NYC Photo Walk Street Phototgraphy.

September 15th 2019 City Walk Street Photography. Street photography is such a strong passion of mine. I love watching stories unfold in front of me. Watching people Interact with each other. Studying the light, tones and angles. Waiting for the moment but when it happens you’ve got to be ready. It is my belief that practicing street photography can improve every other aspect of your photography portfolio. Here I’m using the ultimate, Fujifilm’s XPro 1 and XPro 2. Enjoy

Fujifilm's 18mm Lens. The forgotten little beast.

OK…I’m here to talk about and in most circles defend one of my favorite lenses. A lens that for the most part everything you read you is how bad it is. I’m here to dispute that notion. I’m not going to do all that with statistical data because for all I know, maybe the charts don’t exactly favor this lens. However this lens is not to be judged by numbers but by feel, and I gotta tell you it feels just great. Well suited for the street photographer in you but also a solid contender for landscapes and everyday images with fun perspectives. It packs a serious punch.

Fuji XPro 2 with the Fujinon 18mm, Long Beach Island NJ

Fuji XPro 2 with the Fujinon 18mm, Long Beach Island NJ

The 18mm is one of Fujifilm’s older lens designs. 8 elements in 7 groups, Aspherical, with a concaved front element. 7 blade aperture design with a metal housing. A very versatile focal length of 28mm in a 35mm Format Equivalent. A very nice close focus with a sharp rendering throughout the range. The little 18 is focus by wire so if you choose to manually focus this glass it can be a bit difficult. I found the 18mm to have a noise AF motor (like most in this lens design) and although not lighting fast extremely accurate in its application. It even boasts an all medal squared hood which looks the part for a serious street shooter.

So why talk about this lens now in the latter part of 2019. Well for me I see Fujifilm releasing new lenses in 2020 and while I love the classic 18mm it would certainly be nice to see a fresh new version of this same lens. I completely understand moving with the times but I believe a lot of photographers love this little gem and I think they are missing that. The lens is small, lightweight and discrete. You can achieve surprisingly beautiful separation for a pretty wide focal length.

Works well for street portraits as well. A delicate balance of story telling and subject isolation. My beautiful wife Nikki, Cape May NJ

Works well for street portraits as well. A delicate balance of story telling and subject isolation. My beautiful wife Nikki, Cape May NJ

The 18mm gives a great distorted look when up close if you know how to work the lens and find that sweet spot. This can be a fun option to use for a different perspective you normally don’t see.

 

With a close focus less then a foot you can almost use this as a macro……well a close focus semi macro at least but with sharp optics you will certainly be satisfied.

So essentially we are at a 28mm equivalent focal length. While definitely not the widest for landscapes you can make an argument that this all arounder does a fine job capturing some dramatic images like the very first one posted above as well as some of these below. Very sharp across the range and also lends itself well to architecture pics too. Think big city here people!!!

So now thinking big city lets talk street photography. Now we get to what’s special about this lens. 28mm has been a classic focal length for street photography or some time and easily one of my favorites as well. Wide but not too wide, just a sweet spot. At f/2 we can let in a lot of light if need be and at f/8 we can guarantee a pretty favorable depth of field to ensure were in focus. I often choose to shoot this lens on my XT3 ( until we get a flip screen on an XPro Body) for a dramatic perspective. Plus it never draws attention allowing me to get close to my subjects and snag a natural expression.

Seaside Boardwalk NJ, XT3 / 18mm f.8

Seaside Boardwalk NJ, XT3 / 18mm f.8


In conclusion what are my overall thoughts? I would love to see Fuji focus more attention to this little gem of a lens. I often feel like it has been treated as the forgotten child of the Fuji line up and that is such a shame. Fun little shooters like the X70 with its fixed 18mm 2.8 are amazing and one of the reasons for this is the incredible 18mm (28mm) focal length. Sure we have the 23mm 1.4 and even the X100 series camera line up but that’s a 35mm focal length. There is a big difference between that and this. 18mm is such a great all around lens. A true story teller and travel companion. They don’t deserve the bad wrap they get that’s for sure and I can definitely say with confidence that if you were to run out and buy yourself one then most likely it would be one of your most cherished pieces of glass for years to come.

How to shoot Mini Sessions

Ok…the title is a bit broad and I certainly do not assume to know everything. Not even close. Everyone has their own styles and artistic vision that they place on their work but this is what works for me. Normally I schedule one to one and a half hour sessions for my clients. I don’t like to be rushed and I like to establish a relationship with the people I’m photographing. It puts them at ease and makes for a better session without a doubt. I also like to scout out the area with them and allow my clients to see me evaluating each patch of light, each area. I want them to know how important these things are to a good photographer. In todays market anyone can purchase a camera and charge money. Doesn’t mean it’s going to look good at the end of the day.

For my mini sessions I like to go to a familiar spot that I use often in various light. A place I know like the back of my hand and can predict certain light patterns. I usually only shoot for 20 - 30 minutes so I need to have a place dialed in to garnish the best outcome.

Know what poses you are going to use in each spot but don’t be afraid to get creative if the moment inspires you. I usually have a vision for each location and what I want to accomplish but depending on the client and vibe between all parties involved I will stray from time to time.

Make it simple…….I usually shoot one camera at minis. I’ll always stick to my rule of having a back up body but usually I’m shooting one camera. On this session I was using the Canon EOSR with the EF 50mm 1.2L and 135mm f/2. Thats the second part to making it simple. I bring one small bag with 2 - 3 lenses max. The legendary 50mm and 135mm are amazing for this.

This is your time to get creative. If I had a 50mm lenses for the rest of my life I think I would be fine with that. It’s amazing lens choice for environmental portraits as well as pano work. Often I’ll create a few full body shots and then at the same scene I’ll create a 4 to 5 shot bokeh pano which I can stitch later on in Lightroom. Essentially I’ve created 4 different looks. The standard image, then a stitched bokeh pano which will act as a wide angle portrait and showcase the location. Then I can also convert each file to black and white to offer a different look.

Make sure to capture candid moments. Nowadays it seems that more clients are shifting towards “unposed” photos. I love it to be honest. With the popularity of social media platforms such as facebook and instagram more and more people share their moments online which means most of your images will be viewed in this way. This is not to say that the days of the wall hung family portrait are gone but don’t spend so much time on them. Capture them and move on to story telling and more true real moments. Your clients will be happier to see you show such attentive and creative thinking in your work. If your client stands in front of a lens posed most likely your client can predict what the outcome will be like but if you catch them during their special interactions with one another they will be forever impressed and more likely to refer you to others as well.


Save yourself some time and create a preset for your session. I like to start with either a Kodak Portra or Fuji 400H film simulation base to work off of. I choose Mastin Labs to start my base coloring effect. From there I place my own little twist on what my colors should FEEL like. I’m choosing the word feel because that’s what I’m trying to accomplish with my look…..a feeling my clients get when viewing their images. I want to stay true to the scene and also pay homage to traditional film photography. I also want my style to be recognized which in turn will attract more business. I’ve heard both positive and negative remarks about my coloring and overall imagery. You most likely will as well but if you have a true vision of what you want your work to be like then stick with it and don’t stray to please others.

Over deliver. Now I’m not saying to go crazy but if you promised 20 images on your mini sessions then push beyond that. Even if its repetitive imagery in black and white or a slightly different perspective. Your clients will appreciate this and pass on the word.

Again, this is not the gold standard of how things must be done but just a few helpful insights that I’ve learned along the way. Minis can be a great way to introduce yourself to new clients which may return with bigger projects. Maybe even repeat business every year. Have fun with it and explore new techniques.




Available Prints offered for Sale

Well I finally created a link to offer some of my work for sale. Located on the main page is a section labeled “Available Prints” which will direct you to my Pixieset Gallery. Here you will find different categories featuring various work. Each print comes in a variety of sizes and materials all printed by the renowned WHCC Professional Lab. Thank you again and keep and eye out for new work as they become available.

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Fujifilm's GFX with Canon EF Glass

For quite some time I wanted to make this video however Im not sure even now that I am finished with it. Fujifilm’s GFX50s has certainly opened up new gateways into my photography, offering up a look I have not been able to achieve in the past with other systems. This is largely due to adapting Canon L Glass and specifically the 85mm 1.2

I did a little video for you.


Creating a Tintype look in Photoshop

I posted a few images online which received some positive feedback along with questions on how I was able to accomplish this look.  A tintype, also known as a melainotype or ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion.

This process however is all made using Photoshop.  I used a Fujifilm GFX50s with an adapted Canon 85mm Lens as a starting point. Below you can see a few examples of the process.

Possibly my favorite camera?

In this video I explore possibly my favorite camera and often my daily sidekick, the Fujifilm X100F. This camera allows me to shoot a different way. Taking away all the technicalities of photography and concentrating on the pure joy and excitement of creating imagery. Check it out!!!