A near-ubiquitous access to digital photography and a connection to the rest of the world has given this generation of humans unprecedented ability to share a heavily curated lifestyle with the world and vicariously live the lives of others. Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms offer a way to share only what you want with the world. Nobody needs to see anything outside the frame you present. The image and the story you tell are all that matters in a world where people cannot see outside your post. But just what is happening outside that post? What impact does it have on the world at large?
Articles written by Dylan Goldby
Photography, as with any creative pursuit, requires the creator to have their hand in the process for the results to shine. Countless Facebook ads, online workshops, and even our camera companies would have you believe that they if you just buy that next magic bullet, everything will change for you. If they are to be believed, swiping your credit card just one more time is the key to making great images. Rubbish. It’s time to break away from that thought.
The concept of a portrait lens has always baffled me. When I first started out in photography, reading the Internet and listening to other photographers would have led me to believe that I needed something around the 85mm or 135mm focal lengths if I wanted to photograph a person. Anything else wouldn’t work. Well, that simply isn’t true, is it? Any lens can be used as a portrait lens. In fact, the moment you photograph the likeness of a person with it, it becomes a portrait lens. So why not experiment using different lenses in your portraiture?
Two weeks ago, I wrote about using the Fujifilm GFX 50S as a travel camera. As part of that article, I touched briefly on using it for portraiture. I also touched briefly on using the GF 110mm f/2 lens and a few autofocus issues that I had. Today, I would like to dive a little deeper into using this camera for portraiture and my experience with it. We’ll take a look at focusing, sharpness, skin tones, working with flash, and handholding the camera. Finally, I’ll wrap up by giving you my personal feelings about the camera and whether or not it could be an effective portrait camera.
As photographers, we have but one raw material to work with: light. You will hear this time and time again, you need to learn to see that light and learn how your camera sees it. Knowing what to look for is just the beginning. Figuring out how to use light, or more importantly how you will use it, is the larger part of your photographic journey. Today, I’d like to run you through five types of light I love and use often.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen digital medium-format photography go from something of a hulking utilitarian beast into something a little more elegant in terms of usability. The Phase One and Hasselblad flagships, although coveted by many, were only attainable by a select few and really only intended for methodical work. The latest additions to the medium format realm have flipped this market on its head and put digital medium format into the hands of the masses. The Hasselblad X1D-50c and the Fujifilm GFX 50S are more in line with the everyday consumer's needs in terms of both price and features. I have had the chance to spend the last six weeks shooting with the Fujifilm while traveling through northeast India and today I’ll share my thoughts on it as a travel camera.
Today, I’d like to talk about three key elements that I feel make up each and every photograph we take. Of course they are not the only elements, but I feel that they are the most important. Specific shoots, like fashion or automotive commercials, require all sorts of preparation and specific skills. However, at the photographic level, three key elements still apply. If you consider your composition, light, and moment, you will be well on your way to making a successful photograph.
David DuChemin has become very well known for his so called “sermons” on vision. He has written books about it, including the beautifully crafted "VisionMongers." He is a champion of exploring art over exploring gear, and even his YouTube show uses his motto in its title, “Vision is Better.” In Episode 61, he goes into a common misconception about vision and style. Then he offers us a few tips on how we can get over our difficulties and find our own work.
Packing for a shoot in your town can be a pain, but packing for an extended shoot in another country brings a whole new set of complications into consideration. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of extended trips for my personal project “Tattoos of Asia.” Over the few trips that I’ve done, I’ve managed to pare down my kit to what I absolutely need. It has been a long process, but I’ve learned quite a bit, and I’d like to share that with you as I prepare my kit for my upcoming India trip.
For all the stranded Mac users out there who’ve bought into the future that’s not quite here yet, there has been no shortage of products hitting the shelves to take you right back to the port-filled glory you once lived with. With all those ports taken from you, there is now an extra box on your desk just so you can reconnect the devices you use on a daily basis. USB-C and USB 3.1 promise so much in terms of potential that just isn’t realized yet. In the interim, connectors, hubs, and dongles are filling the void. At the high end, one such device is the CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station.
One of the big concerns for many moving over to the Fujifilm X and GFX systems has been options for flash support. In all honesty, most of these issues were non-issues for the majority of users. Fujifilm has had their own set of speedlights for the systems, and all single-pin “dummy” triggers like the PocketWizard Plus X or many of the others offered by other manufacturers have always worked to trigger off camera flashes. Fujifilm also introduced both TTL and HSS to the system some time ago. However, Godox is the first flash brand to offer a fully Fujifilm compatible option. Let’s look at what they have on offer.
One of the most commonly heard pieces of advice within creative circles certainly seems to be the need to find your “style” and market that. What is your style? How to find it? These questions we’ve been told should plague us and drive us get inside our heads if we let them and begin to dictate what we do and how we do it. However, if you take a look at the popular sharing platforms, you will see a few patterns emerging. Instagram, Facebook, and even Fstoppers have a certain style of imagery that rises above the rest as you look at a volume. It can be tempting to emulate a popular style and fit in with the crowd, but it may not be ultimately satisfying to the inner artist. So how exactly do we find our own style?
With every new lens release we get bombarded with wild claims of “sharpest lens ever” and “bokeh so soft you’ll want to lie down in it.” A barrage of MTF charts and comparisons flood the web and debates rage in forums about which lens is better than which. Opinions fly and the knowledgeable and no so knowledgeable lock horns. But what if there were something other than sharpness that we could be looking at to discover a lens’ optical quality. Just what does a high element count with a few ED elements do to the resulting images?
For quite some time now, there have been plenty of flash options available for the Fujifilm X system. Fuji themselves have released several flashes, Nissin and Metz have also had some good offerings. However, many have been waiting for the big names like Profoto and Elinchrom to offer full Fujifilm X support and bring some serious power to the system. Over the past couple of weeks, Godox has announced and released two new products to bring their entire system to Fujifilm X users. The first of which we will meet today, the TT350F Thinklite Flash.
For anyone who has been to India, you will know that it is the very definition of chaos. The streets dazzle your senses. The smells, sights, and sounds are unforgettable. You cannot move too quickly or you will miss things, but cannot stop too long for the same reason. Life is raw, and comes in all shapes and sizes.
Inspiration is something we all wrestle with as creatives. Where do our ideas come from? Why can’t we simply come up with them on the fly? Why do we wake up at three o’clock in the morning with the perfect shoot planned out? How can we get more of these kinds of ideas? Let’s look at a few things that I do to keep myself inspired and ready to create.
Chase Jarvis has been getting real with a lot of topics on his show The Daily Creative. He's been answering questions from callers all over the world and doing it in an honest, straightforward way. If you haven't been following this, I recommend you start below and then head over to watch a whole lot more direct advice from one of the photography industry greats. In this week's episode, entitled "Dabbling Gets You Nowhere," Jarvis takes a question from my good friend Jason Teale that I think is something a lot of us struggle with.
Back in the day (not all that long ago, in fact), the only memory cards you would find in a “pro”-level camera were Compact Flash. That all changed as SD cards started to get faster and faster. Speeds up to 95 MB/s were great for emptying out the buffer on machine-gun mode and writing 1080p footage, which meant that space in the bodies could be used for other things. These cards were great. You could dump 64 GB of images while you watched the evening news. Then came along UHS-II cards, and if you’re not using them yet, you should definitely add them to you list next time you're upgrading cards.