THE CAMERA THAT SHAPED A DECADE How the EOS 5D changed the world of pro photography
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Neatly sandwiched in between these two was the launch of the Canon EOS1D X Mark II, which was inspiring for a whole different reason. Having written an in-depth piece for this issue (see page 60) on the capabilities of this new flagship model, my mind remains boggled as to how it’s possible for a camera to shoot, focus and autoexpose so quickly. Many of us won’t take advantage of its capabilities, but I love the fact that it has such functionality. Ultimately, these combined experiences have left me with a double push of creativity. A regular hit of inspiring technology and images can only be a good thing. Here’s to getting a sizeable dose of both on a regular basis! Enjoy the issue.
Editorial director Roger Payne email@example.com @RogPayne ©VAGELIS GIOTOPOULOS
BELOW: Just one of the brilliant images from this year’s SWPP awards, which scooped Vagelis Giotopoulos the Wedding Photojournalistic award. See more on page 8.
It’s been an inspirational kind of a month. Literally hours after the previous issue of the magazine had gone to press, I found myself at the SWPP show in London. The winners in The Societies’ annual awards had just been announced and, as always, there was some truly excellent work on show from all over the world. We’ve got a selection of the winning images in this issue. Then, last weekend, I visited the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) exhibition at the Natural History Museum. Wow. If you haven’t been, do make the effort to go before May 2. It’s beautifully presented and is a constant reminder of the efforts fellow photographers will make to get a great image. I found it inspiring and humbling in equal measure. One particular image - a shot of a snowy owl caught in a blizzard - really stuck with me. It had been taken by 10-year old Josiah Launstein, who had waited with his family in sub-zero conditions for nine hours before he got the shot. The idea that someone so young was prepared to sit it out so long really made me think. If I’m having a tough time getting a shot I don’t think I’ll moan about it ever again sometimes that’s just what it takes.
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EDITORIAL Editorial director Roger Payne 01223 492244 firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing editor Terry Hope Staff writer Jemma Dodd Sub editors Lisa Clatworthy & Catherine Brodie Contributors Ian Farrell, Adam Duckworth, Peter Dench, Trevor Lansdown ADVERTISING Sales director Matt Snow 01223 499453 email@example.com Key accounts Mike Elliott 01223 499458 firstname.lastname@example.org Senior sales executive Krishan Parmar 01223 499462 email@example.com Sales executive Ollie Smith 01223 499457 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Inspiration ahoy with awardwinning images from Europe, the States and outer space 24 hours with one of the UK’s most competitive photographers The pros and cons of high and low pricing for weddings How ‘a few shots’ turned into a 20 year RNLI project Insider advice for better results with portable flash outdoors A detailed look at Canon’s most powerful DSLR ever, from the people who know it inside out The dynamic duo behind the success that is Bloom Weddings Is this the mirrorless model that will make you sell your DSLR? Big name, big printer. We assess how this A2 model fares The end of the tax year beckons. Time to get spending It’s The Photography Show this month. Here are the stands you should make a beeline for How David Bowie, a Great Dane and Terry O’Neill created an iconic image
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itâ€™s green up north
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CALVIN W HALL
For most of us, photographing the Northern Lights just once in our life would be a treat, but Calvin W Hall has been shooting the celestial light show for the past three decades. His breathtaking images have lit up the pages of National Geographic Adventure, Discover, Ski and Esquire and now they’re appearing in a book, The Northern Lights: Celestial Performances of the Aurora Borealis, which features a collection of 160 stunning images taken by both Calvin and fellow aurora borealis hunter Daryl Pederson. “This photo was taken at about 12.30am in the Knik River Valley near Palmer, Alaska; an area fairly close to my home. The mountain range that you can see is the Chugach Mountains,” Calvin told us. “We had recently experienced a warm snap that took most of our snow, so I decided to head out to an area that I knew had springs that keep the water open. My aim was to find a strong reflection shot. When shooting the aurora I am always looking for good foreground, reflections, trees, mountains; something of interest. “The moon was coming up during the later evening and part of the reason I selected this area was to take advantage of the moonlight lighting up the mountains. It was a beautiful evening as aurora shoots go, the temperature was just below freezing and it was a calm night - very comfortable. “For the most part I was actually shooting time-lapse footage and this particular image is a single frame from that footage. It was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a Canon 24mm f/1.4 II lens and I was shooting with an ISO of 3200 at 1.6secs, wide open at f/1.4.” alaskasaurora.com
The Northern Lights: Celestial Performances of the Aurora Borealis is on sale, priced £14.99. thegmcgroup.com @PHOTOPROUK
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a prize well worth winning VARIOUS
Firmly established as one of the premier annual events in the world for professional photographers, the Societies’ Convention has a glitzy awards night as one of its highlights, where hotly contested prizes are handed out in a wide range of categories. We caught up with a selection of this year’s successful photographers to find out what it means to have picked up one of the big prizes. The biggest award of all was collected by Chris Chambers, whose extraordinary shot of a kingfisher diving for prey earned him the title of Societies’ Photographer of the Year 2015. “It’s only fairly recently that I’ve become interested in shooting wildlife and landscape images,” says wedding specialist Chris. “I shot the picture of the kingfisher last summer near Leeds, and spent two days waiting for the bird to dive into a specific spot while my camera, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, was fired remotely from ten yards away so that I would not create any sort of disturbance.” Jocelyn Conway won the Bump to Baby category with a gorgeous shot of newborn triplets, and she was particularly delighted to triumph in her chosen genre. “I left my job in
© DZERINALDAS LUKOSIUS
© RICHARD BRADBURY
The recent Societies’ Photographer of the Year Awards, held during the Convention in January, attracted strong international entries, with the winners enjoying both prestige and exposure
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© CHRIS CHAMBERS
RIGHT: Chris Chambers, Societies’ Photographer of the Year
© CHRIS BLASER
© MAURO CANTELMI
AWARD-WINNERS BELOW CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Richard Bradbury, Advertising and Commercial; Mauro Cantelmi, Wedding Classical; Chris Blaser, Architectural; Dzerinaldas Lukosius, Fashion
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Â© LAIMA KAVALIAUSKAITE
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midwifery to set up my own business back in 2007,” she says, “and now have a busy studio in Liverpool city centre. I’ve been mentored by Damian McGillicuddy for the past four years, and am so proud to be one of his ‘Baby Whisperers’ in The Baby Whisperer Academy, where I teach other photographers all about newborn photography, business, posing safety and lighting. “The triplets were brought in when they were just 11 weeks old. I started with the oldest baby and took a picture of him, then slowly added the next baby and took another picture. Luckily they all stayed asleep when I put in the youngest baby last!” Melbourne-based Mauro Cantelmi took the Wedding Classical prize, with an intriguingly abstract monochrome @PHOTOPROUK
shot of a couple seen behind a panel of frosted glass. “I’ve been entering the competition for three to four years,” says Mauro, “but had not enjoyed success up to now. The awards drive me on to become better with every wedding I undertake. I’m always looking to capture that award-winning image, and the competition allows us to showcase our work worldwide.” For London-based advertising photographer Richard Bradbury his win in the Advertising and Commercial category marked his first entry into the awards. “I’ve had quite a successful year as far as competitions go,” he says. “I was Advertising Photographer of the Year in the MPA Awards, and it was there that I met Juliet Jones from the SWPP, who asked if I would speak at the Convention this year. I happily
© ANNE ALGAR
© PETER JONES
© TRACY WILLIS
© GYTIS SACIKAUSKAS
agreed and joined the Societies, and felt that, as a member, I should support the awards. It was a great feeling to win at my first attempt.” Richard’s winning shot features Team GB athlete Georgia Bell, and it was taken at Saracens rugby ground using the technique known as hypersyncing: a full run-through of how this shot was put together can be found at bit. ly/RichardBradburyhypersync. Richard will also be demonstrating how to master this high-speed flash sync technique at The Photography Show on 20 March.
Full results from the 2015 Societies Awards can be found at: thesocieties.net/ image_competition-2015/poty ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 011
© FELIX KUNZE
behind the scene GABRIEL HILL & FELIX KUNZE
Oliphant Studios in New York has produced bespoke photographic backdrops for some of the world’s top photographers. Gabriel Hill and Felix Kunze find out more
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© GABRIEL HILL © GABRIEL HILL
© GABRIEL HILL
Painting the way
LEFT: Ethan Kugler, Palm Harbour, Florida
© GABRIEL HILL
As hard-working photographers who regularly use Oliphant backdrops in their studios, Gabriel Hill and Felix Kunze have always taken a professional interest in this iconic New York company, so when the chance arose to undertake a behind-the-scenes shoot there for Digitale Fotografie magazine they leapt at the opportunity. “Sarah Oliphant has been painting backdrops for some of the world’s greatest photographers since 1978,” says Felix. “Mary Ellen Mark even once referred to her as a magician! A while back through chance I landed an internship at Annie Leibovitz Studios. She’s one of those who has famously used Oliphant backdrops for years and being in her presence was a solid introduction to Sarah’s work. “I’ve used them myself ever since, and I love them. Something about them is organic; I’ve never had the same results twice shooting on the same backdrop. You move the light even an inch and everything changes. That kind of versatility is something you’re not going to get from a paper backdrop or a cheaply made hand-painted drop. Oliphant are the masters of organic subtlety, producing products that almost seem to breathe.”
ABOVE: Gabriel Hill created this set using two 10x13ft Oliphant backdrops TOP RIGHT: Romeo, Swiss Pro Downhill driver ABOVE RIGHT: Shooting for a Swiss fashion designer RIGHT: Make-up artist Rebecca from idomakeup.ch
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© FELIX KUNZE
ABOVE: Felix Kunze for Little Gloriana
© FELIX KUNZE
© FELIX KUNZE
BELOW: Even photographers setp in front of Oliphnat backgrounds. This is Lara Jade, taken in East Sussex.
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Swiss photographer Gabriel is also a big fan, using them all the time in his work. “I paid around $4000 for two 10x13ft backdrops that look like old walls,” he says. “I put both together to build a set that looks like a room, and it’s proved to be perfect for my family portrait business. As a photographer you don’t just go to her for the detailed backdrops that she’s famous for: she can paint anything you can think of. Her products are not cheap, but the investment invariably pays off: when I announced to my clients that I’d acquired my ‘room’ I took $15,000 in bookings within two days. It’s also possible to hire Oliphant backdrops for a reasonable rate for specific jobs if you don’t want to spend so much.” For the Digitale Fotografie magazine job Felix was allowed to take over the whole of Oliphant Studios for half a day, and then the set-up was slimmed down so that the Oliphant staff could get back to work. “Because I used to live just around the corner I’ve been in there many times,” says Felix. “Every time I’ve been in there it’s been a whirlwind of activity; they are painting for every famous photographer
and brand there is and there’s no doubt that it’s pure art. Nothing is ever certain; nothing ever comes out exactly like you imagined it. The process is fascinating to watch.” Top celebrity portrait photographer Mark Seliger has regularly worked with Oliphant backdrops over the past 20 years, and has lost count of the number of shoots he’s used them on. Talking to Gabriel, he explained the attraction. “What Sarah does best,” he says, “is that she has this incredible ability to translate whatever idea I have in terms of a background, no matter how subtle or how extreme, to make a beautiful surface. “Typically the way we work is to bring in references to show her, then we talk about what we want and she makes these beautiful drops for us. These references can be pulled from other photographers, from vintage photography or just colour samples or my own schematics. She’s really good at playing with whatever we come up with.” oliphantstudio.com felixkunze.com thegabrielhill.com markseliger.com WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
Â© FELIX KUNZE
Painting the way
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the next big thing VARIOUS
The Gen NEXT programme from broncolor provides talented young photographers aged 18 to 30 the opportunity to show off their work and the chance to become a Gen NEXT Ambassador. But what does being a Gen NEXT Ambassador involve? Firstly, there is the prize of $24,000 (£16,700) worth of broncolor equipment of your choice and secondly, a two-year programme in which the ambassadors’ work is featured across the broncolor 016 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
broncolor is searching for the young photographers of the future. Who have they found so far? blog, sharing a behind-the-scenes look at their work and latest projects. The Ambassadors also represent broncolor at a variety of events and receive valuable input and support during the two years. The programme, which launched in 2014, wasn’t initially a competition and began with five ambassadors being selected to represent broncolor. These were Lara Jade, Benjamin Von Wong, Dustin Snipes, Jason Jia and Manuel Mittelpunkt.
Then in 2015 the first Gen NEXT competition launched and received more than 1000 entries. The first five winners were named as Anita Anti, Lauri Laukkanen, Yulia Gorbachenko, Gonzaga Manso and Cristina Otero, who were all consequently chosen to join the broncolor Gen NEXT Ambassadors. So what does it mean to become an ambassador of such a big brand and have your work showcased to the world? For Anita Anti, a self-taught, fine-art WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
© ANITA ANTI © DUSTIN SNIPES
© ANITA ANTI
© ANITA ANTI
The next generation
ABOVE: Part of Anita Anti’s Moon series using the broncolor Balloon Lightshaper TOP RIGHT: Taken in the Crystal Cave, Pennsylvania, Anita shot the EP cover for Rivers by singer Amber Syke.
© DUSTIN SNIPES
MIDDLE RIGHT: Dustin Snipes created this powerful image with a two-light set-up, orange gels and baby powder. BOTTOM RIGHT: Dustin used a total of seven broncolor lights to capture NBA star Anthony Davis dunking the sun.
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© ROY ROSSOVICH
VARIOUS JEMMA DODD
There were 10,700 entries to this year’s Hasselblad Masters. Here’s the top 10 016 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 116
well worth the hassel
MAIN IMAGE LEFT: Swedish photographer, Roy Rossovich triumphed in the Fashion/ Beauty category for his interpretation of ‘gluttony’ for his Seven Sins series © JOHN PAUL EVANS
© LARS VAN DE GOOR
© NATALIA EVELYN BENCICOVA
© JAKE REEDER
© ALI RAJABI
ABOVE: Iranian entrant, Ali Rajabi’s snowy New York scene won the Urban/Street category LEFT: Lars Van De Goor captured a striking image of the Speulder Forest in his native Netherlands, winning Landscape/Nature RIGHT FROM TOP: Jake Reeder’s Project//21 winning entry; Natalia Evelyn Bencicova’s Portrait winner; John Paul Evans’s Wedding winner
When it comes to photography competitions the Hasselblad Masters Award is considered one of the most prestigious in the world. Having originally started out as a selection process for naming a new Hasselblad photographer as the ‘Master’ each month, it has since been turned into a worldwide competition. The initial aim of the awards was to showcase work that was created @PHOTOPROUK
by photographers using Hasselblad cameras. Perry Oosting, the CEO of Hasselblad says: “It serves to inspire photographers and promote the great work of many photographers.” Open to professional photographers who have been active for more than three years, or photographers under the age of 21, the competition has ten categories which include art, landscape, wedding, portrait, fashion/beauty,
architecture and street/urban. Also included is the Project//21 category which is open to all amateurs or professionals aged 21 or under. “Each Hasselblad Masters competition runs on a two-year cycle, with entries open every other January. Anyone can apply as long as the images they submit meet the criteria of the competition. The images don’t have to be captured on a Hasselblad, but they ISSUE 116 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 017
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G E R MANKOW ED ITZ GERED MANKOWITZ
Gered Mankowitz was on hand to document some of the most legendary names of the music business in their formative years, and many of his incisive images have now achieved iconic status
urning the pages of Gered Mankowitz’s portfolio is like looking back in history, to a time when the music industry was in a state of massive change and youth culture was on the rise. The swinging sixties had begun and bands were becoming louder, wilder and hairier. And a young Gered found himself in exactly the right place at the right time. “Having emerged from school with no formal education I’d decided that I wanted to be a photographer,” he recalls. “Though I served a brief apprenticeship with the Camera Press Agency, and had accompanied the fashion photographer Alec Murray on an assignment to photograph the autumn collections in Paris, what I really wanted to do was to work in show business.” Gered got his wish. His big break came when he went to work for specialist portrait photographer Jeff Vickers – a job that gave him superb access to a stream of celebrity faces. Then one day, when the chance to shoot folk-rock act Chad and Jeremy presented itself, it was one of Gered’s photographs that ended up being used for the duo’s album cover and he was catapulted into his now-famous career in the music industry. Within a few months Gered had begun to make a name for himself. A chance meeting with Marianne Faithfull was particularly fortuitous, since it led ultimately to several photo sessions and an introduction to her manager, producer Andrew Loog Oldham, who also managed and produced The Rolling Stones. @PHOTOPROUK
“Andrew thought I had a rawness – a quality to my photography that would somehow work with the Stones,” Gered says. “I started working with them in 1965, and from then on my career path was completely defined. Out of my first session with them came the cover of their album Out of Our Heads, and after that I went on their record-breaking 1965 America tour with them. That lasted six weeks and took in 36 cities.” On the road For those who imagine touring rock bands living in a fleet of trucks and luxury trailers, with a team of roadies and managers taking care of their every need, it might come as a huge shock how basic life on the road was back then. “When I flew to America it was just the five Stones, a roadie and me.” Gered recalls. “We were just a group of young men, with no entourage, no security, no publicist, no press, no stylist, no make-up, no road crew, no lights and no stage set: we had nothing.” Gered even shot the band’s passport pictures, which he’s just turned into a crucifix-shaped work of art for his new show Off The Hook: The Rolling Stones, which opens at The Snap Galleries in London on 1 April. “Of course it was an extraordinary experience,” Gered recalls. “There’s nothing to compare to being backstage with The Rolling Stones at that time: they were number one in the charts and travelling and hanging out with them like that was great fun. ISSUE 118 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 025
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“OF COURSE, NOT EVERY MOMENT WAS GLAMOROUS: THE BAND ALSO HAD QUITE A FEW DUTIES TO FULFIL” PREVIOUS: Gered’s session with Jimi Hendrix took place before he became famous and the shots have now achieved iconic status LEFT: Annie Lennox has been photographed several times by Gered during her time in The Tourists and The Eurythmics ABOVE: Legendary Seventies electro band Ultravox, pictured in 1976 with original lead singer John Foxx
“Of course, not every moment was glamorous: the band also had quite a lot of duties to fulfil, such as visits from fan clubs that wanted autographs and press pictures and interviews to do along the way. But it was a time that really cemented my relationship with the group and consolidated my position as a photographer in the music business. I continued to work with them for years as their official photographer, producing images for numerous albums.” Documenting an era The list of names that Gered went on to work with is extraordinary: Paul McCartney and George Harrison, Annie Lennox, Oasis, AC/DC, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Phil Collins, ABC, Ultravox, Suzi Quatro, Kim Wilde
and Duran Duran have all sat in front of his camera. But some of his most iconic and enduring images have come from artists who were just emerging. “When I first photographed The Rolling Stones they were only really about 15 months into their career,” he says. “Likewise my pictures of Kate Bush were taken before she enjoyed the success that Wuthering Heights was to bring her. I had seen Jimi Hendrix play a gig at the Bag of Nails club in London before I photographed him, but he was still relatively unknown at the time.” Gered says he was mesmerised by Hendrix right from the start, finding his charisma and presence captivating. “They all arrived at about lunch time and I had until about 4:30pm to shoot the pictures,” he recalls. “I was heavily ISSUE 118 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 027
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LEFT: Gered had a close association with The Rolling Stones in the 1960s and toured the USA with them. His dreamy shot for the cover of the Between the Buttons LP was created by smearing Vaseline on a home-made filter. CLOCKWISE THIS PAGE: Some of the many stars of the past fifty years who have appeared in front of Geredâ€™s camera include The Yardbirds, Suzi Quatro, Marianne Faithfull, The Jam and ABC.
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THIS SPREAD: Gered believes he captured an essence of the man behind the rock star that was Jimi Hendrix
influenced by the likes of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, so I shot the whole set in black & white, which I thought would lend the pictures some dignity. It turned out that was actually quite precocious of me, and ultimately it cost me the cover of the album because Jimi’s management decided to go with something shot in colour instead.” Gered’s now-iconic portraits of Hendrix weren’t seen widely at the time, but they have since gone on to become the definitive image of the guitar legend 030 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 118
in his prime. It’s a success that Gered puts down to what he managed to get out of the performer on the day. “He allowed me in and that’s the most important thing really,” he says. “He gave the camera a little bit of himself, so people come away from those photos feeling that they’ve seen something of the man, and not just the rock god. I felt very privileged that he felt comfortable and confident enough to do that with me.” That Gered achieved such success with an act who had yet to hit the big time convinces him that those trying to break into the music industry today can
also succeed if they start out with lesser known names and faces. “You won’t get near the likes of Ed Sheeran or Adele if you’re just starting out, but if you look for an artiste or a band that’s on the rise then it’s still possible to form a strong relationship and get the access you need. You might even come away with pictures that could become iconic down the line, and at the very least it will give you experience.” Camera loyalty One of the things that has defined Gered throughout his career, as well as guaranteeing him decent image quality, WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
“ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS DEFINED GERED THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER IS HIS USE OF THE SAME CAMERA FOR 50 YEARS - A HASSELBLAD” @PHOTOPROUK
is his use of the same camera for 50 years – a Hasselblad. Starting out with a 500C he has also used 500 C/M and 500 EL/M film bodies. He now owns a digital H3D that he uses for his personal work. “I used that first 500 C right through the sixties, and would no doubt still have it now if it hadn’t been stolen,” he says. “I’m just not the kind of photographer that’s a gear freak: I’ve likewise only ever used four lenses in my career: I started out with the 50mm, 80mm and 150mm and added the 120mm when it came out. The 50mm has always been my favourite: it’s the one I used to photograph Hendrix and, although it
doesn’t distort things in an obvious way, the perspective slightly exaggerates the size of the head in relation to the rest of the body and creates the perfect rock and roll image.” The album cover was one of the most important vehicles for music photography during this time. The large 12x12-inch format was an impressive showcase for photography and design and was an important marketing tool. Of course, this shape is exactly the same aspect ratio as the Hasselblad’s 6x6cm negatives, which allowed Gered’s photography to be scaled up with no cropping required. ISSUE 118 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 031
LEFT: Gered never worked with The Beatles, but captured this portrait of Paul McCartney when he dropped into one of Marianne Faithfull’s recording sessions, being produced by Mick Jagger. CLOCKWISE RIGHT: More pictures from Gered’s archives: Generation X, the singer PP Arnold, Wings and Kate Bush
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“Yes, that was really important,” says Gered, “and it was one of the reasons I was drawn to the Hasselblad in the first place. The importance of the image on the record cover can’t be overstated: it would become an integral part of the album, and would hopefully communicate something about the concept behind the record. It also gave the buyer an opportunity to see the artist, and in those days you didn’t really see pictures of them in too many other places.” Gered’s contribution to the music business, and to photography in general, (he has also had a strong editorial and advertising career) led to him recently @PHOTOPROUK
being awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society, an accolade that means as much to him as anything he’s ever achieved. “It’s such a fantastic honour and I’m so proud to have received it,” he says. Indeed Gered’s HonFRPS is a mark of his status as one of the biggest names in the business and a fitting way to celebrate a truly extraordinary career. A career that allows so many of us to share remarkable experiences and personalities that would otherwise by now have faded into history. mankowitz.com @GeredMankowitz
MANKOWITZ ON SHOW Gered Mankowitz’s exhibition Off The Hook: The Rolling Stones runs from 1 April to 28 May at the Snap Gallery, London. Accompanying the show is a giant book entitled Backstage, which focuses on behindthe-scenes pictures from the now famous American tour. Limited to just 750 individually signed and numbered copies the book is available while stocks last from The Snap Gallery website priced at £395. snapgalleries.com/exhibitions
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World-renowned photographer and trainer Jerry Ghionis imparts marketing gems. Roger Payne hastily makes notes 018 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 115
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erry Ghionis has just woken up. He got back from Malaysia yesterday and has a couple of days at home in Melbourne before heading off to Brisbane for a daylong workshop. It’s par for the course for one of the world’s leading wedding photographers, who will also head to Los Angeles before he arrives at the SWPP convention in London later this month. Last year saw him sitting in airport departure lounges more than 100 times. Despite this hectic schedule, and the fact that he’s about to spend the next hour on a Skype call to yours truly, he’s surprisingly bubbly. After 22 years in the industry he remains infectiously upbeat about his job and life in general, a trait that has clearly been one of the keys to his considerable success. “You photograph the way you are as a person,” he tells me. “I consider myself a fun, passionate, fashionable kind of a guy so my work is fun, fashionable and passionate. If you’re a pain in the arse as a person there will be a little bit of that pain in your photographs.” 020 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 115
Jerry shot his first wedding when he was 20. Today, as well as capturing nuptials, he also shoots portraits, runs training courses both in person and online, enters competitions and has even created his own lighting solution: the Ice Light. “When I started you were the only photographer on a wedding day. It was very rare for other people to even have a camera,” he recalls. “There was an element of theatre to it - I used a Mamiya RB67 on a tripod with a big Metz flashgun, so there was respect for what you were doing. Now that we’re shooting digitally, and everyone over the age of 12 is using an iPhone, that mystery has gone.” Jerry’s statement will certainly ring true with wedding photographers across the globe and, just like the legions of hard-working pros, he fully appreciates the commercial challenges this creates. “I freak out about how many people enter this business prematurely,” he admits. “Back in the day, you would hold the bags of an experienced photographer for a couple of years before you took a picture. These days, most people are starting their own business within
PREVIOUS PAGE: From a fashion shoot for a dress designer in Beverly Hills LEFT ABOVE: Venice, Italy “Photographed through the textured pane of a window” ABOVE: “My favourite source of light is window light and this was taken using the light coming from a window” RIGHT: “Taken in my outdoor rooftop studio using a scrim overhead to diffuse the sunlight”
“I FREAK OUT ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE ENTER THIS BUSINESS PREMATURELY” WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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BELOW: “One of my favourite images of my career. This reminds me that the elusive iconic ‘wow’ photo that all photographers strive for is worth fighting for”
months of picking up a camera because they think it’s easy. “Does any other vocation start that quickly, for something so important?” he continues. “If you’re a hairdresser you’ll wash hair and clean up for years before you start cutting. I think photographers should attend as many weddings of different cultures as possible to understand them and personalities before they take a single picture. You’re not learning anything while you’re holding the camera.” Jerry’s final point is the most salient to any photographers looking for a recipe for success. “When people are working with me on a training course, I tell them only to take shots while I’m shooting if they want to see lighting set-ups they wish to replicate later. The rest of the time, they should be watching what I’m doing and how I’m interacting with the subject.” Interaction is one area where Jerry works wonders. Watch any videos of him at work and you’ll see a constant stream of communication between photographer and subject, a non-stop interaction that pays dividends. “The people that hire me want to look and feel beautiful. People tell me there is a lot of soul in my work, there is attention to story. It’s more than just glamorous wedding photography, I pay attention to emotion as well,” he divulges. “There are five steps to taking a great photograph. Inexperienced people will always look for the best location first, for me that comes second. I look for the best light first, for the best pocket of light. Light that will flatter the subject and communicate the message I’m trying to convey. If I find a great location first, I then want to find or create good light within that location. “Next I’m looking to give the couple a concept or action, something to do,” he continues. “I call that architecture; a position that gives them an excuse to be in that situation. So if it’s nice light on a nice wall, I need an excuse for them to be there - maybe the bride is picking up her dress, looking over her shoulder and laughing at her man while he is holding the dress and they’re sharing a laugh. “Next, I get my exposure, composition, lens choice and cropping right. Then comes the emotion. Whether it’s a laugh or a subtle, sexy look, whatever. This is what I think most 022 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 115
“IT’S MORE THAN JUST GLAMOROUS WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY, I PAY ATTENTION TO EMOTION”
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LEFT TOP: Candid moment with the groom’s mother at a UK wedding LEFT BELOW: “I’ve titled this ‘A rose between two thorns’” THIS PAGE TOP: “The waiter couldn’t stop his momentum even when he saw he’d interrupted the bride’s portrait” THIS PAGE BOTTOM: A Melbourne wedding
“THERE’S NO POINT IN SCOUTING LOCATIONS UNLESS IT’S THE EXACT TIME OF DAY YOU’RE GOING TO BE TAKING THE PICTURES”
people are missing - they’ll pose the image and photograph it without any emotion.” You’d expect that for Jerry to be able to deliver his standard of shots it would involve meticulous planning before and during the day. In reality, a recce has rarely happened before the wedding and much of it comes down to thinking on his feet. “I’ve always said that a wedding is a series of problems that you have to solve,” he confirms. “It’s fun and I love the challenge but that’s essentially it: we’re problem-solvers. I don’t think there’s any point in scouting locations unless you’re going at the exact time of day you’re going to be taking the pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I might arrive half an hour beforehand, but it always depends on light. “You have to set expectations. I used to reel off a list of locations we were going to visit and it was very structured. These days I prefer more freedom. I often say after the church and before the reception I want the couple to follow me in the car. As we drive from the church I’ll often stop four or five times because I’ve found a nice wall, or a nice pocket of light. “If a bride gives me a list of Pinterest photos I’ll say that I appreciate them as an idea of style but can’t reproduce what is a unique combination of this photographer, that dress, that girl, that hair, in that location, with that light. I’ll try to emulate the style, but they booked me because they liked what I showed them in the display albums and websites.” Naturally, Jerry’s images attract clients, but he’s also well aware that they are only one part of the booking equation. Clients need to feel special from first contact, where a switched-on photographer can make real in-roads. “Customer service in our industry is pretty poor. You could stand out just by responding to an email within 24 hours. Melissa [wife and business partner] gives the perfect first impression @PHOTOPROUK
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LEFT: A dramatic pose to show off the backless gown RIGHT: “A very simple, clean and elegant portrait. Probably one of the most delicate and exquisite faces I’ve ever photographed”
“SELL YOURSELF FIRST, THEN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, THEN YOUR VALUE”
as she’s one of those people whose personality translates through email. That is really important,” he reveals. “We like to get people on the phone very quickly to make them feel like they’re the only couple that exists. Personality, service and value are all critical and have equal importance to the photography. You should sell yourself first, then your photography, then your value because no one else can be you - you’re your most important asset. “When most photographers meet a client for the first time, they’ll sit them down with five albums in front of them. A bride will be feeling nervous, so she’ll pick up an album and skim through it, which makes it difficult for you to connect with her properly,” he elaborates. “I don’t have any albums out when they meet me, I want them to get to know me first and for me to get to know them. “I often ask photographers how they get to know their couples and they’ll often say ‘How did you meet? or ‘How did he propose?’. That just provokes a rehearsed answer that’s been told to countless people. I’ll go deeper and say something like ‘Tell me about the moment you looked at your fiancé and you knew you want to spend the rest of your life with him.’ By doing this I’ve had brides in tears before they’ve even looked at a photograph.” Jerry readily admits that having a bride cry over his photographs is the ultimate accolade for his wedding photography skills and he firmly believes that the way he approaches each wedding is what helps his work stand out. As a parting shot, I ask whether he gets nervous about shooting weddings. Surely even one of the world’s best wedding photographers gets butterflies on the day itself? “I don’t think I’ve ever got nervous on a wedding day,” he counters. “Being honest, I don’t think about the wedding until I knock on the door of the bride’s house. Once the door’s opened, I flick the switch, walk into the room and I’m ready to have some fun.” jerryghionis.com @jerryghionis Jerry will be speaking at the SWPP Convention on Thursday 21 January at the Hilton London Metropole Hotel. For details, go to www.swpp.co.uk/convention
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ON A W IN NING ST R E A K HARRY BORDEN
Just two photographers hanging out: Peter Dench spends 24 hours with lauded portrait photographer Harry Borden
he grandfather clock dispatches each tick with authority. At the top of each hour, its chimes reverberate in every corner of the extensive Devon farmhouse, bouncing off the framed Cecil Beaton and Tierney Gearon prints, pounding around the en-suite office that stores over 25,000 rolls of film in regimental black binders, skipping over the Sir Alex Fergusonsigned football shirt and ruffling the belly fur of resident golden retriever Sandy lying on her back in the living room. The photographer stirring in the master bedroom is acutely aware of the fickle and finite ticking of time. His time has been successfully deployed during a 25-year career that has made him one of the go-to portrait photographers of a generation. It’s 7am and time to get up. I slide out of the guest bed, which snappers Zed Nelson and his partner Maja Daniels slept in just a few nights before and join Harry Borden in the kitchen where he is slicing up home-
baked bread for marmalade on toast. Dressed casually in an inside-out, made-in-Vietnam, blue-and-whitehooped Gap T-shirt, knackered dark shorts and Croc shoes, he arranges the breakfast condiments on the table as obsessively as he would construct one of his portraits. As I sit sipping milky tea from a Charles and Diana wedding mug, listening to Borden’s rapid chatter, it’s clear that from the very beginning, Borden likes to win; not only win, but to out-skill, out-think, out-manoeuvre, out-earn and out-photograph his competitors. He won World Press Photo awards in 1997 and 1999 for portraits of entrepreneur Richard Branson and singer Björk respectively, won the Naylor Prize for Photography for a portrait of a farmer at National Open Art and has had work selected for the National Portrait Gallery’s annual photographic portrait prize, once for nine consecutive years. The National Portrait Gallery holds more than 100 examples of his
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work in their photographic collection and there aren’t many magazines that have not yet published his work. Borden’s most satisfying victory is, arguably, over his Jewish-American father. When he declared aspirations to be a photographer, he was told that he didn’t have what it takes. His father had worked as an ad man on Madison Avenue in the 1960s (one of the original Mad Men) working with great photographers, so he knew, and advised his son to take a job in a camera shop instead. I first met Borden in the early noughties at the offices of the Independent Photographers Group (IPG) the agency which represented us both. Borden didn’t frequent The Fox pub next door with myself, Marcus Bleasdale and Tom Stoddart; the clammy hand of mortality wasn’t one Borden was eager to shake too early. IPG photographers had to write their jobs down in an annual log book. I often checked how the others were doing: Borden’s list always had the most pages (win). IPG photographers prints were stored on shelves along the wall; Borden’s shelf was by far the longest (win). Borden hauls over a metal case and lifts the lid on how his career began in London, the city that he left aged six, moving from a posh preparatory school in Kensington to a free-schooldinners comprehensive in Devon and a childhood dominated by shovelling pig shit on the family farm. Advertising photographer Lester Bookbinder, who was in Devon visiting his father, advised Borden to move to London. He did, arriving in 1989 with an Ordinary National Diploma portfolio from Plymouth College of Art and Design and experience garnered from a brief stint working at a photographic studio in Exeter. His father’s comments galvanised Borden with a fierce desire to succeed. It didn’t take long, securing his first (£25 all-in fee) commission for the NME, a portrait of The Smiths guitarist Craig Gannon, published on 18 March 1989. I know this date is correct as it’s on the laminated, felt-mounted, tearsheet he hands me. His first NME cover, of Primal Scream singer-songwriter, Bobby Gillespie, also laminated (and I must confess, now a little sticky with marmalade), soon followed. Young Borden said yes to everything; he said a laminated yes to commissions for Truck magazine; Boardroom magazine and Recruitment Monitor magazine. Older Borden says yes to as many invitations as he can to talk at schools, colleges and universities, “sending into the world an army of admirers”. If Borden says no, it would open up an opportunity for another photographer @PHOTOPROUK
PREVIOUS SPREAD: Richard Branson ABOVE: Richard Harris LEFT: Joanna Lumley RIGHT: Zara Philips
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to say yes. Borden has nailed his place in portraiture history and confesses a desire for more reportage assignments. The results he shows me from a shoot of actor Tom Hiddleston in Guinea for UNICEF won’t trouble the behemoths of photojournalism just yet but, with a few more opportunities leveraged Borden’s way, they just might. His 288-page book on Holocaust survivors will be published in Spring 2017 by Octopus and he is making progress with his Single Parent Dads project. It’s time to pick up his young son, affectionately referred to as Bubba and his first child with his partner, the Panos Agency photographer, Abbie Trayler-Smith. Borden slides on a goldplated pair of prescription Ray Bans, a present to himself in the early 90s while on assignment in the USA, strides past the trampoline dominating the west garden #bouncingborden and does what all proud parents do – enthuses how 028 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
well their kid is doing and what amazing things they say. Arriving at Bubba’s carer’s garden gate, the junior Johnny Vegas lookalike bundles over wearing two stickers on his correctly worn redand-white-hooped T-shirt. I ask what the stickers are for. “One for doing wee, one for doing poo.” Amazing. Climbing into the battered silver Fiat Punto with a missing petrol flap, we nestle amongst the discarded waterproof clothing, iPod headphones, empty petrol can, empty milk carton, shopping receipts, antacid tablets and a wrapped tampon and swerve on over to visit Polly, the oldest of his three children from his 14-year marriage to Jane, a consummation that also produced Fred, 15, and Oscar, 12. Polly has had an offer to study BSc (Hons) Psychology at the prestigious Goldsmiths College in London (win), providing she gets the A level results she needs*. She’s just got up. Borden shows her a snap
on his phone of her and her exotically handsome boyfriend sleeping away another day. We ask if Polly can look after Bubba to allow us time to play a game of tennis, Polly asks if she can be paid for her time. On a bike ride along the fish-riddled canal #bikingborden that runs east to west along the bottom of Borden’s south-facing garden, he describes meeting his first wife Jane, a freespirited Gold Coast Australian and talented gymnast (win), in a Bethnal Green block of flats; of investing in his first flat in his early 20s and swiftly climbing the ladder to own several properties across London. As I cycle further away from the 7% proof Aspall Premier Cru Suffolk Cyder I have chilling in his fridge and watch the bouncing head of Bubba in the seat behind Borden get further ahead, I try to think more about his work than the stiffening of my calves and the thirst in my throat. WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
OPPOSITE PAGE: Spice Girls CLOCKWISE THIS PAGE: Michael Hutchene; Bjรถrk; Radiohead
NEXT SPREAD LEFT: Gillian Anderson RIGHT: Bill Nighy
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LEFT: Kevin with Toby and Ben from Borden’s Single Parent Dads project ABOVE: Holocaust survivor Felix Fibich from the book, Survivor
I’ve four of Borden’s prints framed in my lounge: musicians Liam Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker, Pete Doherty and his classic shot of Michael Hutchence, dangling a cigarette delicately over a Parisian balcony. I’ve a copy of Borden’s Starwhite book by my bed; 30 portraits of actors, authors, comedians, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, a singer and a chess player. The mainly square portraits vary from flash lit to daylight, close up to full length, colour to black & white, eyes open to eyes closed. The techniques may be different but they work as a style, a deceptively simple way of working that produces nonjudgemental results. Borden admits to being quite forceful when shooting his portraits and advises aspiring photographers to “calm the f*** down and own the situation; there are no happy accidents.” “This is great, isn’t it?” he suggests, slowing down to let me catch up “Make sure you cog down the gears before the steep narrow hill,” he advises (too late) and accelerates away to the top. I get off and push, a dozen middle-aged women witness my shame. Borden has moved on from the technical tricks that helped make him a name: cross-processing colour reversal film, ringflash and Technical Pan film processed through Rodinal liquid developer to a more understated
style, and we move on to Waitrose. Borden wanted to be like Brian Griffin and reveres photographers Diane Arbus, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon; he raves about comedian Stewart Lee and the work of Alma Haser: “a true artist”. Online photo-sharing social networking service Instagram, he believes, sorts those who can photograph, from those who can’t. It’s time for tennis; the court is located in the grounds of neighbours, Kevin and Joan. There’s a virtuousness in how Borden allocates his time, where every second counts and an efficiency in the way he plays tennis, where every ball counts. I watch this confident, naturalised Brit dispatch a range of measured shots across the net. I’m outskilled, out-thought, out-manoeuvred and out-played. Result: an emphatic Borden WIN. harryborden.co.uk Harry-Borden
Survivor is the result of five years’ spent photographing survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. In 2014, it was shortlisted for the European Publishers Award and will be published in 2017. octopusbooks.co.uk ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 033
Only here for the gear
Only here for the gear ROGER PAYNE
Faster, more powerful and with higher resolutions, 2016 is already shaping up to be a cracking year for new camera launches
f you’re currently trying to overcome Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS), you might want to hibernate for the next 11 months or so. We may be less than a tenth of the way into 2016, but there has already been a flurry of equipment launches from key manufacturers, many of which are aimed squarely at the professional sector. And with the biennial gear-fest that is the Photokina show happening in Cologne this September, the new gear juggernaut is only going to grow considerably larger and faster as we roll through the year.
Huge technological steps forward may be long gone, but nonetheless, the latest cameras from Nikon, Fujifilm and Olympus all demonstrate how these manufacturers are honing their kit to help us get better results. You can find out about all the key specification developments in the cameras in this special feature. Where possible, we’ve also spoken to working professionals that have already had their hands on the kit, albeit in pre-production form. But beware, turning the page could end up being costly. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
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Only here for the gear
Nikon has unveiled its fastest and most powerful DSLR to date, but you’ll have to wait until March to get your hands on one
We can’t start our new gear smorgasbord with anything other than the D5, which was unveiled at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. While it doesn’t represent a quantum leap in terms of performance, it still makes some sizeable strides. It now has enough power from the new EXPEED 5 processor to capture an Olympic 100m sprint from start to finish at 12 frames-per-second without pausing for breath, shooting 14-bit Raw files. Equally headline grabbing is the camera’s low-light capability, with the autofocus system now equipped to function in virtual darkness and an expandable ISO capability to match. Two versions of the body will be available; one with UDMA7-compatible dual CF card slots and the other with dual XQD slots. The price is the same for both and pre-orders are being taken with priority given to existing Nikon Professional Services (NPS) members.
4K UHD (3840x2160 pixels) video is available on the D5, although it can only capture the footage in three-minute bursts. This limit protects the sensor from overheating and, in reality, is probably enough for its intended use by sports and news photographers. Full HD and HD are also available.
NIKON RUNS 4K
The D5’s headline 12fps frame rate is with AF and AE active. If you don’t need these, the rate increases to 14fps with the mirror locked up. There’s also a quiet continuous shooting option at up to 3fps. The buffer is good to hold 200 14-bit uncompressed Raw files before writing.
LOW-LIGHT LUXURY The D5’s autofocus system will continue to operate in light levels as low as -4EV. Native ISO sensitivity runs to 102,400, but this is expandable by up to five stops with the ‘Hi5’ setting delivering the equivalent to ISO 3,280,000. 1/2000sec at f/22 at night anyone?
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Only here for the gear
There are a total of 153 autofocusing points, of which 55 are selectable. Of the 153, 99 are cross-type, with a number of these at the edges of the imaging area for easier detection of peripheral subjects. Thanks to the new AF ASIC unit, the AF system gets maximum computing power at all times.
ABOVE: The 3.2in rear LCD now has full touchscreen capabilities and 2.36 million dots
ADVANCES IN AUTOFOCUS
ABOVE: Resolution is 20.8 megapixels, which produces images measuring 5568x3712 pixels
ABOVE: The D5 supports radio control of flashguns, which adds extra versatility
SPECIFICATIONS STREET PRICE Â£5199 body only RESOLUTION 20.8 megapixels SENSOR SIZE/TYPE 35.9x23.9mm (FX) CMOS IMAGE SIZE 5568x3712 pixels ISO SENSITIVITY 100-102,400, expandable down to 50 and up to 3,280,000 equivalents AF POINTS 153 (including 99 cross-type and 15 that support f/8). 55 selectable points (35 cross-type, 9 that support f/8) AF MODES Single-servo (AF-S), continuousservo AF-C, automatic predictive, manual
LOOK, NO WIRES! Along with the D5, Nikon also announced the optional WT-6 Wireless Transmitter, which enables wireless transfer of images to a computer up to 200m away. The same device also allows the camera to be controlled wirelessly with the optional Camera Control Pro 2 software.
SHUTTER SPEED RANGE 30secs to 1/8000sec, plus B and T. Flash sync at 1/250sec FRAME RATE 14fps (CH with mirror up), 3fps in quiet continuous mode METERING MODES 3D Matrix, centreweighted, spot, highlight-weighted VIDEO 4K UHD, Full HD, HD STORAGE MEDIA Dual slot UDMA 7 CF or XQD DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 160x158.5x92mm WEIGHT 1405g (body, battery and 2x CF cards)
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Only here for the gear
Fujifilm X-Pro2 To mark the fifth anniversary of X-series, Fujifilm plumbs a new sensor, viewfinder and processor into an established favourite Five years ago, Fujifilm was barely on the professional photographer’s radar. Specialist medium-format film cameras aside, the company was largely selling budget compacts and bridge cameras to beginners and enthusiasts. But then the fixed lens X100 was unveiled, revealing a brave new world for the company that revolved around classic design and outstanding picture quality. Unsurprisingly, despite handling and performance quirks, pros started to get hooked. In form factor, the X-Pro2 is remarkably similar to the X-Pro1 that arrived in March 2012. But don’t let the similarity of looks trick you into thinking this is a lightly breathed upon update. It’s certainly more evolution than revolution, but that’s not to say that the X-Pro2 isn’t a camera to get excited about. In fact, if you’ve been questioning whether you should invest in a mirrorless system, this could be the camera that helps you come to a firm decision.
Until now, most X-series models have featured a 16.3-megapixel sensor. The X-Pro2, however, has a 24.3-megapixel X-Trans III sensor, which gives greater cropping flexibility. It uses Fujifilm’s unique pixel array, so we’d expect the results to be on a par with a full-frame DSLR sensor.
PROCESSING POWERHOUSE A larger sensor demands a more powerful processor and Fujifilm has delivered with the X Processor Pro. Claimed to be four times faster than the current EXR Processor II, it not only handles the larger file sizes, it also speeds up general operation, including autofocusing and EVF performance.
DESIGN DELIGHTS The X-Pro2 has a very classic design reminiscent of film cameras. To enhance that even further, the ISO control has been built into the shutter speed dial and there’s now a centre-weighted metering option. A new focus lever also makes it easy to quickly select one of the 77 AF points.
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Only here for the gear
Weather resistance has been added to the body by virtue of 61 rubberised seals. These combine to make the X-Pro2 dust and water resistant, plus it can work in temperatures as low as -10°C. The body is also now made from four magnesium alloy pieces (three on the X-Pro1) so it’s more robust.
ABOVE: The X-Pro2 is the first mirrorless model to feature dual SD card slots
REIGNS WHEN IT POURS
ABOVE: A new Film Simulation mode - ACROS mimics the tones of the old Neopan emulsion
ABOVE: An improved GUI provides a smarter menu design along with a ‘My Menu’ feature
SPECIFICATIONS STREET PRICE £1349 body only RESOLUTION 24.3 megapixels SENSOR SIZE/TYPE 23.6x15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS III IMAGE SIZE 6000x4000 pixels ISO SENSITIVITY 200-12,800, expandable down to 100 and up to 51,200 equivalents AF POINTS 273, including 77 user selectable AF MODES Single AF, Continuous AF with Single, Zone and Wide/Tracking modes, manual
FINDER’S A KEEPER The X-Pro2’s Advanced Hybrid Multi viewfinder combines optical and electronic finders with a rangefinder capability so you get the best of all worlds. It’s very similar to that in the fixed lens X100T, but has been completely re-engineered here. Dioptre corrections are also now provided.
SHUTTER SPEED RANGE 30secs to 1/8000sec, plus B. Flash sync at 1/250sec MAXIMUM FRAME RATE 8fps METERING MODES 256-zone metering – multi, spot, average and centre-weighted options EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5 stops VIDEO Full HD, HD at up to 60p STORAGE MEDIA Dual slot SD, SDHC and SDXC, UHS-II compatible (slot 1 only) DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 140.5x82.8x45.9mm WEIGHT 495g (body, battery and card)
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Only here for the gear
Olympus PEN-F Olympus goes back to its roots in terms of design, but looks to the future for specification in its latest compact system camera While we wouldn’t suggest that this camera is going to be the mainstay of any professional photographer’s kit, the PEN-F is likely to be high on many ‘wants’ lists by virtue of its classic good looks. Borrowing heavily from the original PEN-F that was launched in 1963, this new model also suggests that Fujifilm isn’t going to have things all its own way in the retro camera stakes. Technologically speaking, the increase in resolution on the Micro Four Thirds sensor is probably the most significant change. The PEN-F is the first model to offer the new 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor, but we’re sure it won’t be the last. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the same sensor migrating over to the OM-D system soon. It’s also interesting to see Olympus clearly trying to differentiate itself from Panasonic’s compact system cameras models with which it shares the Micro Four Thirds standard. Video capability, for example, on the PEN-F is not one of its major spec highlights.
Fresh from the OM-D system, the PEN-F features 5-axis Image Stabilisation, which, the company claims, is the best in the world. A gyroscopic sensor picks up movement in five directions and offers up to five stops of compensation to reduce camera shake.
SAY GOODBYE TO SHAKE
CONTROL YOURSELF A new creative dial on the front of the camera offers quick access to a range of features, including new Mono and Colour Profile controls. These allow you to fine-tune black & white and colour image capture by offering control over gradation curves, shading and saturation.
50MP RESOLUTION The 20.3-megapixel Live MOS sensor also offers a 50-megapixel highresolution function. The PEN-F takes a series of shots, precisely shifting the sensor between each frame to build up a larger image. The frames are then stitched together. Handy, but only suitable for static subjects.
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Only here for the gear
The PEN-F’s design takes a number of strong cues from the original model, including the ‘OLYMPUS PEN’ inscription. The dials are milled aluminium, while the casing is metal with a classic ‘crackled’ finish on the body. Interestingly, not a single screw head is visible on the body.
ABOVE: For finder fans, the rangefinder-style EVF boasts 2.36 million dots
A DESIGN CLASSIC?
ABOVE: The PEN-F’s top-plate features classic, milled aluminium dials
ABOVE: Wi-Fi functionality is enhanced with the OI Share v2.6 smartphone app
SPECIFICATIONS STREET PRICE £999 body only RESOLUTION 20.3 megapixels SENSOR SIZE/TYPE 17.3x13mm (Micro Four Thirds) Live MOS IMAGE SIZE 5184x3888 pixels
SCREEN IF YOU WANT TO WORK FASTER The PEN-F’s articulated three-inch screen has 1037k dots and touchscreen functionality, which includes the ability to quickly change focus points. If you prefer using a finder, the camera offers a rangefinder-style electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million dots and 0.62x image magnification.
ISO SENSITIVITY 80-25,600 AF POINTS 800, 81 user selectable AF MODES Single AF, Continuous AF, Single AF + MF, AF Tracking, manual SHUTTER SPEED RANGE 30secs to 1/16,000sec, plus B. Flash sync at 1/250sec MAXIMUM FRAME RATE 10fps METERING MODES 324-zone metering - multi, spot and centre-weighted options EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5 stops VIDEO Full HD, HD at up to 60p, 4K time-lapse STORAGE MEDIA SD, SDHC and SDXC, UHS-II compatible DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 124.8x72.1x37.3mm WEIGHT 427g (body, battery and card)
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Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
Canon EOS-1D X Mark II The EOS-1D X Mark II is Canon’s fastest and most powerful DSLR yet. We look at the detail and speak to photographers who’ve used it
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IN ASSOCIATION WITH
SPECIFICATIONS STREET PRICE £5199 body only RESOLUTION 20.2 megapixels SENSOR SIZE/TYPE 35.9x23.9mm CMOS IMAGE PROCESSOR Dual DIGIC 6+ IMAGE SIZE 5472x3648 pixels AF SYSTEM/POINTS 61 points – max of 41 cross-type AF points including 5 dual cross-type at f/2.8 and 21 cross-type at f/8. Number of cross-type points depends on the lens in use. AF WORKING RANGE -3 to 18EV AF MODES One Shot, AI Servo AF METERING MODES 360,000 pixel RGB+IR metering sensor with 216 zones offering evaluative, partial (6.2%), spot, AF point linked spot, multi-spot and centre-weighted metering
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5 stops in ⅓ or ½ stop increments, AEB +/-3 stops in ⅓ or ½ stop increments ISO SENSITIVITY 100-51,200, expandable to 50 and 409,600 SHUTTER SPEED RANGE 30secs-1/8000sec, plus B DEPTH-OF-FIELD PREVIEW Yes LCD 3.2in touchscreen Clear View LCD II with approx 1620k dots FLASH SYNC 1/250sec FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-3 stops in ⅓ increments with EX series Speedlites EXPOSURE MODES Program AE, shutterpriority AE, aperture-priority AE, manual, bulb, custom x3 MAX FRAME RATE Approx 14fps with full AF/AE tracking for unlimited JPEGs and 170 images with CFast 2.0 card. Max 16fps in Live View mode with mirror locked up and exposure and AF locked in the first frame VIDEO 4K (4096x2160 pixels) at 60p and 30p, Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) at 120p, 60p, 30p, 25p and 24p. Max duration of 29mins, 59secs DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 158x167.6x82.6mm WEIGHT 1340g (body only)
IN-ACTION RESULTS, PAGES 64 & 68
or the past seven years, Canon and Nikon have been indulging in a very slow game of flagship DSLR tennis. In 2009, Nikon served up the D3s, with Canon then volleying the EOS-1D Mark IV back a matter of days after. The rally continued three years later when the Nikon D4 and Canon EOS-1D X hit the shelves and now, in 2016, shots have been fired again; first by Nikon with the D5 (see last issue) and now by Canon with the EOS-1D X Mark II. While there’s little point in comparing the two models, chances are you will be a Nikon or Canon user with no intention to swap, it’s interesting to note how the two companies are refining their respective technologies to produce sharper, faster and – ultimately – better cameras. And Canon’s latest tweaks appear to have produced a DSLR that’s likely to moisten the palms of many a professional. If you refer to the comparison panel (page 70) you’ll see that major changes from the EOS-1D X may, at first, appear quite subtle. But in much the same way that squeezing extra horsepower into an already high-performing supercar can involve extensive alterations to multiple components, finding extra frames-persecond and a more precise AF system is not simply a question of bolting in a new piece of tech. These things take time, and in the years between the original 1D X being introduced and the Mark II version getting set to make its debut in May, Canon has clearly been keeping its designers busy.
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Canon EOS-1DX Mark II
“I’VE USED ONE” ANDY ROUSE WILDLIFE AND AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHER Andy has seen both sides of the Nikon/ Canon divide. Initially a Canon user, he made the move to Nikon, but then switched back when the EOS-1D X was announced. He got a pre-production Mark II version back in mid-December but, considering how happy he was with its predecessor, opened the box with an air of scepticism…
How were you processing the images? With Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP). I haven’t used it much in the past, but this latest version is excellent. I loaded the files in, did very little apart from using the built-in noise reduction and was impressed with the quality. DPP does take some of the noise out, but whatever it’s doing it’s very good at it.
PROFESSIONAL PHOTO: When a new model
How did you find the autofocus performance? Kingfishers are very fast and I’d never tried autofocusing on them with any other camera as I know they can’t keep up, but the 1D X Mark II did get a few. I did use the autofocusing on the magpie; another very difficult subject. The AF was very fast – it locks and holds the focusing point much quicker and is discernibly better than the 1D X. On subsequent shoots, the f/8 support was great. I often use a 2x teleconverter so being able to move the focus point around the frame and know that the focus will be accurate is superb. I’m not a live view shooter generally, but I did an owl workshop a few days ago and I shot a lot on live view and it worked really well. The face tracking was particularly useful, it was quick and responsive giving me another option as sometimes I don’t always want to lift my head to the look through the viewfinder so I can keep an eye on the bigger picture.
comes out, what do you look for first? ANDY ROUSE: Whether I can instantly go out that minute and use it. Instruction manuals are no use to me. My big fear when a manufacturer makes changes to a camera is that they’re going to mess it up - it has happened. I think the EOS-1D X is the best camera in the world with the best AF system in the world, so if Canon was going to build on that I didn’t want them to make mistakes. As soon as I got the camera, I went out with it that night. I shot at Tower Bridge and various other London locations just to convince myself that everything was OK. And were you convinced? I shot at ISO 200 and the quality was astounding. The level of detail is way beyond what the 1D X was capable of. The most obvious difference was in the shadow detail where you’d normally get some noise, even at 200. I applied HDR to the images and found that I could brighten the shadows without any noise appearing. They sharpened well too and the colours looked great straight out of the camera. PP
After this initial trip, what did you shoot? It was the worst time of year for me to test the camera – hard for wildlife and no one was flying air-to-air because it’s so cold, so I went and photographed kingfishers. You need 1/2000sec to capture them and you have to shoot at f/11 and above, which is tough enough in sunlight, but I spent three days in torrential rain. With the EOS-1D X, ISO 8000 was the limit, but on the first day with the Mark II I shot at ISO 10,000 and 16,000 and the results looked more like those I’d get between 4000 and 8000 on the original. To get the extra speed, I was underexposing by two stops and then lightening the shots in post-production, but you can see the results here. There’s no colour noise in the shadows at all; there is pattern noise but I like that because it’s the same as film. When I went back the next day, the weather was even worse so I shot at ISO 25,600 and 32,000 but I still got images that could be used commercially up to A2. PP
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What else stands out for you? I shot some video of the kingfishers Full HD at 120 frames-per-second and it looks amazing. Early tests with 4K are equally impressive. I was also heartened to see the exposure simulation capability, very handy when you’re using filters, and the viewfinder leveller is handy too. In general, I’ve also found the camera to be better balanced. PP
Overall impressions? There are many functions that aren’t new, but they’ve been tweaked and are right. Canon has produced an epic camera and I’m constantly finding new things to like about it. The fact that it gives me a fighting chance to get good pictures is great and when I do get the shots, even at high ISO, the quality is there. Modern pros don’t know what they’re going to be doing from one day to the next and they do need one camera that’s going to do it all – including video. This is that camera. PP
ABOVE AND RIGHT: Even though kingfishers are notoriously too fast for autofocusing, Andy Rouse did try it with this kingfisher, and the EOS-1D X Mark II caught a few shots as the bird emerged from the water. With the magpie, AF locked on fast. FAR RIGHT: Shooting in abysmal weather, the EOS-1D X Mark II turned in results with no colour, even at high ISO settings.
andyrouse.co.uk @wildmanrouse andyrousephoto WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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Canon EOS-1DX Mark II
“I’VE USED ONE” EDDIE KEOGH SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHER Eddie has been shooting sport for the past 30 years, covering a wide range of disciplines including rugby, tennis, athletics and – his first love – football as well as shooting for corporate clients such as Rolex, Rolls-Royce and O2. When we spoke to him about the EOS-1D X Mark II he’d only had limited time with the camera using it to capture indoor cycling and the opening weekend of the Six Nations rugby championships. He was also about to use it again, to shoot the FA Cup replay between West Ham and Liverpool for the Reuters agency, which turned out to be quite eventful.
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to use it at the opening games of the Six Nations. I went to Scotland v England and then Ireland v Wales. In Murrayfield, the floodlights are very average at best, but the camera coped extremely well. The original 1D X is a great camera – it was a step up at the time and your expectations in terms of what’s possible are met. It’s only when you get given a new camera and it’s explained what it can do that you realise how much it’s going to help your picture-taking. PP What do you think are the key gains for sports photographers? EK Two things are really helping me. The extra frames-per-second is crucial, although that’s no good if I’m shooting 14 out of focus frames-per-second. But the focusing is faster and the tracking seems much better. These are the biggest things that will affect my day-to-day work because I’m getting more pictures and that means more choice when it comes to editing.
I’m working at a level where even the slightest thing makes a difference. Tonight [at West Ham v Liverpool], I’ll be sitting literally shoulder to shoulder with other agency photographers and my images need to stand out. We have this thing called ‘Dangle by the Angle’, which essentially means you can be beaten by another photographer sitting three metres to your left because in his picture of the action the referee’s arse wasn’t in the way or he could see the action better. In football and rugby there are a lot of people on the pitch and very often your view can be obscured by someone. West Ham is one of the worst places to shoot because you’re positioned where the substitutes warm up, so you can have a third of the game when you have people stretching in front of you – they don’t care that you’re trying to take pictures -– so sometimes you can get a goal picture and other times there will be someone standing in front of you. If I’m shooting more images more quickly, WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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© EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS
© EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS
© EDDIE KEOGH/REUTERS
ABOVE: Two images that show the quality on tap from the EOS-1D X Mark II. The full frame is on the left and while the one on the right is heavily cropped, it’s still perfectly suitable for publishing. LEFT: The EOS-1D X Mark II improves the chances of getting a good shot by 50%, according to Eddie’s calculations. FAR RIGHT: Under Murrayfield’s “very average” floodlights, Eddie reports that the Mark II coped very well.
though, I’m more likely to get the shot and the 1D X Mark II gives me that advantage with its frame rate. PP What else does the frame rate mean in practical terms? EK If someone is diving through the air going for a ball, instead of getting four frames with the 1D X, I might get six with the Mark II - it’s improving my chances of getting a good shot by maybe 50%. You’d be crazy not to use the 14fps because there’s no disadvantage – you’re giving yourself many more options. PP What about the focusing system improvements? EK The camera certainly tracks action better. At the Six Nations, I was shooting sequences of players running or being tackled and they were all sharp. Most of my shots are taken using the central focusing point, but I can confidently move the focusing point left and right depending on where the player is in the
frame and still get sharp images. If I’m shooting someone on the left wing, for example, I’ll move the spot to the left and leave space to his right because I know someone is going to come in and challenge him. PP Speed is of the essence with your business, so how do the FTP and wireless options help? EK I didn’t use the new wireless transmitter at the Six Nations, but Canon tells me it’s 3x faster than the current one that I have used – this will make a big difference. The extra flexibility with the FTP connections is also welcome. I’m heading to West Ham today, then I’ll be at Arsenal next week, then Chelsea and, as I work for Reuters, I also have to send to lots of different FTP addresses depending on the subjects I’m shooting. Before we only had five settings and it was a bit of a pain – I had to copy a setting, keep it on my laptop and then when I finished the job I’d re-install the old one. But now, 20 should be enough.
PP What other features does the EOS-1D X Mark II have that will help you to work better in the future? EK I like the fact that the camera feels the same; it’s like working with the 1D X. The buttons feel different and the card door feels much better now. I’m also a fan of the Crop and Send function. It’s rare that a sports picture is put out without being cropped by the agency. With the 1D X the whole frame would go, arrive at Reuters and someone on the picture desk would crop it, lighten it, sharpen it and whatever else it needed to get it sent out. Now, I can crop it myself in camera, then resave the JPEG on the card and send that new file, which also has my copyright information embedded in the metadata. This is a great help if I want to crop a picture in a certain way.
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Canon EOS-1D X Mark II
“NO MATTER WHICH WAY YOU CUT IT, THIS IS AN ASTONISHING PERFORMANCE” Speed demon The EOS-1D X Mark II will appeal to a wide range of professionals, but there can be little doubt that sports and actions shooters are among the primary targets. The 1D series has always been about speed and the frame rate from the new model is, unsurprisingly, the fastest yet. At full tilt, it will capture 14 frames-persecond with both autofocus and auto exposure active throughout. Switch to live view shooting with the mirror locked up and the AF and AE settings locked in from the first frame and this jumps to 16 frames-per-second. No matter which way you cut it, this is an astonishing performance and has to be witnessed to be believed. Perhaps even more impressive, however, is the fact that this isn’t just for a short burst. With a CFast 2.0 card in the primary card slot you can make the most of this speed for an unlimited number of JPEGs or up to 170 Raw files. The CFast card compatibility is in part responsible for this performance, helping with the buffer capacity – at 440MB/sec it offers write speeds almost three times faster than a CF card – but the inclusion of the new Dual DIGIC 6+ image processor should also take some credit as it deals with the high-speed signal read-out from the sensor and chunks through the data to write it to the card. 066 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
While we’re heaping praise on the Dual DIGIC 6+ processor, it should be acknowledged that it also conjures up the capability to deliver 4K video at 60p for up to 29 minutes, 59 seconds and captures Full HD footage at up 120p for high-quality slow motion. Individual 8.8-megapixel frames can also be grabbed from 4K movies. The very process of shooting at 14 frames-per-second is a little mindboggling when you consider that there are some mechanical processes at work to make this all happen, not least of which is the reflex mirror which has to shift out of the way at the same rate of knots. The mirror speed is also integral to AF accuracy, which is why a new rapid return mirror has been developed. Mirror ‘bounce’ has to be kept to a minimum to make this combination achievable so the 1D X MkII uses two motors; one to drive the mirror, the other to cock the shutter. Both motors also feature elastic floating supports so users feel less vibration and the action is quieter. The other half of the speed equation is, of course, the focusing performance and new systems and algorithms are at work to help deliver that headline frame rate. The previous AI Servo III system recognised when you were photographing a subject that was accelerating or decelerating. The 1D X MkII features
ABOVE: The soon-to-be-released WFT-E8 transmitter will offer EOS-1D X Mark II users the faster 802.11ac standard, plus the ability to start/stop movie recording through the Canon Camera Connect app.
AI Servo III+ which uses information gathered from the gyro sensor in the lens (assuming it has one) to work out when you’re panning. From this information it uses an algorithm to ensure you get better results. But you don’t have to be panning to get improved focusing results. A new algorithm, coupled to the EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition system, improves tracking capabilities, especially in situations where the subject may suddenly change direction. Read Eddie Keogh’s interview (next page) to see how well this works in reality. WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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jessops.com Sensor refinements So let’s start with the full-frame sensor, which on paper simply has a few more megapixels – 20.2 compared to 18.1 on the 1D X. But, in the spirit of the rest of the camera, there’s much more to it than that. Technically speaking, the dynamic range on the sensor remains unchanged, but now there’s reduced read and fixed pattern noise across the ISO range. The benefit of this comes in post-production where you can boost shadow areas without them becoming full of noise. So, if you tend to underexpose as a rule, or shoot in high contrast conditions, you should be able to recover shadow detail more easily. While post-production will help you get more from the shadows, there are some additional functions working hard to help you get better results straight from the camera and they could cut down your computer time. The original 1D X had peripheral brightness and chromatic aberration corrections to help iron out lens related issues in-camera and these have now been embellished with the distortion correction function from the EOS 7D Mark II and a new diffraction correction that should combat the drop in image quality when using smaller apertures. Lens correction functions that were previously only available through DPP – Canon’s proprietary Raw converter – have now been incorporated into the camera and
can be applied either as JPEGs are shot or through in-camera Raw processing. In fact, it’s notable the amount of effort that’s been put into producing good JPEGs from the 1D X MkII, which is presumably in response to many photo agencies now making it their file format of choice. Given this, it’s no surprise to see the Fine Detail Picture Style plucked from the EOS 5DS and 5DS R, which emphasises detail and gradation of tones; the new option of Ambience Priority white-balance, which more easily eliminates the warmth from tungsten lighting; and Flicker detection that counteracts the subtle variances in light levels when shooting under artificial light. On a different note, but still sensor related, photographers who use the 1D X MkII for extended times in hostile environments may also want to make use of the hot pixel remapping function, which is integrated into the sensor cleaning system options. This feature isn’t designed to cut down visits to your local Canon service centre, more to deal with the issue if you’re thousands of miles away from one. Use the camera for prolonged periods in hot climates and there is the chance the sensor could develop a hot pixel or two. With this function, you can remap the sensor to remove it temporarily so your assignment isn’t affected. Look at it as the photographic equivalent of a run flat tyre.
BELOW: Canon wasn’t intent on creating a completely new experience for EOS-1D X users. The Mark II will be familiar, but subtle changes, such as deepening and narrowing the handgrip, demonstrate that the company has listened to its customer base.
“ADDITIONAL FUNCTIONS WORKING HARD TO HELP YOU GET BETTER RESULTS”
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© KATE HOPEWELL SMITH
Poles apart What to charge
KATE HOPEWELL-SMITH & DOUG STUART IAN FARRELL
When it comes to wedding photography, charging more and shooting less is a good way of avoiding the competitive middle ground – but it’s not the only way. Those working at the budget end have managed this too, and have more in common with luxury snappers than you might think 035 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
t’s often said that the middle ground of any market is the hardest place to do business. Take airlines, for instance: budget carriers such as Ryanair and EasyJet have eroded the market share of many long-established names, like British Airways and Quantas, while those carriers that have developed the first class and luxury travel parts of their business – Emirates, Singapore, etc. – are doing better. You see the same thing happening with supermarkets – M&S and Waitrose cater for the tastes of those willing to spend a bit more on their weekly shop, while the discounters Lidl and Aldi are cleaning up at the budget end. Middle-market names like Tesco and Morrisons are meanwhile left floundering. Photographers are not immune to this phenomenon. In fact Kate Hopewell-Smith – who trains social
photographers as well as running her own highly successful photography business – says that the supermarket analogy is particularly apt. “I always say to photographers that you need to decide whether you are an Aldi or a Waitrose,” she says. “One day, after working in the middle market for a while, I decided I wanted to be Waitrose – though I think I might have turned into a Harvey Nichols since then!” Hopewell-Smith says that the difficulties associated with working in the middle market stem from too many photographers offering the same kind of product. “These businesses, they compete almost entirely on price. Whereas companies at the top end of the scale also have a brand, which helps consumers differentiate between them,” she says. “It’s a mistake to think that the quality of your photography is all you need to WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
“IT’S A MISTAKE TO THINK THE QUALITY OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY IS ALL YOU NEED TO DIFFERENTIATE” © KATE HOPEWELL SMITH
her prices up to this level that she’d frighten off all of her customers? “There is always going to be a drop off in the number of enquiries when you make a move like that,” she says. “I get phone calls from people who’ve heard about me through world of mouth because I shot their friends’ wedding a few years ago, and they’ll say ‘Wow! I didn’t know they spent that much on photography!’ And I say ‘Well, they didn’t. My business has changed a lot since then.’ But you have to make the commitment and stick to it – be confident. “After a move like that it’s crucial to get your message to your new target audience. I always think you need two to three of the right type of client to get a kind of ripple effect going and the word of mouth started. That’s not an overnight thing either, it can take years. Sometimes impatience makes people wobble a bit.” At the top end of the market, Kate’s pricing is now more transparent than it used to be. “People think that clients like this are happy to just throw money at things, but they aren’t. They want to know what they are spending their money on, and they never want to feel fleeced,” she says. THIS PAGE: Kate’s distinctive style attracts a highpaying clientele, but they still want value for money.
© KATE HOPEWELL SMITH
differentiate you from the competition, and that your clients will pick you because your imagery is better than the rest. People who are not used to buying photography will struggle to make a decision based on portfolios alone. They don’t recognise the same elements in a photograph as the photographer does – it’s not their language.” The solution to this, says HopewellSmith, lies in branding. “It’s like me and wine: I love wine, but I know very little about it which means I don’t like buying it and it all becomes very stressful. So, once I’ve narrowed things down according to price, I make a decision based on the label – which is part of the brand. It’s exactly the same with photographers – with a brand you are giving your customers something else to base their decision on. “When you have a brand you are marketing to fewer people – a niche audience, in fact – but you are talking directly to them in a language that they truly understand. A brand is about more than a logo and a website. It’s about your tone of voice, your values, that the way you present yourself. And it’s also about your pricing.” A Hopewell-Smith wedding will set you back north of two or three grand. Was she nervous when she put
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© DOUG STUART © DOUG STUART
THIS PAGE: Doug Stuart caters for budget end of the market – and is clearly having a lot of fun in the process. He’s already secured enough bookings to keep him financially secure in 2016, but he’s confident he’ll get more work throughout the year.
© DOUG STUART
Working to a budget Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of photographers who are fine-tuning their business to cater for a very different type of consumer. Type ‘cheap wedding photographers’ into an Internet search engine and you’ll get a lot of hits. Many photographers are not even particularly subtle about the fact, with domains like cheap-wedding-photographer.co.uk in existence and slogans boasting the “Best Cheap Wedding Photographers Throughout the UK”. One such photographer making a living at the budget end of the wedding business is Doug Stuart, who discovered photography as a creative outlet as a teenager and entered the wedding market in 2008. His packages start at just £289 for two hours of coverage, with all pictures delivered as files on a memory stick. “That’s about enough time for a registry office wedding, though more usually I shoot for around four hours, which costs £450,” he says. “I’ve been going for a while now, and I’m broadly settled. My prices have stabilised now, though they creep up slowly over the years.” For Doug providing an affordable service is something that’s important to him – both personally and professionally. “Often I get customers who are very grateful, as they thought they weren’t going to be able to get a photographer at all, let alone someone they can have confidence in. I wouldn’t feel comfortable charging thousands of pounds – it’s not who I am and it’s not in line with my values. It’s not how I want to do business.” But don’t think that this means Doug is struggling to get by. For him, the business of budget weddings is booming. “There is such demand for affordable wedding photography that the work is very easy to get,” he says. “People find me on Google, which means I don’t have to do any other marketing, like wedding fairs and advertising. That saves me a fortune, which I can pass on to the clients. “A few weeks ago, at the end of January, I got to the minimum number of bookings I need to make a living for the year, which gives me significant peace of mind. Other bookings will continue to come in throughout the year, including a lot of last-minute jobs.” But is Doug doing himself out of after-sales opportunities, like prints and albums, by handing over files on a stick? He would say not: “People occasionally come back for albums, but those with a small budget don’t often buy such things. Putting albums together takes a lot of time too, and with the volume of work I have I’m happy not to sit for too long
© DOUG STUART
© KATE HOPEWELL SMITH
“BOTH ARE LETTING THEIR PERSONALITIES AND CORE VALUES DICTATE HOW THEY DO BUSINESS” in front of the computer; I’d rather be behind the camera.” Doug confesses he doesn’t get how photographers at the top end of the business can get away with charging such amounts, but his suspicions that it’s more to do with presentation than photography agree well with Kate’s belief that brand is everything in the luxury sector. “I don’t really see how people can charge these colossal amounts – sometimes its down to presentation,” Doug says. “Of course many of these photographers are very good, but I know of photographers who are expensive and who aren’t very good too. I think they’re just good at convincing people. “I’ve never been a great salesman; my passion is for taking pictures, and I’m quite unpretentious in that respect. It suits my personality: I want to offer a straightforward, honest, good quality services. And that suits a lot of customers too.” Poles apart? On the face of it Doug and Kate are so different in their business models that you might expect a fight to break out if you were to put them together in the same room. But dig a little deeper and you’ll see that these two photographers have more in common than you might initially think. Both have abandoned the competitive middle ground in order to specialise in a smaller part of the market. Both are doing this using a brand – one based on luxury, the other on value. And both photographers are letting their personalities and core values dictate how they do business, which means they come across a genuine, passionate, caring people to their customers – and who doesn’t like that? While Kate might shoot fewer weddings in a year than Doug, she spends longer on each one, once aftercare is factored in. Doug, on the other hand, likes to spend that time with his camera, getting more jobs under his belt. Furthermore, our two photographers have adapted so well to their own markets that they don’t need to feel intimidated by each other. People on a budget will not even be considering Kate Hopewell-Smith’s services, and those looking to spend a few thousand @PHOTOPROUK
ABOVE: Charging higher fees can mean more time behind the camera – and in front of the computer.
on wedding images probably won’t be getting on the phone to Doug either. The real competition in the wedding market is not between those working at the opposite ends of the market, it’s between those fighting over the middle. “If there’s a market for budget photography, and someone is prepared to shoot a wedding for £200–300, then good for them,” says Kate when asked what she thinks of those charging low prices. “When people attack weekend warriors for providing a budget service, I always think ‘just let them be.’”
There are a lot of different types of wedding photographer working in this most diverse of industries, but since no one wedding or happy couple is exactly the same, it seems that ‘Waitrose’ and ‘Aldi’ and can co-exist quite nicely next to each other. In fact if there is one thing to be learned from talking to photographers like Kate and Doug it’s that trying to be ‘all things to all men’ is a dangerous tactic. So if you are happy to stay in the middle ground then we’d advise battening down the hatches – it could be a bumpy ride. katehopewellsmith.com cambridge-photographer.co.uk ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 038
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ALL IMAGES REPRODUCED WITH THE KIND PERMISSSION OF THE RNLI
AT SEA @PHOTOPROUK
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution rescues 22 people a day, but we rarely hear about or see these rescues. Nigel Millard is changing that ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 045
Project: Nigel Millard
he next time you’re strolling along a beach beware what you photograph; it could end up becoming a big project. That’s what happened to Nigel Millard. He was wandering down the shore on the Wirral with his camera in the 1990s when he happened upon the local lifeboat and crew. He snapped away, then asked if he could go back and take some portraits. They agreed, and he duly added the images to his portfolio. Now more than 20 years later, he’s still photographing lifeboats and their volunteer crews, and his portraits and action shots are being used by the RNLI to promote their work and to fundraise. Until that beach walk, Nigel was shooting for advertising agencies and design groups, and that is still the 046 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
mainstay of his business. However, his life and work is now intrinsically linked with the RNLI. As well as shooting their volunteers and lifeboats, he’s also a fully trained volunteer crew member himself. It wasn’t an instant connection though. It was only after moving to Devon in 2004 that Nigel made contact with the charity again, going to shoot his local lifeboat station. And after some training, he started going out on the lifeboat. As he travelled around the UK for his commercial work, he took the opportunity to contact the various stations (there are more than 230) and photograph them, their boats and their crew. “The RNLI saw the images I’d taken and said that they really liked them and asked me to shoot for them,” explains Nigel. “So I was doing a couple of
commissions a month for them initially. Over the years that built up to four or five days a month. I was really enjoying it. I got to know the crew in Brixham well, and they said why didn’t I join. So I went through the training to be a full crewman and joined in 2008. After that things started snowballing.” One of Nigel’s original black & white portraits led to the author Huw LewisJones asking to use some of his RNLI images and to get Nigel to shoot some portraits for his book, Face to Face: Ocean Portraits. This in turn led to the book’s publisher offering him the chance to produce a book on the RNLI. “I’d always wanted to do a book,” he says, “and the RNLI wanted to as well, but as a charity they couldn’t fund it. The publisher of Face to Face stepped in. WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
Project: Nigel Millard
PREVIOUS SPREAD: Marcus Westwood, veteran and volunteer RNLI fundraiser ABOVE: St Mary’s Severn class lifeboat The Whiteheads powers through Atlantic swell off Bishop Rock Lighthouse RIGHT TOP: Neville Murphy is winched from Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117; he’s also a volunteer crewman on Dunmore East lifeboat RIGHT MIDDLE: A flare can make the difference between life and death when there are casualties at night RIGHT BOTTOM: Buckie Severn class lifeboat William Blannin NEXT SPREAD: Sennen Cove’s lifeboat searching for missing kayakers off Land’s End
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Project: Nigel Millard
“They gave me a deadline of two years – it ended up being more like three – and I stopped all other work and went around joining crews, expanding on the work I’d done so far.” Until he started shooting for Huw for Face to Face, Nigel was shooting portraits with flash. “So they were controlled. I’d set up a studio environment wherever I went, regardless of who was commissioning me. I never really mixed flash with natural light, and I was never shooting portraits on location, as such. It was either flash portraits or people doing things.” Only having a few minutes with a subject on the shoots for Huw meant he needed a different approach, something he’d already been considering. “I started shooting portraits using natural light and it soon became obvious that if your subject wants their picture taken, they’re with you from the moment you shake their hand,” he explains. “Huw set up people that he wanted in the book and who wanted to be in front of the camera. That was the beauty of it: people who could stare down the lens and really be with you for those few minutes. “Each person’s face composes itself naturally in front of you. I lift the camera up, jiggle it around and I find the composition as I’m looking. All the portraits are full-frame, they’re all as shot, full bleed; they’ll only be cropped because of a magazine gutter for example. That’s the way I like to shoot, because then the face has its own characteristics. Things present themselves as being right in a certain way; with the wrinkles, hair, beard, etc.” It was a new experience for Nigel, one that he clearly enjoyed and one that influenced his work for the RNLI. “What I’d been looking for with the lifeboat project was how to pull the character out of people. We’d had a few meetings about developing the project and shooting the portraits in this way worked, it engages the public with the volunteers. The prints in the exhibition are almost life-size so it’s almost like you’re standing next to someone. “Some people’s faces lend themselves to being this close up, like Elizabeth [over the page], other times you need to be a bit further away.
“To bring some realism to the portraits, where possible, I shot people in the RNLI kit of their day, what they felt comfortable in. Putting on modern kit would feel alien.” As a crewman, Nigel reports to the lifeboat station when there’s a shout, just like all the other volunteers. But once there he’s not just putting on his RNLI outfit like the others, he’s also picking up his camera kit, which lives there. “The kit at the station is generally a 16-35mm on a Nikon D4S. I keep it in a waterproof bag ready to go and if it’s really lively weather, it stays in there. I am sponsored by Cameras Underwater and ewa-marine, they supply all of my housings. “There’s 30 crew and you need a minimum of five to go out on the big boat, and ideally three on the little inflatable inshore lifeboat. If I’m lucky enough to get selected, the camera comes with me. If it’s a lively day, it’s a lot more difficult to use the camera in a waterproof bag. I tend to use spray housings when I’m not in the water but it’s raining. Some of the bags I’ve adapted with a bit of gaffer tape and depending on the weather, I use a lanyard (made specially by a chandler) to connect the bottom of the bag to my life jacket. When I drop it, it hangs down at my knees, but it’s long enough to lift up to my eyes. The idea being if I fall in the water it doesn’t impede the life jacket. The kit’s protected from that perspective, but often I just use it around my neck and use a hanky to wipe the lens. As simple as the waterproof bag is, it still cuts down on usage. It’s easier to get the camera a bit wet.” When he’s out on a shoot, Nigel can’t simply snap away. After all, he’s working as part of team, possibly at a traumatic time in people’s lives. “The rescue comes first, then it’s the photography. It’s knowing when to pick the camera up, when to put it down. It’s not always the right time. I’m not there to sensationalise what the RNLI do or show survivors or casualties in a bad light. “That’s counterproductive,” he says. “It’s about showing the spirit of what the RNLI stands for.” On dry land, Nigel uses a D3S with a 24-70mm lens, and “I occasionally use a diffuser over the top of the
“I’M NOT THERE TO SENSATIONALISE WHAT THE RNLI DO OR SHOW SURVIVORS IN A BAD LIGHT’”
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Project: Nigel Millard
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Project: Nigel Millard
OPPOSITE PAGE TOP: Alderney Trent class Roy Barker off Les Etacs BOTTOM: Annual Ironman event, Tenby CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: St Peter Port press officer John Webster wearing his original oilskins and a borrowed life jacket from the same era; Elizabeth, Youghal lifeboat crew member; ex-cox’n of Wells, David Cox, a volunteer for almost 50 years; ex-cox’n of Whitby, Pete Thompson wearing a cork life jacket BELOW: Marion Payne, from Port St Mary Ladies Guild
head or to the side, but that’s about it kit wise. I travel light,” he explains. Using the 24-70mm for portraits quite close up, “a lot of people feel intimidated because I’m shooting so close,” he says. “The depth-of-field when you’re shooting someone that close up has to be spot on. If you’re really close, the eyes have got to be sharp. You can soften off the nose or the ear, as long as the eyes are sharp. I know many people use a soft focus filter, but I shoot it as is. It’s great having digital because you dial up the ISO so you can keep hand-holding.” The book led to an outdoor exhibition of 2m-wide prints, printed by Epson. It toured landlocked cities to connect us landlubbers with the RNLI and its work, and now there’s a new exhibition, a collaboration between Nigel and clothing brand, Finisterre’s MD Tom Kay, an RNLI crewman too. A selection of canvas prints will be on display at Finisterre’s Covent Garden store in London. “The canvas prints from this new display are for sale, and it will move on after 19 April – we’re open to venue offers!” says Nigel. Contact him directly if you’d like to volunteer a suitable display space. “The book, The Lifeboat: Courage on Our Coasts, is still selling too, online at
Amazon, as well as in Waterstones and through the RNLI shop. “We did a limited edition of it too. The slipcase is made from old life jackets; once they’re no longer waterproof, they’re discarded,” explains Nigel. “So I asked the RNLI and the publisher, Anova, if we could use them for the slipcase. We made 350 of them and they’re selling for £350 each, which is the price of a new life jacket. So effectively if you buy the limited edition book, you’re buying a new life jacket.” As well as working with the RNLI, Nigel Millard also shoots for clients such as John West, Royal Mail, Dong Energy, Boeing and Land Rover. nigelmillard.co.uk @NigelMillard
Limited editions of 100 or 50 of a range of Nigel Millard’s RNLI images are available from the RNLI shop, but you can also buy them direct from Nigel – just get in touch with him via his website and he’ll sort everything out for you. rnlishop.org.uk ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 051
Project: Tim Wallace
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS TIM WALLACE
The motor industry is notoriously secretive about its new models, so when Tim Wallace was asked to picture Peugeot’s latest dream machine it was no surprise that the job required total discretion…
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im Wallace is used to working around the sometimes meticulous requests of the motoring industry. In his time heâ€™s tackled full-on commissions for the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes and Morgan, as well as shooting for some of the worldâ€™s most iconic brands, such as Lamborghini, Aston Martin and Ferrari in Europe, and Dodge, Chevrolet and Mustang in the US. He thrives on the pressure and has the accolades to prove it: honours include being named International Commercial Advertising Photographer of the Year and UK Motor Industry Professional Car Photographer of the Year, confirming his reputation as one of the best in the business. One of the things anyone shooting pictures for the car industry realises very quickly is that there is so much competition between the various brands, and such an insatiable demand from motoring enthusiasts to hear about fresh models as soon as
Project: Tim Wallace
IMAGES: Tim used his Hasselblad H5D 50C from a variety of angles to get the shots he needed, with continuous illumination coming from Arri lights.
possible, that there’s often a high level of secrecy required to ensure that the latest launches aren’t revealed to the world before the manufacturer intends. So in many ways it wasn’t a huge surprise for Tim, having been approached by Peugeot last summer to produce a massive international campaign for its latest ‘Fractal’ electrically powered concept car, that he learned the latest shoot was to be carried out strictly behind closed doors. There was a slight problem with this stipulation, however: at the time France was in the middle of a heat wave, and the crew realised very quickly that this was going to become a pressure-cooker job in more ways than one. The temperature in the city was around 35°C, and behind those secretive closed doors – with huge Arri continuous studio lights pumping out still more heat – it quickly climbed to over 42°C at times. Almost unbearable on occasions. “Everything has to be done as discreetly as possible to avoid images of the car leaking out,” says Tim. “This was why we were asked to undertake the shoot in the Peugeot’s own in-house studio, which is situated in the middle of their plant in Paris. Everything was so hush-hush that the Fractal even arrived 066 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 116
on set under a cover so that no one living in the flats near the location would have the chance to see it. We also had just a very short window of opportunity in which to work – only four days. The team was working for over 12 hours at a time on occasions. “But it was all worth it from my point of view because Peugeot is a great client and its design team is very strong indeed. It has great vision for how it wants to sculpt the photography around the product and branding. It’s all very much about emotion, so when they first approached me – through their production company – it was a very quick fit from a style point of view.” Planning the shoot With any type of worldwide campaign it’s crucial to ensure that everything is planned and worked out well in advance, so that during the critical days of actual shooting the team is free to concentrate fully on creating and producing the photography that’s required. The brief was to shoot the concept car in a way that showed off its technology and its revolutionary use of sound within the interior controls. Each shot was based on its final position within a CGI soundbased scene and carefully pre-agreed using visuals. “I was very lucky to have Paris-based Cream Production taking control for this shoot,” says Tim. “The team there WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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Project: Tim Wallace
is both dedicated and vastly creative. Having such a well-organised production house involved really helped to make sure that we were able to achieve the very best result possible for the client. Even with the huge amount of work to get through it was always a great atmosphere – very much a team effort with everybody pulling together for the common goal. “I worked with my two lighting assistants, Peter and Hugo, who were both totally amazing and fully committed to making sure we got the best results possible. As with any lighting shoot you hit issues and problems that need to be resolved, and that again is where teamwork comes into play. I think we had a few moments when Hugo was literally using his own body weight to anchor the floating ceiling, while Peter ran round trying to switch lighting out that was quite literally on the point of exploding because of the heat.” Given the tight timing and high pressure it might not have been the best of times to switch over to a new camera, but Tim decided that this was an assignment perfectly suited to the strengths of the Hasselblad H5D 50c. “I’ve been a Hasselblad user for the last seven years,” he says. “I appreciate IMAGES: Frames were passed back to a retoucher as they were shot, who established that all of the ingredients for the final image had been captured.
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Project: Tim Wallace
the reliability of the system but most of all I love the lenses, and over time I’ve built up quite a selection. When I looked to change my H3D it was an easy choice: I was looking for a camera that came with the advantage of a CMOS sensor and could make best use of my existing equipment on the same platform. “I shoot a lot in the studio using powerful dedicated lighting, so low ISOs are usually fine, but the higher ISO speeds that the CMOS sensor brings meant I would be able to use the same camera for lighter, editorial type work in available light conditions. Previously I’d have had to shift back over to a DSLR platform for that. “I had been offered deals from other manufacturers to swap to their systems, but I really didn’t want to lose the lenses I feel so comfortable with. I’d tested out the H5D 50c in advance and loved it and its simplicity. So I was happy to make the switch, both from a user point of view and from a business perspective.” Baptism of Fire The baptism of fire – which came in the form of a boiling hot studio and intense working conditions – never worried Tim’s new camera, which came through the experience unscathed. “We had no issues whatsoever,” says Tim. “No matter how we used it – whether that be attached to a FOBA tripod head as normal or suspended upside down 15m above
the car and being operated remotely. Having that sort of reliability and, more importantly, the confidence to push the equipment and crack-on at a fast pace really helped a huge amount.” Tim and his team started out producing static shots of the car’s exterior. They used the H5D camera tethered to an Apple MacBook Pro laptop with images being fed directly back to a digital retoucher. The retoucher compiled the individual frames and verified in real time that everything needed for the final image was in the bag, and it was safe to move on to the next shot. A highly efficient way of working, that enabled the brief to be tackled as quickly as was practicably possible. “The most demanding shots were the overheads where we were looking down into the car, as the studio set-up did not allow a direct overhead viewpoint to be taken up,” Tim recalls. “Instead I had to work from a cherry picker – I climbed into it to set up the camera so that we were totally in the right position, lit the shot, then operated the camera remotely from the ground with the Macbook Pro.” Naturally – as with any car shoot these days – there was a certain amount of post-production required to finish off the images. But although the futuristic background was CGI generated, the car itself was relatively unaltered. “Apart from the process of cleaning up the
images to get rid of any last-minute marks, the post-edit work was kept to a minimum,” says Tim. “The fact that Pascal, my digital retoucher, was working on the files as they came out of the camera meant that once we’d finished the final shot the post-production was already 90% complete. I had overall control on the final sweep, mainly to tie all the images together as a set once the CGI background had been added.” By the end of the intensive four-day shoot 45 images had been completed: an incredible achievement considering how involved and complicated some of them turned out to be. The success of the project is a testament to Tim’s considerable photography skills. His striking set of images was used to launch the Peugeot Fractal at the Frankfurt Motor Show. www.ambientlife.co.uk
CLIENT: Peugeot LOCATION: Peugeot Design Centre, Paris PHOTOGRAPHY: Tim Wallace PRODUCTION: CREAM Paris ART DIRECTION: William Blanc PRODUCER: Sophie Roger 1ST ASSISTANT: Peter Keyser 2ND ASSISTANT: Hugo Mapelli DIGITAL ASSISTANT: Pascal Aubert - Scalp Art CAMERA: Hasselblad H5D 50C CMOS LIGHTING: Arri
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Rising Stars: Bloom Weddings
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stars BLOOM WEDDINGS
Making the decision to go full-time is one of the most important youâ€™ll make as a photographer. Chris Ensell and Anii James are ready to make the leap... ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 073
Rising Stars: Bloom Weddings
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eddings were never really on the cards for West Yorkshire based couple Chris Ensell and Anii James, something you may be surprised to know when looking at their colourful portfolio. Having both studied photography at degree level Chris’ background lies in live music photography, while Anii’s is in portrait and fashion. It wasn’t until the two crossed paths in Anii’s hometown of Leicester that they began talking about wedding photography and considering it as a path for their photographic careers. “At the time a new style of weddings were coming into fashion, with the vintage and DIY themes, which really suited our ethos and we felt it was something we could deliver and thoroughly enjoy. Personally I’d been told by my college tutor that it was a bit of a faux pas to be a wedding photographer, probably more the reason I wanted to prove him wrong,”says Chris. Anii’s first opportunity to shoot a wedding came from her college tutor’s wife. “She needed someone to shoot a wedding alongside her and the tutor felt that Anii would be good at it,” Chris says. “I started shooting weddings after searching for photography jobs as my University course was coming to an end. A company based in Mirfield needed someone to second shoot for them, and it seemed like an ideal opportunity to get some experience while also getting paid.” After that the couple had got a taste for the world of weddings and decided to take it a step further. “We started second shooting for a few other people and we started thinking that we could do this ourselves and build our own brand,” Chris recalls. Having shot their first weddings as second shooters in 2008 and 2010 the couple shot their first wedding together in 2011, again thanks to Anii’s tutor’s wife. “She couldn’t make a wedding, so she passed it on to me and asked if I’d like to do it. I said ok, and Chris came along. I think it was only about three to four hours – just the ceremony and a bit of the reception,” says Anii. “At this point we hadn’t actually started our company yet, we shot that wedding together and it opened the idea up more,” says Chris. “We started Bloom Weddings with our second-shooting portfolios and then managed to get some friends’ weddings to shoot.” Now shooting around 40 weddings a year, in between working part-time at
two different schools, the couple barely have time for personal work or a social life. “The weddings have taken over a bit, when we go full-time doing weddings we’ll be much happier and be able to shoot other things.” Chris states. “Every weekend this year from April to October is booked up.”Anii adds. So what is it they love so much about weddings? “From my perspective I love meeting new people and getting to know the couple and their story. When you photograph a wedding everything is set up for you, there’s amazing flowers, amazing dresses, everyone looks really good, it’s a nice thing to photograph, and everyone’s happy.” says Anii. “There’s so much appreciation from people. You’re working really hard on the day and everyone recognises that.” “I think that’s one of the things I didn’t get with music, you don’t get recognition from bands,” Chris adds. Having shot weddings together for almost five years now, the couple have come a long way from their secondshooting days and have been considering the move to full-time for a while.“We’ve been building up the company gradually, and each year it’s been a question of if we’ve got enough money to do it this year,” says Chris. “The main thing was investing in the gear, we’ve both got topend gear now, and on a personal track we’ve also bought a house. We’re at the right point in our lives that we’ve made those purchases.” “We didn’t want to go straight into it and struggle to afford things such as gear and fast computers,” Anii confesses.“I think now we’re getting enough work as well.” Going it alone is one thing, but if you’re both photographers making the full-time leap together can be a lot more daunting. “It’s a bit more difficult because you’ve not got anyone else to rely on, you’ve just got each other and photography,” Anii says, making the reality clear. “If you’re one photographer it’s a little easier because you can rely on the other person’s income. I think in our situation it will be myself that leaves my job first and that will be within the next 12 months,” Chris comments. Do they find it difficult working together? Not this couple, they’ve got it down to a tee. “We play to our strengths, when we’re at the wedding we know we have specific roles, Anii photographs the bride getting ready and I’ll photograph the groom,” Chris says. “I don’t think
“WE STARTED BLOOM WEDDINGS WITH OUR SECOND-SHOOTING PORTFOLIOS” @PHOTOPROUK
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Rising Stars: Bloom Weddings
there’s ever been a time where I want to tear Anii’s hair out or anything. The only time it might be a little difficult is if we’ve got three weddings on the trot like Friday, Saturday, Sunday.” “You can get a bit tired and ratty working so much, but I think if anything it makes me feel more relaxed that I’ve got Chris there. If one of us misses a shot we know the other has got it. We also get to travel a lot around the country and it’s nice that I’ve got Chris there with 076 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
me. This year we’re going to Austria for a wedding!” Anii says excitedly. Even when it comes down to the editing Chris and Anii work as a team, “We do it alternately per wedding. Whoever takes on the editing sorts through the images, it might be a case of the other person having a quick look through. Our computers are set up next to each other so we will often ask each other if they prefer one shot over another,” Chris says.
“Our style is a bit film-esque, but we like to keep a lot of colour in our shots. Whenever we meet a couple they always say that they were really drawn to our work because of the colour. I’d say that our style is film-esque because we do use VSCO, but we also have presets that we created in Lightroom that we use as a basis,” Anii adds.“Once we’ve completed the full set we’ll get each other to check over it, mainly whitebalance and small things, and just in WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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PREVIOUS SPREAD: It’s all about capturing moments, no matter how big or small. MAIN: “We like to take advantage of things around us, with this photo the bride and groom had lots of handmade signs so using one of them was the perfect shot!”
TOP RIGHT: “Shot just before they walked down the aisle, it’s not just about what the bride and groom are wearing.” BOTTOM RIGHT: “Confetti shots are one of our favourite moments of the day!” NEXT SPREAD: Chris and Anii show off their creative flare when shooting portraits of couples.
case you can see something that the other hasn’t noticed.” Having sensibly stacked up on equipment Chris and Anii’s kitbag (or back room in their case) is a photographer’s dream. “We’ve both got a Canon 5D Mk III and my favourite lens is a 35mm f/1.4.” Anii says. “There’s also a backup 5D Mk II and a 5D Mk I, but we don’t tend to use those, and then we’ve got a drone as well. It’s really good for big group shots as it can be difficult to
get everyone looking, but everyone looks at the drone! Chris operates it and I take pictures of people’s reactions.” “We’ve also got two 24-70mm f/2.8, a 70-200mm f/2.8, a 17-40mm f/4, a 15mm fisheye, iMacs, Lightroom, and we’ve started using a company call Gobe cards, which we’ve found are really good value, we’re quite impressed with the quality of their gear,” Chris adds. “We’ve got two Canon 580EX II and two Canon 430EX II speedlites, which we tend to use ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 077
Rising Stars: Bloom Weddings
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especially when people are dancing on the dance floor. We like to add coloured gels so it creates a bit more atmosphere.” For Bloom Weddings it seems the Internet does more in terms of promotion than other methods. “We did try wedding fairs right at the start, and they went down like an absolute flop,” Chris confesses. “We found that most people had already booked photographers by the time they were going to wedding fairs. For us wedding blogs are much better, because people are normally looking for wedding information online. If someone likes the style of your work they know straight away who you are. We do advertise on a lot of blogs and we do submit to a lot of wedding blogs like Rock My Wedding, Whimsical Wonderland, Love My Dress,” Anii adds. And what about social media? “It’s brilliant, we’ve had bookings from Instagram posts, that’s why we’d like to use it a lot more, it’s our New Year’s resolution too!” Chris beams. “We keep our blog up to date so we’re always posting new things, and I think
that’s really important to show you’re always coming up with current work. Once we’ve posted a blog we normally tweet about it and put it on Facebook,” Anii says. While the couple do still get clients though word of mouth it seems that a simple Google search is the source of a lot of their work. “We put a box on our contact form asking people where they found us and so many say Google,” Anii says in amazement. “We work pretty hard on search engine optimisation, so getting that through was pretty important to us,” Chris proudly adds. It’s clear that Chris and Anii have a clear plan of where they’re heading and their advice is golden. “You’ve got to have goals, but you’ve also got to be patient because you’ve got to have the work coming in first. You’ve got to be ambitious too,” Anii says. “Have everything that you feel you’re going to need for the next few years. You’ll be going from two steady incomes to one income, and that one becomes your mortgage or rent,” says Chris.
Chris and Anii don’t just shoot weddings, back in 2012 they were official photographers for Leeds Festival, Chris also shot at Download Festival. bloomweddings.co.uk bloomweddingsuk bloomweddingsuk
CALLING ALL FUTURE STARS Are you a star of the future? If you think (and hope!) so, email rogerpayne@bright-publishing. com with your website, why we should champion your work and your three favourite images. If your portfolio is featured, you’ll receive a Samsung Pro Plus SDXC 64GB card.
“YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE GOALS, BUT YOU’VE ALSO GOT TO BE PATIENT... YOU’VE GOT BE AMBITIOUS” @PHOTOPROUK
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Rising Star: Marianne Chua
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Everyone seems to be a wedding photographer these days, so how do you stand out? Marianne Chua injects personality, fun and chaos into her heartfelt shotsâ€¦
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Rising Star: Marianne Chua
ake one look at Marianne Chua’s glowing wedding portfolio and you’ll instantly fall in love with the variety of emotions captured. This self-acclaimed wedding ‘funtojournalist’ aims to capture every ounce of emotion, even if it means photographing guests with a double chin as they laugh out loud at a relative’s funny joke. From standing in the sea, changing into a bikini and getting into a swimming pool, to climbing a ladder that she probably shouldn’t have, Marianne describes her work as ‘alternative documentary’. “My work is documentary in the sense that it’s strongly candid, but as traditional styles of photojournalism are different to mine, I say that it’s alternative,” she proclaims. “I would rather go anywhere that I need to go and shoot for as long as I need to shoot, to see and capture something different. I love the idea of human randomness, chaos and differences coming together.” Having been handed down her father’s old Canon AE1 camera, sparking an interest in photography, Marianne began shooting film and playing around with toy cameras at the age of 18. Her initial interest was street photography and she soon became a student writer for Lomography, as well as shooting live music. With no intention of becoming a wedding photographer, or having even attended at wedding, it was a chance offering that sparked her successful career. One of her friends suggested she have a go at shooting their mother’s wedding. “I literally said yes, and then went out and bought digital equipment especially for the wedding. It left me two grand in debt before I had even started as a wedding photographer,” recalls Marianne. “It’s not something I would recommend to anyone now, looking back I realise it was a very risky move.” At the time she was working at an acute mental health ward as part of her PhD in psychology so the world of weddings felt completely different to the serious environment she was used to. “I think it was actually the idea of a wedding, where everyone is really happy and enjoying the day that really got me into wedding photography,” she admits. “I really like seeing how people express their love for each other, and how that varies from person to person. I think it’s so nice - I’ve even shed a tear or two,” she confesses. With little experience in the field for that first wedding Marianne did what came naturally and just shot what interested her, keeping in mind what images she would want to see as a guest or client. “I didn’t look at any 082 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 116
PREVIOUS SPREAD MAIN: “I always look for both the moment and framing. When it all comes together, it’s magic” PREVIOUS SPREAD TOP TO BOTTOM: “A genuine smile or even a gasp always shines out” ABOVE: A Fearless Award winner
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“I WOULD RATHER GO ANYWHERE THAT I NEED TO GO AND SHOOT FOR AS LONG AS I NEED TO SHOOT, TO SEE AND CAPTURE SOMETHING DIFFERENT” @PHOTOPROUK
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Rising Star: Marianne Chua
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“NOW I NEVER WORRY ABOUT FEELING LIKE I HAVE TO TAKE A BOOKING”
MAIN: “I especially love images that are a bit weird, something that takes the eye a while to see” FAR LEFT: “There’s no shame in capturing the chaos – however rude it gets!” MIDDLE: “Rely on your instincts. This was a quick snap I didn’t think about, I must have been drawn to the odd colours, but it ended up as the last page in their album” RIGHT: “It’s all about the frames and lines”
other wedding photographers’ work when I shot that wedding,” she recalls. “It made sense to me to do ‘how to’ research so I focused more on the technical aspects like how to use flash and how to work different scenarios with natural light. On the day I think I was just running on adrenaline!” Having got a taste for the work, Marianne considered the idea of shooting weddings on the side. “I drew my own little logo on a piece of paper, coloured it in Microsoft Paint, and then set up a Facebook page. I then had a friend of a friend say they loved the photos and asked me to shoot their wedding and it went from there. I ended up shooting 35 weddings in that first year,” she recalls. With a kitbag that consists of two Nikon DF bodies and a variety of prime lenses (a 28mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8 and a 135mm reserved for when shooting at larger churches), three flashguns, as well as triggers and receivers for off-camera shooting, this photographer has come along way from accidental blank images when shooting on film. One thing that Marianne still doesn’t focus her time on is carrying out image research for ideas. “Even now I think if you look at too many images it subconsciously allows you to rest on those ideas. If you’re rushing around and you don’t have a lot of time to think, then you resort to the easy options. I have to admit I don’t follow a lot of wedding photographers, not because I don’t admire them or respect them; I just feel it would change my style,” she declares. Three years on from that first wedding, Marianne remains modest about her achievements and still doesn’t quite seem to appreciate how good her work is, despite being named in the Top 10 Quirky and Crazy Wedding Photographers, the Top 50 Wedding Photographers in the UK, by the GoHen blog, and having received a Fearless Photographer Award. But her success has helped when it comes to attracting new clients: “Now I never worry about feeling like I have to take a booking, I’d rather shoot in the way that I want to shoot and let people choose me based on that philosophy. The fact people and emotions interest me, combined with my background in psychology, means I’m always looking out for those little quirks between people and their ISSUE 116 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 085
Rising Star: Marianne Chua
“BE TRUE TO YOURSELF… SHOOT EXACTLY HOW YOU WANT TO SHOOT” behaviours toward each other,” she says. And making sure that a client is the right client to work with is the starting point for a successful shoot. “I always meet them beforehand, and a lot of that is because I want the couple to know if they’re comfortable with me,” she says. “If the couple are comfortable with me, their friends are likely to be, and they’ll come up to me at the wedding assuming I know the couple as a friend. A lot of couples are very similar to me and I think that’s almost intentional on my part.” As a photographer who mainly focuses on those candid moments, and has shot weddings with themes ranging from cowboys to The Rolling Stones, 086 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 116
Marianne does still get asked to shoot some more formal groups. Rather than refuse, she has a simple, light-hearted approach. “I try and make a lot of jokes and keep people laughing, but I tell couples to not have too many group shots, because no one enjoys standing around for an hour in the cold,” she tells me. “I work very quickly and ask the couple if they mind me shouting at the guests! No one ever minds, people find it quite funny. I think showing that you’re efficient is a good way of keeping people happy during group shots.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, word of mouth and referrals is where most of Marianne’s commissions come from.
She also rates wedding blogs as a key source for her promotion. “Last year I had a lot of work featured on wedding blogs, but I’m actually starting to cut that down now because I’m finding over time that a lot is coming from referrals; referrals from other photographers, referrals from previous guests, that’s something that happens once you get the ball rolling.” In terms of sharing her work with the world Marianne focuses her attention on her own website and blog, but also shares a selection of images and blog posts to her Facebook page. “I don’t use Facebook adverts or pay for posts, partly because I don’t think it is targeted enough. I know some people who it works well for, but I haven’t felt the need yet. I do have Instagram as well, but I need to start using it properly,” she confesses. Not forgetting the power of WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
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MAIN: “Be ready for the action in between the key parts of a wedding, as well as looking out for things that are juxtaposed, like the ‘no right of way’ that we definitely didn’t breach!” RIGHT: “Making my couples laugh is amongst my top priorities – apologies to all their guests!” BELOW “Don’t be afraid to shoot in a tight space, the best times for you to shoot are also the few seconds they’ll be too distracted to care”
Google, Marianne tags her images with relevant keywords, such as the venue or location, so that people can find her work when researching other aspects of their wedding. She also advertises on websites such as Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and Rock My Wedding. While juggling her PhD and between 25 and 45 weddings a year, alongside shooting for the Secret Cinema and various theatres, Marianne took the decision to outsource her editing work. “I know that editing isn’t my biggest strength, as I started out using film I didn’t have any interest in Photoshop at all,” she says honestly. “I started to outsource my work when I was getting overrun and didn’t want to compromise the quality and rush orders.” Marianne clearly knows what she wants and where she’s going with her business. It comes as no surprise, @PHOTOPROUK
then, that when it comes to advice for aspiring wedding photographers she remains candidly honest. “Be true to yourself,” she declares. “Shoot exactly how you want to shoot. There’s no point doing a job if you’re just ticking boxes for someone else, this is the biggest privilege that you can get being a selfemployed wedding photographer, you can do it exactly your own way.”
Since shooting her first wedding three years ago Marianne Chua has been named in the Top 50 Wedding Photographers in the UK by the GoHen blog.
CALLING ALL FUTURE STARS Are you a star of the future? If you think (and hope!) so, email rogerpayne@bright-publishing. com with your website, why we should champion your work and your three favourite images. If your portfolio is featured, you’ll receive a Samsung Pro Plus SDXC 64GB card.
mariannechua.com mariannechuaphotography @savethemarianne ISSUE 116 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 087
Tested: Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X-Pro2 ROGER PAYNE & WILL CHEUNG
If the name isn’t enough to convince you, Fujifilm’s latest mirrorless model comes bristling with pro-friendly functions. Will it be your new best buddy?
ujifilm wants professional photographers to buy its cameras. Some of you may have already done so, succumbing to the lighter weight, retro styling, tasty prime-centric lens range and impressive image quality on offer from the APS-C sized sensor. But a greater proportion of you haven’t taken the leap and that’s likely to be for a number of different reasons. For me, this is clear cut. While my Canon kit remains suitable for pretty much everything I throw at it, I’ve never been 100% sold that mirrorless models are jacks of all trades. They’ve seemed to excel in certain areas, but been less accomplished in others. It’s probably why the mainstay of Fujifilm mirrorless buyers have been wedding, portrait and landscape photographers – the current range is undeniably suited to these more static genres. Only now we have the X-Pro2, which represents the pinnacle of Fujifilm’s mirrorless capabilities so far. On paper, it has a highly convincing specification and looks to address key areas where 081 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
predecessors may have been lacking. So is it finally time to get that DSLR kit ready for eBay? The X factor The original X-Pro1 was launched back in 2012, when the X-series was still in its infancy. In the intervening years, it has been subject to multiple firmware updates that have improved its performance, but other models have been subsequently introduced into the range that certainly challenged the X-Pro1’s flagship status. The new model redresses the balance and, for the time being at least, the X-Pro2 has more technological bells and whistles than any other model in the current line-up. I wouldn’t expect this situation to last forever, especially as we’re in a Photokina year. Perhaps the most significant of all these changes is the arrival of a new sensor in the form of the X-Trans CMOS III offering which now boasts 24.3 megapixels within its APS-C sized dimensions. Like the X-Trans CMOS II that went before it, the new sensor
features a unique-to-Fujifilm pixel array where instead of grouping pixels in fours they’re arranged in 36s. Fujifilm says this reduces false colours, eliminates moiré and negates the need for an optical low pass filter in front of the sensor. Anyone who’s seen what the X-Trans II sensor is capable of will know that Fujifilm is undoubtedly on to something here and even on initial chimping it was evident that it was business as usual when it comes to the X-Pro2’s image quality. The increase in pixel count isn’t the only change on the new sensor. There’s also an increase in the area covered by the phase detection pixels for the AF system and improved ISO sensitivity. The native range now extends from 200 to 12,800 and can be expanded down to 100 or up to 51,200. These expandable ISO options are available in both JPEG and Raw formats. A new, higher resolving sensor inevitably means a new image processor isn’t far behind, and so it is in the X-Pro2 which now boasts the X-Processor Pro engine. Claimed to be four times faster WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
Tested: Fujifilm X-Pro2
than the EXR Processor II of previous models, X-Processor Pro not only keeps up with data coming off the sensor, it also offers other performance-enhancing benefits including a faster frame rate on the EVF for smoother panning, a reduced viewfinder blackout time and the addition of a lossless compressed Raw file format option that reduces write times. Film Simulation modes have been central to the X-series offering from the start and are a tangible way for Fujifilm to introduce its film heritage into digital models. Put simply, the 15 Film Simulation modes available on the X-Pro2 mimic the characteristics of some of Fujifilm’s silver halide emulsions. Names like Provia, Velvia and Astia will, no doubt, stir up many happy memories for pre-digital shooters as will ACROS, which is the latest mode added to the X-Pro2. Taking its name from the black & white Neopan emulsion of the same name, it’s designed to be a step up from the previous Monochrome Film Simulation settings with smoother gradation, deeper blacks and better textures. I’m not a black & white shooter, I prefer to do my corrections in postproduction, but ACROS definitely has a good look and feel to it, as do all of the simulation options. The final point to make on the new sensor is the addition of a Grain Effect option (see panel page 86). Offering two strengths – Strong or Weak – it can be added pre- or post-capture, adding in a pleasant effect that’s reminiscent of higher ISO film emulsions. Autofocus improvements When you ask professionals the main reasons why they wouldn’t switch to a mirrorless model, autofocusing performance comes high on the list. Patchy AF performance has affected a number of Fujifilm models, including the X-Pro1, but steady improvements have been made as models have been released and the X-Pro2 does take another significant step in the right direction. The increase in coverage of phase detection pixels is core to the AF improvements, now stretching to around 40% of the imaging area. Select the Single Point AF mode and you can choose one of either 77 or 273 focusing points. The choice is offered in the menu system where you can select a grid of either 77 or 273 selectable points to be superimposed onto the viewfinder/rear LCD. While this might seem like a fiddle, it’s anything but thanks to the addition of a dedicated Focus Lever which, it has to be said, is a stroke of design genius. Positioned near the top right-hand corner of the rear LCD and well within thumb reach, the Focus Lever is a small @PHOTOPROUK
IMAGE: The new thumboperated Focus Lever makes it easy to switch between focusing points
“THE ADDITION OF A DEDICATED FOCUS LEVER IS A STROKE OF DESIGN GENIUS” joystick-style control that allows you to quickly access any one of the points. If you quickly need to go back to the centre point, just press the joystick in and if you want to increase or decrease the size of the focusing point, use the rear input dial. What’s even better is that fact that all of this can easily be done with the camera held up to your eye. If you’re shooting something moving, then the Zone and Wide/Tracking modes come into action where, in both cases, 77 focusing points are used. The Zone option allows you to preselect an area within the frame that will remain sharp as long as the subject stays within it, while Wide/Tracking gives you the option to choose a starting point in the frame that the camera should then follow no matter where it moves. I tested all three options and there’s little doubt that the Single Point option and Focus Lever combine to make focusing on static subjects very quick; undeniably the best yet from an X-series camera. The Zone and Wide/ Tracking options are certainly going in the right direction. Personally, I found the Zone mode more reliable than the
Wide/Tracking which can take a little too long to follow the subject and did on occasion, fail to follow it altogether. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Fujifilm has never touted the X-Pro2 as a camera for fast action, so it shouldn’t be judged as such. Fujifilm does pride itself on its level of manual focus control and here the X-Pro2 is certainly one of the family. The viewfinder, which I’ll come on to next, has useful manual focusing aids in the digital split image and focus peaking options, plus if you head to the Set Up menu you’ll be able to choose which way to rotate the lens’s manual focus ring according to your personal preference. The Focus Lever comes into play too on manual focusing. If you have Focus Check selected via the AF/MF menu, the point you select with the lever will be the point the viewfinder enlarges to check focus accuracy. View to a thrill Fujifilm has made quite a play with its viewfinder technology over the years. Whereas most mirrorless manufacturers seem content with an electronic ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 082
© MARK GEORGE
IN USE: ISO PERFORMANCE The X-Pro2 has a native ISO range of 200 to 12,800 with the option of expansion to ISO 25,600 and 51,200, all in JPEG and Raw. Overall, noise performance proved impressive. Based on the results below, we’d happily shoot at ISO 3200 and even 6400 knowing that noise levels would be low and look filmic rather than colourfully blotchy. If you really need to, ISO 12,800 isn’t horrible although there is obtrusive noise and an impact on fine detail, contrast and Dmax.
ABOVE: ISO is changed by a lifting and turning the shutter speed dial. Old school, but not ideal. ABOVE RIGHT: The dedicated metering button, denoted by [O], is very welcome
© MARK GEORGE
BELOW: The viewfinder is excellent, but the dioptre control can be turned all too easily
IMAGE: All topplate controls sit on the right so they can be altered with one hand while shooting
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viewfinder (EVF), X-series models have been far better endowed when it comes to finder options. The X-T1 was, for me, the real step change in terms of finder capabilities and the X-Pro2 boasts everything you’ll find in the X-T1, plus some extra functionality. It is, essentially, the same finder as the one in the X100T, only better. The X-Processor Pro engine certainly helps, boosting the viewfinder refresh rate to 85fps as opposed to 54fps before and this makes it easier to track moving subjects, although this top frame rate is only available in the High Performance mode, which drains the battery quicker. The viewfinder itself also comes with a dioptre correction function, so you can tune it to your eyesight, but it is rather too easy to knock, especially if you take the camera in and out of a gadget bag a lot. Its ease of movement is reminiscent
© WILL CHUENG
Tested: Fujifilm X-Pro2
Classic lines As mirrorless cameras go, the X-Pro2 is hardly the smallest, but it remains lightweight so it ticks the box for those who don’t want a camera that’s too tiddly, but equally don’t want to be weighed down with loads of kit. I found myself carrying it everywhere with me throughout the test period – it’s a very easy camera to live with. The form factor may not have changed a great deal from the X-Pro1, but there’s still much that’s new and it all adds up to something rather special. Internally, the four-piece chassis now
© ROGER PAYNE
ABOVE: X-Pro2 is a good boy when it comes to delivering vibrant greens and accurate metering. This patch of sunlight didn’t put it off its exposure stride. RIGHT: A wet day in London, but colours from the X-Trans CMOS III sensor still sing out without any major post-processing required. BELOW RIGHT: Sharpness is mightily impressive. This was shot with the XF1855mm standard zoom. The primes are better.
© ROGER PAYNE
of the exposure compensation dial on earlier X-series models that was all too easily spun round. Shame. There’s no shame in the viewfinder options, though. Use the lever on the front of the camera to choose from an OVF, ERF or EVF. The Optical Viewfinder (OVF) is like an old-school camera viewfinder, complete with bright frame indicating the area covered by the lens in use, which automatically moves for parallax correction. This is great for photographers who like to see what’s going on around the frame while they’ve still got the camera up to their eye – so it’s ideal for street or documentary photographers. I, however, found it hard to get my brain around and the bright frame option only covers lenses to 90mm. I do like the fact that you can press the button at the centre of the viewfinder lever to see the view offered by other focal lengths irrespective of the one you have in use, though. Pushing the lever to the left activates the Electronic Rangefinder (ERF) which brings up a small window in the bottom right corner of the OVF showing an enlarged section of the frame based on the position of the focusing point. In AF mode this ERF is a very handy focus check. If you switch to manual focus and have either the split image or focus peaking focus assist turned on, then these are displayed in the ERF for more assured focusing. Despite all this on offer, I did find myself sticking with the EVF, because it’s so good. The exposure simulation effect is perfect, enabling you to previsualise the shot before you release the shutter. I also like the way key viewfinder information changes position to make it easier to read when the camera is held upright. And the detail is impressive as well – everyone of those 2.36m dots is put to good use.
© ROGER PAYNE
Tested: Fujifilm X-Pro2
“I FOUND MYSELF STICKING WITH THE EVF, BECAUSE IT’S SO GOOD” @PHOTOPROUK
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There was a time when camera manufacturers tried their utmost to remove grain, now Fujifilm are adding it with the Grain Effect mode! In truth, this is designed to be more like film grain than digital noise and the effect of the different options can be seen here. It’s available in all still image shooting modes. Off
© MARK GEORGE
“THERE’S LITTLE DOUBT THAT THIS IS FUJIFILM’S BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT TO DATE. THE X-PRO2 SHOULD, WITHOUT DOUBT, BE ON YOUR SHORTLIST”
ABOVE: The menu system now looks smarter and features an extra line on each screen. Menus don’t look cramped as a result, though. BELOW LEFT: It looks very similar to the X-Pro1, but the handgrip on the right is larger.
© MARK GEORGE
features a magnesium alloy baseplate, which should make for a more robust camera and weather sealing has been added at 61 points around the body. Like other weather-resistant offerings from Fujifilm, this means the X-Pro2 repels water and dust, plus it will continue to work in temperatures as low as -10°C, although I’m aware of some pros who have gone below this without problems. The top-plate sees a couple of significant changes. First the ISO control is built into the shutter speed dial using a lift and turn movement that’s very old school in its thinking. It’s a neat design solution, but it does mean that ISO can’t be set through the menus, which is a little disappointing. On previous X-series models, I’ve assigned ISO to one of the function buttons for rapid access, but here that can’t be done. Changing the ISO on the X-Pro2 means interrupting the flow of picture taking. The exposure compensation dial has an extra stop available for direct access, plus now gains a ‘C’ setting, which expands the range further to +/-5 stops, controlled by the new front or rear control dials. Other changes see all the controls jump to the right of the rear LCD – presumably for easier access to functions with the camera to your eye – and I’m personally delighted to see a dedicated metering button. No more delving through menus. Talking of menus, the X-Pro2 features a new GUI which is much smarter than previous versions and also packs in an extra line of options on each screen without seeming too cramped. The menus are logically categorised and there’s also the addition of a new My
Menu option in which you can select 16 of your own regularly used functions for quicker access. Again, less menu delving will ensue as a result. There’s much to enjoy about the way the X-Pro2 handles, even the slightly larger handgrip improves the overall shooting experience and I’m a fan of the right-centric cluster of controls. Combined with the EVF, I found myself twirling the exposure compensation and shooting away at will. Very pleasant. Finally, the X-Pro2’s dual card slots are also worthy of mention as, no doubt, many will welcome them, appearing here for the first time in a mirrorless model. Image quality Fujifilm’s image quality has never been in doubt. From day one, the pictures produced by X-Series cameras have been their strongest selling point and the X-Pro2 maintains that tradition. Despite the fact that I was using a very late pre-
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© ROGER PAYNE
Tested: Fujifilm X-Pro2
© ROGER PAYNE
Tested: Fujifilm X-Pro2
ABOVE: A JPEG straight out of the camera with no sharpening applied. Shots like this leave you with little doubt of the camera’s capabilities – and this was taken with a standard zoom!
production model, it produced images packed with vibrant colour and detail. You can be confident that putting any of the excellent Fujinon XF glass in front of this sensor won’t let you down. Noise is also well managed. You can confidently shoot at ISO 3200 and even 6400, although 12,800 should probably be reserved for emergency situations only. It’s for this reason that I tended to leave the ISO set to Auto with a maximum setting of 3200 during the test. You won’t get any nasty surprises and it overcomes the issue of not being able to directly access ISO via a function button. There are plenty of noise reduction options available which are worth having a play with from the default position of 0 to +/4. We found that +3 doesn’t look artificial in terms of reducing while -3 is good for a film-like grain. You do, of course, also have the Grain Effect mode to play with. Crucially, the Raw files can be processed immediately through Camera Raw and Lightroom CC. Adobe offered almost immediate updates, which shows how far Fujifilm has come with postproduction options. And when it comes to post, the higher resolving sensor does come in very handy when cropping images – you can be far more ruthless with the crop tool. Fujifilm hasn’t forgotten video in the X-Pro2 and there are some improvements, including Full HD shooting at 60p, but it’s not a camera that is going to see videographers flocking toward it. This, no doubt, will change and with the lens range available you can only think that once Fujifilm does get its video offering spot on, it’s likely to be popular for both stills and video shooters. Verdict Technologically speaking, there’s little doubt that this is Fujifilm’s biggest accomplishment to date. The X-Pro2 is a genuine pleasure to use, has the support of an excellent lens range and delivers @PHOTOPROUK
an exceptionally good picture. If you’re looking to make the mirrorless move this camera should, without a shadow of a doubt, be on your shortlist. Like many Fujifilm models, it does have its quirks, but none of these are hugely problematic. My main concerns of the dioptre correction moving too easily and the lack of menu based ISO adjustment could easily be solved with a piece of tape and a firmware update. But if I pose the question that I first came in with – should you be readying your DSLR for eBay, it’s slightly less cut and dry. Wedding, landscape and portrait photographers most certainly could be. The X-Pro2 is a very accomplished mirrorless camera with a great set of lenses available. It does currently fall a little short on the flash front, but that will be getting remedied in the coming months. Those photographers seeking to shoot action will probably still keep looking. The AF system in the X-Pro2 is a big improvement, but it still doesn’t quite have the reflexes to make it viable. Fujifilm’s telephoto lens range is also looking a little thin, although the XF100400mm has improved things of late. That said, there’s one undeniable truth about the X-Pro2; it has a demeanor about it that purifies the photographic process and makes it great fun to take pictures with. Just ask our production staff – my copy was late for this review because I was too busy enjoying using the camera. And irrespective of whether you’d use the X-Pro2 for fun or to shoot for clients, I think that fact alone counts very strongly in its favour.
SPECIFICATIONS STREET PRICE £1349 RESOLUTION 24.3 megapixels SENSOR SIZE 23.6 x 15.6mm (APS-C) SENSOR TYPE X-Trans CMOS III IMAGE PROCESSOR X Processor Pro IMAGE SIZE 6000 x 4000 pixels ISO SENSITIVITY 200-12,800 expandable to 51,200 METERING 256-zone metering with multi, spot, average and centre-weighted options EXPOSURE MODES Program, aperture-priority AE, shutter-priority AE, manual EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5 stops in ⅓ stop steps SHUTTER SPEEDS Mechanical and electronic shutter - 30 seconds to 1/32,000sec, Bulb mode (up to 60 minutes), Time FLASH SYNC MODE 1/250sec FRAME RATE Up to 8fps FOCUS MODES Single, continuous, manual VIDEO Full HD at 60p for up to 14 minutes REAR LCD 3-inch, 1.62 million dots STORAGE MEDIA Dual slots. SD, SDHC, SDXC, slot 1 UHS-II compliant DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 140.5x82.8x45.9mm WEIGHT 495g including NP-W126 battery and memory card CONTACT fujifilm.eu/uk
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Talking with the tax man
Spend, spend, spend
The tax man cometh! ROGER PAYNE
The end of the tax year is fast approaching, so it’s high time you got rid of any spare cash you might have kicking around
GO FOR MORE GLASS 1
ZEISS MILVUS RANGE
You can’t beat getting some new glass and the recently released Zeiss Milvus range is among the best we’ve tested in the last 12 months. Six different manual focus optics are available covering focal lengths from 21mm to 100mm, all of which benefit from fast maximum apertures and excellent build quality. Optically speaking, the Milvus T* 85mm f/1.4 is the jewel in a very sparkly crown, but all the others offer highly impressive results for Canon and Nikon DSLR users, whether you’re shooting stills or video. Prices from £830. zeiss.com 092 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 117
ADD EXTRA STORAGE 2
G-Tech offer a wide range of storage solutions. If you’re on the move, look at the G-Drive ev ATC drives (from £150) which hold 1TB of data and come with a case that floats in water, is dust resistant and can be dropped from up to 2m. When you’re back at the office, back images up using a G-Raid drive (from £378) that features two Enterprise Class hard drives holding up to 12TB of data. Available in USB, FireWire and ESata connections the brushed aluminium finish fits nicely with Apple desktop devices, but they can also be reformatted for use with PCs. g-technology.com
IMPRESS YOUR CLIENTS 3
HARTNACK & CO PORTFOLIO
In a world of iPads, websites and Instagram accounts, why not present potential clients with an old-school way to showcase your work. Hartnack & Company produce a fine collection of bespoke and handmade albums, cases and boxes that show your work off at it’s very best. Browsing the company’s website will reveal the range of products on offer, but we’re real fans of the leather portfolios. Available in black or brown, landscape or portrait formats and with a variety of personalisation options, prices start from £175. hartnackandco.com
BOOST YOUR iPHONE 4
Groundbreaking is a phrase that’s bandied around all too often these days, but DxO’s ONE camera has certainly torn up a few rulebooks since its arrival. Attaching to your iPhone’s Lightning connector, the ONE boosts your smartphone picture taking potential considerably by virtue of its 20 megapixel one-inch sensor and 33mm f/1.8 lens. We’re not saying this is going to replace your main camera kit, but it’s conceivable that you could use it to shoot commercially viable images and recce shots, plus it looks damn cool too! Costs £449. dxo.com WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
Talking with the tax man
e’re hurtling towards the end of the 2015/16 tax year. Hopefully, it’s been a good one for you to the point that you may have some extra cash that you really don’t want to give to HMRC. We’re not suggesting any tax dodge here, just that it can be a good time to invest in your business. Strictly speaking, you
don’t have to buy kit – a whole range of expenses can be claimed against taxable income including stationery, repairs to equipment you already own and image processing costs all of which are available whether you’re a sole trader, partnership or limited company. “You can claim tax relief on the full cost of new equipment you have to buy to do your
work,” says Christine Fairbrother at TWD Accountants (twdaccounts.co.uk). “It will usually qualify for a type of capital allowance called ‘Annual Investment Allowance’(AIA). The full value of the item that qualifies for AIA is deducted from your profits before tax.” Bearing this in mind, feast your eyes on this little lot and get spending!
GET ORGANISED 5
LIGHT BLUE SOFTWARE
It’s hard to put a value on being organised, but this software is more than just an electronic diary and reminder system – it’s a business lifesaver! The latest version (v6) of the software sees a major visual overhaul of the interface and also adds a suite of new features, which reduces the time you spend inputting data and increases your level of organisation. You can download a free 30-day trial to dip your toe in the digital water, then a small monthly subscription keeps you organised and clients happy. What’s not to like? lightbluesoftware.com @PHOTOPROUK
PRINTER UPGRADE 6
EPSON SURECOLOR SC-P800
Owning your own inkjet printer isn’t simply about producing high-quality results for clients – although that will certainly help it pay for itself! You can also use it for exhibition printing and self-assessment of your work. Epson has recently updated models in its pro line-up and this A2 model certainly hits the spot in terms of image quality and value. Small enough to fit on a desktop, it can be connected using conventional cables, but also offers wireless printing so it doesn’t matter where you position it. Costs £900. epson.co.uk
BRING ON A SUB PROFESSSIONAL PHOTO SUBSCRIPTION 7
Unashamed plug alert! Grab yourself a full 13 issues of Professional Photo for the bargain price of £29. For that piffling price tag you’ll get every issue of your favourite photographic magazine delivered directly to your door, typically a few days before it arrives in the shops. That means you’ll get to enjoy the inspirational images, in-depth tests, topical techniques and brilliant business advice ahead of fellow photographers – give yourself the professional edge and subscribe today. brightsubs.com/prophoto
PORTABLE POWER 8
ELINCHROM ELB 400 HS KIT
The Ranger Quadra range has been a favourite for many professional users combining impressive power output with lightweight and impressively long battery life. The ELB 400 was introduced a year ago and now it features Hi-Sync (HS) heads that enable you to sync flash at up to 1/8000sec. This opens up a wealth of creative options both for freezing action and general outdoor shooting. A one-head kit with power pack, battery, head and all the necessary accessories costs £1279. The optional high-speed wireless trigger for Canon or Nikon DSLRs is £199. theflashcentre.com ISSUE 117 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 093
Buyers’ guide: Studio accessories
Studio essentials JEMMA DODD
It’s time to make the most of your studio space. We look at the options available to help you get more from studio shooting
hen it comes to shooting in the studio one of the first things that we think of is lighting. And while lights are obviously pretty crucial to success, there are plenty of other essentials. Who are you going to get to model that client’s designs?
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What are you going to shoot against? How can you achieve a softer lighting effect? From triggers to tripods, umbrellas to softboxes, these studio essentials will improve your studio photography so start saying ‘yes’ to more studio-based commissions.
Buyers’ guide: Studio accessories
PROFOTO UMBRELLA DEEP SILVER XL
Profoto offers a wide range of softboxes, reflectors and umbrellas suited for studio or location use. If you shoot fashion or portraiture, Profoto umbrellas are ideal to enable you to have more control on how the light falls on your subject. The deeper the umbrella, the more control you’ll have over the spread of the light and how you focus and shape it. Shallow umbrellas are still effective, but more portable and easier to move around quickly if you regularly change your lighting set-up. Depending on your preferred lighting style Profoto offers three choices of material. The translucent umbrella, which creates a softer light; the silver version, which gives a crisp light; and the white version, which combines the effects of the translucent and silver umbrella in one. They also come in four sizes – small, medium, large and extra large, meaning there’s something suited to every occasion. Perfect for illuminating your model fully, or even a small group of people is the Deep Silver XL umbrella, which has a diameter of 165cm and depth of 58cm for a really wide spread of light. profoto.com @PHOTOPROUK
Colour accuracy is important, especially when shooting for clients who need colours to be absolutely spot on or skin tones rendering accurately. Colour Confidence offers a range of solutions to help you achieve this. The X-Rite ColourChecker Passport Photo consists of three targets: a Creative Enhancement Target, which allows you to evaluate highlights and shadows; a Classic Target which features 24 patch classic colour references; and a White Balance Target offering more accurate control. It comes in a pocketsized protective case making it a small, but essential piece of kit that won’t take up much space in your kitbag. Also included is camera calibration software, which allows you to create custom DNG profiles. While the software is standalone it can also be used as a plug-in for Adobe Lightroom. Also available is the ExpoDisc 2.0 white-balance filter. Available in 77mm or 82mm filter sizes the filter allows you to accurately set a custom white-balance and meter for exposure, whether you’re shooting in natural, artificial, studio or mixed lighting conditions. shop.colourconfidence.com
3 BENRO MACH3 ALUMINIUM LONG TRIPOD KIT WITH HD3 HEAD
The Mach3 Aluminium Long Tripod Kit features high performance twist locks for easy use and magnesium castings, making it lightweight and sturdy. With three leg sections it has a minimum height of 54cm and a maximum height of 192cm. Ideal for studio shooting, using a tripod has the obvious benefits of reducing camera shake, but using one also helps to maintain a consistency of framing and - if you shoot portraits and use a cable release - means you can get out from behind the camera and interact with your subject. The three-way HD3 head included in the kit makes it easy to switch camera orientation and features a quick release plate for easy camera attachment and removal. Weighing just 3.3kg and folding down to 81cm, the Benro Mach3 can be easily packed away and transported if you’re shooting outside of the studio. Also included is a short column, which allows you to shoot at ground level. If you ever do head outside to shoot spiked feet are included, providing increased stability on outdoor surfaces. benroeu.com ISSUE 116 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 101
Buyers’ guide: Studio accessories
ELINCHROM PARABOLIC SOFTBOX
The Elinchrom Parabolic softbox features 16 sides enabling you to achieve circular catchlights. Available in 120cm and 190cm diameters the Parabolic softbox supports all Elinchrom units. Additional brackets are available for broncolor, Profoto and Bowens lights. With two removable diffusion panels, one inner and one outer, you have the ability to produce soft light, or if removed you can achieve a more crisp result similar to the results of a beauty dish. theflashcentre.com
5 HÄHNEL CAPTUR REMOTE CONTROL AND FLASH TRIGGER
No matter what subject you’re shooting in the studio, you’ll need to trigger your lights. With a Captur remote control and flash trigger from Hähnel you can wirelessly sync your studio lights to fire simultaneously. Simply place the transmitter on top of your camera and connect the receiver to your main light source. The control and trigger will work up to a range of 100m giving you plenty of distance in the studio to shoot at. Available to fit Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifilm cameras the triggers are powered by AA batteries. In addition to studio lighting, the triggers are also compatible with flashguns, and extra receivers can be purchased if you wish to use more than one flashgun in your lighting set-up. Alternatively the triggers can be used to fire your shutter if you attach the receiver to your camera instead and use the transmitter as a remote. hahnel.ie 6
ELINCHROM SKYPORT HS
The Skyport HS is a Hi-Sync remote trigger from Elinchrom that works with Elinchrom lights. If you’re working with EL-Skyport compatible flash units then you won’t even need receivers to trigger your lights. A real-time display of remote flash settings and the ability to control the power level and modeling lamp setting of each light directly from the transmitter means there’s no need to move back and forward to your flash units to switch settings. If you regularly uses multiple light units, the Skyport HS can manage up to ten Elinchrom units. Breaking the boundaries, the Hi-Sync (HS) capability allows you to go beyond the regular flash sync speed and shoot at up to 1/8000sec on a Canon or Nikon camera. Over Drive Sync (ODS) allows you to customise the Hi-Sync time in order to change where the max light output occurs during the flash. theflashcentre.com 102 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO ISSUE 116
Buyers’ guide: Studio accessories
CALUMET BACKGROUND SUPPORT KITS
If you’re bored of shooting against the same wall then a background support is just what you need. Calumet’s background support kit costs just £99 and has a maximum height of 2.74m and a maximum width of 3.66m. It’s ideal for supporting paper rolls, graduated PVC backdrops or muslin fabrics allowing you to expand your studio shooting options. The kit includes two light stands and a foursection crossbar. When not in use it can be packed away into an included durable fabric carry case. Weighing just 7.7kg it’s easy to transport, giving you a mobile studio backdrop kit. In addition to this Calumet also offers a heavy-duty background support for £160, which weighs 8kg. This support is ideal for holding paper or muslin backgrounds that are between 1.35m and 2.72m in length and up to 3.6m wide. This background support has a maximum height of 3.66m and a maximum width of 3.66m. calphoto.co.uk @PHOTOPROUK
While not an accessory as such models are vital when it comes to fashion, beauty or portrait shooting. If you’re looking for someone who is reliable and professional to work with then modeling agencies should be your first port of call. RMG is one of the UK’s leading international model agencies. Based in London and the West Midlands, the agency has supplied models for both print and TV. They represent a wide range of models across 14 divisions that include female and male models, juniors, couples, families, mums to be and even creatives such as make-up artists and hairstylists. Just by visiting their website you can browse through the full list of models on their books, as well as view individual portfolios and stats. RMG Models has supplied models to big fashion names which include Burberry, AllSaints, Neiman Marcus, Tom Ford, L’Oréal, Max Factor, Adidas, Nokia, Missguided, KFC and QVC. rmg-models.co.uk
BMA is one of London, Dubai and Beirut’s leading commercial and fashion agencies. They represent a wide diversity of models from child and sports models to families and older couples, as well as representing hairstylists, stylists, actors and dancers. With more than 1000 models on their books they have supplied models for the likes of Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Style, Paul Smith, H&M, Top Shop, M&S, John Lewis, Burberry and Agent Provocateur. By browsing through their website you can view portfolios for each model, see their statistics and also view their CV to see what publications or productions they have previously appeared in. In addition to this each model has Polaroid style images taken from different angles showing how they look naturally, without any retouching work. This is the ideal way to see if a model will suit the style and look you’re hoping to shoot. bmamodels.com ISSUE 116 PROFESSIONAL PHOTO 103
The story behind
A legendary photographer, an iconic artist , a Great Dane and a Hasselblad created this unforgettable shot in a flash © TERRY O’NEILL
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Superstar photographer Terry O’Neill is no disciple of the ‘never work with children or animals’ school of thought. If he had subscribed to that received wisdom he would have never captured this iconic image back in 1974. It was taken while Terry was working with David Bowie on a promotional shoot for the rock star’s Diamond Dogs album. He recalls: “The original shot was just going to be a picture of Bowie sitting in the chair and holding the Great Dane on a leash – but of course things don’t always go to plan. “I had a strobe up high and when it went off the dog literally went barking mad – and tried to jump up and grab it. “The entire studio staff jumped back in shock when this happened – but not David Bowie. “I caught the moment and he just sat there. He didn’t even blink – mind you he was pretty zonked out at the time, I remember!” Following Bowie’s tragic death Terry’s central London office was swamped with requests for images. He says: “David was adored by millions across the globe and I worked with him quite a bit – especially in the first 20 years of his career. I have to confess I didn’t like his voice as much as I liked his lyrics. To me he seemed more of an actor than a pop singer – with all the different roles he played. But he always struck me as a man way ahead of his time.” At 78 Terry is still taking pictures and organising international exhibitions of his work – and he still clings on to his trusty Hasselblad 500CM. He says: “I am still a film lover. Even with today’s capture options and the inexorable march of DSLRs and camera phones, many professionals still want the quality and feel that only medium-format is capable of delivering. I am one of them.” WWW.ABSOLUTEPHOTO.COM
Monthly photography magazine, designed between 2014-present (40+ issues) alongside in-house editors. Features new gear reviews, photo projec...
Published on Jun 10, 2016
Monthly photography magazine, designed between 2014-present (40+ issues) alongside in-house editors. Features new gear reviews, photo projec...