear terms like, ‘The Fuji system is the future of photography’ and ‘they should change the shutter sound to one that makes the same sound as a cash register’ is totally from their mouths, not ours.  It’s wonderful to hear because you know it’s honest. They wouldn’t be using the X cameras if it wasn’t going to work for them and help produce shots to showcase their work.  Obviously these guys have been in the business a good while now and know what they like and what they don’t like. It made me very happy to hear what they were saying and to see so many people in the audience already with their X cameras ready.

Throughout the day they shot a few attendees, showing how simply you can produce an amazing image, using one camera, one lens, one reflector and one light box.  Amazing.

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After the seminar you could tell that all the delegates were energised and motivate, ready to get back to their studios with fresh ideas and a revitalised view of how to run their business and also seeing some of the amazing pictures taken by two of the most respected photographers in the UK, on the X-cameras.

Further information regarding The Power of The Portrait can be found here, new dates have been added:

http://www.yerburystudio.com/power-portrait-2/

Information about the Fujifilm X- Series cameras:

http://www.fujifilm.eu/uk/products/digital-cameras/

Why do I love the XF18-135mm lens? Composition.

Good day everyone, I will have to call this a mini-blog as normally I ramble on for ages and bombard you with images – who knows, maybe I still will 😉

1504372_10154010549280534_5836271885610257265_oAs you may or may not know I’m an amateur photographer who loves to try out new types of photography – I’m sure this is not to different from many of you out there. When I first started out with photography I was educated that the more zoom you had the better. So when I was given the X100 for the first time I was quite baffled as to how to work a fixed prime lens. I felt restricted and puzzled as to why I would want one. Of course once I looked at the pictures from it, I was sold and this opened my eyes to the real aspects of what makes a great camera. The images were crisp, clear and full of vibrant colour, all I had to get used to was zooming without a telephoto lens – AKA the Hokey Cokey. Once I got this down though, there was no stopping me, I was out with my original X-E1 and 35mm prime lens and I loved every minute of it!

This leads me to the XF18-135mm. This time I had the promise of excellent image quality but with that lovely versatility of a zoom lens. When I first clicked it into position on the camera body and fired up the camera I was taken back by just how much I could see or not see depending on the focal length. It was something that took me back to the olde days of me using a camera, I was VERY excited to get out and use this new kit.

I decided upon a location in the local area that always seems to make a good picture, this being the Stevington Windmill. I looked at when the sun was going to set and got there about 50 minutes earlier to allow time for running across fields, fumbling with tripods and such like. Once I got a good position near to the windmill I shot this image.

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Focal Length: 49mm – f/5.6 – ISO200

I shot this image at the slightly wider-side of the lens to open up the landscape a bit – this to me gives a very peaceful feel to the shot. Compositionally (is that really a word?) I have dedicated two thirds of the frame to the sky as it is a sunset after all, and I think this really helps the landscape silhouette ‘POP-OUT’ from the skyline.

This next shot I really wanted to focus on the windmill and give a more intense feel. To do this I have used the lens at a longer focal length as this has a very clever effect on the composition. The more you zoom towards a subject, the more the background and foreground are compressed together. So this in turn pulls the Sun closer to the windmill and vice-versa. Not only that, but it also reduces the angle of view – cutting out all the peripheral stuff we perhaps don’t want in our shot.

As a side note – To get the composition I wanted using more zoom, I did have to move further back to accommodate the extra focal length. Basically this means I had to run like crazy across a field and keep checking to see if the composition was right as every moment I wasted meant the sun was getting lower and would soon disappear behind the hillside.

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Focal Length: 98.6mm – f/7.1 – ISO200

These next two shots show this compression effect quite well I feel. It really brings the background closer to the foreground making for a more intense composition that would not have been possible with my 35mm prime lens.

And in case you were wondering, this is my better-half with her camera at her side relaxing whilst I’m running about like a madman saying things like “That’s great, just don’t move. Pretend I’m not here..” which was all great fun. Photography should be fun and if you can get your friends and family involved, so much the better.

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Here’s a playful shot of some hot air balloons in the distance. I framed it up so that they sat on the furthest third of the frame to sweep your eyes across the beauty of the landscape. Because of the compression effect (pulling the background and foreground together) I could give the hot air balloons a bit more presence in the shot, especially when you consider the real distance between the main tree and the hot air balloons.

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I really hope this inspires you to go out and have a play with your camera, shoot a sunset, bring a friend, mix up your compositions and most of all have fun. When you do all that great pictures will naturally follow.

P.S: Seems I managed to get a good ramble and bombardment of images in after all 😉