X-Pro2 Portraits with The Woz, Apple’s Co-Founder

Guest Blogger strip BLACK

By Dan Taylor

It’s not every day that you get the chance to photograph a person who is directly involved in creating a product that has changed the world. And it’s even rarer to have this person’s undivided attention for a few minutes just before getting mic’d up to take the stage.Dan Taylor photographing Steve Wozniak for Fujifilm - Image by Dan Taylor - dan@heisenbergmedia.com-1So, when I first got word that I’d have exactly this opportunity to photograph Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Manchester, England, at Business Rocks, I knew I had to be prepared and have everything ready to go the minute he came out of the green room. Striving for absolute image perfection, my choice of gear was clear: The Fujifilm X-Pro2 and XF56mmF1.2 R.

While I’m generally a fan of the SLR body format, e.g. my X-T1, utilizing the new technology and features in the rangefinder format X-Pro2 was too good to pass up. And when combined with the XF56mmF1.2 R (in this case at F8) the results are razor sharp, crystal clear, and absolutely stunning. I’d even venture to say that the XF56mm is the best headshot lens I’ve ever used.

Knowing that I had very little time with Steve, I had prepared my lighting setup in advance, and fired off a few quick test images with a colleague. Given that our time together was to be quite short, I knew that simplicity would be key. Building on this simplicity, I found a plain white wall between the green room and stage and used a slow(er) shutter speed to capture the ambient lighting to help illuminate the background.

Initially, I had a black background setup, but decided at the last minute to go with white. With the black background I could use a fast shutter speed, as ambient light wasn’t needed or wanted. However, with the introduction of the white background, I did want to capture the ambient light generated by the speedlights. At f/8, a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second was just right.

For my headshot with The Woz, I used 1 key and 1 fill triggered via a wireless transceiver in an off axis clamshell lighting setup. The key light is diffused inside a Lastolite Umbrella Box, and the fill light diffused via a standard umbrella.

Depending on the look you’re trying to create, the fill light might not even be necessary. In this case, I’ve used it to fill and soften the shadows the key light would be casting.Dan Taylor and Steve Wozniak headshot  for Fujifilm - Image by Dan Taylor - dan@heisenbergmedia.com-1When shooting with speedlights and any FUJIFILM X Series camera, one crucial menu option you want to turn off is the Preview Exp./WB in Manual Mode. If this option is on, you’ll be presented with things exactly the way the sensor sees things, normally a good thing, but here, without compensating for the light the speedlights are going to generate.

Right. Settings set, lights lit, The Woz ready to go. Let’s make some magic!

I generally turn to humor to get the ball rolling, and always have a joke or two ready. I’ve got a few really, really bad one liners that are just so horrible, there’s really no choice but not to laugh at them, and so far, they haven’t let me down. With The Woz, I actually had to resort to joke number two, as he gave me the punch line to joke number one before I could even finish the sentence. Ever the prankster.  Steve Wozniak for Fujifilm - Image by Dan Taylor - dan@heisenbergmedia.com-1All in all, I’d estimate that Steve and I did 4 shots together in a time period totaling less than a minute. And even though our time together was short, The Woz has been one of my favorite sessions yet. Not only is he an iconic figure, but a true gentleman, as for when I sent him the images we did together, he replied within minutes, stating, “It was great to watch you work. I love seeing great technical skills of all kinds.”

Thank YOU Steve for a great collaboration!

For me, when it comes to quality, portability, and forward thinking, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the camera that always makes it in my bag.

Why I chose Fujifilm X – Andy May

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Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

Andy_May_HeadshotI’m a photographer based just outside of Bath, UK. Reading books as a child was all about the pictures. I’m a visual person and love to create. I guess being a visual person photography has become a natural creative outlet for me. I’ve had an interest in photography for as long as I can remember, I don’t recall a specific moment that made me fall in love with taking pictures, it’s just been a life long love that crept up on me.

I did the whole college course thing, read books (looked at the pictures) and tried to improve my photographic knowledge and skills. My first ‘real camera’ was an Olympus OM-1n. Learning on film was slow and expensive.

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In 2004, I moved to a digital DSLR with which digital photography brought a whole new learning curve. But the addition of Photoshop and digital processing really opened up a new world of creative options for me.

I think that having children of my own was what really got me hooked. I started to appreciate the significance of capturing moments in time. Kids are one of the most challenging and rewarding subjects to photograph.

As my photography progressed I found myself leaning towards studio shooting as a firm favourite, as I liked being able to experiment and control light. I don’t think that you can beat great natural light but you are at the mercy of mother nature – when you are shooting to a schedule, artificial light is your friend.

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Why did you choose to shoot with the Fujifilm X series?

I have always been an SLR shooter, but it got to a point where my gear was impractical to carry everywhere with me. Even carrying a “Lightweight” bag wasn’t really that portable – and after a whole day on the shoulder you certainly felt it.

My journey into the X-System started with the X100 in 2012. This gave me the quality that I wanted in a small & light package. As a result, I started to carry a camera about with me everywhere.

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Having used the X100 for a while I found that I was using my SLR system less and less for personal work. And when the X-T1 came out I decided to take the jump – flogged my SLR kit and moved to Fuji. The layout of the controls on the X-T1 is an absolute godsend for me. I love being able to turn a physical dial for all the important stuff and in 2015, I used the X-T1 for a 365 project. I used it with just the XF18-55mm and a Samyang 12mm. This little combo went everywhere with me, everyday for a whole year.

It didn’t let me down, not once.

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I don’t consider myself to be a niche photographer. If I see something that interests me, I’ll shoot it. I enjoy portraiture and people do make up the majority of my work. Part of the appeal of the Fuji system was its small size. When photographing people with the X100 or X-T1 it stays out of the way so I can get a better connection with my subject, it’s less imposing.

Credit: Ben Lowrey
Credit: Ben Lowrey

What is your favourite lens in our range and why?

I guess with portraiture making up the majority of my work, it has to be my most recent addition – The 50-140 f2.8. Yes it is starting to get into heavy gear territory but not so much that I notice it. The quality of this lens is simply stunning, at any focal length and at any aperture.

Model: Freyalily
Model: Freyalily

The above image was shot using the X-T1 and 50-140mm in very low light (using UV) the autofocus had no problems locking on, and the OIS really helped here.

It’s great in the studio too. Having the flexibility of a zoom really helps. If your lucky enough to have the extra space you can make the most of it -from mid telephoto to telephoto gives a great deal of flexibility quickly without breaking your flow.

Model: Paul Walker
Model: Paul Walker
Models: Jaz Talbot & Paul Walker
Models: Jaz Talbot & Paul Walker

Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?

I’ll admit that I’m not the most organised photographer. I don’t plan things in any great detail and tend to shoot by feel. When shooting people it’s always tricky to get them to relax in front of the camera, very few people feel completely at ease under the spot light – even models. Communication before the shoot is key – even if you don’t have every last detail planned, share what you do know with your client.

When you are ready to shoot, don’t. Put the camera down and talk to your victim (I mean subject). The usual pleasantries are fine, “How was the traffic” or talk about the weather (I’m allowed, I’m British) anything to break the ice and try to build rapport.

Once I’m all set up a trick I often use is to ask my subject to keep looking in my general direction and don’t worry about me. I tell a little white lie and say that I’m just testing my light / exposure to make sure I get everything set up correctly. I know my gear and through experience I know my settings are fine. The thing is that the subject doesn’t think that the photos will be used. I find quite often these first few frames can be the most natural.

Model: Layla Leigh
Model: Layla Leigh

The image above was taken with a beauty dish against a white wall, using the “Don’t mind me I’m just mucking about technique”

Talking of mucking about, relax and enjoy yourself. Everyone likes to have fun and a bit of silliness now and again makes great images.

Model: Layla Leigh
Model: Layla Leigh

What’s next for you?

The last 12 months or so have been amazing for me. I’ve met so many great new people through photography. I’ll keep on getting out and about, planning shoots and producing more themed work. The summer will soon be here and I’m hoping to be ready for it. I’m always on the lookout for a great location that can be used to shoot in / on / over / under. I have a couple of things in the pipeline that are still just concepts at present but will develop over the next few months – I just need to find the time somewhere !

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Contact info

To see more of Andy’s work, please visit his website and social channels.

Twitter @Kuhlephoto
Instagram @Kuhlephoto
Blog www.kuhlephoto.tumblr.com
Facebook https://m.facebook.com/andymayphotography/
Website www.andymayphotography.uk

How to create a beautiful portrait

By professional fashion photographer Dave Kai-Piper

Dave Kai Piper-35w360_6415757_tutorialbannerfordotmailerPortrait photography is one of the most amazing genres in my eyes. Simple on the surface, yet complex and diverse underneath. At first glance, photographing people is pretty simple, but when it’s broken down into the 4 main elements: Location, Lighting, Subject & Camera we start to understand the subtle nuances of what it takes to build up a wide and diverse portrait portfolio.

To get started with artificially-lit portraiture, there are 3 main lighting types: Rembrandt, Split and Butterfly. Each of these lighting types has characteristics which allow us to be creative. And it’s by experimenting with each of these lighting types you will learn how to control the shadow placement on your subject, and how by combining these techniques you’ll discover the art of the portrait.

Here is a quick way to identify each lighting type:

Rembrandt lighting: Light will come across the face from a 45 degree angle in an elevated position from the eye-line of the subject. The bridge of the nose should create a triangular area of light under the eye the other side.

Split Lighting: the light will hit one side of the face or part of the head creating a deep shadow on the other side. Normally the light source would be behind the eyeline of the subject.

Butterfly lighting: Commonly used in beauty set ups, the light should present evenly across the face in line with the nose and high above the subjects eye-line. Even shadows under the nose are a sign of this lighting set up.


The shot

In the example I am using here, I have mixed two of these lighting types to give me the effect I am looking for. I have also used two types of light known as Hard light and Soft Light.

Hard light creates shadows with sharp edges; it is made by using undiffused light sources such as a Speedlight aimed directly at the subject.

Soft light creates shadows with a smooth transition between light & dark; it is made by using indirect light sources or by using diffusers to scatter and soften the light before it reaches the subject.

In our example we have set up the split light to have a hard light and the Rembrandt light to be soft.

 


How to create ‘The shot’

Firstly I set up the ‘Key Light‘ (most important light in the shot) to the Rembrandt Lighting position using a Cactus RF60 Speedlight & a Roundflash modifier. I found the exposure setting I wanted by selecting the f-stop I wanted on the camera after setting the ISO at 200. I left the shutter speed at 1/125th of a second.

Our ‘Hair light‘ is in the Split Lighting position and is set up to be used as a hard light. In the sample for this blog we used another Cactus Speedlight but this time modified with a piece of black wrap. This is the same as cooking foil or aluminum foil that you would find in a kitchen, but is matte black. It is very common in the film industry as a quick and effective way to shape light or to block light ‘spilling’ over to an area that was not intended. Here I have rolled it up and created a homemade snoot to give me very close control of the placement of light.

I then used a V6 Cactus Trigger mounted on to the camera hotshoe to control the power output of the flashes; which were mounted on a set of tripods remotely. This allowed me to work faster and in a more controlled way. Once ready, I took three images: one of each light firing independently and then one shot with both firing together to create the final look.

The angle of the camera for this shot was placed just below the subjects eyeline to give her a powerful look, and in this example I used the XF90mm lens to get rid of any unwelcome distortion that wide angles can give.

Focal lengths from around 50mm to 200mm are good for a head shot or portrait.


My 10 top tips:

  1. Portraits are about timing, emotion & people, not cameras, lights or anything that is technical.
  2. The technical guidelines are always starting points and flexible at that.
  3. The bigger & broader the light, the softer the shadows will be. If you want contrast – move your light source away from your model.
  4. Soft defused light is better if you are trying to create a ‘beauty’ light
  5. Hard lights are great for creating hard edged shadows and character
  6. The story is in the shadows.
  7. When setting up your lights, use a lightmeter if you can.
  8. My lights are very rarely on full power, soft and subtle is the key
  9. Be creative, but don’t over complicate the shot.
  10. Avoid lighting people from below the eyeline of your subject

Final result

Here is the final resulting image which has been converted to black & white.

Model: Stephie Rebello, Lighting: 2x Cactus RF60 Speedlights
Model: Stephie Rebello

To see more of Dave Kai-Piper’s work, please visit: ideasandimages.co.uk

Why I love: the Fujinon XF56mmF1.2 lens

Our X-Photographer “Why I love” XF lens series continues with our super sharp, super fast aperture prime lens, the FUJINON XF56mm F1.2 R.

Kevin Mullins – Reportage Weddings

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Most wedding photographers want to be able to separate their subjects from the background at some point during the day and the amazingly fast 1.2 aperture of the 56mm (85mm full frame equivalent) allows me to do that. Even when I’m shooting fast moving subjects, such as a confetti throw, I will sometimes want to offer a luscious depth of field and there is no other lens that offers that f1.2 aperture that allows me to do that right now. This lens, along with the 23mm lenses are my goto lenses for every single wedding I shoot.quote-right

Click here to see more of Kevin’s work


 Derek Clark – Portraits

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The super fast aperture of f1.2 and the full frame equivalent of 85mm make this lens an essential part of my kit. It doesn’t matter if I’m shooting a documentary wedding, a jazz artist in a dimly lit room or a well lit portrait, the 56mm lens has a unique look and produces some of the best shallow depth of field creaminess of any lens I’ve ever used. Like all the Fuji XF lenses, the 56mm is also razor sharp and it beats the best of the high end 85mm lenses from the other big manufacturers. I haven’t tried the 90mm f2 yet, but it looks like that too will be an amazing portrait lens.quote-right

Click here to see more of Derek’s work


Ben Cherry – Environmental Photojournalism

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Many photographers came to the X-Series because of this lens. Offering F1.2 at 85mm equiv. focal length in a compact package that happens to be one of the fastest focusing lenses in the range… The F1.2 effect has so many benefits, from striking portraits to being invaluable in low light conditions. The later is particularly helpful for me. In tropical rainforests you don’t often see wildlife from a far but instead stumble across it. Here the F1.2 helped to capture this baby elephant dozing, ISO1600 F1.2 1/120sec. If this were with a F2.8 lens I would have been shooting at 1/30sec, risking motion blur as I tried to contain my excitement.quote-right

Click here to see more of Ben’s work


Paul Sanders – Landscape

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The 56mm F1.2 is my most used lens, it’s almost always the first lens I reach for on every shoot. I love the narrow depth of field and the super fast focusing. As a landscape photographer people are surprised when I say that I often shoot with the lens quite wide open, but for my style of long exposures where I’m trying to create a sense of infinite space the wide aperture looses the background nicely obscuring details I don’t need in the image. quote-right

Click here to see more of Paul’s work


Lens_56mm_Black_FrontClick to see retailers selling the XF56mm lens

THE FUJIFILM X MAGAZINE IS HERE! – ISSUE 8

Issue 8 of the Fujifilm X Magazine is now available to view online, or download to your mobile or tablet via the Android or Apple app.

In this issue Swedish photographer Knut Koivisto shares his approach to people pictures, we give you seasonal portrait ideas, the X100T gets a test drive and to top it off, we showcase a superb set of desert landscapes taken in the Wild West!

 

 

 

Interview – Knut Koisvisto

Every photographer can learn from Knut Koivisto’s approach to portraiture. He explains how he works and why he uses Fujifilm X-series.

Click here to read the full interview »

 

X Marks the Spot

Monument Valley was on Gary Collyer’s photo bucket list for years. When he finally visited, it didn’t disappoint – and nor did his images.

Click here to read the full article »

 

What to shoot

Whether you want to work in the studio or outdoors, this is a great time to be shooting portraits. We’ve got all the advice you need.

Click here to read the full article »

 

Exhibition

Head to your local town or city and shoot urban images – that’s exactly what these X Magazine readers did and look at the results.

Click here to read the full article »

 

master the xMaster the X-series

How to take better portraits with off-camera flash, plus we get our hands on the third generation of the X100 models, the X100T.

Click here to read the full article »

 

Competition

If you’ve got a blog, we want to hear from you. X Magazine’s best blogger will win a fabulous new Fujifilm X-A2 outfit.

Click here to read more »

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