Just in case you have been living under a rock the past few years I will tell you know that Fuji 400H is all the rage when it comes to wedding photography. Photographers like Jose Villa living in sunny California make their bread and butter on this light & airy style. Nine times out of ten when consulting with my brides they always ask for a certain look. They are not sure what it is but as soon as I see the examples I know its Fuji400H. Now living in sunny California definitely helps and so does shooting the actual Fuji 400H film stock still produced today. While your at it maybe spend all your hard earned cash on a Contax 645 but be sure to stock pile extra funds for when it goes down because your repair bill is gonna be HUGE!!!! If you don’t feel thats the correct road for you to take then what you can do is dive into the world of presets. Not just any presets, Mastin Labs presets.
The’re are certainly are a lot of companies out there dipping there toes into the preset market and understandably so. However for my work I’ve found that Mastin Labs offer me the most consistency throughout the ever changing light. I’ve used other boutique preset companies that rave about their close accuracy to the original film stock but they never seem to nail it. The greens are always off or you need to push the image way beyond comfort range in order to try and attempt a light and airy look.
Now before you assume I’m some sort of spokes person for Mastin Labs I can honestly tell I’m not. I doubt they even know I exist but maybe they will after today….LOL.
In all seriousness I write about what I like and do not like and what works and what does not. Mastin Labs Fuji400h just works. There is another company that made a big splash last year called C1ick Match. They went a different route whereas instead of using a preset formula they employed Profiles. The benefit to using a profile as opposed to a preset is all your levels are zeroed out giving you much more latitude in terms of editing. However there are times the profiles work well but I find it extremely difficult to nail skin tones and I find myself needed to work the file much more to nail the color tones accurately. It just takes too long whereas the Mastin Labs Presets are much quicker with less tweaking needed. I mean isn’t that the point anyway. Spend less time editing and more time shooting?
When I’m dialing in my look I’m concerned about a few different elements which all need to compliment one another to pull off what I’m looking for in an image. I’m looking for accurate skin tones and greens. I want my Fuji400H greens to have a pastel but less contrasty and more toned down effect. I’m looking for a slight brown and creaminess in the background greens, like a sage color. I’m looking for pastel flares in my specular highlights with the correct amount of haze. Don’t forget highlight and shadow details either. I’ve had other photographers comment that the image is just blown out and while the image may have an over exposed look you must remember that if this was film we would be most likely over exposing a stop or two and scanning for shadow detail. Now I would suggest you do the same with your digital images however instead of metering for the shadows as we do with actual fuji film I would be more concerned about highlight accuracy and shadow recovery. Camera sensors nowadays in my experience tend to handle shadow recovery much easier than highlight recovery. I’m certainly not suggesting taking you subjects silhouettes for the sake of a properly exposed sky however maybe leave some room in the highlights by under exposing just a bit….and I mean just a bit. You can pull your shadows up in post and you will afford yourself the proper exposure to really showcase those golden tones in the highlights like you see in some of these images.
At the end of the day find what works best for you to establish a constancy to your images. Like I said Mastin Labs has given me the most accurate results and they offer much more than just Fuji 400H. Head over to their site and give them a look. Thanks again for giving this post a read.