Shooting ‘Lifestyle’ with X-Photographer Kerry Hendry

Kerry Hendry - webOfficial X-Photographer Kerry Hendry was recently asked to shoot a product-lifestyle photoshoot for a very special client – us! Here she shares some useful tips and techniques to help you produce similar, stunning results.


The brief

Shooting the ‘X-Lifestyle’ was the brief – featuring lovely creative hipsters, out and about with their beautifully styled beards and retro looking cameras. The desired outcome: a collection of images that can be used worldwide for marketing the (fabulous) X-series cameras.

Planning

My mind was immediately racing with ideas – where, when, models, styling – what if it rains?

I love the creative side of life – and working out how you can translate the images in your mind into reality.  What look am I going for? Styling? Locations? Where to capture the best light – and how?

Aim high – super ambitious ideas will challenge and stimulate your creativity. Get out of that comfort zone and work out the ‘how’ !

And so it began – working up a mood board of ideas, selecting outfits, booking models, styling and location ideas.  For that true ‘hipster’ style Cheltenham was perfect, and as I only live a few miles away I know the town like the back of my hand.

Know your kit – I probably shouldn’t say this but I only ever read the manual if I get stuck or if I’m working out a new feature. Fuji X-Series are very intuitive and once you ‘get’ the Fuji way – you’ll never look back. Make sure you know all the key features to squeeze the very last drop of performance out of your camera

Making it Reality

Models were booked, outfits agreed, hair & make up booked, locations recce’d – and double recce’d!  We were super lucky to have a two very special locations on board to work with.

Light & Locations – ensure you recce your locations at the time you want to shoot them. We deliberately ended up at the boating lake as late in the afternoon/evening as possible to get the best light

For the first day we shot at The Boathouse & boating lake at Pittville Park in Cheltenham and for our second day of shooting, I managed to arrange early morning access to one of the most beautiful locations in town – the Sandford Park Lido – a 50m Art Deco open air pool in the centre of Cheltenham.

Be clear what you want to achieve with styling, less is often more – better to have 2 or 3 key outfits ready to go than a room full of clothes to wade through. Think accessories – shoes, jewellery, hats – all great props

Location, location, location

Some locations are perfect – no outside interference, no people in the background, no traffic, no kids playing football around you.  Others – you have to be a bit more creative, or dodge the traffic at least!

Engage & Direct – unless you have the luxury of a seasoned model (and sometimes even then), you will need to direct the shoot. If you can’t find the words to describe what you want, show them! It’s always entertaining to see a photographer try and model, which always breaks the ice

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We shot in peaceful parks, standing on a traffic island on a busy road, shooting across two lanes of traffic, waist deep in wild flowers – not to mention balanced on the edge of the boathouse deck trying not to fall in.  Boats drift artfully, photographers just sink.

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Experiment with depth of field – we all love the fast Fuji lenses with the delicious wide apertures, but do experiment. Putting your subject in context for a commercial shoot can be important, so look at your backgrounds and stop it down from time to time

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Work it – if you are just setting out, don’t be afraid to use some of the assisted options – face detection, the tracking autofocus, it’s all there to help you achieve the best photos possible

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Deliver – rule No 1 of any commercial shoot – deliver what the client needs. Listen, plan, deliver – only then cut loose and add those bonus images

Above all have FUN. Fuji to me is freedom – freedom to be individual, freedom to create, freedom to experiment.

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After two days of shooting the team was exhausted – most important thing of all – one very happy client (and no one fell in the lake!)

I hope you find these tips helpful and may they inspire you push the boundaries a little more and try something new in your own photography. Go on, sprinkle some Fuji magic!!!


About Kerry

Kerry Hendry is a fine art equestrian photographer who is passionate equestrian commissions and adventures. Her equine images have been widely published in national media and sell worldwide. A keen rider from a very young age, Kerry combines her three main passions in life: horses, photography and travel.

Visit Kerry Hendry’s official website here
Visit Kerry Hendry’s official Facebook page here
Visit Kerry Hendry’s X-Photographer gallery here

Upcoming event

You can meet Kerry at Wilkinson Cameras Digital Splash show in Preston, on Sunday 11th October.
Kerry will be giving two talks which will cover her adventures with the Fuji-X system – looking at landscape, portrait and fine art equestrian photography:

 

XQ1 – The Photographers compact?

Want a small, powerful camera that has features you actually want to use? The XQ1 might just be what you’re looking for.

Like many of you, I have my main camera (X-E2) that I use day in, day out. I know it like the back of my hand and could use it with my eyes closed – if you get my drift. The problem is, sometimes I just don’t want to carry a bag around – no matter how small it is. I want a pocket sized camera that I can forget about until the need takes me. Here’s the catch though, I don’t want a pocket sized camera that offers no control and is very noisy in low-light. This is where I think the XQ1 really shines, it just seems to tick all those boxes:

  • Pocket-sized
  • Manual control
  • High quality images, even at high ISO.

Being so used to my X-E2, I thought it would be a good challenge to use the little XQ1 for my day out to London. Not only that, but I could rid myself of the bag that I’m always carrying about, which was super!

So, like you do when you love photography & adventure, I starting taking pictures. I took the usual suspects at first; trains, train station & people randomly wandering about their business.

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One of the first reasons I would class this as a photographers compact camera is simply that you can change the focus point manually. This is something I do ALL the time on my X-E2 to aid with my composition. With other compact cameras I have used, you either cannot set it or it’s not easy to access.

For our day out we headed to the Natural History Museum, this was a great location to test the ISO performance. Looking back at the photos there is clearly some noise & grain, but it has a very film-like quality to it that I think adds to the atmosphere of the shots.

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Another point to make about this camera as I discovered on the day, was how quick it turned on. Now this may not seem life changing, but when you are with a bunch of friends that don’t do photography and want to move on to the next exhibit, speed is everything. It made many shots possible that may have otherwise been lost. This also translates well into styles like street photography – you see someone or something interesting and you need the camera to be ready immediately to capture it.

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QUICK TIP: For ease of access, I kept the camera inside my inner jacket pocket (blazer style). With that, I pretty much never missed an opportunity to shoot what I wanted – no fumbling in bags, jean pockets etc.

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Due to the size of this camera, it really is super discrete. I could get those moments that I may not have been brave enough to shoot with other cameras, with even my X-E2.

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And when all is said and done, it takes a great dinner party picture!

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I think for many photographers using DSLR’s or Mirrorless cameras, you get very accustomed with a level of quality to expect and because of this, many wouldn’t dream of downsizing to a compact camera. But, as hopefully shown in this blog, the XQ1 makes an exception to this. It shows that you can still be creative, still get excellent quality images and at at a size that literally allows you to take it anywhere with ease.

Any questions? Drop us a comment below – and yes, I cannot wait to try out the latest model, the XQ2 🙂 [WATCH THIS SPACE…]