There are lots of reasons why a photographer might not be happy with the Fujifilm XH2 for portraits. The biggest one could be the higher megapixel sensor and how it renders extra detail that you don’t want to retouch. Thankfully, there are ways to get softer skin when shooting portraits. And here, we’re going to take you through a few methods.
Use Older Lenses
First off, one of the best ways to get softer portraits with the Fujifilm XH2 is to use older lenses. We found that using the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 R has a classic render, and therefore creates softer portraits. The coatings on this lens don’t make things look as clear and crisp as newer lenses, but the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 R can still surely resolve the sensor.
Additionally, there are a few third-party lenses that offer softer portraits like those from Tamron.
Photographers tend to say they want the “filmy look.” If you use Fujifilm’s film simulations, you get that look.
We’ve reviewed most Fujifilm lenses depending on when you’re reading this. You can see them in the previously hyperlinked guide. But here are a few we really recommend.:
But please look through our guide to find the best lenses for you. It should go without saying, but also check out our full Fujifilm XH2 review right here.
Some of the newer Fujifilm cameras like the XH2 have skin softening built in. Skin softening is a setting that doesn’t only apply to the JPEGs but also the RAWs. When we tested the RAW files in Capture One, we were surprised to see that. Even our clients were pleasantly surprised.
What you’ll see is that the camera will do the same amount of skin softening you’ll probably do anyway. It does this without adding in halation that other lens filters like Pro Mist and Glimmer Glass will do.
Film Simulations and Overexposing
The last way to do this is by working with film simulations. Lots of folks think they only apply to the JPEGs but they can be added to RAW files too. In our tests, we’ve found them to be better in Capture One than in Lightroom. Here are our recommended film simulations:
- Nostalgic Negative: Overexpose it by anywhere up to a stop.
- Pro Negative High Contrast: Typically standard exposure with a warmer white balance will work well here. But so too can overexposing it.
- Astia: Overexpose it by a stop.
- Classic Negative: Overexpose it by 1/3rd to a full stop.
If you’re curious, Fujifilm’s film simulations are fully explained here.
So why are we saying to overexpose? It eliminates the shadows caused on the face and therefore too the things that make some folks look less flattering. However, it does this without losing a whole lot of detail of the face when you’re in the right conditions.
If you were actually shooting a film like Fujifilm PRO 400H (now discontinued), you’d probably expose the film at ISO 75 and then develop normally to get a pastel look. It’s a similar formula for Kodak Portra 400, where you shoot it at ISO 200 and then develop it for ISO 320. In this case, you’re truly embracing the idea of shooting with film.