A little over a year ago, I laid out my photography process on this post. My approach was simple; when I run into moments, I whip out my iPhone and take the shot. As far as post-processing goes, I would simply apply an Instagram filter and share.
I can no longer live by that process.
I now look to run into moments and not just wait for them. I now also have a mirrorless camera and post process with gusto.
The change in process and gear has pushed me to explore more and has given me confidence to collaborate with a few people.
The results are better than before:
The BIG difference between iPhone and a serious camera
Quality is the obvious difference. But I found that psychology is just as important. Let me explain.
When I take the Fujifilm with me, I tend to look for the big headline grabbing shots. In stark contrast, when I don’t have it with me, I tend to take simpler life moments with the iPhone as it’s always with me.
On the flip side, having the mirrorless has made me explore more. I can now go out and shoot during low light situations for example and have the confidence that the shot will turn out fine.
I have also been able to collaborate more with my mirrorless as the other person will tend to take you more seriously. Admittedly, I felt a little bit embarrassed when I first went for a shoot with someone with just the iPhone.
Fujifilm X-A3 on 18mm
Perception is a killer and although I was fine with the iPhone, I really felt that others did not share my view. I know I shouldn’t have given in to peer pressure, but at the same time, I really haven’t looked back.
I approximately take 15–30 mins to post process a photo, which isn’t that bad considering some of my peers can take days.
I use a combination of Affinity photo and apps to post-process as follows.
I take the shots straight from the camera and do minor tweaks with white balance, highlights, curves and the other usual suspects. On the odd occasion, I would completely change the colour of an object.
After the edits, I export the result and do a few more edits with a few apps.
Total time spent: 5 mins.
Prime is my go to for applying styles. Like other applications, Prime allows me to select my style/preset and adjust it even more to my taste, then I am able to save that style as a fave.
There is a plethora of great styles to choose from and selecting one is an easy process.
Total time spent: ~1 minute.
This app is my go to for getting rid of unwanted objects. There are several apps that do this, including Affinity and Snapseed, but Retouch makes the process easy.
I find the results to be more accurate than its peers which saves a lot of time.
Total time spent: ~1 minute.
This is my go-to post processing app. It is feature-rich from the Selective feature (adjust specific area), to Lens Blur and to other more generic tools like alignment, curve adjustment and more.
It’s an all-in-one app that mirrors the essentials of big post applications like Affinity and Lightroom, with simplicity which like most of the above, saves time.
Total time spent: 10 minutes.
After post processing the apps, I send the final image to the Mac for that final check before posting the shot.
Collaborating with others
I started off taking shots of my surroundings and myself. Pretty soon I realised that I really wanted to capture portraits of other people to grow as a photographer.
And I really got bored of myself.
Finding people to collaborate with is tough to begin with particularly when I had no portrait shots of others in my portfolio.
I started off taking self-portraits and graduated by asking a few friends to do photoshoots. Then I asked my friends to see if they had any other contacts who were interested.
Reaching out to the active and local Instagram community was easier once I had a few shots of others. The response rate increased and the portfolio started to grow.
Capturing others is a big challenge and to help make it easier, I try to ensure that I capture their raw energy and overall vibe.
Before going on a photoshoot, I scan the Instagram profile of the individual and determine their ‘type’. Are they an outdoor individual? Do they like street/urban feel? Are they a hipster and so on.
It’s then a process of letting the other person know what you have in mind in terms of location, outfit and accessories — always keeping in mind that the shoot had to remain consistent with the individual’s vibe. This achieves 2 things: (1) it makes sure that the other person is comfortable and as a result (2) it makes the shoot easier.
The only exception to this process is when the person comes forward and says that they have a particular idea (mood, location) in mind, in which case I mix it up.
Now for some boring small details:
- Fujifilm X-A3 and X-T20. I absolutely adore my Fujis. These days, I’m using the T20 but the good thing about both is that the end result makes the post process easy (whereas others can spend hours on a photo, I generally take minutes).
- 23mm f2 and 18–55mm f2.8–4 lens. The 23mm is my go-to when taking portraits and mid-range street shots. The quality is superb even during low light situations. The 18–55mm is one that I pull out when I know in advance that Ill be taking shots from a distance, like taking shots of other from a far away cliff (as I do).
- iPhone 7+. I still use the iPhone simply because it’s always with me. Although the quality is not as good as a mirrorless, they still look great particularly after edits.
- Joby stick. I rely heavily on my Joby when doing self portraits or when I want a part of myself in the scene (along with the Fujifilm app for control). No branch is tricky enough for the Joby to wrap it’s tentacles around!
- iPhone tripod. I use the tripod like the Joby and together with remote control, I use the tripod when I want to get myself in the scene somewhere.
- Other accessories. I have a slew of other accessories ranging from lights (sparkle, torches) to smoke bombs and masks among others. I even have my GoPro Hero 4 in my bag at all times. Admittedly, these only come out when the location and mood calls which unfortunately is not often enough, but they’re there.
After 300 photo’s, I’ve been approached by the guys at Raw to take part in their exhibition on Nov 30.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea who they were. But after having a look at their site and the diverse collection of participating artists, I am glad to state that there is a match!
If you’re a Sydney local, or if you so happen to be around town in Nov 30, come down and support this local Raw artist.
You can grab the tickets from this link. I’m always open and happy to exchange more details of my journey so far.
And you can always follow me on Instagram here.
Photography and being a creative feels quite natural to me. The process of designing a product and imagining the next shot triggers the same creative juices.
The only difference being, developing software takes a wee bit more time.