As I've mentioned in a previous post, every now and then I like to arrange a photo-shoot with a friend where I can test out different concepts and ideas without the stress that can sometimes come with professional (paid) shoots. The latest photo-shoot was with Eri and took place at two different locations, which both happen to be less than 1 minute away from my studio!
I try to photograph at each location only once (unless I can make it look completely different the second time), which means that I have one chance to make it count and in this case I believe I did! The first location is an abandoned one room shack which used to house our chickens and the second is an old and weathered gazebo. I've been wanting to use these as the backdrop for a photo-shoot for a while and I finally got my chance!
Before I start writing, I should clarify that I have absolutely no affiliation with Fujifilm and am not paid to say what you are about to read; it's seriously that good! Probably the best camera I have used so far when factoring in size and image quality.
I had been looking for a smaller & more compact camera that offered manual controls and decent quality so that I could carry it with me on a day-to-day basis. I wasn't necessarily looking for something that I could use as a second camera on professional jobs, just something that would satisfy my desire to document the world around me!
I had been hearing really good words firstly about the x100 and later on, its successor, the x100s from various professional photographers that I follow (namely Zack Arias and Adam Lerner) so about a month ago I went out, somehow found myself at my local camera store and walked out with a brand new Fuji x100s!
Many people have found my decision to move from a human geography background into the world of visual media as illogical and strange, but personally I will always view it as one of the best decisions I ever made. I consider the skills and knowledge I gained through my geography studies to be invaluable for developing my communication skills and in many ways transferable to the field of photography and video. I have often said that It is much easier for geographers to learn their way around a camera and think like photographer than it would be as a photographer/film-maker to learn how to think like a geographer.
Upon completing my degree and briefly running through the options for a related job in the UK, I began to feel that a career in geography would not particularly satisfy my creative drive. At that point, I had already started making short videos for my youtube channel, so when I found information about a course in Digital Documentary, I decided to go for it! When I started the course I was more interested in the film-making aspect, as my relationship with stills photography hadn't fully taken off yet. After starting a module called "Photography: Documentary, Landscape, Politics" and purchasing my first DSLR, I was hooked. Back then I would buy up to 5 different photography magazines per week as well as take as many books as I could carry home from the library, read them cover to cover and "pick the brains" of everyone in my circle who knew something about photography.
Shooting paid jobs as a professional photographer can get pretty stressful at times and although a certain amount of "trial and error" will in most cases be allowed for by a paying client, there is rarely time for fooling around and trying out new techniques on a job just to see how they will come out. A paying client on a portrait shoot will in most cases (understandably) want a selection of decent images to be shot in the shortest possible amount of time seeing as they are most probably paying by the hour. This means that for paid shoots I will generally use the techniques I already have in my repertoire rather than taking risks by trying out new techniques.
I find it very important therefore, to arrange the occasional casual (unpaid) photoshoot with a friend, on which I can test out new gear and techniques (as they say "beggars can't be choosers"), as well as shoot at my own pace without it being absolutely imperative to create a masterpiece, and without much more stress than would arise as a result of snapping an unflattering photo of a friend!
Furthermore, when photographing friends, a certain level of rapport will in most cases have already been built up over time, making the interaction extremely valuable for improving communication with future paying clients and building up rapport with them quickly and efficiently.
Ahhh histograms!! If like me you were never good at maths, don't worry! Histograms really aren't that difficult to get your head around! In fact, alongside the built in light meters in most modern cameras that offer manual controls, i would argue that they are probably the most useful tool for beginner photographers to begin to understand exposure! Used side by side, they allow you not only to tweak your setting in an instant, but in the long term, following regular use they can help teach you what to expect in different situations and allow you to guess/estimate (or guesstimate) the settings that are most likely to give you the best possible exposure.
When I started out in photography, I almost exclusively shot landscapes. There was always something about being in the great outdoors, chasing the light and scoping out vistas that would make for a nice photograph that satisfied something deep within me... Something about the peace and tranquility of natural areas that spoke to the nature-lover within me to such an extent, that I often found myself walking home in the dark, in the middle of nowhere after losing track of time and getting carried away while trying to make the best of golden hour and twilight.
I found however that my images looked a little bit flat straight out of camera. The images I brought home with me didn't always come out the way the landscapes had been recorded in my memory and in some cases required a bit of tweaking in photoshop to give them a bit more punch. Although I do enhance the vast majority of my images either in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop CS5, I have always tried to get my images as close as possible to the way I envisioned them at the moment I pressed the shutter, with minimal post-processing.
Peace Advocate Blogography
Welcome to the Peace Advocate Photography blog, where you will find everything from gear reviews to my opinions on photography and recaps of my recent shoots!