fuji xt1

She said "YES!"

It all started January 20, 2016 when I received an email from Austin.  He was planning on proposing to his girlfriend Chelsea on March 5th, and was wondering if I could capture the moment.  I was immediately excited, and quickly replied, "Yes!!"  I could tell by the mood of his emails that he had been thinking about proposing for a long time.  Chelsea means everything to him, and he wants this thing planned out to the T!!  Heck I couldn't wait to meet Chelsea, I felt like we were already good friends, we hadn't even met! He works hard in Texas all week, while she is here finishing school; on weekends they are inseparable.  

We went back and forth a few times, working out a date and time in February where he could sneak away to discuss the details of the shoot.  

Along with his proposal, there are a few things I have to plan for as a photographer.  

  • Where are we doing this?  (What vision do you have for the photos themselves)?
  • What time of day?  
  • Where are you going to stand? 
  • How are you going to ask?
  • What are your plans afterwards?

So on February 20th, we met, and discussed all of the above.  You absolutely have to have a plan for the moment.  The proposal itself goes by so fast, that you really really really have to be on top of your game.  He sent me photos of him and Chelsea together (awwwww!) and a photo of the location itself with a clear vision of what he was aiming for.  Austin was definitely very organized, and knew exactly what he wanted.  This helped me out a great deal.  (When clients tell me exactly what they want complete with pictures, believe me- it's extremely helpful)!  We talked about the direction we wanted him to face, where we thought he should stand, how he was going to start the proposal, and what we were going to do after the surprise had ended.  

The day we met was beautiful.  I had never been to the Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma before, but I plan on visiting a lot more.  At the time of this blog, I've already shot there twice!  It's a magical spot!!  At this point, we are all extremely excited.  Austin is laughing and excitedly talking about the moment, and how happy he'll be when they can just celebrate!  We offered to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to celebrate, and we were off to the races, looking forward to March 5th! 

March 5th arrives, there is less than a 30% chance of rain.  Skies are a bit overcast, but othewise perfect!  Shane and I are in our usual stealth positions, pretending to take photos of the bridge with our 70-200's. (LOL).  Shane signals to me that they have arrived and are walking towards the bridge.  What happened after that, literally had tears running down my face.  I didn't even realize I was crying.  It was one of the happiest proposals I had ever witnessed.  Genuine love? YES.  Genuine surprise and excitement? YES.  Complete and utter shock.  YES. YES. AND MORE YES.  

So there you have it.  The longest secret proposal EVER.  It was TORTURE!  I am so glad that I met them both, and I hope to work with them again when it comes to their wedding.  What a gorgeous couple.  

On a technical side note, I used my Mark III with the 70-200 to capture the proposal from a distance, and after the surprise was finished, I switched to my Fuji X-T1 and 56mm which worked like a dream!  Sharp, LIGHT, and just plain awesome.

Anyone else have any surprises coming up?  Give me a call.  I can keep a secret. :-)

~Leia




Fuji X-T1 28 days later

Back in early January I wrote about my Fuji's.  Now that some time has passed and I've crossed over into "Fujiland" throwing all inhibitions to the wind- I've got to say- this system is really amazing.  As I have mentioned many times over the years- I follow Zach regularly- and one thing in his last blog really stuck out.  He mentioned how he had shot a print catalog for a clothing company and 90% of it was shot with the 56mm and the X-T1.  That got my attention.  I mean- yes, you can take a photo with any camera and have it printed- but knowing that he had used this on a bigger job, and knowing what the ultimate goal of those photos really was- it was really intriguing that he chose that system.

While I have played and played and played- I had never taken any Fuji out on an 'official' shoot. There is always that stigma.  If I show up with this camera, the client I'm working with isn't going to take me seriously.  If I show up with this, their confidence is going to disappear.  If I show up with this... (and on and on).  Two weeks ago, I took the X-T1 (and my Canon just in case) on an engagement shoot.  Not only did the clients NOT care what camera I was using, but I never pulled my Canon out once.  I switched from the 35mm to the 56- and it was fantastic.  Changing the aperture and seeing how it will affect the image in real time through the EVF is simply amazing.  I can't do this in-studio however- because it won't account for the fact that you are using OCF.

Getting home and pulling the RAW images up in Lightroom, the sharpness, skin tones, and image quality was stunning; zooming in to the images in PS at 200% and the images are finally start to pixelate... the quality is astounding.  The RAW files are roughly 33 mb/each- there is plenty of file to work with.  Another interesting thing to be noted, is that it appears to shoot so much sharper than the Canon.  It focuses dead on everytime, unless I accidentally hit the button.  With my Canon, it's not exactly sharp everytime.  Some images are soft- even after I have carefully focused on the subject- that is something that has always bothered me.  The Fuji has really surprised me.

The following Tuesday, I had a 70's editorial shoot here in the studio.  Not only did it work flawlessly with my triggers and lights, but I was able to make some adjustments to the screen in order to have the best studio experience.  Again- the images came out amazing, and I love having a half-second preview (in the eye piece) of the image I just took.  This saves times, and lets me make any camera adjustments quickly- without having to pull the camera away from my face to 'chimp.'  As usual, using a combination of the 56mm and the 35mm.  I'm learning these are my two favorite lenses.  

This morning- guess what?  Another engagement session downtown and I didn't even think twice when it came time to decide what body to take.  I now have a dedicated camera bag with all my Fuji gear.  I grabbed that- and headed out without a care in the world.  I did add a grip this week to my kit, and it has made a big difference.  It's easier to handle (no pun intended).

I know I was the one with the hangup.  The clients know I'm going to take care of them.  They know they are going to get some amazing keepsakes.  I think the last thing they are worried about is what tool I'm using for the job.  On a shoot, the subject is nervous about how they are going to look- I am nervous about what camera I'm using.  In the end- it works out everytime.  

Happy Shooting!

~Leia

My Second Love.

I'm coming clean this week and letting my friends know that I can't hide anymore.  Time to call it what it is.  I started my marriage with Canon 10 years ago.  It was a handsome silver little point and shoot that lured me in.  I moved forward through the Canon line.  Just over 2 years ago I was introduced to the Fuji x100 online. It made me a better photographer.  It forced me to do things I had never done with Canon.  I took chances, risks, shooting was fun again, it was liberating.  We hung out downtown, in parks, it fit into my hand so nicely- we were a match. We went to weddings together, and the shots of reception details were fantastic.  I couldn't tell what I shot with my Canon vs the Fuji.  Yes, it is THAT good.  Friends wanted to know more about Fuji, I happily shared stories and photos of the moments we shared together.  

I took a serious cross country road trip with it, leaving my trusty Canon behind.  Scary? Yes.  Worth it?  SO MUCH YES.  The photos that came out of that trip were so gorgeous, sharp, and clear that I published a book with them.  In print- wow.  You can't even imagine.  I wanted more.  I moved on to the Fuji X100s, then the Fuji x100t.  My husband and a few close friends were really surprised I didn't move straight to the X-T1.  But I had my reasons.  

Last week I decided to finally try the X-T1 with the 35mm and it is everything I imagined, and more. So. Much. More.  

Fuji X-T1 with 35mm attached, Fuji X100t

Fuji X-T1 with 35mm attached, Fuji X100t

Just in the 2 days I've been shooting exclusively with the X-T1 I can see the appeal.  From the shutter speed, the tilting screen, the fact that you can CHANGE LENSES, the array of options and settings- it's incredible.  This morning I took some amazing headshots with it, and I just love the ease of use.  My triggers connected easily, and I was in business in minutes.  I love the way I can control the light- in my opinion my lights are easier to control with the Fuji line, than they are with my Canons.  It's like they just KNOW what to do with the light.

The tilting screen is going to be excellent for those times when I need to get a nice wide overhead shot- I can tilt the screen so that I can see what I'm shooting!  

The tilting screen is going to be excellent for those times when I need to get a nice wide overhead shot- I can tilt the screen so that I can see what I'm shooting!  

It is a crop, so any lens you get, you've got to remember what it really is after the 1.5 crop factor.  The 35mm that is attached is really a 52.5 and that is perfect.  50mm is really my most used focal length and this was the lens I wanted to start out with.  

Anyone who is curious about anything Fuji really should follow Zach Arias on his blog.  He is an absolutely fantastic Commercial photographer and I've secretly stalked him for years- since his One Light days.  He can tell you what is what when it comes to Fuji.  He shoots with a Phase 1, and I see that he is slowly getting out of Nikon.  He primarily shoots all of his Editorials with either his Phase or his Fuji's.  

Am I breaking up with Canon completely? No.  I believe we can all live in the same house together with minimal disagreements. :-)  You see, I use my Canon for everything, but I'm learning that I can use the Fuji for everything too.  At 8 fps, RAW/jpg, transferring photos wirelessly (oh yeah-it has built in wireless)- that in itself is already more than my Mark II can do.  I'm really excited to be flying to Chicago this week to shoot Bridals for one of my brides with this camera- of course I'm taking my Canon too- but this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to really see what this baby can do!  I can't wait to post the photos from my latest adventure, but that probably won't be until late March- after her wedding.  Hope you all have a fabulous week!

See you on the next shoot!

~Leia