Working your own flow with Fujifilm X Series.

In recent weeks I have been writing a series of blogs for the Fuji X Aus site. It has been an amazing and eye opening experience to talk with members of the Fuji X Aus community and discuss with them their skills, insights, processes and move all else, how they utilise the Fujifilm X Series in their photographic journey. I have been able to address some key questions in these blogs to date and as a result have been able to provide a reference for other photographers to learn from on the Fuji X Aus site. 

When it comes to photography, and in particular our individual workflow, we all have capacity and limitations. Workflow can mean many things.  For me workflow is all about the rituals I follow prior to a shoot, during a shoot and of course after a shoot. These rituals cover everything from what I choose to pack in my camera bag for a shoot, how I manage my camera settings, how I post process images afterwards and also how I store my data. And that brings me back to my point about capacity and limitations. I am utilising the capacity of the gear I have to do the shoot I desire. Fortunately my camera(s) give me workflow options. I am in some ways limited by budget so my storage solutions are suitable given that I am not a pro-shooter, but not at the level I wish they were at. 

So we make the most of what we have and also what we prefer when it comes to workflow. In this blog, I interview Rena Tan (some would argue the better half of Clan Tan), Roger Hyland and Natalia Naa.  They all have different styles of photography and different reasons for picking up a camera at all. I wanted to get an insight into varied approaches to workflow.  Stay tuned for a another group of Fuji X Aus members to discuss their workflow in a future blog also.  But for now, lets hear what these guys have to say. 

Rena Tan

Could you tell us a little about yourself and Clan Tan?

I’m originally from Malaysia, but I’ve lived in Australia for so long now that I’ve lost count – I stopped counting after 21, just like with age .. one just stops counting after 21. Right? Photography is a part time thing for Ian & me. Ian still works his regular job, and we do this photography thing together part time – i.e. part of the time I am his pack mule where I carry all the gear and try to be a good VAL (Voice activated light stand) while Ian does the shooting, then at other times Ian’s my pack mule and I get to boss him around. It works great.

Workflow can incorporate so many things. So lets start with the basics. What Fujifilm X System camera is your go-to every-day carry?

I have such a hard time deciding what lens to take with my X-T2 each day, but if there’s nothing specific that I’m shooting, then either the 23F2 or the 35F2 – because they fit into my handbag – or sometimes (Ian’s) X100T.

So with that Fujifilm X Series camera you have dual SD slots. How do you manage that capability?

I set mine to backup. I’m pretty sure that was the main reason for me upgrading from the X-T1 to the X-T2. I’ve read and heard enough horror stories of people’s cards failing during shoots (like during a wedding!)

Do you shoot in JPEG or RAW or both? Does this ever change and if so for what reasons?

I shoot RAW all the time. I think I’ve only remembered once to shoot RAW + JPEG with one of the film simulations, but as I picked the incorrect one for that particular shoot (wasn’t the right look), I ended up just deleting all the JPEGs. I’m also a bit of a control freak – so that might play a small (??) part in me giving up control and trusting the camera. But that’s really silly, because the main reason I love the Fujifilm cameras (other than its size) is its beautiful colours. I know many times when I’ve shot beside Ian (when I wasn’t shooting Fujifilm), I’d look at the back of his screen to see what he’s shot, and I’d look at mine … and every single time, I’d be amazed at how beautiful the colours on his were, and how ..meh! .. mine were!

When it comes to post processing your images, do you use your mobile device, tablet or a computer to edit? And based on that, what is your preferred software to edit images?

I hardly ever edit on my phone- might once again have something to do with this control freak nature? I don’t know. It’s not that I pixel peep – I don’t even know how to do that. Maybe it’s just an eyesight thing .. you’ll know what I mean when you get older like me!! Anyway, I do my post processing on my iMac with Lightroom and Photoshop.

Out of interest, do you ever export images to the Fujifilm Remote Camera App and if so when would you use this?

I hardly ever do, in fact I can’t think of when I last did that. I guess that would be because I don’t edit on my phone.

What sort of storage solutions do you employ for your images once you have completed the editing process? How do you back-up your work – cloud, hard drives, website based?

My main hard drive is a Lacie 5big 20TB connected to my iMac via Thunderbolt. The 5big is running in a RAID 5 configuration which gives some security in the event of one of the hard drives failing. I schedule a weekly backup using an app called Carbon Copy Cloner to a WD 20TB external drive. I often manually kick off a backup after transferring images from a major shoot from my SD cards, or after doing a whole bunch of editing. And once a month I back that up to a second external hard drive that is stored offsite. I don’t use any cloud-based backup as my internet connection is .. <insert words my momma told me never to use>.

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

My personal insta: instagram.com/bear.n.tripod/ or our other insta: instagram.com/ianrenamedia/

Astro_Before
Before Rena worked her magic!
Astro_After
After Rena worked her magic! “This image was shot at the Fuji X Aus Glamping Event at Phillip Island with the Laowa 9mmF2.8 at 30 sec, f2.8, ISO 1600.”

 

Roger Hyland

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Originally from Melbourne but away for nearly 2 decades until returning in 1981. I am a largely self-taught photographer. 

I have had an interest in visual art since my late teens and occasionally picked up a camera but maintained no serious interest. In 1981 I completed an introductory semester at PSC in Melbourne and learned the basics of the exposure triangle. Work and family took over and I didn’t really pick up my camera again until about 2001 when I went overseas for the first time….to China. Not long after I came back, while walking with my partner, I discovered my first street art stencils in Richmond. At her suggestion I photographed them and so began my association with street art. I started looking for and finding stencils all over Melbourne and with the odd break I have been documenting the changes in street art and the neighbourhoods where it flourishes ever since. 

I guess that makes me basically a documentary/landscape photographer. The landscape I respond to is the built environment rather than natural features. My Instagram @non_event_photos is a pointer that I’m the last person to ask if you want your wedding memories preserved. Whether it relates to something concrete and easily defined such making a record of pieces of Street Art or the way we change and adapt the urban landscape; or it is trying to capture something more intangible such as the feeling I have in a particular place at a particular time, whatever process I apply to the image, the elements have to be in a scene that is in the world already rather than something constructed for the purpose of making a photo.

Workflow can incorporate so many things. So lets start with the basics. What Fujifilm X System camera is your go-to every-day carry?

After many years of basic SLR & DSLR camera/lenses I upgraded to Fuji X cameras in late 2016.

I have been using Fuji X cameras for about 18 months now. I started around January 2017 with an XT2 and an XPro2. I was trying to extend my photography beyond documenting street art but not abandon it. I also had the chance to purchase a range of lenses I could only have dreamed of before and down the track I also purchased an X70 and an X100F and more recently the XH1. 

I spent the best part of my first 12 months with Fuji, surfing articles, watching photobloggers review and compare various systems and suffering recurrent bouts of GAS. I still have most of the lenses I have bought but have parted company with the XPro2 and soon will say goodbye to the X100F.

I found I preferred the larger EVF and the versatility of the XT2 over Fuji rangefinder cameras and although it almost puts me back in DSLR territory, the XH1 is still relatively compact and light.

My everyday kit is the XT2 and the 18mm F2. It is tolerable up close to humans and wide enough for most urban landscape. I usually carry the 35mm F1.4 in the same bag. It isn’t quite as versatile as the 18mm for me but it is a lens I enjoy every time I use it.  On the weekend when I have time to go out for a few hours of shooting I add the XH1 with the 10-24 F4. An ultra wide zoom has been my main workhorse for years. I also carry something longer such as the 90mm F2 or 50-140mm. These aren’t natural focal lengths for me but I have no philosophy of “one camera…one lens”. When I just carried a wide zoom I tended to “not” see things that I knew there was no point in photographing with that lens. Now I look at things in different ways and try to think how using a different lens might solve a particular problem.

So with that Fujifilm X Series camera you have dual SD slots. How do you manage that capability?

Both the XT2 and XH1 have dual slots. I just shoot sequentially both RAW & jpeg. As I only shoot for myself I don’t fuss much. 

When it comes to post processing your images, do you use your mobile device, tablet or a computer to edit? And based on that, what is your preferred software to edit images?

Like many fuji and maybe just people in general, most of what I “develop” is for sharing on social media and typically I use the Fuji remote app. Depending on subject and how close I got in the original jpeg I might edit in Snapseed. In snapseed I use anything from tuning, cropping and straightening for photos I want a conventional or natural look. Otherwise I play with presets such as drama, glow, vignette or whatever seems to improve the final image.  It’s quicker than uploading to a desktop or lap top and with practice you can achieve creative results very quickly. I have also found it harder to share between social media platforms from a computer these days. It’s easier to upload from a mobile device to whatever platform you prefer to use. If you work for clients it’s a different story.

If I was producing work for a friend or client I would always use LR on my computer to edit. Jpegs are often brilliant to work from and you start with the photo looking the way you wanted initially. RAF or RAW files you start from scratch but it does give you all the detail captured by the camera…so a fine portrait, landscape or commercial work I don’t see how you can avoid LR or similar software.

Out of interest, do you ever export images to the Fujifilm Remote Camera App and if so when would you use this?

These days more often than not I use the Fuji Remote app and load photos onto an iPad. On the iPad if I edit at all I use Snapseed or sometimes on Instagram I use their filters. I know there are plenty of apps out there but it works fine for me. It’s fairly intuitive and as far as social media goes as versatile as I need. How I process each varies from nothing, to a minimal straighten or crop or else I will tune the exposure and may possibly apply a filter as well.  

What sort of storage solutions do you employ for your images once you have completed the editing process? How do you back-up your work – cloud, hard drives, website based?

All my photos are stored on 2 external HDs and can be edited in LR or Photoshop. I don’t routinely store any files on my desktop. External hard drives are getting bigger, faster and cheaper and I’m never sitting editing hundreds of images at a time so am not particularly bothered with any lag. I think the cloud is a great solution for people in business but overkill for someone like me.

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

I don’t currently have a website. I am not sure I’m ready for that. My photos are on Instagram @non_event_photos & Flickr as Roger Hyland http://www.flickr.com/mutantdreams

Next the LR edit for a mother and son I met on the street. This was taken with XH1 and 18mm f2 lens at: ISO 400; f5.0; 1/25th sec…although the woman’s outfit is great in colour I think the bow brings out a more interesting mood. I am not sure they liked it but I tried my best. Hopefully they’ll enjoy down the track.

greg workflow 4a-0283
Before Roger edited his image….still great colours in this version.
greg workflow 4b-0283
After Roger did his thang!

Natalia Naa

Rena and Roger sure now how to talk and talk and talk. Let’s make this short and sweet! You? Go!

I’m Natalia, a Melbourne-based freelance photographer who specializes in portraitures, food, and lifestyle photography.  I bought my first DSLR camera back in high school and I have been working as a freelance photographer for almost two years now! 

Workflow can incorporate so many things. So lets start with the basics. What Fujifilm X System camera is your go-to every-day carry? 

At the moment, I’m using the handy Fujifilm X-T20 as my everyday camera, that I named Luca. I paired my X-T20 with the XF23mmF2, XF56mmF1.2, and XF10-24mmF4. 

When it comes to post processing your images, do you use your mobile device, tablet or a computer to edit? And based on that, what is your preferred software to edit images?

I shoot in RAW 95% of the time just so that I have more flexibility with editing in post, but I do also shoot in JPEG + RAW if I need to send photo proofs for clients. I use Lightroom (and sometimes Photoshop) to edit the RAW files and Snapseed and VSCO when editing on my phone. A handy tip that I learned is having the Fujifilm Camera Remote App downloaded on my phone so I could export the JPEG images straight onto my phone if I want to post some quick edits on my social media channels (e.g. sneak peeks or behind-the-scenes photos)!

If people wanted to view your work online where can they find you?

Instagram: instagram.com/natalianaa

Facebook: facebook.com/storiesbynaaphotography

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Natalia’s image out of camera. Nice composition.
DSCF9972
Such an amazing transformation!

This is just a tiny sample of how different people tackle our craft.  From what they carry in hand to how they use technology to both enhance and share their images. We are spoilt for choice when it comes down to capacity and limitations. Only have a Fujifilm X70 and a mobile phone to work with. Then shoot in JPEG and enjoy the amazing Fujifilm Film Simulations. Use the Fujifilm Remote Camera app to download these to your mobile device and publish straight out of camera images to your preferred social media platform within minutes. You can even make adjustments to your images before you send them to the app from the camera. Working with higher end products and solutions, the concept is no different.  And sometimes we overcomplicate it by thinking we need to apply the best solution to every image. It is certainly food for thought and I hope that the information provided here by Rena, Roger and Natalia give you a little inspiration to customise your own workflow to suit your needs. Happy shooting.

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