Xpert Advice: How to Effectively Focus and Recompose When Capturing Candid Moments

While companies put loads and loads of autofocusing points into their newer cameras, veteran photographers may still prefer the tried and true focus and recompose method. Sometimes it’s just flat out faster vs trying to move your Fujifilm X Pro 2 or Fujifilm X-T2’s joystick to get from one focusing point to the other. With these cameras, focusing and recomposing works really well simply due to the way the system is set up.

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Xpert Advice: Capturing Fast Moving Subjects With Your Camera

Fast moving subjects can be incredibly tough to capture no matter what camera system you use. One of the best things that any photographer can have is foresight into knowing and predicting what’s about to happen in front of you–and that requires paying a lot of attention to the scene.

But capturing fast moving subjects can be done in a variety of different ways and can use a large number of creative image techniques to get the scene. First and foremost, lots of photographers will obviously use a variety of autofocus techniques. Luckily, Fujifilm’s autofocus on the new X-Pro 2 and X-T2 are super fast–even in the dark and with older lenses with firmware updates. A great idea is to use the center focusing point/group area, focus as quickly as you can on your subject, and immediately take the photo. Just ensure that the point/area covers the subject entirely and for the best results, you may want to use continuous autofocus.

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Xpert Advice: Composing Photos by Color in Autumn

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Xpert Advice Autumn Composing by color (1 of 1)ISO 4001-105 sec at f - 2.0

The very last bits of the Autumn are among us–have you gone out and photographed it in all it’s gorgeous beauty? If you haven’t that’s quite sad; it gives you the opportunity to try a new method of focusing.

To start, this requires looking at the world and the way that colors play out and contrast from one another. Indeed, contrast is one of the biggest parts of composing by color–the method we’re focusing on in this edition of Xpert Advice. Using the Fujifilm Velvia Film color profile may help out the most here.

Everyone knows about using the rule of thirds– and your Fujifilm camera not only has a rule of thirds composition display but also a 24 grid display option that can help even further. These compositional aides can help when composing a scene by color. This is a different method and often involves:

  • Positioning specific colors on an intersecting line of the rule of thirds to grab the viewer’s attention. You can also just move it along the grid until the scene looks artistically pleasing. It’s best to think abstract here.
  • Putting a color that really stands out in the scene as something prominent in the photo overall so that folks pay attention to it
  • Balancing the use of positive and negative space to actually make this color stand out and draw someone’s attention to the scene.

The simplest way to do this is by using the rule of thirds but by specifically putting a super punchy color on that intersecting line. Composing by color also involves things like the use of depth of field to get the most out of it. In general, it’s best to go on either extreme with super shallow depth of field or everything totally in focus. Also, try choosing a certain color and simply moving your camera around in all sorts of angles and directions.

Go get out and shoot before all the leaves are gone!

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.

Xpert Advice: Shoot for the Midtones When Working with Landscapes

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Xpert Advice Landscapes (1 of 1)ISO 2001-2700 sec at f - 2.0

For many years, landscape photographers considered Fujifilm Velvia film to be the cream of the crop. As photography evolved and digital became more popular, new methods developed in the image creation process. Lots of the time, landscape photography is filled with technical questions that can get in the way of simply taking a better photo. All you really need is just a good lens and your camera, but extra accessories like a graduated ND filter, a variable ND filter, and a sturdy tripod can also help.

Oh right, and always shoot in RAW!

One of the keys to shooting and creating better landscape images has to do with shooting for the mid tones. Mid tones are typically associated with the colors in a scene that aren’t at the extreme ends of an image’s exposure range. To make this simple, if you’re shooting in black and white: white would be associated with the highlights, black the shadows and gray would be for the mid tones. It gets more complicated when shooting in color and varies greatly based on the individual scene you’re photographing.

Generally what you’ll want to do is look at the scene carefully on your camera and check the histogram reading. Luckily, Fujifilm X series cameras let you display that information in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen. Once you’ve metered the scene to what the camera thinks is perfect balanced based on the evaluative metering mode, consider the following:

  • If the scene is mostly dominated by highlights, then underexpose according to the mid tones to get more from the highlights.
  • If the scene is mostly dominated by shadows, then overexpose according to the mid tones to get more from the shadows.

Of course, how much you overexpose or underexpose varies according to each individual scene and how much light is really present. However, in our tests, we’ve found that Fujifilm’s X-Trans Sensor is highly capable of capturing more information in the highlights than typical CMOS sensors can. This is also where a graduated ND filter can really help since it can lessen the effects of the highlights and create an image with less contrast in the scene–which is what we’re aiming for.

Most of the magic of landscape photography happens in the post-production phase where you start to crush the highlights, boost the shadows, or add contrast while boosting clarity. If you’re using Adobe Lightroom, then working with the individual color channels and applying the Fujifilm Velvia color profile can also really help.

Have fun shooting!

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.

Xpert Advice: Making the Most of the Golden Hour for Portraits

Chris-Gampat-The-Phoblographer-Xpert-Advice-Portraits-during-the-golden-hour-photo-without--(1-of-1)ISO-2001-500-sec-at-f---2.0-use-this-one

The Golden Hour–it’s when so many photographers take to the streets to photograph landscapes and portraits. The Golden Hour, also known as sunrise or sunset, is a pretty long period of time where the sun’s rays bathe the Earth in golden and orange hues. These tend to look great with skin tones, but making the most of it can be tough to do.

First off, we recommend not front lighting a portrait subject. This will cause the person to squint and generally create unflattering shadows on their face and under the chin. Instead, try backlighting your subject. Backlighting is when the key or primary light source is behind your subject. The process that we’re using blows out lots of details in the highlights and gives you beautiful colors that compliment skin well. This is best done by using your Fujifilm X-series camera in spot metering mode. For some cameras, you’ll need to go into the menus while others like the X-T1 have a dedicated switch/dial. Then manually choose a focusing point.

If you don’t feel like backlighting a subject, try to find shadow coverage under an awning, tree, building, or somewhere else. This gives you much more even lighting to work with. Again, you’ll be using spot metering and manually choosing a focusing point. The Golden Hour light will still make the skin glow and look wonderful.

With your Fujifilm camera, we recommend working with the Classic Chrome or Astia film renderings. For many years, Astia was a favorite of studio and portrait photographers for its softer colors but just enough contrast to give the images some extra pop. If you’re shooting in RAW, you can always apply the camera profile to the image later on in post.

So what lenses should you use? The Fujifilm 56mm f1.2, 60mm f2.4 Macro and 90mm f2 lenses all give you the best results. Be sure to check out our guide to Fujifilm’s lenses for even more.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.

Xpert Advice: How to Use Fill Flash for More Even Lighting

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Xpert Advice Fill flash (1 of 1)ISO 6401-15 sec at f - 1.4

Using the on-camera flash can be tough to do if what you want is soft, even lighting. However, it’s totally possible to do just by taking a few quick steps before you shoot. First off keep in mind the main rules of exposure when working with a flash:

– Shutter speeds control the ambient light

– Aperture controls the amount of light from the flash that affects the scene

– Flash output is a consistent setting when manually managed

– ISO controls the overall sensitivity to the scene

To start off, we encourage you to shoot with your camera in manual mode or aperture priority and get a balanced exposure of your scene. Before you shoot, turn on the flash and go into the menu of your camera (like the Fujifilm X100T) and select fill flash. Then you’ll need to fine tune it, so find the flash compensation menu. Turn the flash power down quite a bit; -2/3rds is a great place to start. Then take the photo.

From there you can either choose to open the aperture up or raise the flash output. But no matter what you do, the shutter speed won’t affect the flash output. It will only affect the ambient light, so you’ll need to find a way to blend the ambient lighting, aperture, flash output, and ISO.

This is easier to do if you attach a flash to your hot shoe and use something like the wide angle diffuser that it includes. The key to this is that it spreads the light over a larger area–therefore making it seem like you’re working with a larger light source and in effect a softer light. While a low power output with the wide angle diffuser can work well, so can bounce flash.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.

Xpert Advice: Using the Zone Focusing Method for Street Photography

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Xpert Advice Zone Focusing (1 of 1)ISO 1001-20 sec at f - 5.0-2

When it comes to street photography, one of the best ways to make sure that you have your subject in focus is to use the zone focusing system. This is also called hyperfocal length focusing; which involves using the depth of field and focusing scale on your camera or lens to get the scene and subject sharply in focus. It’s a tried and true method: Bresson and a number of other famous photojournalists used it to capture some of the most iconic photos.

Ever heard the statement “F8 and be there?” Well, that’s pretty much it.

To do this, we suggest starting out by stopping the lens down to anywhere between f5.6 and f11. Then as you focus further out from the camera, more of your scene will come into focus. By looking at the scale, you can see what distances will be in focus. For example, at f8 anywhere between five feet and eight feet may be in focus at f8 with a Fujifilm 23mm f1.4. Then as you move around, just remember to pay attention to the distance that your lens is set to. As subjects and scenes move in and out of it, snap photos and keep moving.

As an added tip, raise the ISO levels up a bit depending on your lighting situations. Aperture priority also helps to make this easier.

Give it a try, the zone focusing method is a tried and true way of coming back with more candid photos.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.